Feast of Channing Moore Williams (December 2)   Leave a comment

channing-moore-williams

Above:  Bishop Channing Moore Williams

Image in the Public Domain

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CHANNING MOORE WILLIAMS (JULY 18, 1829-DECEMBER 2, 1910)

Episcopal Missionary Bishop in China and Japan

Channing Moore Williams helped to build up the church in China and Japan.  This work filled 53 of his 81 years.

Williams, one of six children, entered the world at Richmond, Virginia, on July 18, 1829.  His family was active in The Episcopal Church.  His father was John Green Williams.  Our saint’s mother was Mary Anne Crignan Williams, widowed in 1832.  Young Channing, at the age of 18 years, moved to Henderson, Kentucky, to work in a cousin’s general store.  There he also studied informally.  Williams, confirmed in 1849, attended the College of William and Mary (M.A., 1852) then the Virginia Theological Seminary, Alexandria, Virginia, from which he graduated in 1855.

Williams acted on his interest in foreign missions.  He, ordained to the diaconate on July 1, 1855, sailed to Shanghai in November of that year.  Ordination to the priesthood followed on January 1, 1857.  Our saint and John Liggins (1829-1912), former classmates at seminary, left China to become the first two Episcopal missionaries in Japan, arriving at Nagasaki on July 1, 1859.  Ill health forced Liggins to return to the United States the following year, but Williams remained until 1866.  On October 3 of that year he became the second Bishop of Shanghai, with responsibility for the Episcopal missionary work in China and Japan.  For eight years our saint divided his time between the two countries.  Finally, on October 23, 1874, he became responsible for work in Japan alone.  His new title was Missionary Bishop of Yedo.  (The Missionary District of Yedo was Japan.)  Williams, who was fluent in Japanese, founded churches and schools and converted many Japanese people to Christianity.  In 1887 he oversaw the merger of the Japanese missions of The Episcopal Church and The Church of England to form Nippon Sei Ko Kai, or the Holy Catholic Church of Japan, also known as the Anglican Episcopal Church in Japan.  He served as its first bishop.  In 1889 Williams, citing health concerns, asked for the appointment of his successor, who arrived four years later.  Our saint relocated to Kyoto, where he evangelized until 1908.

Williams returned to the United States in 1908.  He died at Richmond on December 2, 1910.  He was 81 years old.

Nippon Sei Ko Kai, founded with fewer than 1000 members, had grown to encompass about 57,000 souls in 315 congregations, organized into 11 dioceses, in 2005.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINTS THOMAS JOHNSON, JOHN DAVY, AND THEIR COMPANIONS

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM CHALMERS SMITH, SCOTTISH PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

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Almighty and everlasting God, we thank you for your servant Channing Moore Williams,

whom you called to preach to the people of China and Japan.

Raise up in this and every land evangelists and heralds of your kingdom,

that your Church may proclaim the unsearchable riches of our Savior Jesus Christ;

who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Isaiah 49:22-23

Psalm 96:1-7

Acts 1:1-9

Luke 10:1-9

Holy Women, Holy Men:  Celebrating the Saints (2010), page 97

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