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Welcome to the Global Archives

of the Ecumenical Institute and Institute of Cultural Affairs

Discover the rich heritage of The Ecumenical Institute and The Institute of Cultural Affairs and their role in global human development since 1959. Explore our unique story and the people who have shaped it. Browse our collections. Access historical data and other research resources.

A word about THE GLOBAL ARCHIVE PROJECT.  This archive records the collective experience of the several thousand people who took an active part in the thinking, organization and actions of the institutes up until 1988 — the work of the spirit movement (1966), the order (1967), the Ecumenical Institute of Chicago (1954) and the Institute of Cultural Affairs (1973). This archive also contains materials from the Christian Faith and Life Community at the University of Texas in Austin. For those of you interested especially in the thinking and work of Joseph Wesley Mathews, two volumes are available on Amazon — Bending History Vol I and Vol II from Resurgence Publishing. His personal papers are archived at Wesley Seminary in Washington, DC.


This archive was created in large part out of the resolve of those involved to do pioneering work on behalf of the historical church and human society at large in the middle and late 20th century—a resolve to take personal and corporate responsibility for shaping a better world for future generations. Of the total archive, 20,000 items have been accessioned. Approximately 2500 of those are available digitally.

WARNING:  Read these Caveats before proceeding!!

We were not original thinkers. We borrowed many concepts and ideas.

Most all of the items in this archive are in the first instance internal documents,  They contain language not in common use.

By and large, we were “ordinary people” Few of us were accomplished writers or academics.

A lot of us, especially early on, were what today we would call “privileged” — we came from backgrounds with resources and mindsets that gave us voice.

The resources in this collection are part of the “whole cloth” of our communal experience.  Few are concentrated on a single topic, they twist and turn between strategies, spiritual insights and insider remarks.