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Congregational Home Missionary Society | Amistad Research Center

Name: Congregational Home Missionary Society

Historical Note:

By 1893, the American Home Missionary Society (1826-1893) was largely Congregational in nature and was re-named the Congregational Home Missionary Society. The Congregational Home Missionary Society (CHMS) financially assisted congregations that were not able to support their own minister and was responsible for the missionary activities in states west of the Mississippi, the southern Ohio River region, Black churches in northern cities, and foreign-speaking churches. During reorganization in 1906, state organizations long a component of the CHMS, whether called a Missionary Society, State Conference, State Association, or State Convention, that raised more funding than was spent on their home missions programs within their area agreed to give a percentage of the excess funding to the CHMS. This “Constituent States” funding was administered through the CHMS for activities, such as maintaining a pastor for frontier, rural, and urban churches, and to assist churches during disasters.

By 1936, there were 24 self-supporting state conferences from areas that had higher population density, with the bulk of the funding allocated to support activities in less populated and impoverished areas, which continued to be the southern states, Ohio River states, and western states, except California and Washington, and were termed “Missionary States.” The CHMS also provided grant and loans for churches and parsonages, and continued support of foreign-speaking churches. Two special services departments were established and maintained relationships with African American churches in the north through the Department of Negro Work and rural areas through the Department of Town and Country.

Note Author: Laura J. Thomson

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