Joseph (‘Joe’) Oldham


Joseph (‘Joe’) Oldham (1874–1969): indefatigable missionary, adviser and organiser for national and international councils and mission boards. Travelling all over the world to confer with educators and colonial administrators, he worked closely with governments and policy makers. From 1912 to 1927 he was editor of the International Review of Missions; and in 1921 became secretary of a new International Missionary Council (IMC). He was also Administrative Director of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures, 1931–8. From 1934 he was Chair of the Research Committee for the Universal Christian Council for Life and Work, ably preparing the ground for the establishment in 1948 of the World Council of Churches. In 1939 he launched the fortnightly Christian News-Letter, to which TSE became a faithful contributor, and he set up too the intellectual discussion group called ‘The Moot’, a think-tank in which TSE participated. His works include Christianity and the Race Problem (1924); The New Christian Adventure (1929); White and Black in Africa (1930), Real Life is Meeting (1941); New Hope for Africa (1955). CBE, 1951. See Kathleen Bliss, ‘J. H. Oldham, 1874–1969: from “Edinburgh 1910” to the World Council of Churches’, in Mission Legacies, ed. G. H. Anderson et al. (1994); K. Clements, Faith on the Frontier: The Life of J. H. Oldham (1999); The Moot Papers: Faith, Freedom and Society, 1938–1947, ed. K. Clements (2010); and John Carter Wood, This Is Your Hour: Christian intellectuals in Britain and the crisis of Europe, 1937–49 (Manchester, 2019).