Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts

The Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts (SPG) was founded by Royal Charter in 1701. It was the inspiration of the Reverend Dr. Thomas Bray of the Church of England who had earlier visited the American colonies on behalf of the Bishop of London.  He found the colonies disorganized and lacking spiritual vitality. Upon his return to England, he helped obtain a charter establishing SPG with the mission of ensuring “that sufficient maintenance be provided for an orthodox clergy to live amongst the colonists and that such other provision be made as may be necessary for the propagation of the gospel in those parts…”

SPG’s efforts soon spread beyond the American colonies to other parts of the British Empire, including the West Indies, Nova Scotia and later into the 18th century, to the rest of Canada, Australia, New Zealand, India and West Africa. SPG was the only Anglican organization dedicated to recruiting missionaries for work outside of England.  Even after the establishment of the Church Mission Society (CMS), SPG “remained the principal agency for Anglican expansion.”

The first entry into South Africa was at the Cape in 1821. From that base, SPG missionaries ventured into “the heart of Africa”. SPG helped finance Anglican missions in Southern Rhodesia, including its first mission, St. Augustine’s Mission, in Penhalonga.  It also helped recruit and provide financial support to Anglican clergy and missionaries.

In 1965, after joining with the Universities’ Missions to Central Africa, SPG was renamed United Society for the Propagation of the Gospel (USPG).  In 2016, the Society became the present United Society Partners in the Gospel.

Postcards

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Contributors
  • Keith Harrop
  • Mark Loomis