CMJ USA was founded in 1982 by Dr. Theresa Newell at Truro Church in northern Virginia. But the story starts years earlier.
It was in the late 1970s that Theresa Newell was introduced to the General Secretary of CMJ, the Rev. Walter Barker, when he made his first trip from London, England to Washington, D.C. Barker had been invited by the Missions Director of the National Episcopal Church to consider bringing the ministry of CMJ to the United States while at a global mission conference in Amman, Jordan in June 1976. Did God open this door for US Jewish ministry during the 200th anniversary of the founding of the United States!?
At the very same time that Barker was in Amman, Theresa Newell was on the other side of the Jordan River on her first tour to Israel and was called to Jewish ministry at the Western Wall! The next year the two were introduced. Theresa would open the CMJ USA office in 1982.
But the whole CMJ story starts in London in 1809.
CMJ is born
The Church's Ministry Among Jewish People was founded in 1809 in London by Joseph Frey, a Jewish believer from Prussia. Frey had come to faith in his own country and traveled to London with the intent of training for service with the Church Missionary Society there. He planned to go to Cape Town province, South Africa, but when he saw the plight of his Jewish brethren in East London, his heart was moved to reach out to them with the Gospel of their Messiah Jesus.
After beginning his mission among the Jews in 1805, he soon realized that a new work would need to be set up to minister particularly to the Jews. And by 1809 a group was formed which took the name of The London Society for Promoting Christianity Amongst the Jews.
In the 1820s, the LJS (later CMJ) sent workers into Jerusalem to care for the Jews of Ottoman Palestine, building a hospital and schools. In 1842, the first Protestant bishop, Michael Solomon Alexander, was installed and began ministering in Jerusalem. He was also the first Jewish bishop in the Holy City since the Bar Kochba revolt. In 1849, Christ Church Jerusalem was consecrated, the first Protestant church in all the Middle East.
By the 1930s, CMJ had extensive work -- including churches, schools, hospitals -- all through Eastern Europe, North Africa, and the Mideast. During World War II, CMJ workers, Jew and Gentile, as well as schools and training centers were decimated. Many of our Jewish workers and friends were lost.
CMJ leaders went before the Lord: Is our work finished? they asked. As they prayed the Lord reminded them that while six million Jewish people had lost their lives in the Holocaust, there were yet six million Jews in the United States. Did he want CMJ to reach West now as well as East? It was after these prayers by intercessors in England that the invitation came to Walter Barker to extend CMJ ministry to the United States and he was introduced to Theresa Newell. She opened the first CMJ USA office in 1982.
Read more of the CMJ USA story:
- Prologue: Joseph Frey in America
- The First Coming CMJ to the US
- Meet two Jewish Anglicans, ancestors in the faith
Past directors' stories
- Rev. Philip Bottomley, 1984-1991, 2020-2021
- Rev. Alfred Sawyer, 1991-1994
- Marcia Lebhar, 1994-2001
- Cheryl (McLeod) Gonzales, 2001-2009
- Rev. Canon Daryl Fenton, 2011-2020
CMJ is now in 10 countries around the world. Connect with our partners worldwide.
Partner with us
We are thankful to God for sustaining us these 40+ years. You can help us prepare for the next 40.
- Invite us to share with your congregation or small group on
- the Jewishness of Jesus and the Jewish roots of our Christian faith
- standing against rising antisemitism in the US
- building bridges with your Jewish neighbors.
- Pray for us: volunteer to be on our intercessor team.
- Give practical support toward the work of CMJ USA.