Welcome to LCM!
The London City Mission (LCM) was founded in 1835 at a time when London was growing rapidly and was the largest city and port in the world. A number of Christian leaders recognised that the churches were failing to attract the new urban masses into their services and that therefore the churches must go to the people with the Gospel.
LCM was established as a joint venture by members of different Protestant denominations.
• Its aim was to “go to the people of London, especially the poor, to bring them to an acquaintance with Jesus Christ as Saviour, and to do them good by every means in their power.”
• Its method was to recruit and pay full-time workers (all men at that time), assigning to each a “district” that he was to visit frequently, going from door to door.
• Its goal was to draw people into local churches.
LCM was a pioneering organisation, in:
• inter-denominational evangelism;
• employing full-time salaried lay-workers;
• socially-caring activity in Dickensian London.
LCM and its staff were innovative, being instrumental in the founding of many other Christian and social organisations and in developing a wide range of ministry methods.
London saw enormous social, economic and religious changes through the Victorian era – changes in which the LCM played a small but not insignificant role. By the beginning of the twentieth century LCM had a work-force of 467 missionaries serving 343 district ministries and 123 ministries to ethnic groups (such as the Jews, Asians, Italians and Germans) and to workers in such settings as the docks, railways, coal-yards, factories, public houses, taxi-cabs, markets, and the hotels and mews of the West End.
In the century since 1900, there have been further dramatic changes in London:
• Old industries, such as the docks, have been replaced by new housing and business developments. Large council estates have replaced many inner-city slum areas;
• The population rose to 8.2 million in 1931, and then shrank to below 6.8 million in the 1980s, before beginning to increase again. In 2001 it stood at 7.2 million.
• Church-going has declined dramatically, especially since 1960, so that whereas estimated church attendance in 1903 was 20%, a 1998 survey produced a figure of 8.6% for all churches (3.6% attending evangelical churches).
• Other major religions are now strongly represented, with 17.2% of the population claiming a religious commitment other than Christianity in the 2001 census.
• New immigrant groups have arrived in the footsteps of Jewish and European refugees. Almost 2 million (27%) of today’s Londoners were born outside the UK and there are more than 37 different immigrant communities of over 10,000 people.
• Ethnic minorities now make up over a third of London’s population. The largest non-white ethnic groups are Indians (6.1%), Black Africans (5.2%), and Black Caribbeans (4.8%).
• Increased opportunities for education and new levels of wealth and home-ownership have transformed the old rigid boundaries between middle-class and working-class communities.
• The cultural and moral certainties of the “modern age” have been replaced by the swirling varieties and disturbing fashions of “post-modernism” and the multi-cultural society.
Today, LCM faces a changed and changing city, with its population predicted to reach 8.5 million within 25 years.
It has maintained its original commitment to the historic Christian faith.
It has continued to recruit and train a considerable body of evangelists (now including women as well as men), drawn from a wide variety of ethnic, social and religious backgrounds.
The challenge that now faces it is to maintain and develop that ministry, with all the vision and innovativeness that marked its early progress, so that London’s urban masses of today and tomorrow will continue to be confronted with the claims and invitations of Jesus Christ and drawn into his Church.
To learn more about the work of LCM go to: http://www.lcm.org.uk
Christ Church Rep: Ian Crichton