Letter

Scope and Content

From [Edgar Wesley] Thompson at the Mission House, Bishopsgate, London, to H B R in Hankow. He was grateful for H B R's letter of July 3rd which was addressed to him personally asking for an account of what took place at the Mission House. He sent H B R a telegram from the Conference, notifying him of the decision. The Conference approved the recommendation that a request should be made to the United Methodist Church, that [William Alexander] Grist should be permitted to serve with the Missionary Society for two years and that there should be no further provision to fill the vacancy left by the retirement of [Charles William] Andrews. The background to this chain of events is as follows: When Thompson left for the West Indies at the end of February, it was with the expectation that the Missionary Committee would recommed Conference to put H B R forward for the vacant [Mission Secretaryship]. However, during his absence a suggestion was made in the General Purposes Committee that the Missionary Society should ask for the loan of [William Alexander] Grist. The proposal was warmly received and permission was granted to approach the United Methodist Church. This approach was made just after Thompson's return from overseas and the conclusion of the negotiations was that Grist would probably be released if an official approach was made by Conference. The Missionary Committee therefore tabled the proposal that Grist should be seconded to the Society for two years. The alternative being H B R's appointment. In the way of a personal explanation, Thompson should add that he has informed the General Committee and the General Purposes Committee of his own intention to retire in 1933 - assuming that the Society would wish to keep him so long. 'I do not think it would be right for any Secretary now in office to retire in the first year after Union, because that will be a very difficult period of transition, and mutual adjustment'. The Conference of 1932 will have to make nominations for the permanent appointments to take effect after the 1933 Conference. He would also like to add that he welcomes the idea of H B R coming to the Mission House, and it seems very likely that his [H B R] name would be put forward no later than 1932. Thompson understands from H B R's brother [John Ernest] that H B R expressed his personal feelings on the prospect of a Mission House appointment rather more definitely to him than he did in his letter to [Charles William] Andrews. It seems clear to Thompson that H B R is coming to believe that he will have to leave China where he is doing such sterling service, and that he would be willing to come to the Mission House.