Pinghe County government returned the real property to a church in China's southeastern coastal Fujian Province, as it was occupied by another organization 70 years ago.
As an ordinary house in Chinese style, Gospel Church in Jiufeng Town, Pinghe County, was occupied by other organizations after the Chinese Revolution of 1949. Following the guidelines of the State Council on the issues of real property of religious organizations, the county government held an executive meeting this year to discuss the disputes over land ownership of the church, agreeing to return all the land use rights and house ownership and informing the church to conduct the building registration.
With the gospel being introduced in 1905, a church belonging to the Church of Christ in China was established in Jiufeng Town, located in Pinghe County, which was established in 1518 and whose name was given by the emperor. Chen Shiyi, Chen Shi, and Zhang Xiangxian once nurtured believers in the church belonging to Luxi Church.
According to the Pinghe Christianity Gazetteer, the American Church of Christ sent a pastor whose Chinese name was Rev. Lu Jiubo to Pinghe in 1872 to preach the gospel. After 1892, 14 churches and chapels were successively built, including Nansheng Church, Wuzhai Church, Wenfeng Chapel, and Xiazhai Chapel. In 1949 when the People’s Republic of China was founded, there were 1,042 Christians in Pinghe and 35 Christians in Jiufeng. In 1946, the owner of Jiufeng Church was Liu Jihe from the Church of Christ in China.
According to the local elders in Jiufeng, before 1949, foreigners and American female believers went to give sermons at Jiufeng Church, holding services on Saturdays and Sundays and distributing milk and candy to the attendees.
Though the church was closed due to being occupied after 1949, the gospel was spread again by Sun Shujuan from Zhangzhou in Fujian. Together with other believers of Zhangzhou Church, Sun preached the gospel to his husband’s family in Jiufeng on October 1, 2000. After prayers, the Lord healed Zeng Chunhui, the youngest man of the family, of his repeated fever which did not improve even after taking medicine. Later, they led Zeng and his wife in offering prayers of confession and repentance. The next morning, the couple asked these Christians to help them remove the idols in their home, deciding to worship God wholeheartedly. In order to strengthen their faith, Zhangzhou Church sent two young pastors to serve in Jiufeng in November 2000. Arranged by the church after the Spring Festival in 2001, Zeng and his wife went to the Shencheng Church of Quanzhou City to attend a class for believers, participating in the Bible study class held by the Zhangzhou Church in Hongkeng Village, Nanjing County. On July 1 of that year, they were baptized, becoming the first Christian couple in Jiufeng after the founding of the People's Republic of China. Then they returned to Jiufeng to spread the gospel till now.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the author is a Christian in Fujian Province.)
- Translated by Abigail Wu