on missions and settlements

The work of missions and settlements has taken contrasting forms and been marked by political and theological difference. They were often concentrated in disadvantaged areas. In Bermondsey, for example, within a 400 metre diameter circle could be found in the early 1900s: three settlement houses - Time and Talents at Dockhead (broadly liberal and ecumenical), Bermondsey Methodist Settlement (ecumenical with a significant socialist agenda), and a forerunner of Bede; two missions with settlements - Oxford Medical Mission (broadly Liberal and evangelical [in the old sense]) and Cambridge University Mission) ('low church', evangelical and fairly conservative), and a number of independent missions.

Settlements were overwhelmingly inspired by the Christian faith of their founders and settlers. Their orientation was summed by Rev Samuel Barnett, when he talked of coming to work and live among the poor, 'not in a patronising spirit but in a spirit of neighbourliness. You will find that there is more for you to learn than to teach’. They typically combined social service, research and campaigning work. A number of colleges also set up missions. Like settlements, they often involved people living in and serving poor areas; and had as a central form the club. Several undertook medical and dental work. Most were Anglican and some inclined toward evangelicalism. In contrast to settlements, such missions tended to be less campaigning and instead emphasized conversion. They often required or encouraged church attendance, and formed part of parochial systems. There were also independent gospel missions such as the Bermondsey Gospel Mission that focused on conversion and worship. Some were linked into larger organizations such as the London City Mission.

Reference: Doyle, M. E. and Smith, M. K. (forthcoming) Christian Youthwork. Lessons and legacies.
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