Lowry, Charles Fulton (1886–1919)

By Thang Suan Sum, and Remwil R. Tornalejo

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Thang Suan Sum (B.Th., M.A. Religion) was born on March 11, 1988, to Thang Za Tun and Dim Man Cing, in Anlangh Village, Tedim Township, Chin State, Myanmar. He pursued his undergraduate education at Spicer Memorial College, and graduate education at Andrew University (Spicer Memorial College-off Campus). Currently, he works at Myanmar Union Adventist Seminary as a Bible instructor in religion. 

Remwil R. Tornalejo is an associate professor in the Historical-Theological department of the International Institute of Advanced Studies Seminary (AIIAS). Tornalejo has a B.A. in theology from Mountain View College, Valencia, Philippines, and M.P.S., M.Div., and M.Th. degrees from AIIAS. He had served as a pastor, Literature Ministry Seminary dean and instructor at the South Philippine Union Conference. He had served as chair of the theology department of the South Philippine Adventist College. Tornalejo completed his D.Theol. from Theological Union (ATESEA). He is married to Marilou Manatad. They have four children.

First Published: April 28, 2021

Charles Fulton Lowry was an evangelist, pastor, pioneer missionary in Burna (Myanmar), church planter, and church administrator.

Early Life

Charles Fulton Lowry was born February 19, 1886, in Springville, Tennessee, to Elder William Sidney Lowry and Nancy Anna Wall Lowry.1 He grew up in Lane, Tennessee and Hazel, Kentucky.2 William Sidney Lowry was one of the pioneer ministers of the Seventh-day Adventist Church3 in the Southeastern United States. Charles had five other siblings, Gentry Lowry, an unnamed sibling, Burlie William, Willis, and Lillie Anderson-McMullen.4 Gentry Lowry served as a pioneer missionary and church leader in India.5

Education and Marriage

Charles Lowry attended public school from 1894 to 1896. He attended Adventist schools for ten years between1897 and 1910, missing school for three years of that period. He was converted in the early part of 1898 and was baptized into the church in March 1898 by Elder J. D. Pegg at Lane, Tennessee.6

Charles Fulton Lowry was married on August 18, 1910 to Eva Callicott Lowry,7 who was born on August 10, 18898 at Lane, Tennessee to Leonidas Adolphus Callicot and Fannie Fern Morris.9 They had two children, namely, Evalyn Mina Lowry, a daughter born in 1912, and a son, Morris Callicot Lowry, born in 1916.10

Ministry

Lowry began his denominational service in the spring of 1908 as a colporteur and labored in the state of Oklahoma until 1909. He went to school the following winter. He entered the ministry in the spring of 1910, engaging in tent work during tent season and, together with his wife, taught at the Pine Grove Church School in Pennsylvania from 1910 to 1911.11

Lowry devoted his life to the work of the ministry, assisting in tent work in Denver, in Camden, Tennessee in 1912, and in Jackson, Tennessee in 1913 and 1914.12 In 1915 he conducted two tent meetings in Paducah, Kentucky, resulting in a church of eighteen members. He also served as a member of the Tennessee River Conference Executive Committee for three years.

Lowry was ordained to the ministry July 30, 1915, at Hazel, Kentucky, during a camp meeting by Elders W.W. Eastman, S.E. Wight, and W.R. Elliott.13 Almost a year later the Lowrys received a call to serve in Burma (now Myanmar). On August 8, 1916, together with other missionaries, they sailed for Burma.14 They arrived in September 1916.15

Lowry served as Burma’s first mission superintendent.16 In 1917 the Burma Mission held evangelistic meetings in places including Kamamaung, Meikthila, Taungngu, and Mandalay. Three native Burmese workers began devoting themselves to full-time evangelistic work.17 That year Lowry reported fifteen baptisms, with more candidates preparing for baptism at Meikthila Technical School.18

On June 19, 1918, Elder Lowry journeyed towards Karen Mission Station in the Salwin area, looking for a place to open a training school. They were assisted by a Brother Peter and one of the Karen boys from Meiktila School.19

At the Burma general meeting held in Rangoon from August 28 to September 2, 1918, Lowry reported how the gospel work progressed in Burma despite challenges. Both local and foreign workers joined in seeking the help of God to move forward the work.20

Lowry noted that most of the new believers joined as a result of reading Adventist literature leading to Bible study with Adventist gospel workers. He wrote, “They are now walking in all the light, and rejoice with us in the hope of the soon coming of Christ. The English services in the evening were well attended. Elder G.A. Hamilton has distributed thousands of pages of literature during the year, and there is a deep interest among a good class of people.”21

During the early part of 1919, C.F. Lowry organized a church of eleven members at Kamamaung, the first church among the Karens. However, the work was cut short. Along with W.W. Fletcher, C.F. Lowry went back to Rangoon via Mandalay, due to the latter’s intense illness.22 He died of smallpox February 14, 1919,23 in Rangoon, Burma, age 33. Eva Lowry died November 16, 1966, at the age of 77, in Cleburne, Johnson, Texas. She was buried in Keene, Texas.24

Legacy

Elder Charles F. Lowry’s legacy can be seen not only in Myanmar, but everywhere he labored. He excelled in canvassing work in the area of Jennings, Oklahoma,25 and dedicated his life to both the teaching and pastoral ministry.

Most especially he is considered as the first superintendent of Myanmar Union Mission. His appointment to this office was not acknowledged as a mere matter of position but of utmost dedication to service. In his short missionary tenure, he spearheaded the various ministries of the mission, bringing the message to the local people in their own dialect. He is acknowledged as the pioneer who planted the first Karen Adventist church in Myanmar.26 Although his life was cut short due to illness, he was able to give his best, including his life, for the service of the Master.

Sources

Beckner, R.A. “Myanaung, Burma.” India Union Tidings, July 15, 1918.

Biographical Information Blank, Charles Fulton Lowry, General Conference Archives, Silver Spring, Maryland, U.S.A.

Eastman, W.W. “The Tennessee River Camp Meeting.” ARH, August 26, 1915.

Fletcher, W.W. “The Hand of Death.” India Union Tidings, March 1, 1919.

Fletcher, W.W. “A Visit to Burman.” India Union Tidings, February 15, 1917.

Fletcher, W.W. “Visit to East Bengal and Burma.” India Union Tidings, February 15, 1919.

Hamilton, G.A. “Obituaries.” ARH, May 22, 1919.

Howson, Cheryl Christo. “Lowry, Gentry G.” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, 2020. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9I3D&highlight=Lowry.

https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/L7FF-5Z6/eva-jane-callicott-1889-1966. Accessed July 24, 2021.

https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/KG6R-XSW/evalyn-mina-lowry-1912-1993. Accessed July 25, 2021.

Lowry, C.F. “Burma General Meeting.” ARH, February 13, 1919.

Lowry, C.F. “Burma.” India Union Tidings, July 15, 1918.

Lowry, W.S. Mississippi Conference.” Southern Union Worker, January 5, 1911.

Spalding, Arthur W. Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists: A Revision of the Books Captains of the Host and Christ’s Last Legion, Volume III. Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1962.

Wilcox, Francis McLellan. Untitled. ARH, March 16, 1919.

Wilcox, Francis McLellan. Untitled. ARH, December 20, 1917.

“William Sidney Lowry.” https://www.geni.com/people/William-Lowry/6000000028049936419.

Woodward, C. N. “Oklahoma.” Southwestern Union Record, August 4, 1908.

Notes

  1. Biographical Information Blank, Charles Fulton Lowry, General Conference Archives. See also Arthur W. Spalding, Origin and History of Seventh-day Adventists: A Revision of the Books Captains of the Host and Christ’s Last Legion, Volume III (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association, 1962), 111. See also “William Sidney Lowry,” https://www.geni.com/people/William-Lowry/6000000028049936419. Accessed July 25, 2021.

  2. Biographical Information Blank, Charles Fulton Lowry.

  3. “William Sidney Lowry,” https://www.geni.com/people/William-Lowry/6000000028049936419.

  4. Ibid.

  5. Cheryl Christo Howson, “Lowry, Gentry G,” Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists, 2020, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=9I3D&highlight=Lowry.

  6. Biographical Information Blank.

  7. https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/L7FF-5Z6/eva-jane-callicott-1889-1966. Accessed July 24, 2021.

  8. Biographical Information Blank; https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/KG6R-XSW/evalyn-mina-lowry-1912-1993. Accessed July 25, 2021.

  9. https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/L7FF-5Z6/eva-jane-callicott-1889-1966.

  10. Ibid.

  11. W.S. Lowry, Mississippi Conference,” Southern Union Worker, January 5, 1911, 4-5.

  12. Biographical Information Blank. See also W. W. Eastman, “The Tennessee River Camp Meeting,” ARH, August 26, 1915, 17.

  13. Biographical Information Blank.

  14. G.A. Hamilton, “Obituaries,” ARH, May 22, 1919, 31.

  15. W.W. Fletcher, “The Hand of Death,” India Union Tidings, March 1, 1919, 2, 3.

  16. Ibid., W.W. Fletcher, “A Visit to Burma,” India Union Tidings, February 15, 1917, 2.

  17. Ibid.

  18. Francis McLellan Wilcox, Untitled, ARH, December 20, 1917, 24.

  19. W.W. Fletcher, “Visit to East Bengal and Burma,” India Union Tidings, February 15, 1919, 2-4.

  20. C.F. Lowry, “Burma General Meeting,” ARH, February 13, 1919, 23-24.

  21. Ibid.

  22. W.W. Fletcher, “Visit to East Bengal and Burma,” India Union Tidings, 2-4.

  23. Francis McLellan Wilcox, Untitled, ARH, March 16, 1919, 32.

  24. https://ancestors.familysearch.org/en/L7FF-5Z6/eva-jane-callicott-1889-1966.

  25. C.N. Woodward, “Oklahoma,” Southwestern Union Record, August 4, 1908, 4.

  26. C.F. Lowry, “Burma,” India Union Tidings, July 15, 1918, 2, 3. See also R.A. Beckner, “Myanaung, Burma,” India Union Tidings, July 15, 1918, 3.

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Sum, Thang Suan, Remwil R. Tornalejo. "Lowry, Charles Fulton (1886–1919)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Accessed May 21, 2022. https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7G0I.

Sum, Thang Suan, Remwil R. Tornalejo. "Lowry, Charles Fulton (1886–1919)." Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. April 28, 2021. Date of access May 21, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7G0I.

Sum, Thang Suan, Remwil R. Tornalejo (2021, April 28). Lowry, Charles Fulton (1886–1919). Encyclopedia of Seventh-day Adventists. Retrieved May 21, 2022, https://encyclopedia.adventist.org/article?id=7G0I.