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Student Volunteer Movement


A foreign mission organization that originated at a conference held July 1886 at Mt. Hermon, MA. The conference, called by the Young Men's Christian Association, with the Protestant evangelist Dwight Lyman moody as leader, was attended by 251 men from 89 colleges and universities in the United States and Canada. When the conference closed, 100 of the group, led by Robert P. Wilder, of Princeton University, N.J., had decided to become foreign missionaries. In the ensuing year Wilder and a companion toured colleges, universities, and theological seminaries, seeking to enlist others. An organization was formed, with John Raleigh mott, who had been at Mt. Hermon, as chairman of the executive committee. For 33 years Mott directed the movement. Students became members of the movement by signing the declaration: "it is my purpose, if God permits, to become a foreign missionary." Their watch-word, "the evangelization of the world in this generation," expressed their belief that all Christians had the duty of making the Gospel known to their contemporaries throughout the world. Student Volunteer "bands" were organized at many colleges, universities, and theological seminaries throughout the United States Wilder carried the message also to the British Isles and the Continent of Europe, and similar movements arose in several countries. Beginning in 1891, quadrennial conventions, as they were called, were held to present foreign mission work to successive generations of students. In 1959 the Student Volunteer Movement became the Commission on World Mission of the National Student Christian Federation, a division of the national council of the churches of christ in the U.S.A.

[k. s. latourette]

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