On 21st May 2012, a grand ceremony will be held in James Hudson Taylor’s town of birth Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, where the location of his birthplace on Cheapside Barnsley will be officially marked with a blue heritage plaque.
In United Kingdom, a blue plaque is a permanent sign installed in a public place to commemorate a link between that location and a famous person or event, serving as an historical marker.
The ceremony will start at 11:30am in Salem Chapel, Barnsley, with a short service of dedication before the blue heritage plaque will be taken few hundred meters to Cheapside and hung on the wall of Boots the Chemist by town’s mayor.
The significance of this occasion is that a second blue plaque in Chinese will be hung next to the one in English. It is believed to be the first time in history that a Chinese plaque is made. The wordings of the two plaques will be similar.
According to the Barnsley Hudson Taylor Group, they believe that Taylor, the patriarch of China Protestantism, would approve of having his plaque in the Chinese language.
“He loved the people of China, learning the language and dressing in Chinese dress of the time. We raise the Chinese plaque as a mark of our respect for the people of China.” The Group stated.
The Barnsley Group is also planning to create the James Hudson Taylor trail, charting the ancestry and his early life, which includes the site of his actual birth and a visit to the Methodist chapel where he worshiped.
Born in 1832 in Barnsley, Yorkshire, England, Taylor, a son of a pharmacist and Methodist lay preacher James Taylor, was the famous British Christian missionary to China, and founder of the China Inland Mission (CIM) (now OMF International). He spent 51 years in China and brought great influence to the Chinese Christianity.
Taylor was known for his sensitivity to Chinese culture and zeal for evangelism. He adopted wearing native Chinese clothing even though this was rare among missionaries of that time.
The biographies of Hudson Taylor inspired generations of Christians to follow his example of service and sacrifice. What is more inspiring is that his descendants have carried his passion and love to the Chinese people until today. The five generations of the Taylor family continued his full-time ministry into the 21st century in Chinese communities in East Asia. The late James Hudson Taylor III (1929–2009) lived in Hong Kong, and his son, James H. Taylor IV, who married a Taiwanese woman (the first Chinese member of the Taylor family), is also involved in full-time Chinese ministries.