Since the Church Missionary Society’s beginnings in 1799, God has been at work through men and women with courage and vision, who grasped opportunities to make the gospel known around the world.
The Church Missionary Society (CMS-UK) was founded in England by a small group of Anglican evangelicals with a passion for worldwide gospel outreach. They included John Newton, who wrote Amazing Grace, and William Wilberforce, who was a leader in abolishing the slave trade in England.
This passion for people to hear the gospel saw CMS-UK turn its attention to Australia. With work amongst Aboriginal people a primary focus at the time, a CMS-UK outpost was set up in Sydney in 1825 and the first missionaries arrived from England shortly afterwards to serve in western NSW. CMS associations were set up around Australia and the first Australian CMS missionary, Helen Philips, sailed for Ceylon (Sri Lanka) in 1892.
In 1916, the Australian CMS associations came together to form the Church Missionary Association of Australia and later changed their name to the Church Missionary Society of Australia (CMS). CMS had sent missionaries from Australia to many countries by this time, including China, India, Palestine and Iran. By 1927, CMS had a particular interest in North Australia and Tanganyika (Tanzania).
More than 1500 Australians have served with CMS. As we prayerfully consider the years ahead, we remain as passionate as ever to see a world that knows Jesus.