Churches across Barnsley welcomed home the family of OMF (Overseas Missionary Fellowship) International founder James Hudson Taylor in mid-June to celebrate the society’s 150th anniversary.
The town hosted Hudson Taylor IVth and his family for three days with a programme including a civic reception, visits to local schools and numerous church services.
Jamie Taylor and his aunt Mary, who had been in a Japanese internment camp as a child in China, visited Horizon Community College and Holy Trinity in Barnsley, and both were very impressed by what they saw in the schools.
Taylor also spoke at three church gatherings, one for Church leaders, one for Chinese Christians who had travelled to attend the celebrations and one for Christians from Barnsley and beyond.
Once Jamie Taylor had departed, the final service took place at St George’s Church on the founding’s anniversary, with Bill Fearnehough from OMF preaching and welcoming a number of retired OMF missionaries who had travelled to Barnsley to join the anniversary celebrations.
Revd David Munby, from St George’s Church, said, “It was a wonderful week which both encouraged all the Christians who were involved - from Barnsley, from OMF and from China - and raised the profile of James Hudson Taylor in Barnsley, which is one of the goals of our James Hudson Taylor Group in Barnsley.”
OMF International, formerly the China Inland Mission, was founded on 25th June 1865 by the Barnsley-born missionary to improve the attempts of his earlier voyage to China.
With the current OMF centre in Singapore, the society has just under 1400 workers in over 40 different nations serving 100 people groups in East Asia.
Unlike former missionaries, Hudson Taylor diverted from British traditions in his attempts to spread the word of God, believing that their teachings would only be successful if they identified with Asian culture, a tactic still used by OMF missionaries today.