Posts by Simonetta Carr

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Sybil Mosely Bingham and the Challenges of Missionary Life in Hawaii Sybil’s admission to the mission field reminds me of a scene of a movie. She was asking for directions to her accommodations when a young man offered to take her there. The man, Hiram Bingham, was preparing to leave as a...
Sarah Lanman Huntington Smith – Missionary to Mohegans and Syrians The idea that many of the Mohegans who lived in her region had never heard the gospel bothered Sarah Huntington (1802-1836) so much that it turned into a source of anxiety. Few people shared her sentiments. She could just imagine...
John Ross and the Gospel in Korea In the autumn of 1874, the Scottish missionary John Ross arrived at a village known as “Korean Gate,” near the eastern border between Manchuria (in north-east China) and Korea. Sent to Manchuria by the Scottish United Presbyterian Mission, he had been working for...
Hope Masterton Waddell and His Missionary Team In 1841, a group of missionaries in Jamaica read a copy of Sir T. Fowell Buxton’s seminal book, The Slave Trade and Its Remedy. One portion stood out more than others. According to Buxton, among the black Christians in the West Indies, “there may arise...
Martin Luther – A Ground-Breaking Translator While living in incognito in the Wartburg Castle (after the Diet of Worms), Martin Luther spent his time translating the New Testament from Greek and Latin into German. It was not the first German translation, but Luther found the others inadequate. Both...
Johann Von Staupitz – Luther’s “First Father” in the Doctrine of Predestination When Johann Von Staupitz first met Martin Luther, probably in 1506, he saw a young man who was both inquisitive and talented, with a strong potential to teach at the newly founded University of Wittenberg where the...
Helmuth James Graf von Moltke – Learning to Number His Days “One thing Christianity and we National Socialists have in common, and only one: we demand the whole man.” These words, pronounced by Roland Freisler, State Secretary of the Reich, at the time of the trial of Helmuth von Moltke, were...
Jennie Faulding Taylor and Her Team of Brave Women In 1875, a serious drought in the north of China gave way to a dreadful four-year famine, with millions of deaths and a huge migration of people. Most casualties were in the province of Shanxi (an estimated 5.5 million deaths in four years)...
Perpetua and Felicitas – Two Martyred Mothers In A.D. 202, Emperor Septimius Severus tightened his measures against Christians who refused to pay homage to the imperial genius, the spirit of the emperor. Compliance required a minimal effort: a simple sprinkling of a few grains of incense on a...
Jennie Faulding Taylor and Her Team of Brave Women In 1875, a serious drought in the north of China gave way to a dreadful four-year famine, with millions of deaths and a huge migration of people. Most casualties were in the province of Shanxi (an estimated 5.5 million deaths in four years)...
Sally Jones Charles – Pillar of the Welsh Revival at Bala Most accounts of Welsh church history recognize the impressive contributions of Thomas Charles [1] , the pastor of a Calvinistic Methodist church in Bala, Wales, in the Welsh Revival of his century, in the establishment of a great number of...
Thomas Charles, Mary Jones, and the Birth of the Bible Society Many of us have heard the story of the sixteen-year-old girl who walked 25 miles to buy a Bible with the money she had saved while doing chores. That girl was Mary Jones, and her destination was a church at Bala, Wales, where a shipment...
Hannah More and Her Lasting Influence on Education and Christian Service She has been described as the most influential woman in the British abolitionist movement – in fact, one of the most important women in 18 th -century Britain. After her death in 1833, the Christian Observer dared to say: “...
Hadrian of Nisida and Theodore of Tarsus – Seventh-Century Star Teachers Sharing a passion for learning and teaching, Hadrian of Nisida and Theodore of Tarsus partnered together to create a school that brought new resources, methods, and inspiration to England. For those who think a scholar’s life...
Melito of Sardis – Pastor, Theologian, and Poet Melito is not a familiar name today. Until the last century, we could only find a mention of him in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History , mostly in connection with the controversy over the day in which the feast of Pascha (Easter) was to be celebrated...
Liu Jingwen and Her Quiet Strength The saying is well-known: “Behind a great man there is a great woman.” In the case of Chinese pastor and theologian Wang Mingdao, someone suggested that eighty percent of Wang’s achievement was due to his wife. Was it an exaggeration? A Mature Young Lady Liu...
Blandina – God’s Strength in Weakness When the Roman authorities hung Blandina to a pole and exposed her to a crowd of blood-thirsty spectators, they thought they could frighten anyone who rebelled to their rules. What they didn’t know is that they were holding her up as an example that gave new...
Susanna and Cornelia Teelinck – Inspiring Courage and Faith During the Dutch Reformation Largely unknown today, Susanna and Cornelia Teelinck inspired two generations of Dutch Christians to trust God to deliver them from Spanish domination. They were born in 1551 and 1553 respectively into a...
Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg – The First Protestant Missionary to India While William Carey’s role in the evangelization of India is undisputed, few remember a two-men team who preceded him by 88 years. In reality, the German Bartholomäus Ziegenbalg and Heinrich Plütschau, who landed in the Indian...
Johannes Theodorus van der Kemp – An Unconventional Missionary The renowned historian Andrew Walls describes Johannes van der Kemp as an unconventional candidate for the London Missionary Society (LMS). At the time of his application, van der Kemp was in fact fifty years old and had both a higher...
Margherita Datini – The Wisdom and Faith of an Ordinary Medieval Woman Church history books are beginning to devote more space to women. Treatments of Medieval Christian women, however, is usually limited to a few queens and nuns – those who could express themselves at a time when most women’s...
Estifanos of Gwendagwende – Reformer and Martyr Around the time when John Wyclif and Ian Hus shook the western church by challenging its authority and traditions, a lesser-known monk did something similar in Ethiopia. He was known as Abba Estifanos (in English, Father Stephen). Estifanos’s Early...
Boniface and Leoba Some have the impression that, after Constantine’s Edict of Milan in 313, everyone in the Roman Empire became Christian (and lived happily ever after). At least, this is what we might get from a cursor reading of church history. In reality, as late as the ninth or tenth century,...
Marguerite d’Angoulême, an Influential Reformer Marguerite d’Angoulême, also known as Marguerite de Navarre, was one of the most influential figures in sixteenth-century Europe. Today, her memory in Reformed circles seems obscured by that of her more committed daughter, Jeane d’Albret. In reality,...
Gregory I’s Female Correspondents Some of our best sources of information about specific women in the early centuries of Christianity come from the correspondence of church fathers, particularly Jerome at the turn of the fifth century and Gregory I about two centuries later. Jerome’s letters were...
Krishna Pal – The First Baptist Convert in India On November 25, 1800, a 36-year-old Indian carpenter named Krishna Pal slipped into the tank where he was going to bathe, dislocating his shoulder. Having heard about a doctor at the Baptist mission at Serampore, not far from his house, he sent two...
Agnes and Margaret Smith and Their Crucial Discovery Agnes and Margaret Smith lived at a time when scholars were raising new and disturbing questions about the Bible. Is it reliable? Having being copied by hand, how do we know that it is not full of errors or even deliberate variations? And when...
Mary Sidney Herbert and the Poetic Depth of Her Psalter Mary Sidney was one of the most influential women of the Elizabethan age and received high praises for her writing skills. Forgotten for many centuries, she has recently been recognized and included in almost every anthology of English...
Mongol Leaders and Their Christian Wives While Europe was engaged in the Crusades, a new threat emerged from Asia: the Mongols, a fearsome population the talented warrior Genghis Khan organized into a powerful empire. At the time of his death, this empire stretched from Eastern Europe to the...
The East African Revival As many other events in global church history, the East African Revival is still fairly unknown in America. And yet, it spread rapidly through most of east Africa and lasted over 50 years, leaving a profound mark on the local churches. Eager to pinpoint dates, scholars...
Hannah Marshman – A Pillar of the Serampore Mission Did Hanna Marshman know, when she left England for India, how much the missionary community would depend on her for wisdom and strength? It’s hard to imagine what she expected to do or find. As one of the first female missionaries, she had few...
25 Inspiring Quotes from Women in Church History “I cannot be called anything other than what I am, a Christian.” [1] - Vibia Perpetua (c. 182-203) was arrested by imperial decree in Carthage, North Africa, together with her servant Felicitas and three other Christians. She was executed the...
Augustine of Hippo Against the Slave-Trade When we think of Christians who opposed the slave trade, William Wilberforce or John Newton may come to mind. But they were certainly not the first. Back in the fifth century, Augustine of Hippo reacted strongly to this widespread problem. Slavery is such...
Kayarnak, Greenland, and the Passion of Christ Kayarnak had seen a number of missionaries come to Greenland. Like the majority of his countrymen, he enjoyed making fun of them. His attitude changed when he heard for the first time how Christ suffered and died. Hans Egede The first known missionary...
Ramon Llull – The First Missionary to the Muslim World Eugene Stock, 19 th -century editorial secretary of the Church Missionary Society, called him “the first and perhaps the greatest missionary to the Mohammedans,” adding that “there is no more heroic figure in the history of Christendom.” [1] If...
Festo Kivengere and His Message of Forgiveness In 1977, the assassination of Anglican Archbishop Luwum shocked the world. Since his military coup in 1971, the Ugandan dictator Idi Amin had been sowing terror around the country. Being a Muslim, he allowed three forms of Christianity in his country (...
Manche Masemola – An African Teenage Martyr The statue of Manche Masemola is one of the ten in the Modern Martyrs of the 20 th Century collection adorning Westminster Abbey’s Great West Door. The collection, designed by the renowned sculptor Tim Crawley, was unveiled in 1998. Masemola, together...
Antonius Hambroeck’s Sacrifice The moving story of Antonius Hambroeck is well-known in the Netherlands, where he is considered a national hero, and in Taiwan, where he was executed. It was popularized in the 1775 play Anthonius Hambroek, or the Siege of Formosa, by the Dutch author Joannes Nomsz...
Dorothy Carey and Her Struggle With Mental Illness When, in 1781, 25-year-old Dorothy (Dolly) Plackett married William Carey, five years her junior, she might have imagined the same type of quiet family life her parents and most people lived in her small town of Hackleton, West Northamptonshire...
Aidan of Lindisfarne – A Seventh-Century Door-to-Door Missionary Thanks to the literary mastery of the Venerable Bede, the history of the Christianization of England is filled with memorable stories of valiant kings, praying queens, and wonder-working saints. But it’s also studded with lesser-known...
Medieval Christian Brides The biblical rule of not marrying unbelievers wasn’t always binding in the first centuries of Christianity, especially when it came to the nobility. Priority was given to political concerns and family alliances. And, at a time when rulers determined the religion of their...
Mary Slessor – An Unconventional Missionary Mary Slessor became a legend in her time and continued to influence a generation of missionaries. Her name is still remembered in admiration both in her native Scotland (her image appeared on a 1997 Clydesdale Bank £10 note) and on her mission field of...
Egeria’s Travels One day in the fourth century, a woman with time and means left for a three-year tour of Biblical places. In her accurately detailed account, she says nothing about herself. We only know that her name was Egeria and that she was writing for her “revered sisters” at home. This...
Radegund of Thuringia – Giving Refuge to Women in Violent Times In 531, an army of Frankish soldiers invaded the Kingdom of Thuringia (in today’s France), sacked the palace, killed the royal family, and took the royal children back to the Frankish capital, Athies. Among these children was Radegund...
Ann Judson’s Missionary Work Ann Judson, one of the first two women to be sent as American foreign missionaries, is a familiar name for most Christians. She is particularly remembered as the sacrificial wife who hid her husband’s Bible translation inside a pillow and took it to the jail where he...
The Italian Village That Called the Protestants for Help Roman Catholic Bishop Pio Bagnoli couldn’t possibly have imagined the consequences of his decision when, in 1930, he removed a priest from his parish. Fr. Bernardino Mastroianni had been in Villa San Sebastiano, a small village by the...
Watson McMillan Hayes, Ding Limei, and the Battle for Christian Orthodoxy In late September 1919, eighteen students walked out of their classes at the Union theological faculty of Shandong Christian (Qilu) University. Based in Jinan, capital of Shandong, China, the university was a joint project of...
Alopen and the Missionary Monks of the Church of the East In 635, Emperor Taitsung (598–649) of China found Christianity so impressive that he wrote: “The meaning of the teaching has been carefully examined; it is mysterious, wonderful, calm; it fixes the essentials of life and perfection; it is...
Behari Lal Singh and His Vision for Missionary Training Only one representative from Asia appeared in 1860 at the overwhelmingly British Conference on Missions in Liverpool. It was Behari Lal Singh, who had become a Christian under the guidance of the Scottish missionary Alexander Duff. By then,...
Francesco and Rosa Madiai In 1853, John Hall Wilton, agent for the famous showman Phineas Taylor Barnum, wrote Lord Shaftesbury requesting the presence of an Italian Protestant couple who had been imprisoned and exiled because of their religion. The purpose of the trip was for “these interesting...

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