American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions

The first American foreign missionary society. Organized in 1810 in Massachusetts in response to a request for guidance by a group of missionary-minded students, it sent out the first contingent of missionaries to India in 1812, resulting in missions at Bombay and in Ceylon. In 1818 it appointed the first two Protestant missionaries to the Near East, and in 1819 sent out the first missionary group to Hawaii. Within fifty years it had also established missions in other parts of Asia, including China and Japan, in Africa and Micronesia. It engaged also in home missions on the frontiers, among Indians and Negroes. Though started by Congregationalists, for many years the board served also Presbyterians, Dutch Reformed, and German Reformed, until these churches set up their own mission societies. When the Congregational-Christian churches and the Evangelical and Reformed Church merged in 1961, the ABCFM became part of the United Church Board for World Ministries.