A nearly 100-year-old Gothic brick and wood church in Fujian Province on China’s southeastern coast urgently needs to be repaired due to water leaks and damaged roofs, for which four million yuan is yet to be raised.
Cangxia Church in Fuzhou, Fujian Province, which was part of the Anglican Church, was built between 1924 and 1927.
It is a typical British Victorian Gothic brick and wood structure building, covering an area of 1,563 square meters (0.386 acres). The main building covers 823 square meters (0.203 acres), with each floor and roof frames made of wood, and an exterior red brick facade.
In the early morning, a dozen female believers who were cleaning the nave introduced that the church could accommodate a thousand of people at the same time. "Every week, we sweep the church, with a light cleaning on Thursday and a thorough cleaning every Saturday morning, followed by complete disinfection as preparation for the Sunday worship service. Although recently it has been very hot in Fuzhou, we have never stopped cleaning inside and outside the church…”
Rev. Lin Xiuyun, director of the church council, explained about the baptismal basin made of bluestone placed on the right in front of the sanctuary platform. It has existed ever since the church was built. She claimed that there used to be only three such baptismal basins in Anglican churches around the world (one of them in the UK disappeared), and now the only existing bluestone baptismal basin is in this church.
After the Marco Polo Bridge Incident (July 7-9, 1937), the Japanese military launched a full-scale war of aggression against China, during which choir members of Cangxia Church participated in the anti-Japanese military band which departed from the Church to perform in various locations, promoting the idea of fighting against Japan’s invasion and saving the nation.
In 1984, Xiang Nan, secretary of the provincial Party committee at the time, said at a meeting, "Cangxia Church covered the Party's underground activities and contributed to the cause of liberation..."
Implementing the religious policy after the Third Plenary Session of the Eleventh Central Committee, the church took back its property rights. After renovations, Cangxia Church resumed religious activities on August 11, 1985.
As a cathedral built in the typical European style, it was listed in the second batch of district-level cultural relics protection units in Taijiang District in May 1996. In January 2020, it was included in the eighth batch of municipal-level cultural relics protection units in Fuzhou.
Rev. Lin Xiuyun added, "For a long time, the church building has had problems such as water leakage, damaged roofs, seriously corroded wooden components and red bricks, posing a safety hazard."
This year, the church has commissioned a professional ancient building design company to start the renovation project. The total capital for the first phase of the project is estimated to be more than six million yuan. At present, the church has raised two million yuan by itself, which still presents a big gap. Hopefully, all the funds can be ready for the construction to start in October this year, which calls for praying earnestly for it and for its completion as soon as possible.
- Translated by Shuya Wang