R. O. Hall's Account of the Deaconing of John Chou and Tsai Yung Chun, Maundy Thursday, 6th April, 1944, Wen Lin Tang, Kuming

Compiled by Michael Poon (ÅËÄËÕÑÕûÀí£©

Sheng Kung Hui Documents Ê¥¹«»áµµ°¸ÍøÒ³

A year ago to-day [13th April, 1944] Bishop Mok died. I have missed him terribly, but I have been glad he is free of the difficulties of these war and refugee days, and perhaps the way so many things have worked out for good are answers to his prayers for us still in the Communion of Saints. For the great cloud of witnesses who watch the race that we must run surely are not passive witnesses¡ªtheir hearts beat still with ours fit was as if the athletic, eager spirit of Christopher Sargent was with the Fukienese priest, Y. J. Lin, who at his Thanksgiving Service spoke not so much of his watching but of his interest in the race and in our efforts to win the race). Here in Kunming all the old hands are thanking God for John Chan Meng-chin [sic. Chou Meng-chiu]. It was Bishop Mok who pleaded he should come back to the Canton Union Theological College soon after Mr. Allen camel and John Chan's face still lights up when the name of his earlier teacher Percy Jenkins, is mentioned. John was in Lower Middle School when the Communists came into Canton. His father lost his business for a time, and John had to study at home. He went to C.U.T.C. for a time, then' came out to teach, returning again for the full four years' course, of which the last three were spent in Tali with Geoffrey Alien. In the months just after the Japanese occupation of Canton, when C.U.T.C. was a refugee camp and John Chan with Roland Koh and the others were working as helpers in the camp, he and his wife lost their baby son. Last Sunday night when a young American airman came to tell Gilbert Baker that he had news of his brother's death, Gilbert came in to find John Chang telling him the story of his baby's loss and what he had learnt from it about suffering, about life and about death. God had turned his own suffering into power to sympathize and to help others, and the church in consequence is full, and a second service¡ªusing Cantonese¡ªis being started on Sunday. I have had a lovely three weeks staying with him and his wife and two dainty little daughters. By a strange coincidence we find that he and Gilbert Baker were born on the same day¡ªChina's Double Ten¡ªbut 34 years ago, one year before the Double Ten had become something more to China than just the 10th day of October. John Chan and I missed each other by one day in Kweiyang last September, or he would then have been ordained deacon. For six months he has been acting in charge of the parish as a lay-reader, with Gilbert Baker helping him. On Maundy Thursday he and Tsai Yung Chun were ordained deacons; Gilbert preaching on the Good Shepherd and the impossible task that Our Lord sets before every pastor¡ª"impossible for man but with God all things are possible."

Tsai Yung Chun also needs introducing. He is Fukienese with a Cantonese and Baptist wife. He himself is son of the Congregationalist American and British work in Southern Fukien. He met his wife at Yenching, where they both got B.D. degrees. Yung Chun is also an M.A. There they were spiritually under the influence of Dr. T. C. Chao who you will remember was an early worker for Wen Lin Tang and was ordained in HongKong in 1941. He was also at St. Paul's Cathedral on October 28, 1932, and spoke at the V.D.A. Meeting that afternoon. He is now attached to the Anglican Cathedral in Peking and is, we hear with great thankfulness, writing both Theology and Poetry.

Tsai Yung Chun joined the staff of Canton Union Theological College just before the Japanese entered Canton and was the only member of Chinese staff who stayed on (he had already been imprisoned in Fukien for a sermon which was not considered sufficiently patriotic). He moved with the College to Tali and from there came to help his brother-in-law, Pastor P. K. Chiu, who was opening the Church of Christ Church, Kunming. Last August he was in' his own words "re-converted" by reading Richard Mebulus¡¯ (sic. Niebuhr¡¯s) 'Meaning of Revelation ' which, God providing, I had brought from Kukong for him to read. And he decided that he must accept in a new way his illness (tuberculosis) and look for more knowledge of God¡ªin the acceptance and understanding of human suffering rather than only in the strenuous and intellectual exercise of the many learned Chinese professors in this city who are his friends.

C.M.S. responded to my appeal by making a grant of £200 towards his salary as Chaplain of the Huitien Hospital. We had not had this before but God again provided. The enlargement of the Maternity Block which had become imperative necessitated the absorption of the little room we had used as a chapel. There was another jolly building in Chinese style which was put up some years ago for Chinese airmen (now no longer needed as they have their own hospital). Dr. Yew gladly let us have this as a chapel, and if every morning one could see what simple beauty and reverence there .is when anything from thirty to fifty of the hospital staff meet for worship. On Easter Sunday there were twelve adults in church whom he had met in hospital¡ªlapsed Christians now restored¡ªand two more Catechumens¡ªone a University student whose beloved brother died in the hospital: the other an Army Captain who lost his leg in a quarrel and has now found in Christ the joy of forgiveness in place of the bitterness of revenge which was in his heart when the Chaplain first met him. Twelve non-probationers in a Bible class and a keen young Christian doctor coming every week for private Bible study, and much more that we know not of¡ªbut God knows.

But there is a third young Pastor in Kunming, another John¡ªJohn Tseung Shin Kwei¡ªanother of Geoffrey Allen's men, who was for a year at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford. He is at Wen Lin Tang, where Gilbert Baker has been so long alone. He is able to teach on the staff of LIENTA¡ªChina¡¯s most famous group of refugee Universities, for whose students Lienta was founded: and again I was so thankful to see the church full mostly of men students and to hear of three Bible classes already going for non-Christians. John Tseung was ordained deacon in HongKong, was sub-warden of St. John's Hall, and earned his own living in the government Educational Service. Fortunately 1 met him at Ping Shek on my way down, and on the evening of St Luke's Day he was ordained priest in Roland's Upper Room church, the dim light of our vegetable oil lamps giving us a still deeper sense of the original Upper Room, and the fear of the Jews, and the gift of the spirit by which that fear was turned into joy and courage. Wen Lin Tang, you will remember, is very specially a V.D.A. churchy for you gave the money which bought it and you supported for five years Gilbert Baker who was its founder-padre.

[Outpost (April-September 1944): 2-4]