South Fukien Mission (1920–1951)

By Milton Hook

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Milton Hook, Ed.D. (Andrews University, Berrien Springs, Michigan, the United States). Hook retired in 1997 as a minister in the Greater Sydney Conference, Australia. An Australian by birth Hook has served the Church as a teacher at the elementary, academy and college levels, a missionary in Papua New Guinea, and as a local church pastor. In retirement he is a conjoint senior lecturer at Avondale College of Higher Education. He has authored Flames Over Battle Creek, Avondale: Experiment on the Dora, Desmond Ford: Reformist Theologian, Gospel Revivalist, the Seventh-day Adventist Heritage Series, and many magazine articles. He is married to Noeleen and has two sons and three grandchildren.

First Published: April 19, 2022

The South Fukien (today’s Fujian) Mission 闽南区会 was located where the original Fukien (Fujian) Mission began in 1917. When the division of the Fukien Mission took place in 1920, the southern portion was named the Amoy (later Xiamen) Mission, 廈門区会 even though the headquarters were not in Amoy city.1 In 1922 the entity was renamed the South Fukien Mission, a subdivision of the South China Union Mission. Its headquarters were on the small island of Kulangsu (Gulangyu) 鼓浪屿 where many Europeans had settled, including the Seventh-day Adventist missionaries when they first entered the area.2

An early convert to Seventh-day Adventism, N. P. Keh (郭子穎) of Fukien Province, wrote tracts about the tenets of his new-found faith as early as 1904 and used them to evangelize his home territory prior to the coming of expatriate missionaries. He had also done some pioneering work in Foochow, but in 1920 he returned to Amoy to assist Winferd Hankins (漢謹思), director of the Amoy Mission.3 Their combined efforts by the end of 1922 resulted in the establishment of five churches with a combined baptized membership of 260 converts.4 Winferd’s wife, Bessie, served as secretary/treasurer of the field.5 Membership increased in 1925 to 304.6 At the close of 1931 the statistics reported increases of six organized churches and 370 members.7

In 1924 Benjamin Anderson (安理純) replaced Hankins as director. Despite civil unrest in the territory, five elementary schools were conducted. A central coeducational training school also functioned at Kulangsu, its average enrollment being approximately one hundred forty. An active Missionary Volunteer Society operated at the school.8 Julia Anderson, Benjamin’s wife, supervised the girl’s division of the central school9 in addition to serving as Sabbath School secretary for the mission.10

Any touring of the out-stations carried the perils of warring factions and robbery by bandits, but Anderson reported in the late 1920s that he personally encountered few problems.11 Colporteurs continued their work, some pioneering the island of Formosa in 1929 and finding many interested in their message.12 However, civil unrest grew worse. The March 1931 mission report spoke of some chapels and elementary schools temporarily closed, colporteurs barred from some areas, and evangelism struggling under the adverse conditions. Mission headquarters at Kulangsu was virtually unaffected, the main educational institution then known as Bee-Hwa Training School continuing to function without interference.13 A dairy was established in association with the school, Julia Anderson laboring untiringly to manage the daily chores and assure its success.14

The mission report closing in December 1934 spoke of continuing lawlessness inland, some mission workers captured by bandits who demanded a ransom. Nevertheless, small advances were made. The report noted there were 15 mission stations in the territory, including eight organized churches with a total baptized membership of 422.15 This period was notable for a building program vigorously pursued by mission leaders. A double storey church was erected in the city of Amoy, financed by mission members and church extension funds. The largest undertaking was a three-storey girls’ dormitory for the training school at Kulangsu. For thirty years Julia Anderson had applied herself to tatting lace and sewing all manner of needlework to sell and raise money for missions. She devoted her money to the purchase of the land, the quarrying of granite on the mission grounds, and the construction costs of the enterprise. She had the satisfaction of witnessing its opening at the beginning of the academic year, August 1935.16 When civil unrest escalated in 1938, the building was used as a haven for 400 refugees.17 Two years later, with an easing of tensions, the school experienced a very successful year with an enrollment of approximately four hundred students.18

The statistical report to December 31, 1939, told of ten organized churches in the South Fukien Mission and a total baptized membership of 539.19 The years of the Second World War were relatively peaceful at the Kulangsu headquarters, but it was inland where difficulties arose. Travel facilities were slowed and became expensive. National missionaries at the outlying stations became isolated and found it impossible to meet at headquarters. Nevertheless, some evangelistic crusades were held in the larger cities, and supplies such as Sabbath School pamphlets and tracts were carried inland on foot.20

The post-War period, albeit brief, was characterized by evangelistic crusades that culminated in further baptisms. For example, there were 113 converts baptized during 1948 in the South Fukien Mission.21 The following year, 1949, it became increasingly evident that the communist forces would take control of China. For this reason organizational changes were made by mission leaders to accommodate the emergency. In 1951 all provincial entities such as the South Fukien Mission ceased to have any official status. The final statistics to come from the South Fukien Mission reported that the number of churches had shrunk from ten to eight, but the combined membership had grown to 774 individuals.22

Directors of the South Fukien Mission

Winferd C. Hankins (漢謹思), 1920-1924; Benjamin L. Anderson (安理純), 1924-1935; C.Y. Hung (洪慶鏞), 1935 to 1936; Benjamin L. Anderson, 1936-1938; Gordon L. Williams (威廉士), 1938-1941; J. G. MacIntyre (麥建德), 1941 to 1942; C. Y. Hung (acting), 1942 to 1943; K. S. Keh (acting), 1943-1946; Ging Su-Tang (金素坦), 1947-1951.

Sources

Anderson, Benjamin L. “Itinerating in South Fukien.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1928.

Anderson, Benjamin L. “N.P. Keh.” China Division Reporter, March 1938.

Anderson, Benjamin L. “The South Fukien Mission.” China Division Reporter, April/May 1931.

Anderson, Benjamin L. “The South Fukien Mission-SDA Biennial Period 1925-26.” Far Eastern Division, July 1927.

Anderson, Benjamin L. “The South Fukien Mission of SDA-1931-1934.” China Division Reporter, January/February 1935.

Crisler, Clarence C. “In Amoy.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1928.

Crisler, Clarence C. “Years of Progress in the Amoy Mission.” China Division Reporter, July/August 1932.

Davis, Clarence H. “South China Union.” China Division Reporter, April 1949.

“From Pastor B.L. Anderson.” China Division Reporter, December 1934.

“Glimpses of Provincial Work in South China.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1929.

Ham, A.L. “For the Girls and Young Women of South Fukien.” China Division Reporter, November/ December 1935.

Ham, A.L. “Our Work in Fukien.” China Division Reporter, October 15, 1940.

Ham, A.L. “South China.” China Division Reporter, August 1938.

Morris, Clarence C. “Fukien Meetings,” China Division Reporter, September/October 1935.

“Recent Changes.” China Division Reporter, November 1949.

Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1920-1951.

“South Fukien Mission-1940.” China Division Reporter, September 1941.

“Statistical Report.” Asiatic Division Outlook, May 15, 1923.

“Statistical Report.” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1926.

“Statistical Report.” China Division Reporter, January 1932.

“Statistical Report.” China Division Reporter, August 1, 1940.

Notes

  1. Frederick H. De Vinney, “South China Union Mission,” Asiatic Division Outlook, April 15, 1920, 4.

  2. “South Fukien Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1923), 137.

  3. Benjamin L. Anderson, “N.P. Keh,” China Division Reporter, March 1938, 8; Clarence C. Crisler, “Years of Progress in the Amoy Mission,” China Division Reporter, July/August 1932, 3-4.

  4. “Statistical Report,” Asiatic Division Outlook, May 15, 1923, 9.

  5. “South Fukien Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1924), 142-143.

  6. “Statistical Report,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, April 1926, 11.

  7. “Statistical Report,” China Division Reporter, January 1932, 5.

  8. Benjamin L. Anderson, “The South Fukien Mission- SDA, Biennial Period 1925-26,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, July 1927, 5-6.

  9. Clarence C. Crisler, “In Amoy,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1928, 2.

  10. “South Fukien Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1926), 165-166.

  11. Benjamin L. Anderson, “Itinerating in South Fukien,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, February 1928, 4.

  12. “Glimpses of Provincial Work in South China,” Far Eastern Division Outlook, June 1929, 2.

  13. Benjamin L. Anderson, “The South Fukien Mission,” China Division Reporter, April/May 1931, 14.

  14. “From Pastor B. L. Anderson,” China Division Reporter, December 1934, 2.

  15. Benjamin L. Anderson, “The South Fukien Mission of SDA-1931-1934,” China Division Reporter, January/February 1935, 12-13.

  16. Clarence C. Morris, “Fukien Meetings,” China Division Reporter, September/October 1935, 3-4; A.L. Ham, “For the Girls and Young Women of South Fukien,” China Division Reporter, November/December 1935, 4.

  17. A.L. Ham, “South China,” China Division Reporter, August 1938, 15.

  18. A.L. Ham, “Our Work in Fukien,” China Division Reporter, October 15, 1940, 6.

  19. “Statistical Report,” China Division Reporter, August 1, 1940, 11.

  20. “South Fukien Mission-1940,” China Division Reporter, September 1940, 6.

  21. Clarence H. Davis, “South China Union,” China Division Reporter, April 1949, 6.

  22. “South Fukien Mission,” Seventh-day Adventist Yearbook (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1951), 112.

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Hook, Milton. "South Fukien Mission (1920–1951)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 19, 2022. Accessed May 24, 2024. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6JGL.

Hook, Milton. "South Fukien Mission (1920–1951)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 19, 2022. Date of access May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6JGL.

Hook, Milton (2022, April 19). South Fukien Mission (1920–1951). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 24, 2024, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=6JGL.