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China Inland Mission

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China Inland Mission

OMF International
Type Evangelical Missions Agency
Founded 25 June 1865
Founder(s) Hudson Taylor
Origins China Inland Mission (till 1964)
Area served 25 Countries

OMF International (formerly Overseas Missionary Fellowship and before 1964 the China Inland Mission) is an interdenominational Protestant Christian missionary society based in Singapore. It was founded in Britain by Hudson Taylor on 25 June 1865.


The non-sectarian China Inland Mission was founded on principles of faith and prayer. From the beginning it recruited missionaries from the working class as well as single women, which was a new practice for a large agency. Even today, no appeals for funds are made, instead a reliance upon God is practiced to move people through prayer alone. The goal of the mission that began dedicated to China has grown to include bringing the Gospel to the millions of inhabitants of East Asia who have never heard or had access to the message of Jesus Christ. Reluctantly, along with the departure of all foreign Christian workers in the early 1950s, the China Inland Mission redirected all of its missionaries to other parts of east Asia, to continue the work and maintain a ministry to China and the Chinese. The name was officially changed to Overseas Missionary Fellowship in 1964. A quote from the OMF website in 2006 summarizes the current organization:Template:Cquote


Missiological Distinctives of the C.I.M.


Taking Root

Hudson Taylor made the first decision to found the China Inland Mission at Brighton, England during his first furlough from China. Like his missionary forebear Karl Gützlaff and contemporary William Chalmers Burns, Taylor was convinced that Chinese clothing should be worn when engaged in missionary work in inland China. On October 3, 1865, Taylor sent John and Anne Stevenson and George Stott to China, where they arrived on February 6, 1866. Including the five missionaries previously sent to Ningbo -James Joseph Meadows, Jean Notman, Stephen Paul Barchet, and George and Anne Crombie, these eight were already in China when Taylor returned in 1866. On 26 May of that year, Taylor accompanied the largest group of missionaries that had ever sailed to China on the Lammermuir. There were 16 missionaries as well as Hudson, his wife, Maria and their 4 children that became known as the Lammermuir Party. This journey took 4 months.

Inland pioneering

In 1872, the China Inland Mission's London council was formed. In 1875, it began to evangelise China systematically. Taylor requested 18 missionaries from God for the nine provinces which were still unreached. In 1881, he requested a further 70 missionaries, and, in 1886, 100 missionaries. In 1887 "The Hundred missionaries" were sent to China. Taylor traveled across several continents to recruit for the China Inland Mission. By the end of the nineteenth century, the CIM was well known around the world. Richard Lovett wrote about the practices of the missionaries in 1899: Template:Cquote[3]

Boxer Crisis of 1900

In 1900, attacks took place across China in connection with the Boxer Rebellion which targeted Christians and foreigners. The China Inland Mission lost more members than any other agency: 58 adults and 21 children were killed. (See the List of the Martyred Missionaries of the China Inland Mission in 1900). However, in 1901, when the allied nations were demanding compensation from the Chinese government, Hudson Taylor refused to accept payment for loss of property or life in order to demonstrate the meekness of Christ to the Chinese. In the same year, Dixon Edward Hoste was appointed to the directorship of the mission.

Growth amid war and revolution

The early 1900s saw great expansion of missionary activity in China following the Boxer Rebellion and during the Revolution of 1912 and the establishment of the Chinese Republic. William Whiting Borden, wealthy heir of the Borden, Inc. family, who graduated from Yale in 1909, left behind a comfortable life in America to respond to the call for workers with the Muslims of northwest China. He died in Egypt while still in training.

A musician and an engineer named James O. Fraser was the first to bring the Gospel message to the Lisu tribes of Yunnan in southwest China. This resulted in phenomenal church growth among the various tribes in the area that endured to the 21st century.

The Warlord period brought widespread lawlessness to China and missionary work was often dangerous or deadly. John and Betty Stam were a young couple who were murdered in 1934 by Communist soldiers. Their biography "The Triumph of John and Betty Stam" inspired a generation of missionaries to follow in the same steps of service despite the trials of war and persecution that raged in China in the 1930s and 1940s.

The Japanese invasion further complicated efforts as the Japanese distrusted anyone with British or American Nationalities. When the Japanese invaded China in World War II, the China Inland Mission moved its headquarters up the Yangzi River to Chongqing. Many missionaries were put into concentration camps until the end of the war. One such camp was at Weifang. The entire Chefoo School run by the mission at Yantai was imprisoned at a concentration camp. As the children and teachers were marched off they sang: Template:Cquote The students were separated from their parents for more than 5 years.

In 1900 there were an estimated 100,000 Christians in China. It multiplied to seven times that number by 1950 (700,000). The Chinese church began to be an indigenous movement helped by strong leaders such as John Sung, Wang Ming-Dao, Watchman Nee, and Andrew Gih.

From C.I.M. to O.M.F

Phyllis Thompson wrote that between 1949 and 1952, after the victory of the Communist armies, there was a “reluctant exodus” of all of the members of the China Inland Mission. The leaders met at Bournemouth, England to discuss the situation and the decision was made to re-deploy all of the missionaries into the rest of East Asia. Headquarters were moved to Singapore and work commenced in Japan, Taiwan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, and Indonesia. In addition to reducing some languages to written form, the Bible was translated, and basic theological education was given to neglected tribal groups. The publication and distribution of Christian literature were prioritized among both the rural tribes people and the urban working classes and students. The goal remained for every community to have a church in East Asia and thereby the Gospel would be preached “to every creature”. The proclamation of the Christian message also included medical work. Three hospitals were opened in rural Thailand as well as a leprosy control program. Many of the patients were refugees. In the Philippines, community development programs were launched. Alcoholic rehabilitation began in Japan, and rehabilitation work among prostitutes was begun in Taipei and Bangkok.

In 1980, Hudson Taylor's great grandson, James Hudson Taylor III, became General Director of the mission work. According to Taylor in 1989, Template:Cquote.

Patrick Fung, a Chinese Christian appointed in 2005, is the first Asian to lead the mission. The work continues to the present day.

The old London headquarters building

Impressive headquarters were built on Newington Green, in North London, technically in Islington but a few metres from Hackney. By the late nineteenth century, when the CIM building was commissioned, what was once a rural village had long been subsumed into the metropolis. Newington Green had grown up around a core of English Dissenters and their famous academies. The CIM headquarters sit between two other listed buildings on the green, Newington Green Unitarian Church (1708), and the oldest brick terrace in London, 52-55 the Green, where the most famous minister, Richard Price, lived.



  • China Inland Mission founded, 25 June 1865 in Brighton Beach, Sussex, England
  • "China's Spiritual Need and Claims" by Hudson Taylor published, October 1865 in London
  • The Occasional Paper of the China Inland Mission, January 1866 is first published, in London
  • Lammermuir Party Sailed to China May 1866
  • Lammermuir party arrived, December 1866 in 1 Xin Kai Long (New Lane), Hangzhou, Zhejiang, China
  • 1866 Zhejiang : Hangzhou (Hudson Taylor opened mission station as his headquarters).
  • 1866 Zhejiang : Fenghua George Crombie opened mission station.
  • 1866 Zhejiang : Shaoxing John Stevenson (missionary) & his wife Ann opened mission station.


  • Maria Jane Dyer "Mother of the Mission" died 23 July 1870 in Zhenjiang, Jiangsu, China
  • 1871-1875 Jiangxi : Dagutang J. E. Cardwell and wife opened mission station.
  • 1874 Hubei : Wuchang Hudson Taylor & Charles Judd opened mission station.
  • An appeal for eighteen workers is published January 1875 in London
  • China's Millions Vol. 1, No. 1, published July 1875 in London
  • 1875 Henan : Henry Taylor (missionary) is the first Protestant Christian to work in one of the 9 provinces of China so far considered unaware of the Gospel message.
  • 1875 Hunan : Charles Henry Judd and Adam C. Dorward are the first Protestant Christian missionaries there and later the two traveled 1500 miles across China from 1880-1882.
  • 1876 Shanxi : Francis James (missionary) and Joshua J. Turner are the first Protestant Christian missionaries there and begin to help out victims of the disaster and famine.
  • 1876 Shaanxi : Frederick W. Baller, George King (missionary) are the first Protestant Christian missionaries to work there.
  • 1876 Gansu : George F. Easton and George Parker (missionary) are the first Protestant Christian missionaries to work there.
  • 1876 Sichuan : James Cameron (missionary) is the first itinerant Protestant Christian missionary to work there. George Nicoll settles there after itineration.
  • 1877 Guizhou : Charles Henry Judd and James F. Broumton are the first Protestant Christian missionaries there. Broumton later pioneered work among the Miao and Yi people minority groups.
  • 1877 Guangxi : Edward Fishe is the first Protestant Christian missionary there. He died the same year.
  • 1877 Yunnan : John McCarthy traveled on foot from Zhenjiang to Hankou, via Sichuan, Guizhou and Yunnan to Bhamo in Myanmar; the trip lasted 7 months with preaching along the way. He was the first European to cross China by foot from east to west as well as the first Protestant Christian missionary to enter Yunnan Province.
  • 1877 Tibet : James Cameron walked from Chongqing to Batang, the first to bring the Gospel to the Tibetan people. He then went on to Dali and Bhamo, then via Guangdong back to Chongqing, a journey covering 17 out of the then 18 Chinese provinces.
  • 1878 Shanxi : Jennie Taylor (Jane Elizabeth Faulding) is the first female Christian missionary to travel in inland China, distributing relief for those affected by the Great North China Famine of 1877-78.
  • 1879 Shaanxi : George and Emily Snow King are the first married missionary couple to settle in Hanzhong.
  • 1879 Sichuan : M. A. Howland Nicoll is the first female Christian missionary to live in Chongqing.


  • 1880 Shanxi : Harold A. Schofield established the first China Inland Mission Hospital at Taiyuan.
  • 1880 Gansu : Elizabeth Wilson (missionary) is the first female Christian missionary there.
  • 1880 Guizhou : George Clarke (missionary) and his wife Fanny settle to work there.
  • 1881 Yunnan : John Stevenson (missionary) and Henry Soltau traveled 1900 miles in 86 days on foot from Bhamo, Kunming, Chonqing, Wuchang to Shanghai, setting a record from west to east.
  • 1881 Yunnan : George and Fanny Clarke settle to work in Dali.
  • 1881 Shandong : Chefoo School begun at Yantai (originally "The Protestant Collegiate School")
  • Cambridge Seven arrived 3 March 1885 in China
  • The Hundred missionaries sent out in one year 1887
  • Benjamin Broomhall launches National Righteousness, an Anti-Opium Campaign periodical in 1888
  • First party of American missionaries arrived 30 October 1888 in Shanghai, China
  • 1889, North America Home Council formed


  • Shanghai Headquarters at Wusong Road 1890
  • 1890 Australia Home Council for CIM formed
  • First party of Australian missionaries arrived in 1890


  • Boxer Rebellion of 1900 claims 58 missionaries and 21 children killed from the China Inland Mission.
  • In 1901 Hudson Taylor refused to accept compensation payment from the Chinese government for loss of property or life, to show the ‘meekness and gentleness of Christ’
  • 1901, A council was set up, headquartered in Philadelphia, to supervise the mission's work in the United States
  • Dixon Edward Hoste appointed acting General Director in 1901
  • James Hudson Taylor Resigned as Director of the China Inland Mission November 1902
  • 1904 Xinjiang: George Hunter (missionary) opens mission station.
  • James Hudson Taylor died 3 June 1905 in Changsha, Hunan, China
  • Empress Dowager Dies in 1908
  • China Inland Mission sent relief team to flood and famine in Jiangsu, Anhui, and Henan


  • J. O. Fraser arrived in China in 1910
  • 60,000 Christians in West Yunnan, China tribal region
  • 1911 Benjamin Broomhall died after Anti-Opium Campaign succeeds
  • Chinese Republic established in 1912
  • In 1912 membership in the China Inland Mission exceeds 1000, now the largest mission agency working in China
  • 1915 1,063 workers were working at 227 stations.


  • The Chinese Civil War forced a temporary evacuation of nearly all of the missionaries
  • 1927-1932 200 missionaries selected from over 1200 applicants
  • 1925 Gustav Burklin arrives in China


  • Headquarters in Shanghai move to Sinza Road in 1930
  • 1934 1,368 missionaries were serving at 364 stations. The mission staff also included hundreds of Chinese pastors, teachers, colporteurs, chapel keepers, and Bible women.
  • John and Betty Stam executed in South Anhui in 1934
  • World War II forced many of the missionaries further inland – or they were captured by the Japanese and detained until the end of the war


  • 1942, 1,263 missionaries. The headquarters was evacuated out of Shanghai to escape the Japanese army. An emergency headquarters was set up in Chongqing, the same city where the Chinese government had relocated.
  • November 1942 China Inland Mission School at Chefoo (Yantai) is closed and all students and staff imprisoned.
  • 1943, South Africa Home Council formed
  • August 1945 China Inland Mission School at Chefoo (Yantai) is liberated by American paratroopers
  • 1945, The staff moved back to Shanghai
  • October 1, 1949 Mao Zedong proclaims People's Republic of China in Beijing


  • After the "Christian Manifesto", the China Inland Mission began to withdraw its missionaries ending in 1953
  • 1950, 1,104 missionaries, of whom 757 were in China. CIM home council started in Switzerland
  • 1951 Three-Self Patriotic Movement launched allowing government control of Christian assembly
  • In November 1951, a new headquarters was set up in Singapore, and the organization's name was changed to The China Inland Mission Overseas Missionary Fellowship
  • 1951, A temporary headquarters was set up in Hong Kong, mainly to oversee the withdrawal of the missionaries.
  • October 14, 1954, The mission was reorganized at a meeting of the mission's overseas council. The council reaffirmed the need for the mission, but changed its structure so that non-Western Christians could become full members and set up home councils in their own countries. The main emphasis of the OMF was to continue to be evangelism, but support would also be given to a literature program, medical services, radio and TV outreach, student work, and linguistic work.
  • Re-deployment of all missionaries to East Asia




  • Chinese Church reaches 21.5 million baptised members, over 52 million including Christian families and adherents


  • Overseas Missionary Fellowship renamed OMF International

See also


The papers of the China Inland Mission are held by SOAS Archives



  • LONDON : MORGAN AND SCOTT, 12, PATERNOSTER BUILDINGS, E.C. Original from the New York Public Library Digitized Aug 15, 2006
  • (Princeton University)


Further reading

External links

  • OMF International (formerly China Inland Mission and Overseas Missionary Fellowship)
  • Wheaton College Billy Graham Center Archives of the China Inland Mission
  • Christian Biography Resources
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