Yu was from Zhejiang and was converted at the age of 16 while studying in a Christian school. After his graduation in 1872, he taught and preached in various places in Zhejiang. In 1894 he became pastor of the Presbyterian church, Yabeitang, in Shanghai. Ten years later, the church decided to be financially independent.
In 1906 Yu started the indigenous Chinese Jesus Independent Church. Its headquarters was established in Shanghai in 1910. A periodical, the Sheng Bao (Holy News), was distributed the following year. Yu was elected the lifelong chairman at the first delegates congress of the Chinese Jesus Independent Church in 1920. He retired from the Presbyterian Church in 1924 and devoted himself to establishing the Yongzhitang, that is, the National General Independent Hall. Yu was a pioneer of the indigenous church movement in China and one of the first to put “aiguo (love country), aijiao (love church)” into practice.
This article is reproduced, with permission, from A Dictionary of Asian Christianity, copyright © 2001 by Scott W. Sunquist, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Michigan. All rights reserved.
- “Chinese Independent and Self-Supporting Churches,” in China Mission Yearbook, Vol. 3 (1912).