From Hankow. This morning he went to Hangyang with Chang Hsioh Chow to hear him preach. It was a dull sermon but quite well thought out and he has got rid of some of his former mannerisms - a distinct improvement on two years ago. Both the male and female sides of the chapel were full with 'rather over- poor people'. Because of the half-term holiday there were quite a few girls present. Tonight he is listening to Ren Tsu Hsien at Chiao Kou. H B R wishes to listen to as many preachers as possible to assess them on content and style. [E. Curtiss] Franklin and [W. Noel] Richards both did quite well in their Chinese sermons.
Emily's letter of February 26th arrived during the week, with Gordon's photograph.
The G.B.S is very successful under Miss K. Lin's excellent supervision. The situation at Sientaochen and Chang Tang Kou is as healthy as he has ever known, although no sacramental service has been held there since last June. Shih Hui Yao has one hundred scholars against all old prophecies to the contrary and they are intending to open a middle school there - H B R has asked Mr Hsing to go and take the first sacramental service held there since last September. Wesley College has about three hundred scholars 'but is lacking in grip' - it will take a few years to put it completely to rights. Lin Chen Chien who nobody was apparently able to deal with, finally got himself into such a position that he had no option but to resign. He ought to have been compelled to toe the line long ago by the people on the spot. There is a similar laxity in other places - 'foreigners amongst others funking handling situations that are inescapable. You cannot do your duty in this world only by gentleness. Gentleness may be half cowardice as well as half love'.
Curiously at that point in this letter, [George Robson] Osborn walked in. He has just given a good sermon on Pilate's hand- washing, so evasion of responsibility is obviously on his mind also. H B R is off to Changsha on Tuesday evening but will hopefully be back for the Inter-District Committee on Friday.
[Dr Edward and Mrs] Cundall leave on home furlough tomorrow. 'I think H. O. Chapman is rather bucked at taking the helm at last. He has had a long time to wait for it...'
Huang Chin Tang is doing very well in the Chiao Kou Circuit '& the other two places have maintained themselves'.
Dorothy [Hill] is going home on the Blue Funnel liner SS Diomed, leaving Shanghai on May 13th and due to arrive in London on June 23rd. Her marriage will be sometime in August. [James] Clegg has asked for an extension of his home furlough until July 1934.
[William and Priscilla] Rowley hope to leave on home furlough in early July and [Dr Sarah] Wolfe will also leave about then. That will leave only the following as out-of-probation ordained missionaries - [James Maxwell] Gratton, [Ronald Leslie] Upton and Osborn. [E. Curtiss] Franklin and [Leonard] Constantine will join them [as full ministers] in the Autumn.
Miss Spillman is doing alright [as H B R's secretary] but Grace [Ridge] is certainly missed.
The Ningpo Methodist Conference is fast approaching. He feels that he will be something of a target. He remembers that when he left China [in 1931] he remarked to [Dr Sarah] Wolfe that there was a lot to be said for leaving while the going was good. Too much is dependent on one man but the attitude of the 'old guard' is a problem.
- Ronald Leslie Upton (1903-92) trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Didsbury and was appointed to the China mission after ordination in 1928. He served in the Hupeh District of Central China until 1941 when he returned to England and the home ministry until superannuation in 1968. Upton was married twice; first to Sister Jennie Milburn of the Manchester Mission and after she died in China in 1932, he married Margery Walby. Both his wives were members of the Wesley Deaconess Order. Source: Minutes of Conference 1992 and Hill's Arrangement 1968.
- James Clegg trained for the Wesleyan ministry at Handsworth. He served as a missionary in China from 1925 to 1942. After his return to Britain he was appointed to the Ilkley Circuit and then worked for three years as a teacher in a secondary school in Dorking. Clegg superannuated in 1948 and disappears from the list of ministers after 1961. Source: Minutes of Conference 1961 and Hill's Arrangement 1957
- Leonard Constantine (1907-89) was born at Accrington in Lancashire. He was educated at Manchester University and Wesley House Cambridge where he took a First in the Theological Tripos. He served as a missionary in China from 1931 to 1950 and taught at the Central China University, where he eventually became Professor of History and Dean of Faculty. Constantine remained at the College until all missionaries were expelled by the Communist government in 1950. He then entered the home ministry until superannuation in 1972. Constantine was a correspondent for the Manchester Guardian from 1944 and in 1950 wrote a widely acclaimed series of articles on the Communist Revolution which led to a number of radio broadcasts for the B.B.C. Constantine's wife Dorothy was a member of the Wesley Deaconess Order and a colleague in the China Mission. Source: Minutes of Conference 1989 .