Great-grandson of William Edward Soothill Visits Wenzhou

By Yetta Yao, November 12, 2017 01:11 AM

William Edward Soothill

News reported that Charles Soothill attended the 120th anniversary celebration of Wenzhou Central Hospital on Oct. 28, 2017.(WeChat account: "Window of Christ's Grace")

On October 28, 2017, Charles Soothill, the great-grandson of Methodist Missionary William Edward Soothill, visited Wenzhou (where William served) at the invitation of Wenzhou Central Hospital, according to a WeChat account called "The Window of Christ's Grace".

The hospital celebrated its 120th anniversary, Wenzhou.net reported. The history can be traced back to the John Dingley Hospital founded in 1897, an expansion of William Soothill's clinic.

Charles Soothill, 58, stated that he heard many stories about Wenzhou from his great-grandmother and his family was proud of what his great-grandparents did in Wenzhou. He said that despite his British identity, William had a close bond of affection with Wenzhou and even China. He helped the Chinese people and spread Chinese culture to the world. "In that era, many people in Wenzhou were addicted to opium. My great grandfather detested that and helped many addicted to it. Back in Britain, he worked as a professor of sinology in the University of Oxford, contributing to China-UK cultural communication for the rest of his life." He added.

On August 9, 2017, the hospital launched an online letter to Wenzhou people across the globe to find descendants of the hospital's early founders, William Edward Soothill and Edward Thomas Arnot Stedeford. The intent was to invite the two missionaries' descendants to join in the celebration of its 120th anniversary.

Some workers from the Wenzhou church also met with Charles. They visited places where his ancestors shared the gospel and served, such as Chengxi Church and Mochi Primary School (formerly named Yiwen School).

The missionary came to Wenzhou one and a half centuries ago. Local churches marked the 150th anniversary of evangelism in the city in different ways.  

- Translated by Karen Luo

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