Gray F (2012) Mission on screen: The Church Army and its multi-media activities. In: M Braun et al. (Eds) Beyond the Screen: Institutions, networks and publics of early cinema (pp. 27–34). New Barnet: John Libbey Publishing.
Drawing upon Screen Archive South East’s unique collection of lantern slides and publications acquired from the Church Army in 2009, 'Mission on screen' is dedicated to an empirical investigation into the public work of the Church Army and its use of the magic lantern and the cinematograph around 1900.
Inspired by the Salvation Army, the Church Army was founded in 1882 by the Reverend Wilson Carlile as the evangelistic arm of the Church of England. Under Carlile’s leadership, the Church Army became an organisation devoted to the training and organisation of evangelists in the context of an infrastructure with its own missions, homes, farms, travelling vans, printing works and a Lantern and Cinema Department. A distinctive and defining feature of its work was the integration of first the magic lantern and then the cinematograph into its daily practices. This was a very dynamic new organisation which created a structure of interrelated activities that were devoted to “the rescue and uplifting of starving men from the streets” through direct action supported by new media.
Gray's essay was selected for inclusion within the bilingual volume dedicated to new early cinema research that emerged out of the eleventh international Domitor Conference held at the Universities of Ryerson and Toronto in 2010. Responding to the conference’s theme, 'Beyond the Screen: Institutions, networks and publics of early cinema', and complementing Gray’s previous essay on Our Navy, the chapter explores the ways that the Church Army integrated the new media into its activities, paving the way for other organisations to do the same.