Joseph Houldsworth Oldham

1874-1969. Ecumenical pioneer. Son of an army officer, he was educated at Edinburgh Academy and Trinity College, Oxford. A warm-hearted evangelical, he became secretary of the Student Christian Movement* in 1896, then secretary to the World Missionary Conference which paved the way for the famous Edinburgh Conference* of 1910 and of its continuation committee from 1910 to 1921. He was joint secretary of the International Missionary Council* from 1921 to 1938, in all these early ecumenical gatherings working as secretary in close accord with J.R. Mott* as chairman. He founded and edited the International Review of Missions from 1931 to 1938. In 1937 he organized the Universal Christian Council for Life and Work Conference at Oxford,* from which emerged the striking phrase “Let the Church be the Church.” He edited the Christian Newsletter from 1939 to 1945, but his later years were mainly devoted to improving the educational and social standards of the native African peoples.