1952 & Before
The late Dr. William Coltman, pastor of Highland Park Baptist Church had tried to reach the Chinese for years. He invited a Chinese Christian worker from New York, Mrs. Lewis, to come to the church's missionary conference in a previous year. On hearing her, Mrs. Ruth Loughead decided to do something, visited some Chinese ladies and taught them English.
Helen Western (Gould) of Chinese Inland Mission, who could speak Cantonese, came to Highland Park's Missionary Conference, Dr. Coltman shared his burden. Together they decided to reach out. Regular prayer meetings were held. Later a Chinese Gospel Fellowship was formed to back up the effort.
Coming to Detroit to seek work the year before, Stephen Hsu visited some Chinese and started to have Bible studies with Raymond Yee (Leong). Frances Wu, George Lee and Frank Newcomb joined later. About the same time, Mr. James Baine, the father of a Chinese Inland Missionary Elizabeth Saunders, had distributed gospel literature to many Chinese laundries and restaurants in Detroit. He often took a street car to the end of the line and walked back, giving out gospel tracts to every Chinese store on the way.
Mrs. Nonnie Cook, according to her diary on
Feb. 1, 1954, "Took Mrs. Margaret Hull to Helen Gould's cottage prayer meeting.
Other churches represented - 15 ladies." Many had been faithfully
praying for the Chinese in Detroit. This prayer backing was going strong for more
than 20 years.
On Feb. 7, the first Sunday gathering of the Chinese was held at the Goulds' apartment with 17 people. Stanley Eng, a Christian who speaks Toi-shan came just in time to help. This was the beginning of Chinese Bible Church.
After two weeks the meeting came to have 50 people, more than the apartment could hold. Detroit Bible Institute graciously allowed us to use their facilities at 17370 Meyers Road.
Through the efforts of the Goulds, Rev. & Mrs. Calvin Lee came from Hong Kong to pastor the church in July. The Goulds also purchased 59 Webb before that, to serve a parsonage for the Chinese work.
In Stephen Hsu's Sunday School class were 8 students. All Yee's people (Yee was a common name for the Chinese in those days). First church picnic was held at Belle Isle. Mother-daughter races, rope jumping, balloon toss..., great fun and good contacts with other Chinese.
Christmas program was conducted at old Chinatown (around Howard and Third). Noted evangelist-pastor Dr. Timothy Dzao preached. Sunday School students sang.
First baptismal service was held at Strathmore Judson Memorial Baptist Church. Seven were baptized by Rev. Lee.
Twelve children were dedicated during the Children Dedication Service on April 12 at Detroit Bible Institute.
Second baptismal service was held at Highland Park Baptist on June 12 for tow men and five women.
Dr. Arthur Glasser of Overseas Missionary Fellowship (formerly China Inland Mission) came to visit former missionary Rev. Arthur Allen who was helping the church at that time. Upon Glasser's encouragement, two brothers went over to Wheaton College in the western suburb of Chicago and talked to the Chinese students there about an interchurch conference. Thus the annual MCBC (Midwest Chinese Bible Conference) was born.
Miss Mabel Lee came and helped the work from June 1958 to April 1959. She did much Bible teaching and personal work.
Rev. Wilson Wang was invited to be the pastor of the church. However, he was only able to stay for a year.
TAAC (Teen-Agers for Christ) was organized. All first round officers were "Yees".
Church brought 59 Webb from the Goulds who were going to Peru and later to Trinidad and South America to reach the Chinese there.
First Daily Vacation Bible School was held at Detroit Bible College.
Franklin Lee, son of Rev. Calvin Lee, upon graduation from Dallas Theological Seminary returned to be the pastor of the church.
The Faith Promise giving at MCBC this year stirred up St. Louis' Chinese Gospel Church, Chicago's Chinese Christian Union Church and Detroit's CBC for missions. First missions conference was held at CBC.