This year, 2022 marks the 40th anniversary of the opening of the CMJ USA office. We invite all of you to celebrate with CMJ USA this year. Our celebration will be marked with stories about our history in CMJ publications all year and will culminate with a luncheon at the New Wineskins Global Mission Conference on September 23, 2022. Archbishop Foley Beach, a long-time supporter of CMJ USA, will be the luncheon speaker. Come celebrate with us at New Wineskins (newwineskinsconference.org for registration details). Details about our anniversary luncheon will be sent closer to the date.
It was in the late 1970s that Theresa Newell, later to be CMJ USA’s first coordinator, 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!? And at a global mission conference – which is a good reason for our 40th-anniversary celebration to also occur at a global mission conference!
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 and, as they say, the rest is history.
The Church’s Ministry Among Jewish People, founded in 1809, had had extensive work all through Eastern Europe and the Mideast. During World War II, CMJ workers, Jew and Gentile, as well as schools and training centers were decimated. 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 so it began . . .