United Methodists Honor Noted Chinese Protestant Leader
By Elliott Wright
New York, NY, December 5, 2012—Episcopal and mission leaders of The United Methodist Church paid tribute to Bishop K.H. Ting, one of the most prominent figures in Chinese Protestantism, who died in late November at the age of 98.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council of Bishops, and Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the General Board of Global Ministries called Bishop Ting a “courageous and visionary” leader who helped to guide the Chinese church through the revolutionary era.
Bishop Ting was elected an Anglican bishop before the Chinese Revolution. He emerged as a prominent figure in the non-denominational Protestantism that is today growing rapidly throughout China.
Strong ties existed between Bishop Ting and The United Methodist Church. He addressed the 1988 General Conference, the denomination’s highest legislating body. On that occasion, he spoke movingly about the central role of the Risen Christ in China’s Protestant churches and about the importance of world mission partners. In 1994, he attended a reunion of former Methodist missionaries in China. Before World War II and the subsequent revolution, there were more than 50 Methodist missionaries there.
Kemper asked the Rev. Ewing W. (Bud) Carroll, Jr., a retired missionary living in Hong Kong, to represent the mission agency at a Dec. 8 memorial service for the late bishop in Nanjing. Carroll worked directly with Bishop Ting as a missionary and agency staff member, beginning around 1980.
Bishop Ting was one of the most prominent leaders of Chinese Protestantism of the 20th century. He had a long association with the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, where the memorial service will be, and held top positions in the China Christian Council and the Three-Self Patriotic Movement, the single, non-denominational Protestant entity after the revolution. Nanjing Seminary is the major theological seminary for the training of Chinese Protestant clergy.
Bishop Wenner and Kemper expressed the condolences of The United Methodist Church to the current leaders of the China Christian Council, the Three-Self Movement, and to the Amity Foundation, a Chinese Christian humanitarian organization that Bishop Ting founded and with which Global Ministries has a long-standing partnership.
The Wenner-Kemper letters paid tribute to Bishop Ting for helping to guide the “Chinese churches throughout one of the greatest social transformations in human history” and credited him with seeking church partners throughout the world once China opened up after the revolution.
Carroll knew Bishop Ting well during his years as director of United Methodist China Program from 1986 to 1996 and earlier, 1965 to 1985, as a missionary of the General Board of Global Ministries based in Hong Kong. Carroll is a retired clergy member of the Florida Annual Conference.
One of Carroll’s affiliations with Bishop Ting was through the Amity Foundation, which in addition to doing humanitarian work is the largest printer of Bibles in the world, working closely with the United Bible Societies. Carroll was the foundation’s overseas coordinator in Hong Kong from 1997 to 2002. He continued to live in Hong Kong after his role with the Amity Foundation concluded in 2002.
Learn more about the work of Global Ministries in China.