George A. Hood, missionary of the Presbyterian Church of England, was born in Newcastle upon Tyne in 1917. He was educated at the Royal Grammar School and from there won a history scholarship to Balliol College, Oxford, where he graduated in history in 1938. He trained for the ministry at Westminster College, Cambridge (1938-1941), and this was followed by missionary training at Selly Oak, Birmingham; Chinese language study at the School of Oriental and African Studies, London; and experience of church extension work. He was a missionary in the Chaozhou (Chao'an) area of Guangdong (also known as Kwangtung, or Canton 1945-1950) and in Malaya and Singapore (1951-1972).
In China, Hood combined theological teaching with pastoral oversight of city and rural churches. In Malaysia he served the Chinese Presbyterian Church as a minister of both the Chinese and English-speaking congregations and in the whole range of its activities including acting as secretary of movements for church growth. For many periods he was also secretary of the Mission Council, made up of the missionaries working with that Church. Between 1969 and 1972 he was involved in research for the Conference of British Missionary Societies on the selfhood of the Church, and produced the report In Whole and in Part. When the Presbyterian and Congregational Churches formed the United Reformed Church he became East Asian Secretary of the Council for World Mission (1972-1977), and from 1977 to 1982, he taught at Selly Oak Colleges in the Department of Mission and served as tutor in St Andrew's Hall.
With the approach of retirement he was able to pursue his historical research into the church in China, and in 1985 received his PhD from the University of Birmingham. His thesis was on the history of the English Presbyterian Mission in Lingtung, South China and was published in 1986 under the title of Mission Accomplished? by Peter Lang, Frankfurt. Other books and articles, mostly relating to the church in China, have followed, including Neither Bang Nor Whimper (1991), an account of the end of the missionary era in China. Since 1981 he has visited China on numerous occasions and in 1985 became the first chairman of the Friends of the Church in China. In 1943, Hood married Elizabeth M. James, herself the daughter and grand-daughter of missionaries (since 1869) in the Chaozhou area of China.