Cambridge Mission to Delhi
Name of creator(s): Cambridge Mission to Delhi, 1877-1967 (Anglican)
Administrative/Biographical history: The Cambridge Mission to Delhi (CMD) was founded by Edward Bickersteth in 1877 as a response to the Cambridge theologian, BF Westcott's vision of a serious and respectful engagement with Indian religious tradition. Much of the Mission's work was done through its two religious communities: the Cambridge Mission Brotherhood, a community for men formed in 1877 with Bickersteth as its first head, and St Stephen's Community, for women, which had been opened as St Stephen's Home by Mrs Priscilla Winter in 1871 and formally became CMD's women's community in 1886. The focus for CMD's work was Delhi, but it also had branches in the surrounding area, including at Karnal, Rewari and Rohtak. CMD's two most significant institutions, St Stephen's College and St Stephen's Hospital for Women became important institutions not only in Delhi, but in India as a whole.
In 1943 control of the Mission's work passed to the new Archdeaconry of Delhi (the Diocese of Delhi from 1947) and this led to modifications being made by the two Communities to their life. St Stephen's Community no longer included all the women missionaries in Delhi, but came to consist of those Indian and English women who wished to live together as a community under a simple rule of prayer and life. The Brotherhood also altered its pattern of work and in 1944 changed its name to the Cambridge Brotherhood of the Ascension, later the Brotherhood of the Ascended Christ. Both the Brotherhood and St Stephen's Community continue in existence to the present day and their service among the most disadvantaged in the city of Delhi is now carried out through the Delhi Brotherhood Society.
CMD's Committee, based in Cambridge, was its governing body from 1877 until 1944, but in 1918 a London Committee was established to assist in raising interest in the Mission and to oversee relations with the Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG). There was a close connection with the SPG from the beginning, as both were involved in sending missionaries and money to the Mission in Delhi. In addition, the SPG's Committee for Women's Work, with a CMD representative present when discussing potential missionaries for Delhi, undertook the appointment of women missionaries on behalf of CMD. The overlapping responsibilities of the two committees and SPG led to a proposal for closer cooperation. The result was the formation in 1933 of a 15 member Executive Committee, with four members being SPG representatives. The Executive Committee incorporated the members of the London Committee, which it replaced, as well as including members of the Cambridge Committee, but the Cambridge Committee remained CMD's governing body for another ten years.
The transfer of control of the Mission's work to the church in Delhi led to the final change in CMD's committee structure. In 1944 the Cambridge Committee gave up its general administrative functions to a Managing Committee representing CMD and SPG, which was the successor of the joint Executive Committee. The Cambridge Committee remained in existence as the local committee of the Mission for the university and town. Twenty years later, in a rapidly changing world and church, CMD began questioning its role as one of the many small missions in existence. CMD was finding it more difficult to make an impact on the awareness of the church where many organisations were appealing for donations and there were fewer volunteers to help. The SPG was already in the process of merging with the Universities' Mission to Central Africa and CMD decided to follow a similar path. The process took several years, but CMD merged with the newly formed United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG) on 1 January 1968. Over its 90 years CMD was responsible for sending about 150 missionaries to work in the Delhi Mission.
Initially CMD's Committee was responsible for raising only a small part of the total funds available to the Mission in Delhi, but in 1905 it took over the administration of the previously independent Head of the Mission's Fund and the two funds were amalgamated. The Committee was now responsible for more than half of the Mission's funds, which consequently increased its administrative role. Until this time the posts of secretary and treasurer of both funds had been held as honorary positions, but in 1905 a General Secretary was appointed. The first General Secretary worked from his home, but from 1907 to 1940 CMD rented an office in Church House, Westminster. Following a period of temporary dislocation CMD's office was located in SPG House, 15 Tufton Street, Westminster from 1942 until 1968. The office staff gradually increased and by 1968 consisted of two Joint General Secretaries, an Organising Secretary and the Editor.
Cambridge's connection with CMD remained strong throughout the ninety years of its existence and the connection between Cambridge and Delhi is still maintained, for example through the annual Teape Lectures, held alternately in each city, now organised by the Cambridge Committee for Christian Work in Delhi.
Refer also to:
Immediate source of acquisition: Deposited at Rhodes House Library under the terms of an agreement dated 18 December 1985 between the University of Oxford and the United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel.
CONTENT AND STRUCTURE
Scope and content/abstract: Records of the Cambridge Mission to Delhi, 1873-1969, covering the work in Delhi and support for the Mission in Britain and Ireland.
The majority of the records date from the 20th century, but earlier ones include:
20th century records include:
CMD's periodicals and other publications are:
System of arrangement: Minutes of committees; ledgers and other volumes of financial records; correspondence and administrative files; annual reports and occasional papers; and plans. The correspondence and administrative files for Delhi institutions and the two communities are placed first, followed by files relating to support for the Mission, its history and the relationship with SPG and finally by property files.
ACCESS AND USE
Conditions governing access: Open. Bodleian Readers Ticket required.
Conditions governing reproduction: No reproduction or publication without permission. Copyright held by USPG, but contact the Bodleian Library of Commonwealth and African Studies at Rhodes House in the first instance.
Finding aids: MS Collections in Rhodes House Library, Oxford, Accessions 1978-1994 (Bodleian Library, Oxford, 1996, no. 619).
Archivist's note: The CMD annual reports and An Introduction to USPG's history by Catherine Wakeling were used to prepare this description.
Date(s) of descriptions: 14 August 2002, 1 April 2003