History of SPCK

More than 300 years ago, the Reverend Thomas Bray, an Anglican priest in London, formed the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge (SPCK) to “promote learning in the plantations and abroad and to propagate Christian knowledge at home.”

In 1700, the Bishop of London sent Thomas Bray to “the Colonies.” He crisscrossed the colony on horseback, noting the need for books and resources that would ensure a healthy future for Christianity. He saw wonderful things his newly found agency could do. Within weeks of his return to England, SPCK was preparing libraries for shipment to Maryland, South Carolina, and New York. As time passed, SPCK provided libraries for our first universities and began our public school system.

Thomas Bray St Philps Quantico 

Since 1698, the Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge has distributed over 30 million books and provided the means for translating the Book of Common Prayer into more than 200 languages. SPCK sent the first printing presses to India, opened the first British schools for poor children, gave equal education to girls, sent the first printed books to Australia, established libraries for clergy and missionaries in many countries, and published the first Braille books.


SPCK is the oldest Anglican missionary society in existence. Although SPCK has changed with the times, its fundamental mission remains the same: to sound the Gospel to all peoples in all nations by providing them ways to produce, publish, and distribute Christian knowledge in print and other media. Today the worldwide network of SPCK consists of chapters in Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, Ireland, and the United States.

In 1983, SPCK/USA was established at the School of Theology of the University of the South in Sewanee, TN. In 2015 our offices moved down the mountain to Cowan, TN and are located inside the SPCK Book Depot. Through warehouseSPCK/USA, you are provided an exciting opportunity to participate with all the provinces of the Anglican Communion in a joint effort for Christian mission in over 125 countries. SPCK/USA is a founding member of the Episcopal Partnership for Global Mission. As a missionary society and servant of the Episcopal Church, SPCK/USA works for the proclamation and understanding of the Gospel in and by all nations.

SPCK/USA invites you to join with us in working toward the fulfillment of Christ’s command, “Go ye therefore and make disciples of all nations.” See our current list of projects to learn more about opportunities to assist the growing church in other lands. SPCK/USA has no endowment and depends on the gifts of our donors and grants from parishes and foundations to achieve its goals. We invite you and your parish to join us as we reach out to peoples around the world sharing God’s love.

Go ye therefore