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John Raleigh Mott

1865-1955. Pioneer of the twentieth-century ecumenical movement. Born in New York, he was converted through the ministry of J.E.K. Studd at Cornell. He became in 1888 general secretary of the Student YMCA and chairman of the Student Volunteer Movement* for Foreign Missions. Thereafter he toured the world ceaselessly, promoting Christian missions, and (what he saw as strategically the same question) Christian ecumenism. He was instrumental in the convening of the 1910 Edinburgh* Missionary Conference, and he presided at most of the sessions and chaired the continuation committee. He thus became in turn chairman of the International Missionary Council* (1921), chairman of the second Life and Work* Conference at Oxford (1937), and vice-chairman of the provisional committee of the World Council of Churches* (1938). Finally in 1948 he became a co-president of the World Council itself.

Methodist and a layman, he possessed both vision and energy in enormous quantities. He helped into being not only world institutions such as those mentioned above, but also a host of national councils of churches, particularly in Asia and Africa, specialist studies in Christian mission (e.g., on the confrontation with Islam), and a whole series of initiatives in relation to Life and Work. His international ecumenical career covered over seventy years, and more than any other man he was the international ecumenical movement in the formative period from 1910 to 1948. His Addresses and Papers (6 vols.) was published in 1946-47.

See R. Rouse and S.C. Neill (eds.), A History of the Ecumenical Movement 1517-1948 (2nd ed., 1967).