Journal entry

Scope and Content

Chao Tung, May 28 .

He spent this morning talking to [Kenneth William] May about the Nosu work. This afternoon H B R made a pilgrimage to the cemetery where there are the graves of five missionaries (three of them doctors). [Samuel] Pollard's grave is at 'Stone Gateway' where they should be tomorrow night. The Nosu or I Pien are the highest of the tribesmen and their power and influence increases yearly; members of the tribe are currently in charge of the civil and military administration of the province. They are fast adopting Chinese ways and are beginning to intermarry with the Chinese - ultimately they will no doubt be completely integrated and then disappear as a separate group. The Methodist work among them is spread over an area of one hundred square miles between here and Tung Chuan. It is largely based in schools where religion and Chinese customs are inculcated. The schools are registered [by the government] but religious instruction is permitted.

The social system is feudal and Methodism has not yet been able to touch the great landowners living in their castles. The main work is among the yeoman farmers who themselves own serfs rather than slaves. The Methodists have an adult membership of five hundred and other adherents numbering two thousand. No census of the area has ever been taken but May thinks that his area may have a population of about thirty thousand. Some years ago there was almost a 'mass movement' but no advantage could be taken of it at the time and so the work goes quietly on. May is the only missionary allocated to this work - where is the continuity?.

The people do not live in villages or hamlets like the Chinese but rather in isolated farms. They do however congregate at different times for markets.

The work is organised in five circuits and there are four ordained Nosu ministers. May is busy building up a system of accredited local preachers and is, very properly, stressing the importance of organised quarterly meetings, class meetings etc.

The Nosu are said to be very generous and independent-minded. They are doing a great deal towards building, equipping and running their own schools and in the church and outside are striving for equality with the Chinese.

There are economic differences which should mean that the Nosu worker should not require the same pay as his Chinese counterpart but when salary and status are equated as they are in China, the problem of the centralised salary arises in an acute form.

Everything that H B R sees in China convinces him that the moves towards self-supporting churches cannot advance very far within the system of centralised salaries. Some allowance must be made for local economic variations and preachers' and other workers' pay has to be related to that of the people among whom they labour. In Yunnan there are at least four different economic areas and it is absurd to think of paying the workers in all those areas at the same level. The problem of course is how to differentiate without causing friction and resentment .