Hot from the press, Letters from Manchuria gives a vivid picture of life in Japanese-occupied China in the late 1930s seen through the eyes of Presbyterian missionary Marion Young. The book has been put together by Marion’s daughter Helen Sinclair and her husband Neil, who are members of Stockton Road URC in Sunderland.
It was in the original St George’s Presbyterian Church building in Villiers Street, a forerunner of Stockton Road, that the Synod of the Presbyterian Church of England decided to start a mission to China in 1847. William Burns was immediately ordained as a missionary and travelled to South East China where his work on establishing a Christian Church began. Notable missionaries from the North East who served in this region of China include Margaret Dryburgh, who is commemorated in a memorial in Stockton Road, and George Hood.
In 1867 William Burns travelled to Manchuria in North East China where he founded another mission which was later to be staffed by Irish and Scottish Presbyterian missionaries, including Helen’s parents. One of the Scottish missionaries mentioned in the book was Ella Gordon who became the first woman minister of the Presbyterian Church of England at St Mark’s, High Howdon, in 1956.
The Right Hon Douglas Alexander, the former Secretary of State for International Development, whose grandparents were missionaries in Manchuria, writes in the Foreword that the letters of Marion Young “ have shone a light on an extraordinary life of service undertaken in a far away land at a time of trial and tribulation. My hope is that, as we move through what many now anticipate will be an ‘Asian Century’, many others will take the opportunity to learn about and be inspired by the missionary life of Marion Young in Manchuria all those decades ago.”
Letters from Manchuria by Neil T. Sinclair is published by Little Knoll Press, price £25.
Neil and Helen Sinclair will be signing copies of the book at Waterstones in the Bridges, Sunderland
between 12.00 noon and 1.00 pm on Saturday 21st January
The author’s royalties from the book will support the Orphans Programme of Amity, a Chinese Christian organisation, through the Friends of the Church in China.