Church Army

The conviction on the part of Wilson Carlile* that laymen should be trained to reach others for Christ led to the formation of the Church Army in 1882. While aggressively evangelistic in his outlook, Carlile, led by study of the Franciscan and Wesleyan movements, insisted from the start that the organization of the Church Army should represent a broad spectrum of the Church of England and that the officers should be dependent, not only on their own headquarters, but on the bishops and clergy in whose dioceses and parishes they worked. Despite considerable early opposition from clergy who objected to laymen ministering in consecrated buildings, it soon was playing a vigorous and invaluable part in evangelism through its caravans and missions, and these were allied to a social concern seen especially in its homes and its ministry to prisons. The Church Army also developed a role in the Anglican Church in other countries.