St. George's Episcopal Church

St. George's Episcopal Church | Growing in Christ's Love and Service | 5520 Far Hills Avenue, Dayton Ohio  45429 | 937-434-1781
Samuel Scherescewsky Window Samuel Scherescewsky Window

Though still restructuring after the Revolutionary War, the Foreign Missionary Society of the Episcopal Church sent out its first missionaries in the 1830’s initially to Greece, and then to China and Liberia.  William Boone, the church’s first foreign missionary bishop, was consecrated for China in 1844.  While on a fundraising trip to the U.S., he met a seminarian named Samuel Schereschewsky, whom he recruited to return with him to China.

 Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky was a Lithuanian Jew who came to America after years of rabbinical training in Europe.  As a young man, he’s been given a Hebrew translation of the New Testament, and reading it convinced him that Jesus was the Messiah.  In America, he became an Episcopalian and entered seminary.  When bishop Boone came looking for missionaries, Samuel answered the call.  In China, his extraordinary gift for languages quickly became apparent, and because of his ethnicity and intimate knowledge of Hebrew, translating the Old Testament into Mandarin became his main responsibility.  The job took fourteen years to complete.  Afterward, Samuel was elected Bishop of China, but he was often ill, and longed to return to his translation work.  One day, while overseeing a construction project, he collapsed from sunstroke with a fever of 108 degrees.  He survived, but lost the use of his limbs.  He and his family returned to the United States.  But Samuel was convinced God still had work for him to do; so, using his one good finger, he typed a revision of his Mandarin Old Testament, followed by a translation of the entire Bible (all 2,500 pages) into Wenli.  When he was finally able to return to the Orient, he worked on two Chinese Reference Bibles and two more revisions.  As his health slowly failed, Samuel prayed that he would live just long enough to finish these projects.  His prayers were answered.  He completed his task, and died quietly two days later—his last words:  “It is well; it is very well.” 

Samuel Schereschewsky represents the international missionary spirit of the Episcopal Church.  His translations are some of “the greatest trophies of missionary work and learning which the Church has ever given to a foreign land.”  He is shown in his wheelchair, with his typewriter and a child reading a Bible, a reminder of his work as well as his handicap, and the inclusion of the disabled within our church.

 Like Stars Appearing:  The Story of the Stained Glass Windows of St. George's Episcopal Church, Dayton, Ohio
copyright 2004 by Anne E. Rowland.  All rights reserved.
Stained Glass Windows copyright 2000 by St. George's Episcopal Church, crafted by Willet Stained Glass.

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