1908  — 1988

Victor E. W. Hayward

Missionary in China, foreign secretary of the Baptist Missionary Society, and ecumenical statesman.

Born in London, Hayward studied at Mansfield and Regent’s Park Colleges, Oxford, and then went to China with the BMS in 1934. After five years in Shansi Province, the Japanese occupation compelled him and his wife, Eva, to move to Guizhou Province in southwest China, where they ministered mainly to students and officials. After a year working with refugees in Guangxi Province, Hayward moved to Shanghai to become the British secretary of the National Christian Council of China during the closing years of the missionary era.

As general foreign secretary of the BMS from 1951 to 1959, he sought to adjust the missionary thinking of British Baptists to the implications of the age of nationalism and mounting anti-Western feeling. Always more enthusiastic about the ecumenical movement than many in his denomination, he moved to Geneva in 1959 to become the executive secretary of the department of missionary studies of the World Council of Churches (WCC). In 1969 he was appointed as associate general secretary of the WCC, with special responsibility for relationships with national and regional Christian councils. In 1972 he became research secretary of the China Study Project of the British Council of Churches.


This article is reprinted from Biographical Dictionary of Christian Missions, Macmillan Reference USA, copyright (c) 1998 Gerald H. Anderson, by permission of The Gale Group; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.


  • Victor E. W. Hayward, The Church as Christian Community: Three Studies of North Indian Churches (1966) and Christians and China (1974). Brian Stanley, The History of the Baptist Missionary Society, 1792-1992 (1992); H. R. Williamson, British Baptists in China, 1845-1952 (1957).

About the Author

Brian Stanley

Director of the North Atlantic Missiology Project, University of Cambridge, Fellow of St. Edmund's College, Cambridge, England