Leaders of the United Methodist Church paid tribute in letters of condolence after the death of Bishop K.H. Ting, telling leaders of the China's state-approved Protestant Church and a Christian foundation that he was a "courageous and visionary" leader.
Bishop Rosemarie Wenner, president of the Council of Bishops of the UMC, and Thomas Kemper, chief executive of the General Board of Global Ministries sent the letters to the current leaders of the China Christian Council, the Three-Self Movement, and to the Amity Foundation, a Chinese Christian humanitarian organization that Bishop Ting founded.
The UMC has a longstanding partnership with the foundation. In a report on Tuesday, Global Ministries of the UMC said strong ties existed between Bishop Ting and the United Methodist Church.
The Bishop addressed the 1988 General Conference, speaking about the central role of the Risen Christ in China's Protestant churches and about the importance of world mission partners. In 1994, Bishop Ting also attended a reunion of former Methodist missionaries in China.
The UMC leaders said Bishop Ting helped to guide the "Chinese churches throughout one of the greatest social transformations in human history" and said he sought church partners throughout the world once China opened up after the revolution.
Bishop Ting, who was an Anglican Bishop in the 1940s and 1950s, studied at Shanghai's Saint John's University, and later studied at New York's Columbia University and Union Theological Seminary.
Bishop Ting was elected to the standing committee of the TSPM in 1955. He lost his positions during the Chinese government's 'Cultural Revolution" but in 1980 became the TSPM leader again and also held the Presidency of the CCC until 1997. He was the Amity Foundation president until his death.