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Collection 393 Oral History Interview with David H. Adeney

Identifier: CN 393

Scope and Contents

Oral history interviews with David Howard Adeney (1911-1994) in which he describes his childhood, conversion to Christianity, spiritual growth, education, involvement in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship in Great Britain, preparation for missionary work and his missionary career with China Inland Mission in rural areas of Henan Province, China (1934-1941) and with university students in Nanking (1946-1948) and Shanghai (1949-1950). Other topics discussed include: his father's missionary work in Romania before World War I; the impact of the Sino-Japanese; assignments as an IVCF staff worker in the US and Great Britain, as the Associate General Secretary for International Fellowship of Evangelical Students in East Asia, as Director of the Discipleship Training Center in Singapore, and his return visits to China. Individuals described include: Adeney’s wife, Ruth, C. Stacey Woods, Harold Ockenga, John Stott, P.T. Chandapilla, Calvin Chao, John Sung, Henry Guiness, Dixon Hoste, and Frank and Stanley Houghton. The time period covered by the interviews is 1911-1988.

David Adeney was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on June 10 and November 14, 1988 at the Billy Graham Center Archives at Wheaton College.


  • Created: 1988

Conditions Governing Access

There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.

NOTE: Researchers wishing to quote from the interviews for publication purposes should consult the transcripts, which identify emendations Adeney has made to be used in the event of publication.

Biographical Information

Full Name: David Howard Adeney

Birth: November 3, 1911, in Bedford, England

Death: May 11, 1994


Parents: Adeney's father worked as a missionary to Jews in Romania until Adeney was three, when the family returned to England. His father then served as a chaplain to German prisoners during World War I.

Marital Status: Married Ruth Temple, who was a fellow CIM worker from America also stationed in Henan province, 1938

Children: The Adeneys had five children, one who died when only three days old in China

Conversion: At the age of seven or eight through the ministry of Hudson Pope, an evangelist working among children


19??: Studied at Monkton Combe, a Christian school where he completed high school

1935: Received an MA degree from Queens' College, Cambridge, where he studied history and theology.


1934-1941: Served as a missionary in China with China Inland Mission (CIM) at several stations in Henan province, and 1946-1950. While in Henan he was stationed at Siangcheng with Henry Guiness. Adeney and his wife together opened a station at Fangcheng. With increased Japanese activity in the area, the Adeneys left China in 1941. Adeney was almost rejected by CIM for medical reasons. By the end of 1934 he was studying at CIM's men's Chinese language program in Anqing.

1941-194?: Joined Inter-Varsity Christian Fellowship in the US and was initially appointed Missions Secretary. He was subsequently made staff worker for the east coast. Based in Boston, he worked with the IVCF groups at Harvard and Yale.

194?-1946: Relocated to London, where David worked on the mission's home staff.

1946-1950: Returned to China with CIM (Ruth followed a year later) when he worked in Nanking and then Shanghai, affiliated with the newly established Chinese Inter-Varisty Fellowship in their work among university students.

1950-1955: Rejoined the staff of Inter-Varsity in the US, residing in Geneva, Illinois. His assignment included responsibility for the 1954 Urbana missionary convention.

1956-1968: Joined International Fellowship of Evangelical Students' (IFES) as Associate General Secretary for the Far East, based in Hong Kong

1968-1976: Readmitted to the China Inland Mission (by then renamed Overseas Missionary Fellowship) to establish and direct the Discipleship Training Center (DTC) in Singapore, a training and study program for students.

1976-: Taught as a visiting professor at the China Graduate School of Theology in Hong Kong Other significant information Between leaving Monkton Combe at age eighteen and entering Cambridge, Adeney joined the Missionary Training Colony in 1929, which emphasized discipleship and evangelism. When Adeney began his university studies, he also joined the Cambridge Intercollegiate Christian Union, which was affiliated with England's Inter-Varsity Fellowship (IVF). While in college, he was secretary for local activities and missionary secretary, and later missionary secretary for IVF throughout England. Following the reopening of China to Western visitors, David and Ruth made a number of trips to China. Adeney was coordinator of OMF's China program until 1985 and then became minister-at-large for the mission. He served two terms as president of IFES and then as vice-president.


6.00 Audio Tapes

299 Minutes

Language of Materials


Accruals and Additions

The materials in this collection were given to the Billy Graham Center Archives by David Adeney in June and November 1988.

Accession: 88-66, 88-127

November 3, 1993

Paul A. Ericksen

C. Easley

Collection 393 Oral History Interview with David H. Adeney
Paul Ericksen
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Describing Archives: A Content Standard
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Repository Details

Part of the Billy Graham Center Archives Repository

501 College Avenue
Wheaton IL 60187 US