Orchard, Ronald Kenneth (1911-1989)

Secretary of the London Missionary Society (LMS)

A British Congregationalist, born in Liverpool, Orchard served as secretary of the LMS from 1935 to 1955. Later, as chairman of the board, he played a leading part in the transformation of the LMS into the international Council for World Mission, a multidirectional agency comprising thirty churches on all six continents. He became London secretary of the International Missionary Council (subsequently the new Division and Commission on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches) from 1955 to 1965. He was then appointed general secretary of the Conference of British Missionary Societies (CBMS) from 1965 to 1973 and study associate for the next three years.

Orchard was the author of a number of influential books which displayed the sharpness of his mind and his forward looking vision of the mission of the worldwide church. This is encapsulated in an address he gave to the annual meeting of the CBMS when he defined the task as “service to the churches in Asia, Africa, Latin America, the Pacific as the primary bearers of mission within their communities, to help them gain from and contribute to the universal Christian mission; service to the churches in Britain, as the primary bearers of the universal mission here; involvement in the struggle for human meaning and dignity, so that men may know Jesus Christ and come alive.”

Paul R. Clifford, “Orchard, Kenneth” in Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, ed. Gerald H. Anderson (New York: Macmillan Reference USA, 1998), 507.

This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright © 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of Macmillan Reference USA, New York, NY. All rights reserved.



Hardyman, J. T., and R. K. Orchard. Two Minutes from Sloane Square: A Brief History of the Conference of Missionary Societies in Great Britain and Ireland, 1912-1977. London: [The Conference], 1977.

International Missionary Council, and R. K. Orchard. The Ghana Assembly of the International Missionary Council, 28th December, 1957 to 8th January, 1958. London: Published for the International Missionary Council by Edinburgh House Press, 1958.

London Missionary Society, and R. K. Orchard. The Situation of the China Mission. London: Livingstone Press, 1950.

Orchard, R. K. The High Commission Territories of South Afrioa. 1952.

_____. The Message of the Bible. London: Lutterworth Press, 1947.

_____. Missions in a Time of Testing: Thought and Practice in Contemporary Missions. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1964.

_____. The Open Bible. London: Independent press, 1943.

_____. Out of Every Nation; A Discussion of the Internationalizing of Missions. London: SCM Press, 1959.

_____. Report: After a Secretarial Visit to Africa ; July, 1947 – March, 1948. London: London Missionary Society, 1948.

_____. To-Morrow’s Men in Africa. London: Livingstone Press, 1948.

_____. The Word in Action: The Bible As Church Builder. London: Livingstone Press, 1943.

World Council of Churches, and R. K. Orchard. Witness in Six Continents: Records of the Meeting of the Commission on World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches Held in Mexico City, December 8th to 19th, 1963. [London]: Published for the Division of World Mission and Evangelism of the World Council of Churches by Edinburgh House Press, 1964.