This is the day that … John Raleigh Mott was born in New York State, in 1865.
He was an Ameican Methodist evangelist and became “the most influential world religious leader of the 20th century” – according to Ruth Tucker (From Jerusalem to Irian Jaya, page 268).
He influenced more students onto the mission field during his lifetime than any other Christian leader.
At the age of 32 he was acclaimed as “Protestantism’s leading statesman” (20th Century Dictionary of Christian Biography).
In 1886 he had responded for missionary service at D.L. Moody’s student conference … and in the nearly 70 years that followed he travelled two million miles, stirring up missionary interest … and “plagued with sea sickness”.
In 1910 he served as Chairman, and organiser, of the Edinburgh Missionary Conference, a movement designed to bring mission societies together and face them with the challenge of “the evangelisation of the world in this generation…”
But it was not to be. The “social gospel” replaced evangelism and the Edinburgh Conference became the forerunner of the World Council of Churches. Mott was the opening speaker in 1948 when the W.C.C. was officially launched … and became Honorary President.
His ecumenical leaning was also seen as president of the YMCA when he encouraged Roman Catholic and Orthodox Christians to become members (Dictionary of Christianity in America, page 779). Mott is credited with starting the ecumenical movement, initially as a protestant domain, but then extended to non-protestant denominations (Learning to Give).
At age 81 he won the Nobel Peace Prize. He travelled widely covering more than two million miles (equal to seventy times around the world).
After his first wife died in 1952 he remarried a year later (at the age of 88). He died on 31 January, 1955.
And I notice that one book claims “Raleigh” was a fictitious name he gave himself when he was 11 years of age! (20th Century Dictionary of Christian Biography, page 265).