The Spring issue of Rotunda,
from the RoyalOntarioMuseum, celebrates the contribution
to its collections by WycliffeCollege
graduate Bishop William White (1873-1960), who was a missionary in China
for 38 years.
As a youth from near Peterborough,
White was encouraged towards the ministry by a lay reader in the local church
of Norwood. After an unsuccessful
application to go as a missionary to Africa, White came
to study theology. Following ordination in 1897, with missionary postings only
available in China,
he set off knowing little about where he was going. Settling in Fujian
province he learned the local Mandarin dialect, dressed like the locals, and
wore his hair long. Following his marriage, he transferred to Fukien
province where he served in a variety of capacities especially in the large
leper colony. At age 36 he was made bishop of Henan,
centred at Kaifeng, where he
ministered from 1910. He coordinated
famine relief, and oversaw the construction of many Anglican churches and buildings,
including a cathedral opened in 1922. By 1934 when he left, 11 churches with
their own Chinese priests had been established. The Anglican mission that White
established gained wide recognition throughout China.
At age 60 White embarked on a new career in Toronto
as university professor and museum curator. He was responsible for establishing
a school of Chinese
studies at the university. He left a legacy of Chinese cultural and art objects
to the ROM.
Throughout his life White maintained a strong daily devotional
life, and recognized God’s hand in all he did. Ambitious, confident, and energetic, Bishop White has left us with an inspiring legacy.
gratefully thanks the RoyalOntarioMuseum for permission to make the
article on Bishop White, which appears in Rotunda
38:3 (Spring, 2006), available here.