The WorldShare story is the result of several people’s God-given vision.
Duncan McRoberts, a British missionary to China, saw how effective teams of Chinese evangelists could be in reaching their own people. Together with Fred and Geraldine Savage, he began to raise support for Chinese Christian workers. In the turmoil of 1942, with the Japanese invading China, they determined to seek wider support. With the help of Christian businessmen in Seattle, they raised enough money to support one of China’s foremost young evangelists, Calvin Chao. This radical idea of partnering with national believers gave birth to the China Native Evangelistic Crusade, or CNEC, as we became known. There was nothing like it at the time. And in 1943 we had launched a new era of mission strategy.
In 1946 Rev and Mrs Savage visited the USA, England and Australia, as a result of which offices were opened in the UK (1946), Australia (1953), Canada (1960) and Japan (1984). By 1949 CNEC was sponsoring 150 workers and had helped to start two Bible Colleges, a seminary and a student ministry. With the Communist takeover in the same year, much of the work became restricted so the local organisation was moved to Hong Kong. The advance of the Communist army created a tidal wave of refugees that spilled across Southeast Asia. This crisis, once again, opened doors for new ministry. CNEC began assisting Chinese believers in Hong Kong, Singapore and other parts of Southeast Asia who were ministering among these displaced people.
Miss Doris Lum, a young Chinese Australian, born in South Australia, served in China as a CNEC worker in 1943, having graduated from Hong Kong Bible College. She was supported by a group of Sydney Bible classes led by Miss F.M. (Margaret) Cook who later became President of the Australian Council of CNEC. As a high school student, Doris had become a Christian in one of Miss Cook’s Bible classes at Burwood High School in Sydney. When CNEC began its ministry in China, Doris worked as the mission’s Secretary and in that role she was the means of introducing CNEC to Australia.
Doris had approached a group of men from South Australia, asking them to form a committee to promote CNEC’s work. The first committee was formed in February 1953. Its members were Sir Philip Messent, Chris Harrison, Doug Dawson, Noel Foord, George Peters and Stan Lawry.
In 1967 it was decided to locate a central office in Sydney to further develop CNEC’s work. Mrs Glad Barr took on the role of Australian representative. The first office was on the back verandah of her home in Croydon. In 1976, with the work growing and space running out, the Council made the decision to purchase 35a Badminton Rd Croydon from Sydney Missionary and Bible College for $49,000. The bungalow was sold back to SMBC in 2009 and CNEC relocated its NSW office to a property on Great North Rd, Five Dock. Three staff members also work out of a Box Hill office space in Melbourne.
From 1 March 2012 our name was changed to WorldShare. Renaming our organisation enabled us to more effectively engage with partners and supporters and provide better alignment with our overseas counterparts.
Our story could not have been written without the extraordinary good will and generosity of Christians all around Australia. A strong spirit of volunteerism has permeated our organisation from its beginnings and continues to this day. We invite you to support our partners, and enable them to continue writing the story of transformation in the lives of people around the world.