R O Hall's account of his first visit to Saint John's Hall, University of Hong Kong in 1922
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R O Hall stopped over in Hong Kong during his trip to Beijing in 1922 to attend the World Christian Student Federation Conference. He met T Z Koo (Gu Ziren) in Beijing. It proved to be the watershed in Hall's life. In his own words:
In 1922 I was sent to the Student Conference in Peking. At that Conference the capacity for friendship was restored to me. As a gift from God there came into my life a friendship as deep and as strong as those the war had taken from me. It was friendship for and with a Chinese Christian [i.e. T Z Koo]. Four years later I sat where you now sit while he spoke to you from this pulpit. His friendship has done two things for me. It has given me back my capacity for friendship with my fellows. And it has given me a love for the people of China second only to my love of my own people. (Outpost, April 1933, 7)
R O Hall spoke of his first visit to Saint John's Hall in his Preface in S K Loong, St. John's Hall, University of Hongkong: history and register, 1912-1952 (Hong Kong: Man Cheung Printing Co, 1952), v.
My first home in Hong Kong was St. John's Hall. That was thirty years ago in February 1922 on my first short visit to the Far East. Little did I imagine then that Hong Kong would ever be my permanent home, or that I should have my present close relationship with St. John's Hall.
In 1953 St John's Hall is to become St John's College on a magnificent new site above the University Recreation Ground. This is a step forward in the close relationship that has always obtained between the Church and the University. It is a great venture of faith, made possible by a great act of generosity.
Before we move forward we look back to the past.
St. John's great past deserves this greater future. We thank God for what St John's men have been both in the Hall and in their later public life; for what they are now and for what they have done. With gratitude for the past and confidence for the future we seek their continued interest and help as the Hall moves forward to its greater future.
And we know that many others who love the University and believe in it, will share with them in helping us to complete what we have undertaken.
R. 0. Hall,
Bishop of Hong Kong