On 2 June 1867, Josiah Spiers gathered together and spoke about Jesus to fifteen children in a drawing room in Islington, London, pioneering a new approach to sharing Christ with children. One year later, on 26 August 1868, in the beachside town of Llandudno, Wales, Josiah Spiers was still concerned that children should hear the message about Jesus and how much God loved them. He began writing ‘God is Love’ in the sand. As children gathered around, he encouraged them to decorate the letters with shells and seaweed and told them stories about Jesus. As these meetings and special activities grew, the Children’s Special Service Mission, or CSSM, was formed. Around that time, Tom Bishop, a civil servant was also involved in a similar meeting in South London.
Spiers and Bishop met in 1868 and over the years they worked together, establishing a ministry, which by 1893 had distributed 13 million children’s leaflets in fifty languages all around the world.
In 1879 CSSM introduced a system of daily Bible reading, the Children’s Scripture Union. Initially members received an annual membership card with a list of daily readings and suggestions for prayer. Later, children’s magazines were produced with explanatory notes. A further initiative of publishing booklets of notes for British troops in the trenches during the Great War from 1914-18, led to the first issue of Daily Notes for adults in 1923.
This unique combination of ministry with children and Bible ministry spread quickly to many countries around the world and eventually the name of the movement became Scripture Union.
Today, Scripture Union is in over 130 countries around the world continuing to make God’s Good news known to children, young people and families and helping people of all ages to meet God through the Bible and prayer. Our vision is that Christians will be the means of transforming the communities in which they live, and so we encourage people to become committed members of their churches, and servants of a world in need.