Letters - 1905.11 before the Fuh-Kien Women's Conference
The Fuh-Kien Women’s Conference, having carefully and prayerfully considered the home Committee’s proposed new regulations regarding the status of missionaries, respectfully ask the Parent Committee to exempt them from the necessity of adopting such regulations for the following reasons:—
- Our present organisation provides against all insubordination of the individual missionaries and has the power to deal with all irregularities on the part of any of its members.
- The value of the present organisation consists in the fact that its power is impartially exercised, as it is power invested in a body, and not in one or two individuals.
- That to invest persons in the mission-field with power such as the proposed new regulations treat of is dangerous; inasmuch as a long residence amongst a foreign people of realised inferiority (in the nature of the case), to oneself, fosters an overbearing spirit and is an evil all missionaries realise and seek to guard against. The existing organisation guards against this but the proposed new regulations feed the very evil we, as missionaries, are sorely beset by, viz., the love of power.
- The persons in favour of the proposed new regulations being carried into effect will be found to be persons who will at once take the status of Staff Missionaries, not of subordinates. The result of the suggested new regime speaks for itself.
- That the C.M.S. in order to have a valuable missionary staff has rightly put a high value on a sanctified independence of thought and judgement. The proposed new regulations strike at the root of this and force upon subordinate missionaries—The suppression of his own judgement to that of his superior or Staff Missionary, which militates against high missionary efficiency.
Unless this is done he is faced with two alternatives:
(1) Friction arising from the relations between the Staff Missionary and his subordinate, which tends towards nervous and physical breakdown. (2) Leaving the mission-field because of the strain becoming unbearable; the field to which he has been manifestly sent of God.
None of these conditions exist where power is invested in a body of people as against a few chosen individuals called “Staff Missionaries.”
- Even “Staff” Missionaries will be human, and personal feeling and prejudice may seriously deflect the judgment of even a person honestly desirous of being fair to his subordinate.
- The violation of the law of the great Head of the Church, Who said, “I am among you as He that serveth.” Not as “He that ruleth” or “judgeth.”
- The only society or body of people which has such a system in successful working order is the Roman Catholic Church and other organisations on a similar basis; where the suppression of individuality and the exaltation of one human being over another is a necessary part of its success.
- The subordinate missionary is not provided with any court of appeal should he find himself in circumstances of difficulty through the behaviour of his superior or Staff Missionary.
- The difficulty of providing suitable persons to fill the post of Staff Missionaries. If decided on the point of seniority alone it must be borne in mind, that this alone and in itself is not a sufficient basis for such a responsible position. If not decided on the point of seniority, how is such an election of Staff Missionaries to be made from the present number of efficient missionaries?
Margaret E. Barber
Sec. of Women’s Conference