Churches across China held special services to pay tribute to the elderly on the occasion of the traditional Double Ninth Festival which falls on October 4.
A centennial church in China’s southeastern coastal Zhejiang Province held a Sunday service to honor the elderly members with a communion service.
Rev. Jin Ruijuan preached a sermon with the title “Christians’ Unusual Later Life” in True God Church, Fenghua District, Ningbo City, on October 2. She encouraged senior believers to seize the moment in remembrance of the Lord, obey Him in any situation, and glorify Him no matter whether they live or pass away.
The Elderly Choir and the band in the church sang the songs “Respect for the Elderly” and “Ode to the Lord”, with musical instruments performance. After the sermon, Jin hosted a communion service. Then the church organized a festival for the elderly over 70 years old in Xiao Town, sending holiday gifts to celebrate the Double Ninth Festival falling on October 4 this year. At the end of the service, Elder Yuan Xiangzhong, a 94-year-old pastor, offered a prayer of benediction.
Guangdong Christian Union Church and its subordinate gathering points set October 9 as “Sunday of Respecting the Elderly”, when a series of related activities were carried out, according to Guangdong CC&TSPM.
In several Sunday services of the Union Church, several pastors were invited and preached a sermon with a title respectively in each service, including Pastor Fan Hongen, Chairman of Guangdong TSPM, with the title “An Old Man's Sayings Are Seldom Untrue”, Pastor Lei Yuming, Executive Vice President of Guangdong CC, with “A Christian View of Respect for the Elderly”, Pastor Cai Jianwei, Vice President of the Union Theological Seminary, with “Love of Older People Begins With the Love of One’s Parents and Grandparents”, Pastor Huang Zhaoping, Director of the church, with “Honor Your Parents That It May Go Well With You”, and Pastor Lu Enjie, Deputy Director of the church, with “The Beauty of the Dusk”. The five pastors jointly encourage believers to keep filial piety in mind and practice it in the real life.
During the services, the pastors gave gifts to the elderly over 70 years old. After the services, free clinic activities were carried out. Eight Christian doctors of different majors were organized to provide health consultation and help for the elderly and believers.
Hu Ai Hui, the senior fellowship of Fuhua Church in Fuqing, Fujian held its second general meeting since the fifth council performed its duties, with nearly 900 members attending the meeting on the morning of October 4, according to the Committee.
Pastor Lin Xiule gave a testimony there. He mentioned that at the Double Ninth Festival, a special festival for the elderly, China has had the custom of climbing on this day since ancient times, and ancient Israelites also had the custom of climbing the holy mountain in Jerusalem. They sang songs of ascents to express praise to God.
President Lin Rensheng made a report on the work of the plenary session in the past year. He introduced that there are 1763 members of the committee, who are divided into 107 groups (each group has 4-30 people). In 2022, 41 members returned to the Lord and 86 members are over 90 years old. He also introduced pastoral care work for the elderly believers: the Bible Reading Class helps the illiterate elderly to read the Bible fluently; the elderly who have been living at home for a long time due to illness or lack of strength were cared for and visited; the Elderly Choir, drum team, waist drum team, praise exercise team and dance team of the committee performed on stage at festivals; Mashan Nursing Home has been doing well during the three-year epidemic.
The second half of the meeting presented cultural programs on stage, in which the elderly performed six programs: chorus, “three sentences and a half”, drums, waist drums, praise exercises, and dance shows. One of the sisters, now in her eighties, performed as the choir director, a drummer in the drum team, and a member of “three sentences and a half”.
Staff members of Zhangzhou Municipal CC&TSPM in Fujian presented cooking oil and rice on October 3 to ten needy families and 140 families with elderly believers aged above 70 from Jingzaiwei Church and Qianling Church in Wuzhai Township, Pinghe County, funding 15 senior people over 90 years old, with donations in cash and kind worth 19,500yuan, said Fujian CC&TSPM.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times.)
- Translated by Stephen Huang