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Percy Cunningham Mather

1884 ~ 1933

Born in Fleetwood, England, the son of an Irish nurse and a railway employee, Mather followed his father into railway service. In 1903 he was converted through the ministry of J. H. Doddrell of the Wesleyan Methodist Church and became a Sunday school teacher and local preacher. When his ordination was delayed, he heard the call of the China Inland Mission (CIM) and vowed to go to China after he had financed his sisters' education. In 1910 he sailed to Shanghai, then moved upriver to Anking (Anqing) language school and afterward to Ningkwo (Ningguo) in Anhwei (Anhui) Province.

Greatly influenced by Roland Allen's book, Missionary Methods: St. Paul's or Ours? he volunteered to join George Hunter in Urumchi (Uruinqi), Chinese Turkestan (present-day Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region), arriving there in 1914. Until 1926 the two itinerated in Outer Mongolia, developing a ministry among the Mongol tribes as well as the Chinese traders and border settlers. Following intensive medical studies while on furlough in 1927, Mather concentrated on medical work and on translations, grammars, and dictionaries of Mongolian languages, but was increasingly caught up in hostilities in China, being falsely accused of political intrigue. He died of fever during the siege of Urumchi and was buried there.

About the Author

By E. M. Jackson

Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies, University of Derby, Derby, England

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