Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide

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Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide
HeadquartersWestminster College
  • United Kingdom
FieldsTeaching and research centre
University of Cambridge

The Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide (CCCW) is a study, teaching and research centre in Cambridge, England and an Associate Institute of the Cambridge Theological Federation. The centre has historic ties to members of the University of Cambridge who have been engaged in the practice and study of Christian missions. The CCCW library, now on the site of Westminster College, contains more than 10,000 books and over 100 journals related to the study of history and World Christianity.The library is associated with the Cambridge University Library (referred to as the University Library, or simply the UL). The archives of the CCCW[1] comprises materials related to the history of missions in Africa, Asia and Latin America, including the papers of John Edward Church (1899-1989), a graduate of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and a prominent leader in the East African Revival.[2][3][4]


The Henry Martyn Trust was established in 1881 on the centenary of the birth of Henry Martyn (1781-1812). Martyn was a graduate of St John's College, Cambridge|St John’s College, Cambridge where he excelled in mathematics and linguistics. Upon graduation he became a Fellow at St John’s, but gave up a promising academic career to serve as a missionary and chaplain in India and Persia with the British East India Company.[5] He was directly influenced by his friendship with Charles Simeon (1759-1836), the Vicar of Holy Trinity Church in Cambridge, a supporter of overseas missions, and a founding member of the Church Missionary Society (1799).[6]

The Henry Martyn Memorial Hall was built in 1886-7 on Market Street next to Holy Trinity Church, the parish church Martyn attended during his days as a student. It served as a gathering place for mission societies and student groups like the Cambridge Missionary Church Union (CMCU), the Cambridge Inter-Collegiate Christian Union (CICCU), the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), and the Young Women’s Christian Association (YWCA). A mission library was created in 1898 and the hall became a center for lectures on Christian missions.[7] The building, with its flinted face, stone dressings and gothic arcade, is a Grade II listed building in Cambridge.[8]

During the nineteenth century, Martyn’s legacy inspired several generations of students to serve in overseas missions, and the University of Cambridge became an important nexus for overseas Protestant missionary activity.[9] Faculty members and students of the university had direct ties to the Church Missionary Society (1799), the Universities' Mission to Central Africa (1860), the China Inland Mission (1865), the Cambridge Seven (1884) and the Student Volunteer Movement (1886). Although missionary activity was palpable among university members in the late 1800s, during the twentieth century hundreds of Cambridge graduates volunteered to become missionaries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.[10]

During the 1990s the Henry Martyn Memorial Hall transitioned into a formal academic centre for research and study. In 1992 Graham Kings, a theologian and bishop who studied at Oxford and Cambridge, became the Henry Martyn Lecturer in Missiology with the Cambridge Theological Federation. The library of the Henry Martyn Memorial Hall was moved to Westminster College in 1995 and the name was changed to the Henry Martyn Centre. In 1998 the centre became affiliated with the Cambridge Theological Federation and the Cambridge University Faculty of Divinity.[11]


The centre now publishes research on contemporary issues such as interfaith dialogue, social justice, missions history, the history of Evangelicalism, and World Christianity. The British historian Brian Stanley, served as the centre’s director from 2000 to 2008 before becoming the Professor of World Christianity at the University of Edinburgh.[12] Stanley, who has been referred to as the doyen of British historians on missions and World Christianity, helped create an inter-university project for mission studies linking the universities of Cambridge, Edinburgh and London with the University of Wisconsin, Boston College and Fuller Theological Seminary.[13] The Studies in the History of Christian Missions project produced twenty seven works on mission studies by established and emerging scholars. In 2014 the centre changed its name to the Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide to reflect new trends in the study of missions and World Christianity.[14]

External links


  1. "Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide". The National Archives. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  2. "Henry Martyn Papers". Mundus Gateway to mission archives in the United Kingdom. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  3. "Archive Catalogue". Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide. Retrieved February 23, 2020.
  4. Ward, Kevin; Wild-wood, Emma (2012). The East African Revival: Histories and Legacies. Farnham, Surrey, UK: Ashgate.
  5. Benett, Clinton (1998). Anderson, Gerald (ed.). Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. New York: Macmillan. p. 438–439.
  6. Ayler, Scott D. (2019). The Letters of Henry Martyn: East India Company Chaplain. Woodbridge, Suffolk, UK: Boydell.
  7. Brooke, Christopher N. L. (2004). A History of the University of Cambridge, Vol. IV, 1870-1990. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. p. 132.
  8. "Henry Martin Hall". Historic England. Retrieved February 22, 2020.
  9. Barclay, Oliver R.; Horn, Robert M. (2002). From Cambridge to the World: 125 Years of Student Witness. Leicester, UK: Inter-Varsity.
  10. Randall, Ian (2016). The Cambridge Seventy: A Missionary Movement in Twentieth-Century Britain. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge Centre for Christianity Worldwide.
  11. Cameron, J. E. M. (2019). Charles Simeon of Cambridge: Silhouettes and Skeletons. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock. p. 44.
  12. "Noteworthy". International Bulletin of Missionary Research. 32 (3): 145. July 2008.
  13. Kings, Graham. "An Indispensable Account of the Global History of Christianity". Fulcrum. Retrieved February 26, 2020.
  14. Cabrita, Joel; Maxwell, David (2017). Relocating World Christianity. Leiden: Brill. p. 14.

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