Billy Graham Center

Papers of Mary Goforth Moynan - Collection 189

[Note: What follows is a description of the documents in this collection which are available for use at BGC Archives in Wheaton, Illinois, USA. The actual documents are not, in most cases, available online, only this description of them. Nor are they available for sale or rent. Some or all of this collection can be borrowed through interlibrary loan. ]

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Table of Contents

Brief Description of This Collection

Title Page and Restrictions

Biography of Mary Goforth Moynan

An Essay on the Contents of the Collection (Scope and Content)

Lists of Audio Tapes and Slides in This Collection (Location Records)
    Audio Tapes
Box List


Transcript 1

Transcript 2

Transcript 3

Collection 189
[September 24, 2010]
Moynan, Mary Goforth; 1903-1994
Papers; 1918-1994

1 box, Audio Tapes, Slides (.262 cubic feet)


There are no restrictions on the use of this collection.


Brief Description

Miscellaneous personal papers, an autobiography, oral history interviews and color slides which deal with 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. Interviews were recorded on 10/19/81 and 10/20/81 and in March 1980. For more information, please see guide.


Full name

 Mary Kathleen (Goforth) Moynan


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


July 17, 1994







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


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.


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.)


At the age of 12






Home schooled


Attended the China Inland Mission boarding school at Chefoo, China


Graduated Toronto Bible College, Canada










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


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.


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


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


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.


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


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.

Scope and Content


 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.


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. There is some distortion on the beginning of the tape before the interview actually begins. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1900-1991.

T1 (66 minutes). Start of tape; introduction; first memories of father; family devotions; family relationships; management of the home; Jonathan's loner characteristics; intensive evangelism; relations with other missionaries; childhood playmates, the wolf boy; the experience of missionaries' children; love for the Chinese people; criticism of the Chinese people in Canada; home in Bei Dai He on Manchurian border; a summer resort; its transformation by the Chinese communists; fame of Jonathan in China; VIP treatment during 1980 trip to mainland China; Honan carts; preparation for evangelistic tours; physical conditions of the tours; living conditions; the sanctified nose; people who went on the tours; the misery of the people; church planting; Jonathan's early language study; finding a place to live in a new town; the red demon; the smallpox danger; first steps in evangelistic work in a new town; the church in Honan province in the present day (1980); ways of gathering a crowd; Jonathan's singlemindedness and bluntness; church planting; training evangelists; beginning of revival meetings in the early 1900's; Jonathan's preaching; power of prayer; influence of Charles Finney on Jonathan; emotionalism at revival meetings; invitations to hold meetings; Jonathan's philosophy of giving; missionaries for Manchuria; faith support; the Goforth Evangelistic Fund; content of Jonathan's preaching; Jonathan's humor; reaction of other missionaries to Jonathan's work; contacts with the China Inland Mission at Chefoo; the China Inland Mission boarding school; curriculum; Rosalind's preaching to women; babies at meetings; Chinese love for children

T2 (76 minutes). Introduction; Mary's return to Canada for education; Toronto Bible College; Robert Moynan; his humor; curriculum of Toronto Bible College; learning to write sermons; reparation for returning to China as a missionary; how Mary met her future husband; Oswald Smith and the People's Church; relations of Jonathan with Roman Catholic missionaries; rice Christians; sheep stealing; effect of denominationalism in China; favorable response of some Catholics to Rosalind's books; Buddhism; the religious sense of the Chinese; Confucianism; Islam in China; Jonathan's insistence on the primacy of evangelism over medical missions and educational work; support from Robert LeTourneau; Chinese Bibles; showing Chinese visitors through the missionaries' homes; ministry to the poor and the intelligentsia; the power of the warlords; Marshal Feng Yu-hsiang; baptism of soldiers; friendship between Jonathan and Marshal Feng; Feng's death; Mary's sympathy toward Douglas MacArthur; Jonathan's need for an expense account; proclamation of the Chinese Republic in 1911; fleeing to Tientsin; relations with Canadian diplomats; Pearl Buck and the Empress Dowager; Rosalind's famine relief work in China in the 1920's; a medal from the Chinese government; the return of the Moynans to China in 1926 as Christian and Missionary Alliance missionaries; Chequnsan; The danger of the approach of the Nationalist Army--1926; battle of Nanking; Madame Chiang Kai-Shek; the murder of John and Elisabeth Stam; Mary's return to China in 1980; traveling with a group of Toronto teachers; VIP treatment; visiting sites of her parents' work; living conditions in Manchuria for Rosalind and Jonathan in the late 1920's; meeting friends of her parents in 1980; the daughter of pastor Su; the opening of churches in China; reputation of Jonathan in China; view of the Chinese government toward foreign missionaries; meeting J. Hudson Taylor III; house churches; needs of the church in China; attitude of Canadian churches toward missions; the Goforth Papers; the Goforth Ministries.

T3 (81 minutes). Introduction; brief biography of Jonathan Goforth; the work of Mary Goforth Moynan (narrator unknown); Jonathan's sense of humor; lack of personal anger and irritability; hardships of Rosalind; her temper; Jonathan and Rosalind's relationship; their children; reactions to boarding school and education in China; attention Paul and Fred Goforth received; first home in Changte; the graves of the children; the Boxer stories; causes of the Boxer uprising; hardships encountered fleeing from Boxers; the spiritual results of the Goforths' experience; recuperating in Canada from Boxer experience; Jonathan's humiliation at Knox College and its results; Mary's first memories of her father; Jonathan's seven rules for Christ-like living; early travels with her mother and father; smallpox; early death of five children; the mission work in Manchuria; Mary's intent to return to China; beginning of second side of cassette tape; Jonathan's transmission of funds to Manchuria; the importance of evangelism in mission work; the Goforth Evangelistic Fund; Mary's trip to Taiwan in 1979; the effect of the previous generation of missionaries on the present church; talking to an evangelistic crusade; "Jesus Loves Me" in Chinese; more on the escape from the Boxers; Paul's escape; the edict from the Empress Dowager against foreigners; the escape route; Christmas in Pittsburgh in the mid 50's; meeting a medical student from Changtefu


The material in this collection was given to the 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

Accession: 81-115, 81-117
Type of Material: Audio Tapes

The following items are located in the AUDIO TAPE FILE:

Item# - Reel or cassette, speed, length, number of sides, contents (title of session, participants) according to the program, date.










3 3/4



Oral history interview of Mary Goforth Moynan by Robert Shuster

October 19, 1981



3 3/4



Oral history interview of Mary Goforth Moynan by Robert Shuster

October 20, 1981



3 3/4



Oral history interview of Mary Goforth Moynan by Robert van Gorder, her nephew

Between March and June, 1980


Type of material: Photographs
The following items are located in the PHOTO FILE; request by folder title (in bold) at the beginning of each entry below.

MOYNAN, MARY (GOFORTH): 2, color. Robert and Mary together in a formal pose, snapshot of Mary in old age sitting in a chair. N.d.

BEIDAIHE, CHINA: 12, b&w. Snapshots of a group at the seashore in Beidaihe (the old Romanization on the photos is Peitaiho) Edwin McNeill Poteat and Sidney Gamble (“of soap fame”) are among those identified. One photo labeled “Student missionaries.” 1918-1919.

Accession: 81-117
Type of material: Slides

The following items are located in the SLIDE FILE. All of the slides are in color, unless otherwise noted.

Slides apparently taken during her 1980 trip to China.


S1- 1 - Unidentified (mountains in China?), ca. 1980.

S1- 2 - Buddhist priest, ca. 1980.

S1- 3 - Portraits of Hua Goofeng and Mao Zedung; ca. 1980.

S1- 4 - Large crowd of people giving the one way sign; ca. 1980.

S1- 5 - Westerners standing in front of the Great Wall of China; ca. 1980.

S1- 6 - Unidentified.

S1- 7 - Unidentified.

S1- 8 - Four men (1 westerner and 3 Chinese) standing in front of a Presbyterian mission; ca. 1980.

S1- 9 - A Chinese child.

S1-10 - A Chinese child.

S1-11 - Jack McAlister shaking hands with Chinese child, ca. 1980.

S1-12 - Jack McAlister talking to a crowd of young Chinese men; ca. 1980.

S1-13 - Jack McAlister, Mary Goforth Moynan, and an unidentified man standing in front of a map of China; ca. 1980.




Folder Title




Book: God Brought Us Through!









Genealogical materials




1940-1979; n.d.


Report on Presbyterian Missions in North Formosa


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Expiration: indefinite