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The 1921 beginning of the International Missionary Council (IMC) at Lake Mohonk, New York represented a “pivot point” in the life of John R. Mott (1865-1955). It symbolized for him and other participants a bold initiative in international missionary collaboration that had ramifications for liberal internationalism well beyond the Christian movement itself. World War I was devastating for millions throughout the world, but for Mott it was also a time where his influence in world affairs grew. This article focuses on the years after the war as a time of many challenges and disappointments for Mott as he struggled with nationalisms, racism, and the dire effects of colonialism. Student movements which he championed (the YMCA, the World’s Student Christian Federation, and the Student Volunteer Movement) also began to go in theological directions with which Mott sometimes disagreed. Mott further experienced setbacks during these post-war years in his efforts to promote collaboration in mission. He nonetheless possessed hope for a new era of international missionary cooperation that the IMC inaugurated.


Accepted manuscript: of Hartley, B.L. (2022), The 1921 Founding of the International Missionary Council in the Life of John R. Mott. International Review of Mission, 111: 253-267.

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2022 World Council of Churches

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