Benjamin Fay Mills

1857-1916. Evangelist and Christian Socialist. Born in Rahway, New Jersey, educated at Phillips Academy, Hamilton College, and Lake Forest College, he received Congregational ordination in 1878. He served Minnesota, New York, and Vermont pastorates before entering itinerant evangelism in 1886. Using his District Combination Plan, he conducted the most highly organized citywide revivals of the nineteenth century, perfecting many presently used methods. Believing social and economic problems could be solved only by effecting God's kingdom on earth, Mills became the only major evangelist attempting to unite revivalism with the Social Gospel. Finding this impossible, he terminated his itinerancy in 1895 to preach Christian Socialism* in New York and Boston. In 1899, despairing of an evangelical awakening, he became minister to First Unitarian Church, Oakland, California. He founded and led the Los Angeles Fellowship (1904-11) and Chicago Fellowship (1911- 14). Repenting of his heterodoxy, he returned to itinerant evangelism in 1915.