Fourth Seminar on Thoughts of Samuel Pollard Held in Beijing, Recalling Missionaries’ Contributions to Modern Chinese Education

By Ruth Wang, June 20, 2018 05:06 AM

Rev. Wang Wenfeng donated his calligraphy on the history of Shimenkan in the seminar.

The poster for the seminar, created by Gan Bo

Group photo of the participants who joined in the fourth Samuel Pollard Thoughts Seminar held in Beijing on June 10, 2018

On June 10, 2018, the fourth Samuel Pollard Thoughts Seminar and the second "Samuel Pollard Gardener Award" kicked off in Beijing.

Sponsored by Shenzhen Pollard Shimenkan Education Public Foundation, the seminar was themed with "Missionaries and Modern Chinese Education", attended by about 20 scholars, specialists, and volunteer in rural teachers.

Professor Chen Haowu, the founder and director of the Shimenkan Foundation, addressed a speech on why he wanted Samuel Pollard and Shimenkan to return to the public eye. Chen was shocked by the historic and spiritual legacy the British missionary left for the Miao-populated area. Moreover, the legacy also spread in the world, like the statue of the Miao pastor Wang Zhiming, the only Chinese people among the 20th century ten Christian martyrs, placed above the Great West Door of Westminster Abbey. This gave him an insight that Shimenkan provided a coordinate for Chinese society. The coordinate was significant in that Pollard helped Miao people build relationships with God and that Shimen was a sample of how faith and education changed the society. So he wanted to look at the history with a series of activities.

He confessed that he was mocked by people who questioned about finding civilization in the countryside, but he regarded the civilization based on faith and education in Shimenkan inspiring to the current society. The reason was that civilization also included faith and morality. For human's distortion and moral decay, faith could purify souls and save social degeneration.

"The sample of Shimenkan shows that Christian civilization has the meaning of spiritual salvation for society, able to provide a public spiritual resource for the modernization of Chinese society," Chen added.

Afterward, the participants watched a documentary that recalled the contributions of western missionaries to modern China, especially in education. 

Later, more than ten scholars and specialists gave speeches, including a speech on the education views of William Alexander Parsons Martin and Timothy Richard delivered by Rev. Wang Wenfeng, the founder of the "Oxford Consensus 2013"and another on what education was needed made by Professor Liu Peng, head of Beijing Pushi Institute of Social Sciences.

In addition, outstanding volunteer teachers in rural schools and organization were awarded. 

- Translated by Karen Luo

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