Full name: William Adam Stier
Birth date: November 13, 1912, in Cheltenham, Pennsylvania
Death date: February 4, 2004
Parents: William A., Sr. and Martha Stier
Siblings: Two older sisters
Marital Status: Married Virginia Steitz in 1935
Conversion: Ca. 1918, through the efforts of the leader of his church youth groupEducation:
Other significant information: Grew up in the German Lutheran tradition; ordained to
Christian work by Rev. George Palmer ca. 1938
Scope and Content
William Stier was interviewed by Paul Ericksen on January 19-20, 1993, at the Media Retirement Center in Clermont, Florida. The events described in the interview cover the time period 1918-1993.
T1 (70 minutes). Family background, events leading up to his and his family's conversion at the about the age of sixteen through the efforts of Mr. Haven; George Palmer and the Haddon Heights Baptist Church in New Jersey; evangelistic impact of the church on the surrounding area; Palmer's personality; emphasis on separation from the world; support from the church for the Stiers during their missionary work; influence of missionaries Paul and Helen Whitlock on William and Virginia Stier; more on the Stiers' call to missions and teaching; meeting Virginia Steitz, his future wife; the National Bible Institute and the missionary medical program; support costs for a missionary in 1938; first impressions of Tanganyika, the mission station at Nyida (Lohumbo) and the Whitlocks; studying the Sukuma language; disadvantage of just studying the Swahili language; difference between William and Virginia Stier's language skills; theological terms in the Sukuma language; description of general missionary work during his first term - visiting churches, running a mission printing press; advantage of being in general work for his later teaching of African pastors; William and Nida Maynard; duties of an AIM field director; Stier's experience of being field director during the time when Tanzania became independent; more on the duties of the field director; visit of Harold Ferrin; relations between missionaries in the AIM; transfer of leadership from the mission to the local church and the reaction of missionaries to the process; the origins of the Africa Inland Church in Tanzania; three years at the Bible school; moving the Bible school to Katungulu; typical day at the Bible school; faculty of the school in the early days; Andrea Ngusa, one of the first African teachers at the school; other African teachers; the geographic distribution of the students from all over the field and their relations with each other; subjects taught; relatively little impact of World War II on life in Tanganyika; stories of missionary experiences in Tanganyika during the First World War; difficulty of leaving Tanzania on furlough after the war and traveling on a former troopship
T2 (55 minutes) First furlough in 1946-1947. The move of the school to Katungulu on Lake Victoria in 1946 and building a new school building; Miss Lucilda Newton, the music teacher; other faculty at the school (the Donners, the Hoovers); Stier's appointment as field director in 1958; relationship between the mission and Africa Inland Church (AIC) and the transfer of responsibilities to the church; William Maynard's long service as Tanganyika field director; Emil Sywulka as first field director of Tanganyika; memories of Tanzania' independence; attitudes of Africans toward independence; comments on the name Tanzania; peaceful relations between tribes except for the Masai; the church's attitude toward polygamy; AIC's discipline of its members for moral lapses; the increasing complexity of subjects taught at the school over time; Virginia Stier's work with the wives of the students at the Bible school; starting a new school at Majahida ca. 1964; comparing Bible schools in Kenya and Tanzania; Chuck Henning; program for Christian workers and pastors at the Bible schools; the Tuzu tribe; the doctrinal and ecclesiastical character of the AIC in Tanzania; respect for leaders in the church; other missions in the area (Church Missionary Society from Australia, Adventists, Mennonites, Pentecostals); relations with the Catholic White Father missionaries; Bible translation and the Catholic missionaries; problems with Pentecostal missionaries; difficulties for some missionaries in accepting transfer to African authority; AIC leaders Yeremiya Kisula, Mereki Mayala and Johana Kudre (?); Kisula's push for Tanzanian control of the AIC; differences in the missionary enterprise from 1938 to 1993; joys of a teaching ministry;
T3 (25 minutes) Qualitative difference between taking six weeks to get to field and a few days; the difficulty of old missionaries and new missionaries adjusting to each other; need for sensitivity regarding African attitudes toward gender roles; learning by doing in the field; advice from senior missionaries on African culture; Stier's perspective on the work as field director as an intermediary between mission and church, missionaries and home office; Stier's nickname "emprjiwa mpuza" or "the tanner of hides" because he made valuable workers from untrained people; another nickname and other comments from Africans on his work; Stier's weaknesses as a missionary; more on Miss Newton; a missionary joke; missing the fellowship of your home church as a missionary; importance of personal devotions
The material in this collection was given to the BGC Archives by William Stier in January 1993.Accession: 93-13
T1 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 70 minutes, one side only. Interview of William A. Stier by Paul Ericksen on January 19, 1993, at the Media Retirement Center in Florida.
T2 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 55 minutes, one side only. Interview of William A. Stier by Paul Ericksen on January 20, 1993, at the Media Retirement Center in Florida.
T3 - Reel, 3 ¾ ips, 25 minutes, one side only. Conclusion of T2.