A church in China’s southwestern coastal Guangdong Province held services over two days to mark its 30th anniversary of reopening, witnessing the growth of the church in the past 30 years.
Following hymns after the flag-raising ceremony on June 25, Senior Pastor Xie Xuguang walked the congregation through the 30-year history and ministries of Shamian Church in Guangzhou.
Starting with no full-time staff members, the church now has four paid pastoral staff, with about 30-50 people baptized every year.
After carrying out renovations and maintenance activities since 1992, the church opened a reading room and an official WeChat account with a website. It also founds several more choirs and an orchestra, carrying out the couple fellowship family camp and socials for singles. To help nurture talent, it has donated 1.39 million yuan to 738 impoverished students.
Built in around 1865 for foreign believers, it was one of the earliest completed buildings on the island along with the British Embassy at that time. Managed and used by government departments after the Cultural Revolution in 1949, the church was put under the management of the Guangdong CC&TSPM in 1989, reopening in 1992 after renovation. It once served as the second campus of Guangdong Union Theological Seminary from 1994 to 2001, being an important base for the Guangdong church to train pastors. The church was listed as a national key cultural relic by the State Council in November 1996.
Besides three services on Sundays, the church conducts Bible study classes, prayer meetings, catechism classes, and other weekday ministries, providing books to read and wedding services.
In the afternoon, Rev. Xu Jieping, president of Guangdong Union Theological Seminary, gave a seminar with the title "Discussing the Spiritual Meditation in the Chinese Context From Form and Meaning", sharing three aspects including "biblical meditation", "the role of meditation", and "spiritual meditation in the Chinese context". He put forward that “the rich cultural resources of the Chinese nation were an important condition for the sinicization of Christian spirituality and believers could meditate on Chinese philosophy and socialist core values same or similar to the Bible”.
In the evening, the church hosted a worship and praise meeting in which choirs sang 16 hymns which were composed by believers from the church, with a sermon titled "The Day You Truly Understand God's Grace" by Rev. Lin Enling, secretary-general and director-general of Guangdong CC&TSPM. Believers were admitted by tickets that were not easy to obtain that night. All donations received at the meeting will be used for ministries of alleviating poverty and aiding students.
The next day, Sunday, the centurial church held three services in the morning, afternoon, and evening, as well as an evangelistic meeting.
- Translated by Abigail Wu