Wulin Shenghui Church of Penglai Shandong province has been listed as one of the major historical and cultural sites protected at the national level as part of the Eighth Group of National Key Cultural Relics Protection Units List which is issued by the State Council.
According to Shandong Penglai Church, Wulin Church is located along the western edge of the Huahe River in Penglai City, also known as the Huahe River Protestant Church or Dengzhou Shenghui Church. In the 19th century, Dengzhou was a region where western missionaries were active. In 1861, the Southern Baptist missionary Jesse Boardman Hartwell founded the earliest Baptist organization in North China in Penglai. In 1872, the Tarleton Perry Crawford couple, Southern Baptist missionaries from the United States, built a Protestant church on the west side of the south end of the Huahe River Bridge which was known as the "Dengzhou Shenghui Church".
Shenghui Church is a European-style building, with a conjoining bell tower and a main hall. The east side chapel (the main hall) is a single-story structure with four open rooms, 20.58 meters in length east-west, and 9 meters in width north-south with a construction area of 185.22 square meters (0.045 acres). The altar sits on the east side facing the west. In front of the altar is a baptismal font. Along the two sides of the chapel are cloakrooms. The main hall can accommodate more than 300 people. The three-story western bell tower has a ground floor is a passage hall whose gate faces the west. In the passage hall there are two side doors on the east for entering the chapel and on the wall between the doors are embedded the "Monument to Mrs. Crawford." The first floor is a storage room. On the wooden beams on the top floor hangs a brass bell for worship services, and every Sunday the bell rings and its chime can be heard throughout the city.
The Dengzhou Church is one of the earliest Protestant buildings in China, and also the oldest existing church in Shandong Province. Among the American missionaries who evangelized there, Ms. Lottie Moon was the most influential in the international religious community, and was the first female missionary sent abroad by an American Christian organization. She remained unmarried all her life and preached in Dengzhou for 38 years. Every year since 1987, tourists and Christians from around the world have made special trips to Penglai to visit the Shenghui Church where Ms. Moon had long worked and lived, and to pay their tribute to the "Great American Lottie Moon's Love Monument", which was erected in 1915.
In 1988, the church was re-opened after a special period. In 2001, a new hall was built covering an area of 4,089 square meters (1 acres) with a capacity of more than 1,400 people at one time.The membership has grown to more than 4,000. The church has also been involved in community interest events by organizing volunteers to participate in the events which have become its regular practice.
- Translated by Charlie Li