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The Society of the Sacred Mission

What is The Society of the Sacred Mission?


The Society had its beginnings in the 1880s, when the bishop of the newly established Anglican mission in Korea asked Fr Herbert Hamilton Kelly to train men for work in his diocese.

The work rapidly expanded and developed into a theological college for Anglican ordinands, particularly those who would not otherwise have the opportunity, the means, or the educational qualifications to train for the priesthood. From 1903 the College was located at Kelham, near Newark in Nottinghamshire.


Alongside and in conjunction with the development of the College, the Society of the Sacred Mission came into being. In 1893 Fr Kelly and two others were admitted as novices of the new community, and before long many others joined.

Global reach

For much of its history the main work of the Society was running theological colleges, first at Kelham and later also in Australia, but members have always been involved in other ministries as well.

In 1902 the Society began working in South Africa and has been extensively engaged in pastoral, educational and mission work there and in Lesotho. With changing patterns of theological education, the colleges were closed in the 1970s, but the Society has continued to be engaged in the sacred mission in a wide variety of ways, seeking always for any new opportunities for glorifying God that he may give.

SSM name and memorial

The Society’s festival is Michaelmas, the feast of St Michael and all Angels (29th of September).

The founder of the Society, Fr Herbert Kelly, chose the name, the Society of the Sacred Mission. The choice of name was mainly due to a desire to connect the work of the Society with that of the Holy Angels, identifying the two words missionary and angel, as Latin and Greek for the messenger of God.

As Members of the Society we are, like the angels, sent on mission from God’s presence to do God’s will.

And so each day members join in saying the Society memorial:

I saw an angel,

    Flying in the midst of heaven,

    Having the everlasting gospel

    To preach to those who dwell on the earth.

Fear God and give glory to him,

    For the hour of his judgement has come.

 Almighty and eternal God,

    From whose presence the angels go forth to do your will:

    Grant that in obedience we may serve to the glory of your name,

    And overshadowed by your protection

    Receive at last the crown of life;

    Through Jesus Christ our Lord.  Amen

Find more about the SSM

If you would like to find out more about the history and theology of the SSM

Please visit the SSM Europe website



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