Founded in 1872, Echoes of Service is a missionary support agency based out of Bath. Their goal is to support those missionaries commended to the Lord’s work by fellowships that regularly meet according to the New Testament pattern. If you are familiar with Christian Missions in Many Lands (CMML) – well this is their UK counterpart.
The organization initially began as a provider of a periodical named The Missionary Echo. Inspired by an earlier publication, The Missionary Reporter as edited by James Von Summer, the newsletter hoped to keep those at home aware of the activities and prayer needs of missionaries abroad.
The Missionary Echo was first published in 1872 by Henry Groves and J.L. McLean and eventually became Echoes of Service in 1885. It was around this time that the Continental Lands Company and the Stewards Company were set up as private businesses in 1895 and 1898. This was to enable the holding of property and assets for missionaries who were not able to do so where they were serving.
In short, Echoes of Service exists to support missionaries serving outside the United Kingdom, who follow the principle of “living by faith.” Historically, Echoes of Service has followed the pattern as laid down by men such as Anthony Norris Groves and James Hudson Taylor.
When the magazine assumed the new name of ‘Echoes of Service’, the editors included the following explanation (source: Wikipedia):
“For the information of those who have not seen this periodical in its small form as the Missionary Echo, we would say that its special object is to give tidings regarding the work of servants of Christ who have gone forth to other lands with the gospel in the Lord’s name only and in dependence on Him for the supply of their daily need.”
Today, Echoes of Service provides information about missionaries through the monthly Echoes missionary magazine. It also provides The Echoes Daily Prayer Guide, a directory of UK overseas workers, produced annually. One critical service provided is the free vehicle it provides for sending funds to overseas workers. It also serves as a conduit for providing information, advice and practical support for missionaries and local churches. Over the years Echoes has supported over 6,000 missionaries working in more than 100 countries around the globe.
Did You Know?
Anthony Norris Groves (1 February 1795 – 20 May 1853) is considered the “father of faith missions” in the United Kingdom. He launched the first Protestant mission to Arabic-speaking Muslims, and settled in Baghdad, Iraq. He later felt called of the Lord to go to southern India. His ideas influenced his friends, including JN Darby, and George Müller, who had married Groves’ sister Mary.
Groves believed the New Testament laid out the pattern for how the local fellowship ought to conduct itself and how missions should be carried out. He also believed that those led to Christ on the foreign field should take up the responsibility for the local meeting after they had reached a place of sufficient spiritual maturity. In other words, the goal of missions was to establish local fellowships of believers without dependence on foreign training, oversight or finance.
James Hudson Taylor (21 May 1832 – 3 June 1905) was a missionary to China and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM, now OMF International). Taylor spent 51 years in China. The society he began was responsible for bringing over 800 missionaries to the country. They in turn began 125 schools. Eventually more than 300 missionary stations were set up with hundreds of local workers in all eighteen provinces of China.