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date: 30 September 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter discusses the earliest missionary endeavours of the Religious Society of Friends, including those of George Fox who encouraged Quakers to ‘preach the gospel’ to all peoples. His entreaty prompted itinerant Friends to travel throughout Europe, the Middle East, and especially British North America in the seventeenth century. After a period of decline, the mission impulse was renewed in the nineteenth century. ‘Home mission’ work was prodded by social dislocations associated with the Industrial Revolution as well as the marginalization of minority groups. Spiritual awakenings, shaped by evangelical and Holiness movements, gave rise to Friends foreign mission work and missionary sending agencies. Quaker missionaries established Meetings for Worship, schools, medical centres, and vocational programmes in Africa, Asia, and Latin America by the mid-nineteenth century. Growing numbers of indigenous Friends established new Yearly Meetings in these regions and often assumed leadership of Quaker mission programmes.

Keywords: evangelism, Religious Society of Friends, Holiness movement, home missions, foreign missions, missionaries, social witness

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