Nau, Semisi,  see Semisi Nau


Rhodes, Alexandre de, Jesuit missionary to Vietnam, born Avignon, France, 15 March 1593, died Isfahan, Persia, 5 November 1660. He entered the Jesuit novitiate in Rome in 1612 and was ordained in 1618. That year he traveled to Lisbon, Goa (1619-1622), and Melaka reaching Macao in May 1623. He did language study in Thanh Chiem (Quang Nam) from 1624 and laboured in Tonkin (1627-1630) until expelled. He was professor of theology at the Jesuit College in Macao (1630-1640) before his second mission to Vietnam (1640-1645). He was in Rome (1649-1652) and France (1652-1654) and became Jesuit Superior in Persia in November 1655. He devised the Vietnamese script and wrote the first books in that alphabet. He was imprisoned several times, established a Vietnamese catechumenate, worked for a Vietnamese clergy and the inculturation of Asian Christianity, and by 1640 had seen the baptism of some 100,000 Vietnamese.


Schmidt, Wilhelm SVD Missionary ethnologist, born Hörde, Germany, 16 February 1868, died Fribourg, Switzerland, 10 February 1954. At 15 he attended St Michael’s Mission House, Steyl, the Netherlands, and was ordained priest of the Society of the Divine Word (SVD) in 1892. He studied Middle Eastern languages in Berlin (1893-1895), and taught in Mödling, Vienna (1896-1938), at the University of Vienna (1921-1938) and at Fribourg (1942-1951) where he moved in 1938 to escape the Nazis. Largely self-educated, he gained international recognition for disentangling the relationships between Southeast Asian and Oceanic languages. A gifted and enthusiastic teacher, he wrote in longhand some 650 publications including Der Ursprung der Gottesidee (12 vol. 1912-1955) and Sprachfamilien und Sprachkreisen der Erde (1926). He founded the Anthropos International Review of Ethnology and Linguistics (1906), the Anthropos Institute (Mödling, 1932, Fribourg, 1938) and the papal ethnological museum in Rome.


Shellabear, William, Girdlestone Methodist missionary in Singapore and Malaya, born in Holkham Hall, Norfolk, England, 27 August 1862, died Hartford, Connecticut, 16 January 1947. As a soldier in Singapore in 1887, he learnt Malay and began a life's work of sharing his faith while striving to preserve Malay culture. He joined the American Methodist mission in 1891 and founded the Methodist Publishing House. He was presiding elder of the Methodist Malaysia Annual Conference (1896-1902), and was editor of the Malaysia Message. His Malay publications included an edition of the Malay Annals (Sejarah Melayu, 1896), two epic poems,. a grammar, dictionary and bible translation. In 1916 he left Malaya and studied Islam at Hartford, Cairo and Leiden. He was an editor of The Muslim World (1922-1947) and in 1925 became Professor of Islamics at Hartford.


Sundkler, Bengt (Gustav Malcolm), Lutheran missionary, historian and missiologist, born Degefors, Sweden,  7 May 1909, died Uppsala, Sweden, 1995. He studied at the University of Uppsala, was ordained in 1936 and completed his doctorate in 1937. He was a missionary in South Africa (1937-1942) and Tanganyika (1942-1945). After returning to Sweden he became research secretary of the International Missionary Council in London (1948-1949), then professor of church history and the history of mission (1949-1974) at Uppsala. He was Lutheran Bishop in Bukoba, Tanzania (1961-1964) and a member of the Theological Education Fund Committee (1958-1963) and of Central Committee of the WCC (1961-1965). His publications include Bantu Prophets in South Africa (1948, 1961), The Church of South India: the movement towards union, 1900-1947 (1954), The Christian Ministry in Africa (1960), and (with Christopher Steed) A History of Christianity in Africa (2000)..


Taylor, John Vernon, CMS general secretary, Bishop of Winchester, born Cambridge, England, 11 September 1914. He studied at Trinity College, Cambridge (BA, 1936) and Oxford (MA, 1941) and was ordained priest in 1939. He served as curate in London (1938-1940) and St Helens (1940-1943) and as a CMS missionary became warden of Bishop Tucker Memorial College, Uganda, (1944-1954). He encouraged creative arts including African passion plays. He did research for the International Missionary Council (1955-1959), then became Africa secretary of CMS and in 1963 CMS general secretary. He was also vice-chair of the WCC Theological Education Fund. He became Bishop of Winchester (1975-1985) and retired to Oxford. His publications include Christianity and Politics in Africa (1957), The Growth of the Church in Buganda (1958), The Primal Vision (1963), Enough is Enough (1975), and The Go-Between God (1982).


Tippett, Alan R Australian missionary anthropologist, born Australia, 1911, died Australia, 16 September 1988. He was ordained as a Methodist minister in 1938 and served in two rural pastorates in Victoria before going as a missionary to Fiji in 1941. He itinerated bare-foot round Fijian villages, applied himself to language study and writing and developed an unrivalled understanding of the history of the Fiji mission. He edited the monthly Ai Tukutuku Vakalotu and for four years until he left Fiji in 1961 was principal of the Methodist seminary. Invited by Donald McGavran to Eugene, Oregon, he did his doctorate in anthropology at the University of Oregon, and then followed McGavran to Fuller Theological Seminary’s School of World Mission (1965-1977). He was the first editor of the American Society of Missiology journal, Missiology, and his publications include Solomon Islands Christianity (1967), Church Growth and the Word of God (1970), and Introduction to Missiology (1987).
BDCM, ML, Missiology 17.3 July 1989.

Sung, John Shang-chieh, Chinese evangelist, born Hong Chek, Hinghwa, Fujian, China, 27 September 1901, died near Beijing, China, 18 August 1944. He was converted in 1909 in Hinghwa where his father pastored a Methodist church. He left for study in the United States in 1920 and graduated from Ohio Wesleyan University (BSc, 1923) and Ohio State University (MSc, 1924; PhD, 1926). He experienced a spiritual crisis while at Union Seminary, New York, spent six months in mental hospital, and returned to Hinghwa in 1927. In 1928 he married Yu Chin Hua, taught at Hinghwa Memorial School and became involved with the revival ministry of the Bethel Band. He was appointed Hinghwa Methodist Conference evangelist in 1930 and began conducting missions in many parts of China. The impact of his ministry in Southeast Asia (1935-1939) remains widely felt, and some of the evangelistic groups he started were in operation 50 years later.

Venn, Henry CMS secretary, champion of indigenous church principles, born Clapham, London 10 February 1796, died London 13 January 1873. His grandfather and father were leading Anglican Evangelicals associated with the “Clapham Sect”. He was educated at Queen’s College, Cambridge (BA, 1818; MA, 1821; BD, 1828), ordained deacon (1819) and priest (1821). He served parishes in Hull and London and in 1841 became CMS clerical secretary. Over 32 years he developed mission theories which looked to local leadership to take over from expatriate missionaries. His concepts of the “euthanasia of the mission”, “native pastorate” and “self-propagating, self-financing and self-governing” churches (the later also formulated by Rufus Anderson in North America) proved significant and enduring, though they were out of fashion for a period in the face of late Victorian visions of imperial duty.

Warren, Max (Alexander Cunningham), Historian, strategist, and theologian of mission, born Dun Laoghaire, Ireland, 13 August 1904, died East Dean, Sussex, 22 August 1977. He spent his childhood in India, studied history at Jesus College, Cambridge and theology at Ridley Hall. He went to Nigeria with the CMS in 1927, was invalided home and took three years to recover. After ordination and youth ministry he was vicar of Holy Trinity Cambridge (1936-1942) and then CMS general secretary (1942-1963). His theology of religions was influenced by Kenneth Cragg and his sense of history helped his awareness of the implications of decolonisation. His Missionary Movement from Britain in Modern History (1965) and Social History of Christian Mission (1967) were timely and his CMS Newsletter helped prepare groups wider than the CMS for a different world. His autobiography Crowded Canvas, appeared in 1974.


Wilson, John Leonard, Anglican Bishop of Singapore, born Witton Gilbert, Durham, 23 November 1897, died Wensleydale, Yorkshire, 18 August, 1970. He was educated at Knutsford and Queen’s College Oxford and trained for the priesthood at Wycliffe Hall. He was at Coventry Cathedral (1924-1926) where he was ordained and in Cairo (1927-1929) with the CMS, though his modernist theology proved controversial. He was in parish work in the north of England and in 1938 was invited by R. O. Hall to be Dean of St John’s Cathedral Hong Kong where he was consecrated Bishop of Singapore 22 July 1941. Despite the surrender of Singapore (15 February 1942) he was allowed to visit prisoners and take confirmations until interned in March 1943. He barely survived interrogation 17-19 October 1943 and in 1947 confirmed one of his torturers. He was Dean of Manchester (1949-1953) and Bishop of Birmingham (1953-1969). He was awarded a CMG (1946) and a KCMG (1968).
Roy McKay, John Leonard Wilson, Confessor for the Faith, 1973.


BDCM:  Gerald H. Anderson, ed. Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions. New York: Simon & Schuster Macmillan, 1998.

DAC: John Chew, David Wu and Scott Sunquist, eds., Dictionary of Asian Christianity, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans (forthcoming).

DCA, Dictionary of Christianity in America.

DEB: Donald M. Lewis, ed. The Blackwell Dictionary of Evangelical Biography 1730-1860. Oxford: Blackwell, 1995.

DEM:  Nicholas Lossky, et al, eds. Dictionary of the Ecumenical Movement. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans / Geneva: WCC, 1991.

DSCHT: Nigel M. de S. Cameron, ed. Dictionary of Scottish Church History and Theology. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1993.

EB: Encyclopaedia Britannica, 1999.

IBMR: International Bulletin of Missionary Research

ML: Gerald H. Anderson, et al, eds. Mission Legacies.  Biographical Studies of Leaders of the Modern Missionary Movement, Maryknoll: Orbis, 1994.

ODCC: F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone, eds., The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church, Oxford, 1997.

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