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Conference Paper: Deaconesses in the South China Missions of the CMS, 1922-51

TitleDeaconesses in the South China Missions of the CMS, 1922-51
華南英國海外傳道會的女會吏們 (1922-51)
Authors
Issue Date2015
Citation
The 2015 Conference on Christian Women in Chinese Society: The Anglican Story, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 26-27 June 2015. How to Cite?
AbstractThe ancient Christian order of deaconess was reintroduced by the northern European churches from the 1830s; by 1890 there were more than 5,000 deaconesses working largely in Germany and Scandinavia, rising to nearly 60,000 around the world by the 1950s. While the first deaconess in the Church of England was ordained in 1862, this form of women’s ministry was never as popular in Britain and the British missions as it was elsewhere in the Protestant world. By 1919, however, 431 deaconesses had been ordained within the Anglican communion; of these, four had been placed under the Peking mission in north China to assist with women’s work. The potential benefits of deploying deaconesses in the southern China missions was not appreciated so quickly by local mission committees of the CMS. While the Hong Kong committee agreed in 1918 that deaconesses might provide a valuable adjunct to the primary evangelical work of its priest-missionaries, it was the Fukien mission that ordained the first six deaconesses for southern China in 1922. Another three were ordained in the Kwangsi-Hunan diocese in 1932, but these were all European women. Seven Chinese deaconesses were ultimately ordained in Fukien before 1942, but despite the often-expressed hopes that more Chinese would be drawn to this form of ministry, the only other mission field where the female diaconate rose to prominence was Hong Kong, where Florence Li Tim-oi’s ordination as a deaconess in 1941 under wartime conditions ultimately led to her controversial ordination to the priesthood by Bishop Ronald O. Hall in 1944. Apart from this small group of deaconesses, the majority of the CMS women missionaries continued to work in their traditional roles as teachers and medical missionaries throughout this period. This paper will examine the slow growth of the deaconess movement in the south China missions of the CMS in the first half of the twentieth century and evaluate the work that was achieved by these women before the closure of China to Western missionaries in the early 1950s. It will also suggest some reasons why the widespread hopes that the female diaconate would provide an ‘enlarged sphere of service’ for women missionaries in south China ultimate proved elusive.
DescriptionPanel 2: Missionary Women (婦女與差傳)
Persistent Identifierhttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/211101

 

DC FieldValueLanguage
dc.contributor.authorCunich, P-
dc.date.accessioned2015-07-07T07:17:56Z-
dc.date.available2015-07-07T07:17:56Z-
dc.date.issued2015-
dc.identifier.citationThe 2015 Conference on Christian Women in Chinese Society: The Anglican Story, Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong, 26-27 June 2015.-
dc.identifier.urihttp://hdl.handle.net/10722/211101-
dc.descriptionPanel 2: Missionary Women (婦女與差傳)-
dc.description.abstractThe ancient Christian order of deaconess was reintroduced by the northern European churches from the 1830s; by 1890 there were more than 5,000 deaconesses working largely in Germany and Scandinavia, rising to nearly 60,000 around the world by the 1950s. While the first deaconess in the Church of England was ordained in 1862, this form of women’s ministry was never as popular in Britain and the British missions as it was elsewhere in the Protestant world. By 1919, however, 431 deaconesses had been ordained within the Anglican communion; of these, four had been placed under the Peking mission in north China to assist with women’s work. The potential benefits of deploying deaconesses in the southern China missions was not appreciated so quickly by local mission committees of the CMS. While the Hong Kong committee agreed in 1918 that deaconesses might provide a valuable adjunct to the primary evangelical work of its priest-missionaries, it was the Fukien mission that ordained the first six deaconesses for southern China in 1922. Another three were ordained in the Kwangsi-Hunan diocese in 1932, but these were all European women. Seven Chinese deaconesses were ultimately ordained in Fukien before 1942, but despite the often-expressed hopes that more Chinese would be drawn to this form of ministry, the only other mission field where the female diaconate rose to prominence was Hong Kong, where Florence Li Tim-oi’s ordination as a deaconess in 1941 under wartime conditions ultimately led to her controversial ordination to the priesthood by Bishop Ronald O. Hall in 1944. Apart from this small group of deaconesses, the majority of the CMS women missionaries continued to work in their traditional roles as teachers and medical missionaries throughout this period. This paper will examine the slow growth of the deaconess movement in the south China missions of the CMS in the first half of the twentieth century and evaluate the work that was achieved by these women before the closure of China to Western missionaries in the early 1950s. It will also suggest some reasons why the widespread hopes that the female diaconate would provide an ‘enlarged sphere of service’ for women missionaries in south China ultimate proved elusive.-
dc.languageeng-
dc.relation.ispartofConference on Christian Women in Chinese Society: The Anglican Story-
dc.rightsCreative Commons: Attribution 3.0 Hong Kong License-
dc.titleDeaconesses in the South China Missions of the CMS, 1922-51-
dc.title華南英國海外傳道會的女會吏們 (1922-51)-
dc.typeConference_Paper-
dc.identifier.emailCunich, P: cunich@hku.hk-
dc.identifier.authorityCunich, P=rp01191-
dc.description.naturepostprint-
dc.identifier.hkuros244564-

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