Saturday, July 27, 2013

This Week in Texas Methodist History  July 28

North Texas Epworth League Convention Stunned By News of Missionary Death, 1908

One of the highlights of the 1907 Texas Epworth League meeting at Epworth-by-the-Sea near Corpus Christi was a farewell speech from one of their own.  Ruby Kendrick, a 24-year old Leaguer from Plano told the 5,000 assembled there that in a month she was going to depart for missionary service in Korea.

Kendrick was well-prepared for the mission field.  She had been a member of the Junior Epworth League and Senior Epworth League.  She graduated from Plano High School in 1903 and spent two years at Scarritt and another at Southwestern University.  Since she was still too young to be commissioned as a missionary, she taught Bible classes at a Methodist school in Terrell. 

In 1908, the North Texas Conference Epworth League met in Denison.  While they were in session, a cablegram arrived informing them that Ruby Kendrick had died of appendicitis in Seoul, Korea.  Few missionary deaths have inspired great action. 

One of the actions was immediate.   The North Texas Conferences organized a memorial service on the day the telegram was received.  It concluded with an appeal to continue her Korean missionary service.  Eleven Leaguers answered the altar call and volunteered for missionary service.  

The next year at the state convention at Epworth-by-the-Sea participants collected funds for a memorial stone to be erected over Kendrick’s grave in Korea.  The monument recorded her last words, “If I had a thousand lives to give, Korea would have them all.” 

The Leaguers raised so much money for the monument that after paying for the monument they had a surplus of $1000.  They decided to use that money to build a missionary hall at Epworth-by-the-Sea.   Before they could begin construction, a hurricane destroyed the encampment.  Although a new site for a new encampment was soon acquired, trustees decided to take the $1000 on hand and add $3000 raised for the missionary hall and create a missionary scholarship at the new Methodist university then being created in Dallas, Southern Methodist University. From 1908 to 1928 the  Epworth League members raised $120,000 for scholarships for future missionaries in honor of Ruby Kendrick.


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