William Paton

1886-1943. Missionary organizer and writer. Born in England of Scottish parents, he became a minister of the Presbyterian Church of England after education at Pembroke College, Oxford, and Westminster College, Cambridge. From 1911 to 1921 he traveled Britain as missionary secretary of the Student Christian Movement,* then went to India for the YMCA. At the formation of the National Christian Council of India, Burma, and Ceylon he became general secretary for its seven formative years until brought back to be joint secretary of the International Missionary Council* for the rest of his life, based in Britain. He helped prepare the important conferences at Jerusalem (1928) and Madras (1938), and was an indefatigable worker toward making younger churches self-supporting and indigenously led. He took a considerable part in the formation of national Christian councils. A strong exponent of intermission cooperation and ecumenical relations, he was one of the architects of the World Council of Churches,* although he died before its inception. During World War II he did much for the Orphaned Missions Fund which helped the survival of missions and missionaries cut off from their home bases. Paton was editor of the International Review of Missions for sixteen years and an influential writer on missionary aims and methods. Among his better-known books are Jesus Christ and the World's Religions (1916) and The Church and the New Order (1941).

See M. Sinclair, William Paton (1949).