CAM International is over 100 years old!
Founded in 1915 by two Englishmen, William F.P. Burton and James Salter (see photo), in the Belgian Congo (now known as the Democratic Republic of Congo), the Mission has gone on to establish an independent Church in Congo which now has more than 5,000 local churches, some numbering among the largest local churches in the nation. The churches are all under local Congolese leadership.
In the past couple of decades, the Mission’s involvement has spread beyond Congo, and now we work in Zambia, Mozambique and Ethiopia as well. There are other people and groups we partner with, helping them in their ministry. Presently these are in Zimbabwe, Tanzania and in the African diaspora.
The focus of the Mission has slowly changed. In the first half of the 20th century, the emphasis was directed towards church-planting and putting in place administrative structures. But now our missionaries are involved mainly in teaching, training and support, often in a para-church setting.
Because it started in Belgian Congo, the Mission was initially known as Congo Evangelistic Mission. When, after Independence in 1972, the country changed its name to Zaire, we had to change our name to Zaire Evangelistic Mission.
After the Congo war of 1996-7, the country reverted to being called Congo, and we needed to change our name again. This time we selected one which would not require constant changes, and which would allow us to work in other countries: Central African Missions, usually abbreviated to CAM.
In 2013, in line with the many developments coming to UK charity law, we were advised to modify our legal structure – so another name change! So now we have taken the new, but related, name: CAM International. This name also reflects our desire to extend our work so that it doesn’t have to be limited to Central Africa only.
The Mission is not linked to any one particular church denomination, though we are firmly Pentecostal/Charismatic in persuasion. Our missionaries come mostly from the UK, but, over the years we have had members from most English-speaking countries, and others such as France, Belgium and Brazil.