Project Canterbury

Fukien Then and Now

By W. Conlin

No place: Church Missionary Society, no date.

IN May, 1850, an English ship after a long voyage of six months turned into the Min River on the China coast some 400 miles north of Hong Kong. Making her way slowly up the river for twenty miles she arrived at her destination, the Pagoda Anchorage. Passengers and cargo would have to do the remaining ten miles to Foochow, the capital of the province of Fukien, in Chinese junks or in sampans, as the small rowing boats are called.

The pioneers arrive

Two passengers on board surveyed the scene before them with peculiar interest--sampans and other river craft were now swarming round the ship on all sides. The people in them were jostling one another and shouting in strange tones, seemingly running all sorts of risks, yet dexterously extricating themselves as each critical moment arrived. It was for their sakes that these two passengers had come to China, and as they now found themselves at last face to face with her people, the magnitude and the difficulties of the task they had undertaken must have seemed, momentarily at least, almost overwhelming.

The two passengers were the Rev. W. Welton, and the Rev. R. D. Jackson, the first two missionaries sent out by the Church Missionary Society to Fukien. A few American [3/4] missionaries had arrived in Foochow four years earlier, and in the hard days ahead of them the newcomers were to find comfort in their fellowship and benefit from their experience already gained.

Realizing the greatness of their task, the newcomers had already certain principles of strategy in their minds. They would go in and out among the Chinese as much as possible, and while learning the language, they would at the same time do what they could to help the people, a work in which Welton's medical knowledge would be a great asset. To carry out this strategy it was essential in their opinion that they should live in Foochow city. This, however, brought them up against their first difficulty. It was not easy for a foreigner to find accommodation inside the city walls. The American missionaries had had to live outside. The British Consul, however, came to the rescue. He himself had his residence and consulate in a former idol temple on Wu Shih Shan (Black Rock Hill) within the city walls, and through his efforts accommodation was provided for the missionaries in another temple on the same hill. In addition to the various idol temples on the hill there were several clubs where the literati (scholars) used to meet.

The Chinese authorities would undoubtedly have preferred having neither the Consul nor the missionaries within the city. For to them and to the people generally the stranger within their gates was a guest and was entitled to be treated as such. Just over a hundred years earlier, when the Jesuit missionaries in China fell into disfavour, the Emperor Yung Ch'eng (1722-36) ordered the expulsion of all missionaries, save those in government service, and from that time until the Treaty of Nanking in 1842, China was not burdened with guests from the West. But a clause in this treaty secured for foreigners the right of residence, with certain limitations. 7 his, however, was not taken by most city authorities as implying the right of residence in their cities. Perhaps the Foochow city authorities, in placing idol temples at the disposal of the British Consul and the missionaries, secretly hoped that the temple gods would deal with the delicate matter. Anyhow a Gilbertian touch was added when the former abbot of the Consul's temple became his head gardener.

[5] Making friends

Welton and Jackson, having attained their first objective, settled in and began to work. Welton opened a dispensary. People of all classes arrived for treatment. Those who came could not fail to notice that these two men, who looked so out of place in the streets of the city, so strange in bearing, appearance, and manner, seemed on closer contact so human, so kind, and so invigorating. Many would learn in the days to come that the secret of this invigorating personality was being with Jesus. Where relief could be given Welton was prompt and effective in giving it; and he was honest and straightforward with those for whom relief was not possible. The dispensary had great influence in breaking down prejudice against the missionaries, and in preparing the hearts of the people for the Gospel. Chinese tracts were distributed among the patients to help to explain the message which the missionaries with their inadequate knowledge of the language could not as yet put clearly.


But already opposition to their work began to show itself. The literati were the instigators. They resented the presence of the missionaries on Black Rock Hill so near to their own clubs. They resented still more the work they were doing, and the attitude that lay behind this work. The literati regarded themselves as the guardians of the Chinese way of life--a way, in their opinion, superior to that of any other country. Versed in the ancient classics, they believed that every human problem could be solved by the teaching of the sages of China, of which teaching they themselves were the expositors. Thus at the temple where the missionaries lived "a series of petty annoyances began: the tiles of the roof were forcibly removed one night, and the garden door carried away; efforts were made to rouse the passions of the populace; and at last the priest of the temple, who was the lessor, brought to the Consul the quarter's rent which had been paid in advance, and begged him to get rid of the obnoxious tenants. Nothing came of this, and though the excitement continued, some [5/6] successful cures performed by Mr. Welton won the hearts of the people." [For Christ in Fuh-Kien, p. 16.]

The literati, however, continued in their opposition, and eventually the missionaries consented to move to another temple, on Black Rock Hill, where their presence, they hoped, would be less objectionable. With this as their new headquarters their work was soon in full swing again.

The Manchu regime was at its height, and Foochow, like other provincial cities, had its Tartar quarter where the ruling race lived apart from the ordinary people. The men of the latter still wore pigtails, a badge of their subjection to the Manchus. Appointments to government service, however, were open to all, and were made on literary merits alone. Of the ideals of the ordinary people that of "the Middle Way" or "the Doctrine of the Mean" exerted great influence, tending to develop in them a natural tolerance of one another, and even of the foreigner.

In the homes of the people when a baby girl was born, the first problem which the parents usually considered was: Will it pay to bring her up? If the answer was felt to be doubtful or negative, the infant was taken to be thrown into the Baby Tower or otherwise disposed of. Where the girl baby was wanted and brought up, no attempt was made to educate her. She was not considered capable of receiving education. Yet women of ability and character were often found in Chinese homes and exercised power and influence there. The strength of Chinese civilization and the secret of the long history of the nation lay in the reverence for parents which had so long been and still is a feature of Chinese home life. The way in which Chinese women and girls bore their treatment in a spirit of acceptance, developed in them a richness of character denied completely to male members of the family. In so treating their womenfolk, the men themselves were the greatest losers.

Into a society, then, such as we have briefly described, came Welton and Jackson and their American fellow-missionaries, bringing with them a new influence far-reaching in its effects--"the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth." Two obstacles had to be overcome before this power could [6/7] have free course. One was the prejudice of the people against everything foreign, and the other was their materialistic outlook, rooted in their age-long struggle for the means of livelihood. The first obstacle could be overcome only by Christian living; the second by Christian suffering and sacrifice even of life itself. The story of how this was accomplished in Fukien is the story of the Church there.

Growing difficulties

In November, 1850, a crowd, excited perhaps by the festival of the ninth day of the moon, attacked the temple where the missionaries lived, destroyed furniture, and carried away as much as they could lay hands on. The excitement died down, and a few months later Welton rented a Chinese house to fit up as a school. This was more than the literati could bear. The two Chinese teachers, engaged to organize the school, were seized by the authorities, flogged, and thrown into prison, and the plan had to be given up. Undeterred by these reverses, the missionaries carried on, keeping a sharp look-out, and eventually secured a plot of land, upon which mission houses and other buildings were put up. This continued as the headquarters of the mission for twenty-seven years without further attack.

But trials of a different kind were now to test the faith of the missionaries, and perhaps also in the providence of God to play a part in overcoming the obstacles in the hearts of the people to their understanding of the Gospel. Jackson was transferred to Shanghai in 1852, and for three years Welton was left to carry on alone, healing the sick, visiting lepers, mingling with people of all classes, and making tours of the villages in the surrounding plain. Conversation became easier as his knowledge of the language increased. Wherever he went "the common people heard him gladly." In 1854 he again tried to start a school, and this time he was successful.

June, 1855, brought cheer with the arrival or four recruits, but owing to illness their stay was short. It was a great blow when in the following year Welton’s health broke down, and after a few months at home he died in 1857. The next recruit, [7/8] the Rev. George Smith, who arrived a few months later, soon had to carry on the work single-handed. Yet in spite of his imperfect knowledge of the language, he went in and out among the people testifying to the love of God for all men. [Not to be confused with the George Smith who was one of the first two C.M.S. missionaries to China, and who in 1849 became the first Bishop of Hong Kong.]

One man's faith

Nine years had gone by without a single conversion, nor the prospect of any. Of the seven missionaries who had arrived only one was now left. It is not surprising that the Committee of the Society at home proposed in 1860 to close down the Fukien Mission. What is surprising is the courage and faith of Smith, who alone in Foochow and with only two years' experience behind him, begged the Society to leave him there one year longer. On December 22, that same year, he wrote home: "I hope that a brighter day is about to dawn upon us. There are three men I look upon as honest inquirers." Two of these men were baptized on March 31, 1861, and the third and one other on July 4. On this date Smith wrote: "With only these few converts I begin to feel something of the anxieties and fears and doubts, but something also of the joys of which St. Paul speaks. They are indeed as children: Oh that the Lord may give me grace to be a father to them."

Of the four baptized, three afterwards fell away from the Faith, though one of them years afterwards repented and became a sincere believer. These first baptisms, however, were a beginning, and other inquirers came forward. About the same time the right of opening preaching centres and schools within the city was conceded by the authorities.

In the summer of the following year (1862) Smith was greatly relieved by the arrival of a recruit, the Rev. J. R. Wolfe. Wolfe was an Irishman, and his arrival marked the beginning of a long and noble part which the Church of Ireland has taken in the building up of the Church in Fukien--a part made more definite and effective by the establishment in 1887 of the Dublin University Fukien Mission with the approval and under the [8/9] direction of the Church Missionary Society. At the beginning of 1863 Smith wrote: "Converts have given us satisfactory evidence of their faith in Christ during the past year ... in the face of persecution, reproach, and want."

Yet tests of the faith of the missionaries continued. In October of the same year Smith died, and once again the mission was left in charge of only one man, who as yet had had less than two years on the field. Within two months Wolfe became seriously ill, and had to be sent to Hong Kong. "It pleased the Lord to spare him," said the Committee in reporting this, "lest we should have sorrow upon sorrow."

This trial, however, was very different from all those that preceded it, in that there was now a Chinese Church in Foochow, small in numbers but strong in faith, to take its share in carrying on the work. When Smith died there were thirteen baptized members and five converts awaiting baptism, and when Wolfe had to be sent to Hong Kong, there was a faithful and capable Chinese catechist in charge, who acted as pastor and evangelist in the absence of the missionary.

A Chinese leader

This catechist's surname was Wang. He was a young landscape painter, and had been brought to Christ by a friend who had become a Christian through the work of the American Methodist Episcopal Mission. Wang's mother was bitterly opposed to his conversion. She disowned him and turned him out of the house. Eventually, however, she relented, and he was publicly baptized by the name of Ch'iu Te, "Seeker of Virtue." For three or four years he worked as an evangelist with the American Mission. Later, with the full approval and strong recommendation of the Americans he joined the C.M.S. Mission. This was soon after Wolfe arrived to join the mission staff. Thus Ch'iu Te was a strength to the young Church in the loss of its leader, Mr. Smith, in the following year; and two months later, when Wolfe had to be sent to Hong Kong, Ch'iu Te had to take sole charge of the little flock. A few months later, in the early part of 1864, his leadership and the faith of the Christian community were put to [9/10] the severest test they had yet sustained. A violent outbreak of popular fury against the work of one of the American missionary societies involved the C.M.S. as well. The rioters destroyed a preaching centre, schools, the mission library, and homes of the Chinese church workers, and some of the Christians received personal injuries. When Wolfe returned, fully recovered in health, he found that not one baptized member of the Church had wavered. He also found that the persecution had brought Christianity prominently before people of all classes. Many, who had hitherto not known or not noticed what was going on, began to inquire what this new doctrine really was. Full compensation was received from the Chinese authorities for the damage done, the wrecked premises were rebuilt, and crowds greater than ever before came to the restored preaching places.

A growing Church

Writing of the first twenty years, Dr. Eugene Stock used these words: "The Fukien Mission has never been long without riots and outrages of some sort." For some years progress was made "in the teeth of incessant and bitter persecution." The theological college in Foochow, built to accommodate forty students whom Robert Stewart had gathered round him, was burnt down almost as soon as it was completed, and other mission buildings suffered also. These events led to the gradual transfer of the C.M.S. headquarters to a suburb on the river island of Nantai.

Persecution continued to test the vitality and courage of the Church. Occasionally attacks were made on missionaries and some had marvellous escapes. But in 1895 Church and Mission suffered the loss of Robert Stewart and his wife, with two children and their nurse, and six women missionaries of the C.M.S. and C.E.Z.M.S.--all murdered in the village of Hwa-sang by a fanatical group who were in revolt against the local Chinese authorities.

Recently it has been remarked that more than half of the clergy in the diocese have come from the district in which these martyrs lived and served. Similarly when in 1930 the two [10/11] missionaries at Chungan in the north-west of the province--Miss Harrison and Miss Nettleton--were murdered, the Church was not stamped out. It, too, has supplied some of the leaders in the diocese. A young Chinese leader has said: "The period between 1925 and 1935 was one when the anti-Christian movement was at its height in China. Houses were burnt, two more missionaries were killed; schools were threatened with closing down. Church workers were publicly insulted and beaten. Many Christians were ordered to give up their faith. Yet under such circumstances ‘go forward' was the message from God to His suffering Church in Fukien. As they went forward, the result was: more missionaries offered themselves to take up the unfinished task of those martyred, and the Church in the dioceses of Honan, Shanghai, Singapore, Penang, and Manila, all owed their growth to the recruits who went forward from Fukien."

Another feature of the Mission in Fukien has been the long service which several of the leading missionaries have been able to give. In this respect pride of place belongs to J. R. Wolfe, who went out in 1861, when signs of life were beginning to appear, and had completed fifty-four years before he died in Foochow in 1915. From 1887 he was Archdeacon. Two of his daughters also gave valued service for many years. Llewellyn Lloyd joined the staff as a married man in 1876, and was able to continue his work for forty years before retiring to England. Dr. van Someren Taylor pioneered and fostered some of the valuable medical work from 1878 to 1926, and will long be remembered for his training of Chinese helpers. The name of Deaconess Lambert will always be associated with developments among girls and women. Founder of a school in Foochow which set a standard for girls' education, in later years she took a leading place in the life and service of the diocese. She lived in Foochow from 1889 to 1944.

Continued service in a spirit of devotion and friendship, such as these and other missionaries have rendered, has enriched in a marked degree the life of the Church in Fukien and beyond.


AND now let us look at Fukien as it is to-day. It is no longer merely a province of China but a diocese of the Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui (the Holy Catholic Church of China) as well. The diocese is potentially conterminous with the province, but actually is represented in only twenty-one of its sixty-four counties. Apart from the Roman Catholics there are two other main Churches in Fukien--the Methodist and the Church of Christ in China. The latter was formed by the union of Churches founded by four British and American Free Church societies. Church membership is probably not more than ioo,000 or about one in 150, reckoning the population as 15,000,000, the latest estimate. Of these just over 20,000 belong to the Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui.

The diocesan centre

Through the South Gate of Foochow a busy street runs out four miles to the River Min and across the Bridge of Ten Thousand Ages to the flourishing suburb on the river island of Nantai. It is an important business centre with the provincial headquarters of the Post Office and the Customs. Here was the former Foreign Settlement, and although extraterritorial rights no longer exist, foreigners still own much property. Here the Methodist Mission has always had its headquarters, and here also is the centre of the work of the diocese. As will be seen from the chronological table at the end of this pamphlet, an attack on the mission premises in the city led to the removal in 188o of the C.M.S. headquarters to the suburb of Nantai. Looking back on that event now, we can see that God overruled it for good. The educational work of the mission benefited greatly. Schools which have become central educational institutions of the diocese developed with plenty of space around them, and yet within easy reach of one another. The C.M.S. Girls' School, on a little hill overlooking the river and the city beyond it, is just about a mile from Trinity College on the plain below. Now that the Mission has handed over all departments of its work, including the location and the work of missionaries, to the Diocesan [12/13] Synod, Nantai is thus proving a suitable and convenient diocesan centre. The cathedral stands in the middle of a busy commercial area in the city.

Foochow to-day

How different is the scene to-day from that which greeted Welton and Jackson when they first arrived nearly a hundred years ago. The narrow stone-flagged streets, flanked by little shops with hanging shop-signs, have given way to wide macadamized roads and big glass-fronted stores. Bicycles, rickshas, and motor vehicles wind their way in and out among the pedestrians who still straggle across the streets, however wide and modern they are made. The sedan chair is a rare sight, but the load-bearer with his baskets swinging from the bamboo pole across his shoulder is still here, his eye steadfastly on his job regardless of the mechanical wonders around him.

The people, too, how different they look to-day! The oldfashioned hair cue has gone completely. The literati and the officials no longer wear long, leisurely robes with wide sleeves. Most of them have adopted the modern suit, a tunic buttoned up the front with an upright collar, and trousers of foreign style. A healthier and more active life has improved their physique, and students look athletic and robust. Women and girls go about freely and independently, many of them in the chic, slim-fitting gowns with short sleeves, and with every variety of modern hairdressing, the "perm" being very popular. Country women, neat and healthy as of yore, still wear their traditional dress--black cotton trousers and blue cotton coats buttoning over the right shoulder and down the side, their hair coiled in age-long fashions and adorned with a brightly-coloured flower. Only the elderly women now have bound feet.

In every department of Chinese life women now take their full share. They are members of government boards, hold government appointments, engage in public speaking, and give lectures in colleges. Some schools are co-educational with mixed staff. The early training and employment by the mission of women teachers, nurses, and Bible women, led the way to [13/14] all this development, for always the teaching of Christ brings freedom to women. Since about 1920 women have been eligible for membership of Synod and of all church boards and committees, and now there are deaconesses at work and well-educated young women in training at the Theological School. A far-reaching ministry was exercised by Deaconess Ding, who died recently. Previously a pupil, and then a member of the staff of the Foochow C.M.S. Girls' School, she was the first woman to be ordained in this diocese. Increasingly high standards are necessary for the church workers, owing to the wider spread of education among the people generally.

Women students have their place alongside men in the Fukien Christian University which was founded in 1916 by the three Missions represented in Foochow and the American Mission in Amoy. Similarly in the Union Theological College, which since 1945 has replaced separate centres of training, students include future clergy, deaconesses, lay men and women evangelists and religious workers in schools.

The ministry of healing

Medical work which bore such good fruit in the early struggling days of the Mission, has grown into a very important branch of the Church's activities and illustrates the wise foresight which prepared men and women for special duties. The hospitals are now in the charge of fully-qualified Chinese doctors, with staffs of trained nurses under them. Three of these hospitals have Nurses' Training Schools with Chinese tutor-nurses which have obtained registration under the Government Health Department. The hospitals suffered severe damage and complete loss of equipment during the war, but on the withdrawal of the Japanese they immediately made great efforts to reopen, and they are now working to the limit of their capacity, though still hampered and inconvenienced by shortages and by present conditions. They represent an outstanding witness to the love of Christ and make a great impression on patients and visitors alike. The Diocesan Medical Board controls all. the medical work, and its membership includes all doctors in charge of hospitals. Dr. M. K. [14/15] Yue, the head of the Putien Hospital, acts also as adviser to the C.M.S. on all its medical work in China.

While responsibility is increasingly in Chinese hands, the diocese still needs the missionary doctor's help in developing the work up-country, and missionary sisters to help train the student nurses.

A living Church

The diocese is fully organized and this has had a steadying influence on the life of the Church as a whole during these troubled years. While the Japanese were in Foochow from October 1944 to May 1945, Bishop Chang was in Kutien outside the range of their occupation forces. After they were compelled to withdraw the Bishop wrote: "Our clergy, catechists, and Bible women stayed at their posts, with one exception, a young clergyman who left Foochow towards the end of the occupation. I made it clear that I would not force any one to stay in occupied districts if they would rather leave; but with this exception they all chose to stay and carry on their work. Services went on as usual. Not a single church was closed. We were able to do this because of the fine leadership of Archdeacon Wong, and because of the loyalty of all the Christian workers."

The diocese is divided into thirteen Church Council districts, sub-divided into parishes under Chinese clergy who in addition to their city churches are responsible for scattered village churches, in the care of catechists, Bible women, or local voluntary workers. This involves frequent travelling over rough country roads for administration of the Sacraments and for general supervision. The "vicar" is the universal friend and adviser on matters of all sorts, and his house is frequented by visitors. The church premises include rooms for the convenience of church members who can lodge there for a few days while attending Church Council or other gatherings or when visiting the town for private business. A clergyman appointed to a new parish quickly becomes acquainted with every member of his flock not already known to him--often he seems to know church members all over the diocese, so living a reality is the Christian family.

[16] The Rt. Rev. Michael Chang is the fourth diocesan and the first Chinese Bishop of Fukien. His wife is the daughter of Bishop Ding Ing-ong who was for many years Assistant Bishop until his retirement seven years ago. Bishop Chang comes from the county of Kutien, that county in which, on August 1, 1895, Robert Stewart and other missionaries were martyred, and which has since given more clergy, catechists, and teachers to the Church than any other. He was educated at Trinity College, Foochow, and in the United States. In 1939 he was able to spend some months in England. On his return to Fukien he was put in charge of the Theological School, and in 1943 he was appointed Assistant Bishop of Fukien. His consecration was fixed for October To, in Kweilin, in the Kwangsi-Hunan Diocese. Two months before it, the diocesan Bishop, the Rt. Rev. C. B. R. Sargent, passed away. The acting-Chairman of the House of Bishops in China, as a wartime measure, at once took steps to delegate to the Fukien Synod authority to choose its own diocesan, and in February 1944, Bishop Chang was elected. His visit to the West in 1948 for the C.M.S. Third Jubilee and the Lambeth Conference served to forge yet further links of personal friendship and prayer fellowship between his diocese and the Society in England and in Ireland:

Bishop Chang has a staff of nearly forty clergy, many of whom like himself are old boys of Trinity College, as are also many teachers, and other leading laymen, including some doctors. In the letter from which we have already quoted, the Bishop wrote towards the end of the war period: " I think I need not say what an anxious time I am going through. If it were not for three considerations I do not know how I could carry on: first, your backing; second, the wonderful staff I have around me; and third, the love and support of the majority of clergy and laity." The Bishop is not physically strong, and our "backing" is above all the prayer that he may have both bodily and spiritual strength for the great task laid upon him.

Great opportunities

There is a greater opportunity than ever before for preaching the Gospel. People are anxious to know what was the secret of the calmness and courageous unselfishness shown by Christians in the trials of war. The Christians themselves [16/17] feel the urge to evangelism, and to cope with this great opportunity Bishop Chang is encouraging voluntary training, and under his leadership the Church has embarked on a Five Year programme of evangelism with the target of doubling church membership. Urgent appeals are being made for the return of missionaries and for recruits to make good the losses of the war years. The proportion of Christians to the total population is still so small that it is a hard struggle to maintain the Christian way of life. Church members need constant and sympathetic support. Help, too, is needed in training men and women who are being called to the work of the Church in evangelism, education, or medicine. An interesting sidelight on the vigorous evangelistic outlook to-day is given by a remark in a letter from a girl student in the Theological College, in training for ordination as a deaconess: "Perhaps God will call me one day to preach the Gospel in India." Missionaries from the West who go out in a spirit of service will find wide scope for their spiritual energy in helping to achieve victory for the Kingdom of God.

No better picture of the adventure to which our fellow-Christians are called in Fukien, as it is seen by one of themselves, can be given than that which the Rev. Moses Hsieh, chaplain to the Bishop, painted during his recent visit to England:

"To-day the whole Church in Fukien, nay, the whole Church in China, is at the midst of our Forward Movement. The task is tremendous. The journey is dark and long. The dangers that surround us are more dreadful. The economic barrier is more and more impassable. With a handful of church workers, yes, only thirty-seven clergy and Ho lay workers, in charge of 260 churches, the burden is far more than our capacity can bear. With so meagre a financial support, the health of several of the workers has already broken down. Yet, the only word for them is still: ‘Go forward.'

"The most important step in this movement is to move forward first the spiritual life of our church members, by the deepening of their spiritual experience, that each of them may be a praying, serving, and witnessing Christian. Each one of them is to have the desire to listen to God through his regular habit of Bible reading, and to lead a Christ-like life. [17/18] Then they are expected to go forward to win their fellow-countrymen for Christ. They are expected to double the number of church members by 1950.

"It is a tremendous task. It is a bold adventure. Each time the answer to our appeal for more recruits is: ‘No recruit,' but ‘Go forward.' When we appeal for some relief for our starving families, again the answer is: ‘No relief,' but 'Go forward.' No! No keen Christian teachers for the schools. No! No keen Christian doctor for the hospital. No, no missionary for Fukien! But the schools, the hospitals, and the Church must go forward.

"So to-day in our strain and in our stress, in our want and in our weariness, in our distress and in our fear, and in the last breath of our adventure, the call is still ‘Go forward.'

The new situation

Those brave words were spoken in September 1948--at a time when the Communist advance was not yet sharply defined. A year later the whole of Fukien had come under Communist control, following on the occupation of Foochow and Putien in August 1949. Under these new conditions of life and work the Church in Fukien faces an altogether unknown future. On the very eve of its centenary it is confronted by what may prove to be the greatest challenge in its history.

"It is a tremendous task. It is a bold adventure." How prophetically those words describe the now in Fukien. Thank God for that spirit of the Church's leaders in Fukien to-day. But no less stirring and prophetic were the final words in which Moses Hsieh addressed that representative C.M.S. Convention at Swanwick in September 1948.

"Before seeing us crushed under the heaviness of our burden in this task; before we faint in our weariness, please always remember that we are your daughters. By your help and through your prayer, may our hearing not be dull or deaf to what the Holy Spirit has said to our Church, but that we may go forward."

Important Dates

1850 First C.M.S. missionaries arrive at Foochow.

1860 Proposal to close the Mission through lack of converts.

1861 First converts baptized.

1864–6 Expansion. Stations opened at Lienkong, Loyuan, Kutien, and Ning-teh.

1868 First visitation of Dr. Alford, Bishop of Victoria, Hong Kong. Ninety candidates confirmed.

1869 Opposition at Loyuan, chapel destroyed.

1871 Plot to end all missionary work in South China and persecution of Christians leads to advance.

1876 Visitation of Bishop Burdon. Four men ordained, 515 candidates confirmed.

1878 College on Black Rock Hill destroyed in riot.

1879 Action for ejection of Mission from the city.

1880 Removal of mission premises to the Foreign Settlement, Foochow.

1883 C.M.S. Theological College opened at Foochow. Chinese District Church Council and Committees established under the "Native Church Conference."

1887 First women missionaries arrive in Foochow.

1895 Massacre of missionaries at Hwa-Sang.

1896 Remarkable movement towards Christianity.

1899 Kienow mission premises destroyed; Chinese Christians killed.

1900 Jubilee of Mission. Boxer Riots.

1903 Five men ordained, including Ding Ing-ong, afterwards Assistant Bishop of Fukien.

1906 Diocese of Fukien established. Horace McCartie Eyre Price first Bishop.

1912 Organization of Chung Hua Sheng Kung Hui.

1918 Bishop Hind consecrated.

1938 C. B. R. Sargent consecrated Assistant Bishop; 1940 diocesan Bishop.

1944 Consecration of Michael Chang fourth Bishop of Fukien, and first Chinese Bishop of the diocese.

1949 Fukien under Communist control.

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