Echoes of Service Archive
Date range: 1880s-present
Number of items:
The agency Echoes of Service has been the focus of contact between Christian Brethren assemblies and missionaries working in the field since the 1880s.
It began life as a magazine produced to publish letters from independent missionaries, but over time the role of the magazine’s editors expanded, and they became a focus of contact between assemblies at home and missionaries overseas. Based in Bristol and Glasgow, Echoes International (as it is now known) continues to look after the interests of missionaries, to channel funds to them, and to publish information about their work.
The collection is made up of correspondence, general administration matter relating to missionary activity, printed items, internal reports and photographic material.
The correspondence files relate to individual missionaries and married couples, and are made up of copies of correspondence to workers in the field, and letters from the missionaries to the Echoes' staff. Early correspondence files were lost or destroyed during the Second World War. Consequently the records are mostly post-1945.
The collection includes facsimile copies of the organization's 'Candidate Books' from the 1880s to 1945, where the suitability of those wishing to be missionaries was reflected upon. It contains printed items, correspondence and reports that were set aside as 'Historical Documents'. These provide insights into the work of the organization from its origins, and contain confidential material from the early years which was not aired publicly.
There is also a large collection of photographic materials, which includes photographs, prints, photographic slides and an extensive collection of glass lantern slides.
The archive contains much of interest to those studying Christian mission in general and missionary activity abroad, the role of British missionaries in the twilight years of the British Empire, and the significance of missionary activity within the Brethren tradition. There is also an abundance of biographical material relating to the individuals concerned.
Catalogue available online via ELGAR.
Photographic items from this collection (notably lantern slides and postcards) have been digitised and are available online (along with copies of the Echoes of Service magazine 1885-1918) via Manchester Digital Collections.