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Collection 189 Papers of Mary Goforth Moynan

Identifier: CN 189

Scope and Contents

Miscellaneous personal papers, an autobiography, oral history interviews and color slides relating to the ministry of Mary Goforth Moynan. Topics covered include Moynan's memories of the personalities and work of her parents, Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth; evangelistic work in China before World War II; her own career in Christian work; and her trips in 1979 to Taiwan and in 1980 to the People's Republic of China.


  • Created: 1918-1994

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

Biographical Information

Full Name:  Mary Kathleen (Goforth) Moynan

Birth: July 20, 1903 in Peitaiho (Romanization: Beidaihe), North China

Death: July 17, 1994


Parents: Jonathan and Rosalind (Bell-Smith) Goforth, missionaries to China

Siblings: The tenth of the eleven children: Gertrude Madeline, Donald, Paul, Florence, Gracie, Ruth, William Wallace, Constance, Helen, and J. Frederick. Gertrude, Donald, Florence, Gracie, and Constance all died as very young children.

Marital Status: Married Robert McNairn Moynan in 1923. They remained married until Robert’s death on June 9, 1972.

Children: Arthur (was born with Downs Syndrome and died at nine months), Robert Jonathan Goforth, Frederick Moffat, Bruce Roger, Donald Marshall, Rolland Wallace. (The Moynans also has 14 grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.)

Conversion: At the age of 12


Home schooled

Attended the China Inland Mission boarding school at Chefoo, China

1920-1923 - Graduated Toronto Bible College, Canada


1926-1927 - The Moynans were missionaries in China with the Christian and Missionary Alliance, but because of the unsettled condition of the country and chaotic warfare being waged by many competing warlords, they returned to North America

1927-1961? - The Moynans lived in several cities where Robert had pastorates, including Hamilton, Ontario (New Westminister Church); Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan; Homestead, Pennsylvania; Toledo, Ohio (Collingwood Presbyterian Church). He also served for some years during World War II as a chaplain in the Canadian Air Force in the European theater.

1961-1964 - The Moynans founded the English-speaking Presbyterian church at Campinas, Brazil.

1964-1972 - The Moynans returned to the United states, where Robert held retirement pastorates in Pacific Beach, California; Oakland Tacoma, Washington; and Lacey Washington (Community Church)

1972-1990 - Mary began and active career of speaking on mission and Christian topics and supervising the work of Goforth Ministries, which distributed her parents’ books and supported small missionary projects around the world.

1980 - Mary visited China for the first time since 1927, visiting Siping, where her parents had worked, and Beidaihe, where she was born.

1990-1994 - Mary moved to the Parkview Home for the Aged in Stouffville, Ontario, Canada, where she continued to be involved in Goforth Ministries and wrote her autobiography, God Brought Us Through!, which was published in 1994 by Rejoyce Publishing of Toronto.

Other significant information:

While Mary was growing up, she traveled with her parents on evangelistic tours until she was old enough to go to boarding school.


0.26 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Arrangement of Material

Series: Audio-Visual Materials

Date Range: 1918

Volume: .012 cubic feet

Geographic coverage: Canada, China, United States

Type of documents: Oral history interviews, snapshots, slides

Subjects: Missions to China, life and ministry of Mary and Robert Goforth, life and ministry of Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth, history of the Goforth family

Notes: The photos and slides are described in their location records below. Mary Goforth Moynan was interviewed by Robert Shuster on October 19 and 20, 1981 and the interviews are on T1 and T2. T3 is an interview between Moynan and her nephew Robert Van Gorder which was apparently recorded between March and June 1980. The original of T3 was on a cassette but was transferred to a reel-to-reel. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1900-1991.


Series: Paper Records

Arrangement: Alphabetical by title (title supplied by archivist)

Date Range: 1933-1994

Volume: .25 cubic feet

Boxes: 1

Geographic coverage: Canada, China, Taiwan, United States

Type of documents: Sermon and speech notes, correspondence, newspaper and magazine clippings, genealogical records, a book, a report Subjects: Missions to China, life and ministry of Mary and Robert Goforth, life and ministry of Jonathan and Rosalind Goforth, history of the Goforth family

Notes: The papers in this collection are a miscellaneous assortment of material belonging to Mrs. Moynan which were arranged by the archivist.

Folder 1-1 contains a copy of Mrs. Moynan’s autobiography, which consists largely of anecdotes about her own life and that of her parents and their ministry in China.

Folder 1-2 contains magazine and newspaper clippings about Mary Moynan’s life

Folder 1-3 contains a few items of her correspondence, including a letter she wrote to friends from Scotland the day that her husband died there during a vacation trip and postcards home from her 1980 trip to China.

Folder 1-4 has handwritten listing of Goforth family members from the 17th, 18th, and 19th centuries, as well as the program from an exhibit of the paintings of Frederic Marlett Bell-Smith, Mrs. Moynan’s uncle. The folder also has a couple of items about Goforth Ministries.

Folder 1-5 contains a number of hand written notes of poems, speeches and sermons. Some of these are by Mrs. Moynan, other seem to be from other people. Some of them are for talks about missions and her parents’ works on China. Other relate to the home front in Canada during World War II. There is also a typed transcript of a Mother’s Day talk, “A Challenge to Womanhood.”

Folder 1-6 contains a one page report by a G. W. Mackay on the situation for Western mission in Formosa (Taiwan) immediately after World War II.

Accruals and Additions

The material in this collection was given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by Mrs. Moynan in October 1981 and by Robert Joyce in 1996.

Accession 81-115, 81-117

May 3, 1982

Robert Shuster

J. Nasgowitz

Updated, August 16, 2007

Acc. 96-77

Bob Shuster

Collection 189 Papers of Mary Goforth Moynan
Bob Shuster
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Evangelism & Missions Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US