|Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary|
At a Glance
This collection is organized in one unarranged series.
Scope and Contents
This collection contains records of the Laymen's Missionary Movement (LMM) which focused on helping churches with foreign missions, including minutes, reports, proceedings of committees and conferences, correspondence, publicity material, publications, photographs, and by-laws and legal documents. The bulk of material dates to the inception of the organization and the minutes date to the earliest meetings of the Movement, and lay out the basis for membership, what membership involves, and elected executive committee members. Some of the minutes are in full; others only extracts. Legal documents include an Articles of Amendment, a certificate, and a commendation offered.
Burke Library record group:
Missionary Research Library Archives: MRL12, Ecumenical/World Mission
Using the Collection
Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Conditions Governing Access
This collection is open for research.
Conditions Governing Use
Some material in this collection may be protected by copyright and other rights. Information concerning copyright, fair use, and reproduction requests can be consulted at Columbia's Copyright Advisory Office.
Item description, MRL 12: Laymen's Missionary Movement records, 1906-1956, box #, folder #, The Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary, Columbia University in the City of New York.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
Formerly part of the independent Missionary Research Library (MRL), these records were accessioned by the Burke Library at the time of the MRL's closure in 1976.
About the Finding Aid / Processing Information
Columbia University Libraries, Burke Library at Union Theological Seminary
Minutes, reports, and proceedings were cataloged by Lynn A. Grove on1988-08-03. Metal clips and staples were removed from select materials and folded items were flattened. Materials were placed in new acid-free folders and boxes. Acidic items were separated from one another by interleaving with acid-free paper as needed. The finding aid was created by Brigette Kamsler in 2013 with the support of the Henry Luce Foundation, and edited by Leah Edelman in 2022.
2022-01-28 PDF converted to EAD and description updated by Leah Edelman.
History / Biographical Note
Biographical / Historical
The Laymen's Missionary Movement (LMM) originated in 1906 at a New York Haystack Prayer Meeting. John B. Sleman and a group of seventy-five laymen proposed "a campaign of education among laymen to interest them more largely in the cause of missions." The focus of LMM was not to send out missionaries or fund missions specifically, but to help churches with their foreign missions. Working through existing staff, the LMM assisted seventeen Christian denominations. The organization was specifically for men. Bartlotti writes: By publishing charts, books, tracts, and monthly magazines, and encouraging laymen to visit the foreign field, the LMM confronted the lethargy and missiological illiteracy of the churches. Challenging Christians with the discrepancy between money spent by the churches at home and the comparatively small amount given to missions, the LMM set forth, with sanctified business sense, financial policy guidelines to increase the mission giving of their churches…" Soon after inception, member Jay Schieffelin was sent to Great Britain to establish a sister movement. Other members of note include J. Campbell White and Samuel Capen. John R. Mott, Robert E. Speer and other religious leaders comprised the Executive Committee, which sought broader geographical and social representation in the General Committee. The Executive Committee established regional offices in seven major cities in 1911. The LMM was active in sponsoring hundreds of congresses, campaigns and conventions. Rabe states that the "first coordinated drive was the National Missionary Campaign in which seventy five separate conventions were held..." The LMM, along with the Foreign Missions Conference of North America (FMCNA) and the Home Missions Council of the United States, organized and directed United Missionary Campaigns from 1913-1915. LMM also organized National Missionary Campaigns, which held Conventions throughout the United States. The movement ran its course during wartime, and by 1919 the national campaign was absorbed into the Interchurch World Movement. During the Second World War, descendants of those originally in the LMM founded a new Laymen's Movement for a Christian World.