A delegation of Disciples joined President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter in Nanjing, China to unveil a statue of Dr. William Macklin and dedicate a new wing at the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital. Dr. Macklin was a Disciples missionary from Canada, starting schools and providing medical care in the Nanjing area. The Drum Tower Hospital began as an opium addiction clinic in 1892 with an initial gift of $5,000. Today, the hospital has over 3,000 doctors and nurses, 3,000 beds and is the leading teaching hospital of Western medicine in China.
In his remarks, Carter praised the Christian mission personnel who opened the hospital, while also honoring the nine Disciples’ mission personnel who remained on the ground during the Japanese invasion, December 1937-January 1938. Carter spoke openly about the role of the Christian community in China then and today. Watch Carter’s speech
The Disciples mission personnel, working with other foreign workers, created the International Safety Zone Committee. The group saved the lives of over 250,000 Chinese citizens, while over 300,000 were killed. Also speaking at the dedication were representatives of Dr. Macklin’s family and Rev. Dr. Todd Adams, Associate General Minister and Vice President.
Minnie Vautrin, Dean of the Jingling Girls School (known today as Nanjing Normal University), saved 10,000 women and young girls from murder or rape. The delegation honored Vautrin on the 75th anniversary of the invasion by laying a wreath at the statue honoring her at the University. The delegation also met with the president of the university and a member of the last graduating class of the Jingling Girls School. Vautrin is referred to by survivors as the “Living Buddha” or the “Angel of Nanjing.” Vautrin, Grace Bauer, and others are honored at the National Massacre Museum in Nanjing.
The trip highlighted the importance of the ministry of presence. Adams says, “Because our mission personnel were in place before the invasion, they were able to respond with such heroic measures. While our response during and after disasters is important, even more important is our presence and relationships built before natural and human-caused disasters occur.” Global Ministries, funded by Disciples Mission Fund and the Easter Offering, is present in over 90 countries around the globe, continuing our historic ministry of critical presence.
In all, the delegation visited congregations, bible schools, seminaries and church leaders in Beijing, Xi’an, Yuchang, Zhengzhou, and Nanjing. They celebrated the printing of the 100 millionth bible in China, met with leaders of a Global Ministries sponsored orphanage and child care center for disabled children. The delegation included Adams, Dr. Catherine Nichols, executive for mission personnel for Global Ministries and vice president of the Division of Overseas Ministries; Rev. Richard and Linda Hull of Jacksonville, Fla.; Tom Morse, Global Missions personnel in China; Rev. Dr. Xiaoling Zhu, executive for East Asia and the Pacific, and UCC partners, Bing Tso, co-chair of the Global Ministries board and his wife, Janet Gwilym.