THE TRAINING OF CATECHISTS AND CLERGY IN COREA--THE INITIAL STAGE.
The English Church Mission has been twenty-five years in Corea, during which time its work has passed through three clearly marked stages--
1. When the Mission entered Corea in 1890 the country was but just shaking free from the centuries of self-imposed seclusion from all intercourse with foreign nations. It was indeed an unknown land, and the difficulties of learning its language, thought, and customs can be imagined. In the first fifteen years, under Bishop Corfe, foundations were laid at what must have been a very great cost of patience and self-suppression on the part of the missionaries. This period saw only a few hundred converts made, but planted the Church firmly in certain carefully chosen centres, with her hospitals, and gave her a body of experienced Sisters (C.S.P.) and a handful of able priests, of whom two became her bishops in the land; further, the bulk of such literature as is now in use for the instruction of catechumens and baptized and for public worship rests on work done in those early years; and to the same period is owed the one imposing Church building of the Mission, that of SS. Peter and Paul on Kanghwa Island.
2. The next stage covered the five years of Bishop Turner's rule and was one of rapid expansion, so that the five hundred converts in 1905 were increasing to as many thousand by 1910. But this quick growth in numbers meant such pressure on the small staff of missionaries that no time was free for the proper training of native catechists, men or women. These were chosen from seemingly able and sound Christians, and were set to work with no more training than that which they could get from their intercourse with the foreign missionary and from an occasional week of special prayer and study.
3. After Bishop Turner's death there has followed since 1911 a period of intensive rather than extensive work under Bishop Trollope. The rush of enquirers has stopped, this being due in part to the Japanese annexation of Corea in 1910, which meant to the Coreans loss of independence and a consequent despondence and lack of interest in life in general, and time has been found for consolidating evangelistic and pastoral work, for taking in hand the training of catechists and clergy, for opening hostels for boys and girls, for further literary work, for organizing, self-support and self-government, and the beginning of a native ordained ministry is an accomplished fact.
A rough comparison of the position in 1910 with that in 1916 will give point to the above remarks. In 1910 there were five central churches, each with a larger or smaller district attached. The priest-in-charge of a district had under him a few men and women catechists and one or two small schools. In 1916, wjth no marked increase in the number of villages or Christians to care for and with a marked decrease in the number of catechumens, there are nine recognized districts, one in charge of a Corean priest; there has been some increase in the number of catechists employed, but a priest, generally speaking, has still to work single-handed. [Bishop Trollope appeals for seven more priests, so that none may be left single-handed.] In some country places hostels for boys attending the Government schools have replaced the Christian village schools, and in the capital (Seoul) two hostels have been opened, one for boys and one for girls, to help those who wish for higher education. A Training College, non-existent in 1910, had run its first course by 1916, and in due time will send out properly licensed catechists, who in some cases will replace the present untrained worker; also four men from among the older catechists have been prepared for ordination--two are now deacons, one is a priest. The work of the Sisters has been readjusted, and the training of women as catechists and for other Church work is now emphasized.
There are two hospitals now as in 1910. For the last three years an assessment scheme has been in vogue--each district, reckoned by the number of its communicants, sends up so much money per annum to the Native Clergy Sustentation Fund; the sum due from a given district is self-assessed among its various villages.
The inaugural Synod of the Corean Church (Chosen Seung Kong Hwei) has been held, involving an ordered plan of self-government by inferior councils, through which the smallest Christian community has its say in the Church's work.
In disciplinary matters also much has been done in the last five years to meet problems which, as is well known, can be only too easily shirked to the future sorrow of the Church.
The above sketch has immediate bearing on the subject of this article, because it suggests the atmosphere in which candidates for training" are growing up and the ideals of Church life and work which directly or indirectly are being impressed upon the students.
The theological student is only too ready to sit down to a course of training with no wish to bother his head about what aims should be in front of him and what problems are his for the tackling; while the ordinary Christian is more than content to be governed, organized, taught, tended, and financed by the foreigner, and so is not likely to feel the importance of self-government and self-support, unless made to do so by being under his own countryman who has definite views on such matters.
The beginnings of a Training College.--In 1910 a priest offered to come from England to start a Training College. Visits to educational centres in Ceylon, South India, and China on the voyage to Corea, and in Japan, had allowed him some insight into various methods of training; and for the first three years in the country he was learning the language, moving from one Mission station to another, and for twelve months was in charge of a newly-formed district. In this way valuable experience was gained in principles of training work and of the general work being done in Corea, of the strong and weak points in it and in the Christians, and of how catechists were facing their task, where succeeding and where failing.
First Ordinands.--In January, 1914, the College began its life very quietly, the two senior catechists being sent up to prepare for deacon's orders. These men were ordained after six months, mainly on the strength of what was known of them in their past work, for a six months' course would in itself be a very insufficient preparation for Holy Orders. One of the two was kept at the College as lecturer, the other was sent to pastoral work. Before the time of their ordination a second English priest was ready to help in training, and the College was formally blessed and opened in May, 1914, when eleven students were admitted for preparation as catechists.
Choice of students for Training as Catechists.--The bulk of our Christians are country-folk, chiefly engaged in farming, but of the selected students only two came directly from farm work, some of the others had been Christian school teachers, and all but one had been tried in some capacity, voluntary or paid, in Church work. As we have no Christian secondary education and the Hostel in Seoul had not been opened, there was no channel for sending to the College young men who had qualified under a recognized system of higher education. Practically, the choice of men was made on the advice of local priests. In several cases the opinion of local congregations was taken, and it so happened that the man with the strongest recommendations of this nature seemed the least able to gain from a course of regular training. A general examination paper was set before admission to the College, and each man had to sign two forms--the one was a statement that he wished to enter and quite understood that a course of training was no pledge that the Church would employ him, the other recorded his debts, if any. The average age of the men was about twenty-six years, one lad of twenty and one man of forty giving the minimum and maximum of age; the former was the only unmarried student, the latter was an esteemed Confucian scholar who, however, withdrew from the College after the second term, as did also a young farmer on plea of having to keep by his farm unless the Church could support him and his family entirely.
Expenses.--Only one man was entirely self-supporting; the rest needed board free when in residence, and in most cases made claim for money to be sent home for their families, for a settlement of married students with their families was not in view. Such claims were judged as fairly as possible, and the home allowance, as too the man's own vacation allowance, was sent quarterly to the priest-in-charge of where he lived. From such allowance the man had to meet his own expenses for clothes and pocket money, and so much was deducted per month in payment of debts in cases where debts were owing. No money was given directly to the students, except for journeys; an experiment with grants of pocket money was unsatisfactory and dropped after the first term. For meals they went to one of two Christian houses near the College, and payment for their board was made directly by the College, varying slightly with the market price of rice.
The men have lived as they would at home, and besides have had to do the necessary household work in their own quarters. For study they have sat at the teacher's feet without desk or chair, and to some extent have made their own note-books.
Buildings.--The buildings used were some which were standing in the Mission compound at Kanghwa City. A small Corean house used as a girls' school and a disused donkey shed and out-buildings were cleaned and adapted, and with some rooms in the priests' house, which is a Corean building, served for living quarters and bathroom; an old printing press room, also a Corean building, was repaired and arranged for chapel and lecture-room combined, sliding partitions closing off the altar when necessary. Thus the total cost of plant for a college was insignificant. But it should perhaps be stated that money for building a separate chapel is being put by.
The funds on hand for the work were £3,000, granted by S.P.G. from the Pan-Anglican Thank-offering. The capital of this sum has not been touched; it stands on fixed deposit in a Japanese bank, and the interest meets the cost of upkeep and of the small current expenses of the College. The support of a student varies between £10 and £20 per annum, according to the home allowance and journey money necessary. Such expenses have been met by ad hoc grants secured from parishes or individuals in England and by a sum of £50 from S.P.C.K. for bursarships, a sum subject to annual revision; any insufficiency in such special grants has to be borne by the interest on the capital of £3,000 just mentioned.
No apology is felt necessary for dwelling on these details; they are to plead the case of seeking after an atmosphere of simplicity and economy in training native agents, as against the plan of putting up large buildings of foreign type, and training men under conditions entirely different from what they are wont to at home or will live under when at work. It begs the question to say that the latter plan is necessary for efficiency. Efficiency is a comparative term, and conditions under which training is done that are simple, natural, and helpful in one case may contain positively harmful elements in another. "How do native eyes regard this?"; "What impression does this make on the native mind?"--such questions should be constantly before the foreigner. The value of his ministry will be largely in proportion to his ability to grasp the native point of view, learn from it to his own good, and adapt his methods of work accordingly. No training of native catechists and clergy can be efficient which suggests to their mind that service in the Church of God leads of necessity to greater ease of life rather than to one of hardness and frugality, and that economy of expenditure on Church work is no consideration. Now the idea that the foreign missionary has unlimited funds at his disposal is one which any missionary may easily foster through disbursing or using money without grasping its comparative value, and it is an idea so firmly fixed, anyway in the Corean mind, that anything to encourage it at a training college is to be deplored. The hope is that the students living in simplest Corean fashion, in the same compound with the foreign teacher, and being taught by him under conditions to be met in any village, may have formed in them a right ideal of service, and work against the inclination to view employment by the Church as preferment to a good salary and a superior standard of living.
Site.--The College was opened on Kanghwa Island. There in the "city"--ambitious title of a walled townlet--the Mission had already buildings sufficient for the purpose, its most stately church close by, a vigorous Church life, and the certainty of quiet and isolation to a suitable degree. It had been urged that the site should be in Seoul, that being the centre of national life and education, and nothing gives a man so much prestige as his having lived or been educated there. But the opportunities for secular education and of being in touch with the thought at the hub of the Corean universe, granting their value, had to counteract them the distractions and temptations of living in a great city, and the fact that our Church life there is weak and our buildings as yet mean; it would, too, have meant an outlay of capital on building had the site been in Seoul.
After two years' experiment in Kanghwa nothing-pointed to it being mistaken policy to open the College away in the country, and the future work of almost all the students will be in country districts.
Curriculum.--The mental ability of the men, it proved, was in most cases good; while in desire to think or power of thought there was at first little to distinguish one from another, all were sadly deficient. It was interesting to find that the farmer, who was uneducated from the Corean or any point of view, developed as well as the school teacher, thus doing away with the need for division into separate classes, except in the study of Chinese. To explain this it is necessary to know what the Corean has understood by '' education.'' Of general knowledge all these men were equally ignorant, but the "educated" man had a greater or less knowledge of the Chinese classics. This in no way implied that he had read the classics thoughtfully or found in them a means of mental development, but that he had read up to such a book--the classics are studied in one fixed order. However, knowledge of Chinese is a gain in that it helps to reading theological and other books written in Chinese and Japanese, for Chinese enters very largely into the Japanese, as into the Corean, literary language. Books of any value in Corean are lacking, so that the small library at our students' disposal consists really of books in Chinese and Japanese; the one vernacular text-book has been the Bible, a translation that varies exceedingly in value.
This absence of books in the vernacular a ad the inability of the men to read up or round a subject, has meant reliance on oral teaching and on the use of the blackboard, so that text-books or commentaries are built up by the men themselves in MSS. This is a slow process, and not hastened by the men's unfamiliarity with taking notes and the teacher's halting command of Corean, which is the only language used. Self-expression is at times exceedingly difficult, either because of the novelty of the idea to be conveyed, or through the absence of Christian terminology, or from both causes combined.
The first course covered over eighteen months with three terms in a year, having regard to the hot, rainy season and to allowing the men visits to their families at not too long intervals. The work done in chief was--Old and New Testament introductory; Genesis and Exodus in part; S. Mark also in part, a subject running throughout the course, studied with a harmony of the Gospels, and covering a wide field; Jewish history from the Exile; early Church history to Constantine the Great; pastoralia; psedagogics; elementary arithmetic, some book-keeping, and drawing.
The Corean deacon taught the Chinese classics and easy Chinese, and read with the men a book on "Comparative Christianity and Confucianism." Japanese was taught by one of the students.
The men were not over lectured, but private study time was probably not of much value to them except for writing up notes. Examination papers were set at times, and attempts made to train in essay writing; the latter in search after powers of original thought and literary expression. A general examination on the first year's work, with papers set by outside examiners, produced satisfactory results; paedagogics, perhaps, proving to have been the chief difficulty. Though dogmatics and sacramental teaching came in the course of devotional addresses, they were not taken as subjects for ordinary lectures; in both the men were well grounded through their own preparation for baptism and through the teaching that many of them had had to give.
The need was obvious for training in the devotional use and intelligent reading of the Bible. The Corean will read at the sacred text, and many are much drawn to searching for mystical meanings, but he lacks growth in practical understanding of it. Yet it is surprising how closely he links up the practice and ethics of Christianity, for Confucianism has- led to able memorizing and apt quoting of fine maxims without serious thought of their practical application, and the national worship of "Pop" or accepted custom urges to formality in religion.
Discipline.--Great emphasis was laid on a life of ordered prayer. The Holy Eucharist, Mattins and Evensong, Sext with intercessions and thanksgivings, and Compline were offered daily in the chapel, the men going to the church on Sundays and holy days. Half an hour each morning was set apart for meditation in the chapel and at times used for combined silent prayer, and attendance for part at least of this period was reluctantly made compulsory. Self-discipline but few Coreans have practised, and foreseeing the danger of the man falling into slackness in respect of private prayer when out alone at work, it seemed well to use even compulsion to help in forming habits of prayer and a rule of life.
The appointment of sacristans, responsible each week for the care of chapel, lecture-room, and for services, involved practical training in ritual and ceremonial and in the care of God's house--a training much needed. The Corean is by nature very reverent and fond of ceremony, but is casual and untidy. He will, for instance, brush a floor with zeal, while leaving dust and cobwebs thick in higher places and bundling any odds and ends of rubbish into a handy corner, maybe under the Holy Table.
Discipline was further taught by manual work. Games could not play their part as they would do in England, and afternoon hours were given to carpentry and work on the compound. Flower and vegetable beds, stone-flagged paths, and wire fencings now witness to really strenuous and able labour, some of a menial nature, and men learned to see something in the maxim "Mens sana in corpore sano." But this was no easy task, as the man of books despises manual work and grows his little finger nail long as evidence of his superiority, nor has the need for exercise entered his scheme of life. The very fact of a time-table of the day's work which was meant to be followed, and a rule of lights out and silence after, undoubtedly surprised men with all the Oriental masterly disregard of time and love of yarning at any hour of day or night.
Such routine and discipline, it may be hoped, has taught some of the students that there is value in a rule of life and even in a reasonable respect for time, and it certainly made them easier to handle. But in any case they have a traditional respect for the teacher and are eager to learn and to obey. It was good, too, to see the growth of an esprit dc corps and a real stand made against the national weakness for forming cliques. And yet leave them under sole charge of a Corean teacher, and even with set rules of life and the best of intentions, they slip back readily into ignoring the latter with the acquiescence of the former and into quarrellings. The day is not yet near when the foreigner can be withdrawn from the management of a training college.
Religious experience.--Private talks with the men were disappointing, in that it was the exception to find anything in the student's mind much worth discussion. This cannot all be put down to differences of thought and language between East and West and to the poverty of the foreign priest's sympathy; there remains a sense that the student's religious experience is not deep, and that he does not talk because he really has little to say. So comes a better realization of the limitations of these Christians and of our own failure to enter into their minds and understand their position. Surely too much is often expected from the convert and too much put upon him in a laudable desire to give him responsibility and make him rise to opportunities.
These men are all first generation Christians; their average baptismal age on entry to the College was six years; no Christian tradition is behind them, none widespread about them. They have a beautifully simple faith, and they will teach simply what they have been simply taught; and after all it is very simple teaching that is needed in the villages, coupled with the witness of a good life rested on the Means of Grace. They have not gone deep into the Faith nor thought much about it, so they have little to give out, and this fact joined to a dangerous gift of eloquence accounts for much of the thinness and verbosity of many a catechist's addresses and extempore prayers. Confucianism has not given the Corean a strong religious conviction from which he has moved after deliberation into the Christian Faith. Ask for an essay on Christianity and Confucianism (or Buddhism), and very little worth reading will be penned. Confucianism, speaking generally, has meant the study of the Chinese classics by a minority in the land with a view to winning" office or repute as a scholar, and for the people as a whole the preservation in stereotyped form of the correct manners and ceremonies. The spiritual aspirations have been left unguided, so that they find expression in most primitive fashion. Fear of imps and spirits is everywhere; stone heaps and sacred shrubs hung with offerings of straw and paper, grotesque figure-heads of wood to guard villages, and many such signs of primitive superstitions are met at every step; the witch and blind man do a thriving trade. What Buddhism has done for the nation it would be hard to say. For nearly six centuries it has been a rejected religion officially, its monks and nuns degraded to lowest social rank, its monasteries forbidden within a city's walls. Its present influence as a spiritual or at all religious force is not worth considering, though a revival might come through the Japanese. Atavism has a firm hold on the people and is a positive hindrance to Christianity; yet not a hindrance connected with spiritual experience, but with fear of offending public opinion and of disgracing or injuring the family by the neglect of the customary rites which is involved in becoming a Christian.
It is not then surprising if sincere acceptance of the faith has not implied depth of religious experience, though Christians of real spiritual perception, of course, there are; and there is the more need in the Training College to lay the strongest emphasis on prayer and meditation, and for the teacher to be patient and wait for the Holy Spirit to move the students' hearts and minds to increasing spiritual penetration and desire to talk over the things that matter. Such movement must come, because they pray with sincerity and childlike faith and really try to deepen in prayer and penitence. The above remarks are illustrated by answers given to the admittedly difficult question, "Why did you become a Christian?" No student in writing or in subsequent private talk suggested that his coming to be an enquirer was due to a sense of sin or to dissatisfaction with Confucianism or any non-Christian religion. One man had been moved by the change of life he noticed in a friend who had become a Christian; but in one case only was at all a deep note struck--a mother's practice of praying to a star had led the lad to do likewise on the hillsides, till chance attendance at a Christian service set him thinking more on prayer with desire to learn what it meant to the Christian.
Pastoral Work.--During the autumn school for catechists each year the students were used in pastoral work, as will be mentioned below; and while in residence they were made use of in the Kanghwa City Church, and one of them with the Corean deacon did very successful work in a neighbouring village. But active pastoral work was not to form a regular part of the first course of training, both because the men had been tried in this to some extent before entering the College, and also that they might realize the need for a teacher to prepare himself carefully before setting out to teach others. The practical training and testing was to follow, and while (during 1916) the College was closed the students were sent out as acting catechists or as companions to a priest in order to be proved, guided, and watched in actual work; and such as prove satisfactory will be sent back for more training at the College before being licensed as catechists.
Power to lead and initiative.--Obviously it is sought in training to develop initiative and a sense of responsibility and to draw out leaders of men in government, in thought and literature, in preaching and prayer. It is only too easy for the foreigner to transplant into a new field methods and expression of Christianity with which he is familiar at home and which yet may be of local value only. If he does so, resistance to the disaster will not come spontaneously from the native. The native accepts what he is given, and will imitate the foreigner and reproduce what he is taught without any questioning or working out of suggestions. It is not his nature to be a firm leader or to strike out on original lines. In the Corean the idea of the individual is undeveloped--witness the clumsiness of the language in dealing with the personal pronoun. Rather he moves and thinks as one of a clan or nation; herein, of course, lies a real source of strength and loyalty and possibilities for a very full grasp of the Church as a body. He is enthusiastic and impulsive, but continuous and concentrated interest is hard for him. Under his passivity he is emotional and is easily over-wrought and loses balance, so that movements of the revival mission nature, of which much has been heard in connection with Corea, are to be expected, but unless most carefully guided and controlled by the foreigner may have unfortunate results. He is buoyant, but soon yields before difficulties with "Oh! that will not matter" never fat from the door of his lips.
Thus in cases he shrinks from responsibility and initiative; in cases rushes recklessly and excitedly ahead; in cases misuses power given to him. He is no disciplinarian and is a sad hand, too, often at financial matters. He is handicapped on the literary side by having no written language understaaded of the people (this is in the making, thanks largely to the missionary), so that self-expression in writing is a real difficulty for him. But with all his limitations he is a charming companion, a faithful and in many ways exceptionally able fellow worker; he is powerful in meekness and courtesy, loyal to what he is convinced is true and a good custom, patient and long suffering. And, God be thanked, the first native priest of the Mission is a true leader, and one to whom the foreigner turns for support and guidance; he was our first-fruits in baptism in 1897, as our first-fruits in the priesthood in 1915.
Also among the students of but eighteen months or a little more are some who begin to think for themselves, with desire and ability in two cases to find self-expression in writing.
Of the nine men who were in residence all through the first course, and who are now being tested in practical work, it is likely that three or four will return to the College for further preparation to become licensed catechists or sub-deacons if such an Order be revived. Those not considered worth sending back will not have suffered from a course of training and may act as village leaders or school teachers, or return to some ordinary occupation; one man, for instance, developed much skill in carpentry which should stand him in good stead.
Out of the few who return, and from the older type of catechist, some will be worth training in due course for the diaconate and even for the priesthood.
Training of Ordinands and existing Catechists.--Besides the group of men preparing to be catechists, the College has dealt with the existing catechists. Two of them, as has been said, were ordained deacons in 1914, one of whom after good service in a country district and a final four months at the College has been raised to the priesthood. Two other catechists were admitted in 1915, and after a year's special preparation one was ordained deacon, the other being held back for reasons of health.
The training of catechists and clergy has been at one time and in one place. There seemed no reason to separate these two classes of students; the influence of the ordinands on the others was good, and most of the teaching was as necessary for the one class as for the other, nor was there any difficulty in arranging hours for special study with the ordinands as necessary.
Further, the College has in two ways immediately helped the evangelistic work--(1) Each September an autumn school was held for all acting catechists and a few others. The regular students were on vacation and used where necessary to fill a catechist's place for the month. (2) The principal has also been priest-in-charge of a district.
It may be worth saying that the training of Christian school teachers is not a pressing problem. Our schools are few and likely to be fewer and replaced by country hostels, as the Government has given notice that from 1925 no religious teaching of any sort is to be given in any school.
Summary.--Certain points may be worth noting in the experiment upon which this article is written, an experiment made under conditions such as exist in Corea--
1. Out of a small Christian community of five to six thousand it is possible to find Christians of the first generation capable of being raised to the priesthood. The plan has been to take men already tried to some extent in Church work, train them for about two years, then test and train them in practical work for about a year, and return those worth further preparation for a licence as catechist. From the catechists, whether of the older and originally untrained type or from those licensed from the College, are taken candidates for Holy Orders.
2. Material for leaders is to hand, if men are taken boldly, trained, tested, and sifted; but the probable rejection of a big percentage must be faced. Yet a man rejected from the College may be most useful to the Church as village leader or school teacher.
3. Catechists and clergy are trained together, and incidentally school teachers also, as just suggested above.
4. Though the priest is likely to be the man who has served as catechist first and then as deacon, the diaconate must not be viewed merely as a step to the priesthood, .any more than being a catechist merely as a step to becoming a deacon. A man may do well in one office who will fail in the other.
6. For work amongst country congregations there is no need to wait for a highly educated priesthood. Men are respected though without higher school certificates, as the course at the Church Training College carries great prestige.
6. The average age of students should be well over twenty years.
7. A large outlay of money on plant and working expenses is not necessary for efficiency, and would be harmful if it resulted in conditions that suggested to the native mind the reverse of simplicity in life and economy in Church work.
8. Regular manual work is a most necessary part of the training.
9. Once the scheme of life and work is laid, the demand on the foreign teacher's mental powers is small. Expression of thought in the vernacular may never be easy, but the teaching itself is simple and ground is covered but slowly, so that a few hours spent in preparation of notes will give material for a term's lectures. This leaves the foreign priest with time to spare for the charge of a district, which is good for him and offers a field for training students practically in pastoral and teaching work if he wishes to do so.
In regard to the future there is promise of a supply of men for training, and such as are drawn from the Church Hostel, now open in the capital, will hold Government higher school certificates, and be candidates for office in the Church who have had as good a secondary education as the country affords.
Only one foreign priest will be available for the training* work, helped presumably by a Corean deacon or teacher, and in charge of a country district.
There is present need for several native priests, but an adequate proportion of their salaries must be found by the native Christians. The demand for native priests is thus conditioned by the contributions of the native Church, which in turn will largely be conditioned by the number of Christians. A fresh period of extensive work is now much needed, for six thousand Christians can support but few priests. To extend and grow in numbers it seems essential that the Mission should break new ground. In the existing" districts the Church to a great extent is an accepted fact and no big inflow of enquirers is likely. She gathers here a little and there a little, and, in fact, growth in numbers comes now as much through the baptism of infants born to Christian parents as through the admission of adults in many places. Native priests could work now in the existing districts, but to send them out by themselves to break quite new ground would be to run the risk of breaking them. For fresh pioneer work the foreigner is needed, whether he goes alone or with a native minister--this means more English priests.
In conclusion, is there serious objection, beyond that due to unfamiliarity with the practice, to priesting a man--say, a Corean farmer--of approved worth and after suitable training, and leaving him to follow his trade at home and be responsible for services in his village chapel and for keeping watch over local Christians? This presumes a locality where the Church is well established and settled to a quiet life, and it presumes a senior priest, native or foreign, in charge of the larger district of which such village forms part. One sees much time and energy spent by an able priest in regular rounds of visitation to villages and in attention to details which in no way need his presence; the waste of power seems obvious and the missing of chances for developing self-government under just the right conditions. The local priest suggested above would save the waste and use the chance, and more, he would be self-supporting or receive at most an honorarium, which would help to teach that ministry in the Church is of great honour in itself and not a position inextricably bound up with a comfortable salary.
No allusion has been made here to the important and hopeful work amongst the Japanese in Corea, because it is impossible as yet to combine Japanese and Coreans in the one Training College; difference of language is in itself a complete bar to this, but the future may see it done. At present there is one Japanese priest in the Mission, and one catechist was ordained deacon with the two Coreans in 1914, but both of these men were trained and the former also ordained in Japan.