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Authority record

World Mission in Church and Society

  • Person
  • c. 1931-1989

World Mission in Church and Society has been known by a number of titles over the years. Initially called the Foreign Mission Department of the National Council, it was changed to the Overseas Department after the reorganization of National Council in October of 1942. From 1969 to 1971 the office was known as Overseas Relations, and from 1972 to 1974 it was called Jurisdictional Relations. In 1975, it became the Department of Mission under the executive direction of Presiding Bishop Edmond L. Browning. In 1978, the department became known as National and World Mission, and finally in 1980, World Mission in Church and Society.

As the Church’s conception of overseas work evolved, so did the work of the office. While it continued to support schools, hospitals, and missions established during the Church's early involvement overseas, the focus increasingly turned to the cultivation of networks of support between independent churches in the Anglican Communion. The Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence (MRI) program of the early 1960s committed the Church to sharing its resources generously with struggling Anglican dioceses around the globe seeking their footing in newly-independent nations. The Overseas Department (as it was still known at that time) was heavily involved in coordinating funding, sending workers, and setting up channels of communication with these groups.

From the MRI program, other initiatives evolved, including Partners in Mission and Companion Diocese relationships, intended to connect the American church with Anglican partners across the globe on a personal basis through cultural study, discussion, and mission work. While much of the work in these programs was diocesan, the office coordinated these efforts on the national level. It also administered a certain amount of funding from the Venture in Mission program as seed-money to aid overseas dioceses with much-needed infrastructure and other projects.

Apart from its work with the global Anglican Communion, the office also worked on ecumenical matters, participating in initiatives of the Church World Service, the National Council of Churches, and other ecumenical organizations. In 1989, World Mission in Church and Society became the International Ministries sub-group of the Witness and Outreach Committee of the Executive Council.

Wilson, Frank Elmer

  • Person
  • 1885-1944

Born on May 21, 1885, in Kittaning, Pennsylvania, Frank Wilson graduated from Hobart College in 1907. He graduated with a Bachelor of Divinity from General Theological Seminary in New York in 1910 and was ordained a priest later that year. After serving in various churches and as an Army chaplain during World War I, he became rector of Christ Church Cathedral in Eau Claire, Wisconsin in 1919. In 1928, Wilson was elected as the first Bishop of the new Diocese of Eau Claire and was consecrated in 1929.

Frank Elmer Wilson died in office on February 16, 1944.

White, William

  • Person
  • 1748-1836

William White, the first Bishop of Pennsylvania (1787-1836), was born into a wealthy and prominent family in Philadelphia in 1748. He was educated at the College of Philadelphia, where he eventually received his Doctor of Divinity degree. Ordained deacon in 1770 and priest in 1772, White became first assistant minister and then rector of Christ Church and St. Peter’s in Philadelphia, a position in which he served for the remainder of his life. He also served as chaplain of the Continental Congress during the Revolutionary War, president of the first and fourth General Conventions, and Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church in America from 1795 until his death in 1836. Additionally, White played a leading role in many civic organizations and educational institutions such as the Philadelphia Bible Society, the American Philosophical Society, and the General Theological Seminary.

Bishop White was a critical figure in the formation of the Protestant Episcopal Church, contributing not only as a talented organizer and a pragmatic reconciler between differing opinions, but also as a proponent of constitutional law and republican forms of government. His accepted recommendations for the Church constitution that included the establishment of The Episcopal Church as a self-governing and independent ecclesiastical body, the inclusion of laity with equal representation as clergy in governing bodies, and the right of dioceses to elect their own bishops. In addition, he proposed a new Prayer Book and planned for obtaining the episcopate from the English bishops that would extend the line of apostolic succession to America without requiring bishops to swear allegiance to the King of England.

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