The pioneering English missionary William Carey had a dream: that in 1810 a World Missionary Conference would be held in which Christians would come together in unity around the common purpose of world evangelization.Exactly 100 years later, that dream became a reality. In 1910, an unprecedented gathering of 1200 representatives from missionary societies all over the world met in Edinburgh for the purpose of discussion, cooperation, and mobilization.The chairman of the conference, John R. Mott, had inspired the Student Volunteer Movement with the slogan, "The Evangelization of the World in This Generation. For those in Edinburgh, it almost seemed possible."
The 1910 World Missionary Conference was called to order on the evening of June 13 at the Assembly Hall of the United Free Church of Scotland, in the shadow of Edinburgh's famous castle. After an opening prayer, the president of the conference, Lord Balfour of Burleigh, read greetings from the Imperial German Colonial Office, from former U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt, and from King George V of England,the upright sovereign who only a month before had succeeded his dissolute father Edward VII to the British throne. After the last greeting, the delegates arose spontaneously to sing "God Save the King."
During the speeches that followed, Lord Burleigh voiced the hope that "a unity begun in the mission field may extend its influence, and react upon us at home and throughout the old civilizations." The archbishop of Canterbury expressed the opinion that some at that meeting "might not taste death till they see the Kingdom of God come with power." And the American missionary statesman Robert E. Speer challenged the delegates to remember that no one can follow Christ "without ...