The Church Mission Appeals in England and Wales dates back to the early 1950's. A number of formats were tried out in the early years. Since 1970 the scheme has worked on a rota set up for a number of years.
From four participating societies at its origin, 36 religious congregations now take part in the Appeals. Between the participating societies, over £1,000,000 annually has been raised to support missionary work over seas.
Each society has its appeals' organiser and the CMU Secretariat coordinates the entire scheme.
BACKGROUND HISTORY Origin and basis of the Appeals Scheme
Up to 1950 missionary appeals in England and Wales were made on an unorganised, spasmodic pattern, for which
individual bishops' permissions had to be sought. The APF/Mill Hill system was already in operation. In addition to their red
boxes, however, there were a host of other mission boxes around the country. The bishops saw the need for some rationalisation and the
Appeals Scheme was born. All boxes were withdrawn except the APF ones and the Men's Mission Committee was asked to
make proposals. The hierarchy said they would authorise missionary societies to make appeals in the parishes without
having to ask permission of each individual bishop. For many years the choice of having an appeal was with the parish priest.
The alternative was to take up a collection for what was originally called the Foreign Missions Collection and was later
renamed the Overseas Missions Collection. This ended in 1997 in the interests of simplifying the number of collections for
The Scheme started in 1952 with four societies: Holy Ghost Fathers, Comboni Missionaries (Verona Fathers), Missionaries
of Africa (White Fathers), and Divine Word Missionaries. They divided the country into four areas. The Mission Secretariat
became the office responsible for monitoring the scheme.
Over the years it gradually grew and more societies joined the scheme, and one or two left. The Sisters' Mission Committee
was set up in the mid 1960s. The Combined Missionary Societies joined in 1974. They, the CMS Committee, were
religious congregations who had an interest in overseas mission but not exclusively so. In 1986 the Volunteer Missionary
Movement joined. Currently there are 36 societies taking part in the scheme
It has always been the practice that, apart from the Volunteer Missionary Movement, which is not a religious institute,
participating societies become members of one of the three mission committees. These originated as mission
subcommittees of the Conference of Religious, and they remain so today. Not all members of the mission committees, are part of
the Appeal Zoning Scheme (e.g. Jesuits, Mill Hill). Participation in appeals is an activity of the mission committees.
Membership is primarily for purposes of sharing issues and concerns among the societies, and a point of insertion into the
wider field of the Catholic Missionary Union and the Churches' Commission on Mission [Churches Together in Britain & Ireland]
2015 Church Mission Appeals
the Combined Mission Societies committee includes: Brothers of the Sacred Heart ,Order of St Augustine (Augustinians),Congregation of Christian Brothers ,Congregation of Josephites, Cong of the Most Holy Redeemer, Crusade of the Holy Spirit, De La Salle Brothers , Dominicans (Order of Preachers) , Montfort Missionary Society, Sacred Heart Fathers &Brothers , Sacred Hearts Community, Salesians of Don Bosco
Society of Mary (Marist Fathers)
The Sisters Mission Committee includes: Comboni Missionary Sisters,
Cong. of Our Lady of the Missions, Consolata Sisters, Daughters of Mary Help of Christians, Franciscan Missionaries of Mary Franciscan Missionaries of St Joseph, Sisters of Sacred Heart of Jesus&Mary, Medical Mission Sisters, Medical Missionaries of Mary ,Missionary Srs of Our Lady of Africa , Missionary Srs of St Columban,Missionary Srs of St Peter Claver, Missionary Srs of the Holy Rosary , Miss. Srs Servants of the Holy Spirit
The following was approved by the Bishop's Conference in November 2003 and circulated through the Ad Clerums:
"Some years ago the Bishop's Conference reduced the number of obligatory appeals to two each year. One is the Mission Sunday collection sponsored by the PMS and one is the Mission Appeal given by a member of one of our mission societies. This latter appeal is not simply an occasion for taking a collection but gives parishioners the opportunity to hear a well prepared homily based on the liturgy of the day, on the work of the Church in the mission field, I urge you to give this appeal its rightful prominence."