Early Reporting on the Missionary Convention
Early Reporting on the Missionary Convention

The International Conference On Missions met for its annual gathering Nov. 15 to 18 in Cincinnati.

According to ICOM’s website:

In March of 1948, J. Russell Morse was in the home of John T. Chase for dinner, and asked, ‘Why isn’t there a gathering for missionaries?’ He went on to express the need for a time where missionaries can talk shop, fellowship and encourage each other. So in 1948, the day prior to the NACC started, a few dozen missionaries got together. That practice continued for several years growing to a few hundred people. Then in 1954, the National Missionary Convention was formed, as its own conference.

The name change from the National Missionary Convention to ICOM was announced to 2011.

Here is Christian Standard’s report about that first convention. (This appeared in our March 13, 1948, issue).

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Missionary Rally to Precede North American Convention

This photo of West Side Church is from a 1910 postcard.

Springfield, Ill.—Plans are being formulated for a direct-support missionary rally to be held here just prior to the North American Christian Convention in April. The rally will begin on Tuesday evening, April 20, with sessions being held the following morning and afternoon. The West Side Church of Christ, State and Edwards Streets, will be the scene of the three rally services.

Theme of the pre-convention missionary meeting will be “The New Testament Program of Missions Duplicated in Modern Times.” Experienced missionaries who have worked in foreign lands, and recruits for such service will be used on the program. All such individuals who are in a position to participate in the rally are requested to notify John T. Chase, 3115 W. 75th St., Los Angeles, Calif., at once. Mr. Chase, along with J. Russell Morse, missionary to Tibetan Lisuland, and Miss Marian Schaefer, missionary to India, are planning the program.

The North American Christian Convention will meet April 21-25 in the Illinois Armory Building, Second and Monroe.

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The second mention of a missionary gathering I can find in the magazine was on page 3 of the November 19, 1949, edition.

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Englewood Church to Be Host to Second National Convention

Indianapolis, Ind.—Second National Missionary Convention will meet here, Apr. 25 and 26, 1950. All sessions will be held in the house of worship of the Englewood Christian Church. Convention will begin on Tuesday evening with sessions Wednesday morning and afternoon and will close with a missionary banquet Wednesday evening. Theme of the convention will be “And Ye Shall Be My Witnesses.”

John T. Chase, missionary to Korea, states: “Because it is felt that the time will not permit the representation of all independent work, both home and foreign, and because it is felt unwise to lengthen the program, because of the North American Christian Convention, which is to follow this gathering, this will be a ‘foreign missionary convention,’ where experienced missionaries, who have worked in foreign lands and recruits definitely planning on such service, will participate on the program.”

All missionaries who are in position to participate in the convention program are urged to write Miss Marian Schaefer, 1500 S. Monterey Ave., Alhambra, Calif., who is serving as secretary of the convention.

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Here’s a report from page 3 of the December 2, 1950, issue that talks about the third convention. (Evidently, two conventions were conducted in 1950.)

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Registration Reaches Five Hundred at Third National Missionary Convention

Webster City, Ia.—Registration at the Third National Missionary Convention, which met in the Church of Christ here, November 14-17, where Dewey C. Kooy ministers, reached 500. An estimated 1,000 persons attended the sessions of the four-day program put on by direct-support missionaries of churches of Christ. A total of 150 persons attended the missionary banquet, and more than fifty different booths were displayed depicting direct-support activities around the world. Numerous reports were read from missionaries from the field and who could not attend. Program was marked by the widest representation of missionary activity ever to be presented in one gathering of the churches of Christ.

To continue to serve its purpose as a roving convention, moving into areas each year where no similar gathering is held, the missionaries present voted to hold the Fourth Annual National Missionary Rally, November 5-9, in northern Kentucky. The host church will be announced later. . . .

Committee for the Fourth National Missionary Convention and banquet include Charles Phipps, Elmer Kile, and Mrs. Dewey Lamb.

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And here’s an item from page 2 of the January 5, 1952, issue.

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(On the “Telenews” page)

Continuation Committee Appointed for Fifth National Missionary Convention.—According to Robert M. Lillie, Cedar Lake, Ind., a continuate committee, including John Chase, Edna Hunt, Elmer Kile, Robert Lillie, and Mrs. G. Dewey Lamb, has been appointed for the Fifth National Missionary Convention, which is to be held in September. This committee will be enlarged when the missionaries meet during the North American Christian Convention in Tulsa, Okla.

During the recent convention which met in Camden Avenue Church, Louisville, Ky., brethren were present from Kentucky, Georgia, New York, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, California, Ohio, Missouri, Tennessee, Minnesota, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Virginia, Arizona, Colorado, Texas, Nebraska, Canada, and India. Mr. Lillie states, “The very bad storms that arrived on the opening day of the convention reduced attendance.”

More than thirty missionaries participated in the missionary banquet which was served on Wednesday evening. Many of them appeared in native costumes.

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Just for fun, here’s a flyer from the 1953 convention.

Finally, to wrap up this “Throwback Thursday” piece, here’s an editorial (probably written by Burris Butler) from page 2 of the August 21, 1954, edition.

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A Significant Gathering

The seventh annual National Missionary Convention is to gather in Toledo, September 22-26. This convention, meeting in Lincoln, Illinois, last year registered nearly 2,500 persons. But its significance lies in more than the size to which it has attained in the few years since its beginning. It speaks of the growing strength of the independent missionary movement, and of the increasing interest the churches are taking in the cause of world-wide evangelism.

The program is controlled and largely manned by the missionaries themselves. It is devoted to themes dealing with the basic philosophy underlying Christian missions, and to the discussion of means and methods of spreading the missionary message abroad. The people who attend are there for one reason—because they are concerned with the cause of missions. Not only in the formal sessions of the convention, but in the contacts made at the display booths and in the face-to-face fellowship cultivated in casual conversation, both missionaries and stay-at-home Christians are profited, and the cause prospers.

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—Jim Nieman, managing editor, Christian Standard

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