The China Mission of Evangelical Friends Church-Eastern Region USA (EFC-ER) began with the arrival in Nanking of Esther H. Butler who became superintendent of the China field with centers in Nanking and Luho, both in Kiangsu Province. In Nanking, Friends opened a training school for women, a girls’ boarding school under Lenna Stanley, an orphanage, a women’s hospital under Dr Lucy Gaynor, a kindergarten under Rachel Mostrom and carried out refugee work in the Manchu city after the war of 1912.

In Luho, a hospital was opened by Dr George DeVol of New York Yearly Meeting and his wife Isabella French DeVol of Damascus, Ohio. Friends Academy was opened by Dr Walter Williams.

Evangelistic work was done in the surrounding villages and chapels opened in 30 out-stations. A strong Friends Church in Nanking ministered to government and university people, as well as to working classes. The Luho church touched the entire area until 1950 when mainland China was closed to foreign missionaries.

In 1953 Friends began a mission in Chiayi, Taiwan, again with the major emphasis on evangelism and gathering believers into congregations for worship, fellowship and discipline. The meetings established are pastoral meetings, and all of them are pastored by Chinese. Missionaries purposely keep a low-key profile serving in an encouraging and facilitating role. They minister in the services at the invitation of the pastors and work with the Chinese who take leadership in planting new congregations.

It is of note that after the first place was begun by missionaries in Chiayi, each succeeding congregation has been started from concern and vision of Chinese. The congregations from the northern port of Keelung to the southern port of Kaohsiung have been formed into two main districts, northern and southern. Taiwan Yearly Meeting was established in September 1977 with General Superintendent, Russell Myers, representing EFC-ER for the occasion. All of the YM leaders are Chinese and have received no remuneration up to the present for service to the Yearly Meeting.

Beginning in 1986 Taiwan Yearly Meeting assumed full responsibility for all the established congregations under its care. The members have concern to continue evangelising and discipline their own people over the island, many of whom are moving into vast housing developments in or near urban centres. The need is great where hardly 2% of the total population is Christian. So, at their invitation and urgent call, the mission cooperates with them in supporting newly planted churches and in the training of leaders.

On 6 November, 1988, Friends in Taiwan celebrated the 100th anniversary of EFC-ER (formerly Ohio Yearly Meeting) missionary outreach to China. In the same year Taiwan Yearly Meeting with vision and by faith set the goal to double the number of Friends churches and believers by the year 2000. In order to reach this goal Taiwan Friends Church continues to give priority to evangelism, church planting and leadership development. Members of Friends meetings come from all walks of life, but meet and serve together joyously under the lordship of Christ. They have demonstrated a growing united working strength in meeting needs together. In this way they have opened new work, helped complete a number of buildings for worship, as well as shown compassion to needy individuals or groups both within Taiwan and overseas.

Since Chinese Christians are commonly evangelical in beliefs, there is much common ground for cooperation with other Christians in Taiwan and Southeast Asia to advance the Gospel. In 1989 Christians from all groups and denominations united to form the Year 2000 Gospel Movement in Taiwan. Friends actively participated in this and other cooperative Christian endeavours.

Internationally Taiwan Friends have relationships with EFC-ER and the Evangelical Friends Mission. In 1990 Taiwan Yearly Meeting of Friends became one of the founding members of Evangelical Friends Churches International.