Former U.S. president, Global Ministries dedicate hospital wing in Nanjing

Former U.S. president, Global Ministries dedicate hospital wing in Nanjing

Dec. 15, 2012, the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital celebrated its 120th anniversary, Nanjing, China. It was founded by Disciples of Christ in the US and Canada in 1892.
Working with Carter Center, the East Asia and Pacific office successfully invited the former US President Jimmy Carter and the former first wife Rosalynn Carter to attend the events during their visits to China in December 2012.

A delegation of Disciples joined President and Mrs. Jimmy Carter in Nanjing, China to unveil a statue of Dr. William Macklin and dedicate a new wing at the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital.  Dr. Macklin was a Disciples missionary from Canada, starting schools and providing medical care in the Nanjing area. The Drum Tower Hospital began as an opium addiction clinic in 1892 with an initial gift of $5,000.  Today, the hospital has over 3,000 doctors and nurses, 3,000 beds and is the leading teaching hospital of Western medicine in China. 

In his remarks, Carter praised the Christian mission personnel who opened the hospital, while also honoring the nine Disciples’ mission personnel who remained on the ground during the Japanese invasion, December 1937-January 1938. Carter spoke openly about the role of the Christian community in China then and today.  Watch Carter’s speech

The Disciples mission personnel, working with other foreign workers, created the International Safety Zone Committee. The group saved the lives of over 250,000 Chinese citizens, while over 300,000 were killed.  Also speaking at the dedication were representatives of Dr. Macklin’s family and Rev. Dr. Todd Adams, Associate General Minister and Vice President.  

Minnie Vautrin, Dean of the Jingling Girls School (known today as Nanjing Normal University), saved 10,000 women and young girls from murder or rape. The delegation honored Vautrin on the 75th anniversary of the invasion by laying a wreath at the statue honoring her at the University.  The delegation also met with the president of the university and a member of the last graduating class of the Jingling Girls School.  Vautrin is referred to by survivors as the “Living Buddha” or the “Angel of Nanjing.”  Vautrin, Grace Bauer, and others are honored at the National Massacre Museum in Nanjing. 

The trip highlighted the importance of the ministry of presence.  Adams says, “Because our mission personnel were in place before the invasion, they were able to respond with such heroic measures.  While our response during and after disasters is important, even more important is our presence and relationships built before natural and human-caused disasters occur.”  Global Ministries, funded by Disciples Mission Fund and the Easter Offering, is present in over 90 countries around the globe, continuing our historic ministry of critical presence. 

In all, the delegation visited congregations, bible schools, seminaries and church leaders in Beijing, Xi’an, Yuchang, Zhengzhou, and Nanjing. They celebrated the printing of the 100 millionth bible in China, met with leaders of a Global Ministries sponsored orphanage and child care center for disabled children. The delegation included Adams, Dr. Catherine Nichols, executive for mission personnel for Global Ministries and vice president of the Division of Overseas Ministries; Rev. Richard and Linda Hull of Jacksonville, Fla.; Tom Morse, Global Missions personnel in China; Rev. Dr. Xiaoling Zhu, executive for East Asia and the Pacific, and UCC partners, Bing Tso, co-chair of the Global Ministries board and his wife, Janet Gwilym. 

Click here for photos from Nanjing Hospital Celebration [PDF]

 Drum Tower Hospitaly Dedication Speech by Jimmy Carter

Former US President Jimmy Carter’s Speech at the Nanjing Drum Tower Hospital 120th Anniversary Celebration

Nanjing, China, Dec. 15, 2012

As a Christian myself, as a son of registered nurse, as a former President of United State of America, I am very proud to participate in this wonderful ceremony to commemorate the 120th birthday of this great hospital.  This is indeed an emotional event for me.  To look back upon the history, not only of the medical care for Chinese people, but also as a demonstration of my religious faith, and as a symbol of friendship that has existed between China and people of United States and Canada.

Yesterday, I was overwhelmed with emotion as we visited the memorial to the people who lost their lives in the terrible massacre 75 year ago.  But I was also overwhelmed with the presentation of the care that Christian missionaries gave to the people of Nanjing during this terrible event.  This was a time of demonstration of the wonderful contribution that medical missionaries have made to China down to the ages.  I believe that this is a time also to point out that the essence of Christianity is service to others.  Gesticulate

I was able to contribute in some small part to the formation of increase friendship between our two countries, when your Vice-Premier Deng Xiaoping worked with me in 1978 to help arrange for normalization of diplomatic relations between our two countries after 35 years of estrangement.  When Deng Xiaoping came to visit me in the White House in January 1979, he asked me what he could do as a personal thing for the contribution I had made in forming this alliance.  I told him when I was a little child, just this big (gesticulate), I had given 5 cents each week to help PA hospitals and schools for Chinese children to the Christian missionaries who visited our region of Georgia.  My hope is that some of my pennies went to this expand the hospital that Dr. Macklin and his wife Dorothy established.

This is a time of thanksgiving not only for the great contributions medically speaking, not only for the contributions of medical science to the wellbeing of the people of China, but also to the increasing and permanent friendship that binds our two great countries together.

Yesterday, I met with the Party Secretary Xi Jingping.  I had met with him 3 times before this, and every time we have a meeting together we remind each other that we have some differences between our two countries of course, but the overwhelming commitments of both nations, and our leaders in the past and also now and in the future could be based on the realization that cooperation, friendship, understanding and mutual respect overwhelm many differences that might exist. And our countries together as has been demonstrated here for the last 120 years in this historic place will provide guidance to all of us in the years ahead.

So I am grateful for medical contributions, for the service of Christian missionaries, for the friendship that binds our countries together now and for the future contributions, to the people of the world with a great friendship of the People’s Republic of China and the United States of America.  Thank you, Xiexie.

Audio Recording by Xiaoling Zhu and Crystal Edgar

William Edward Macklin (1860-1947) was the first missionary to China, sent by the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in the United States and Canada.  He and his wife Dorothy Delany Macklin