Jilin Local Pastors Suffer from Financial Hardship due to COVID-19

The research team of  the Jilin CC&TSPM visited the Qinghe Church in northeast Yanji city in August 2020.
The research team of the Jilin CC&TSPM visited the Qinghe Church in northeast Yanji city in August 2020. (photo: Jilin CC&TSPM)
By Mark Cui August 14th, 2020

Jilin CC&TSPM visited Hunchun in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture, learning how full-time pastors were experiencing difficulties because of reduced contributions due to the coronavirus pandemic.

From August 10 to 12, the research guidance team of church affairs also visited Yanji in Yanbian Korean Autonomous Prefecture to do research on pastoral work after the pandemic, the progress in resisting heresy, and the Sinicization of Christianity, according to Jilin CC&TSPM. 

The research team was led by Rev. Ren Dazhong, the chairman and president of Jinlin CC&TSPM. They conducted their research by visiting grassroots churches on the border and holding a symposium with the pastoral staff.

In Hunchun on the border between China, Russia, and North Korea, Rev. Zhao Yonggang, chairman of the Hunchun CC&TSPM, said that the 22 local churches had resumed gatherings. Due to the special geographical location, there are 18 churches with Korean believers who make up the main body of believers in the city. Due to the large exodus of ethnic groups from these churches in recent years, the number of believers has decreased, leaving the churches with an aging population. Especially affected by the pandemic, these churches don’t receive many contributions, so full-time pastors are facing difficulties in their lives.

The economy of Hunchun is mainly based on tourism, with a small resident population. Although there are a few members of the South Korean Shincheonji cult in the area, they have not had an impact on the churches.

During the symposium, the research team hoped that the churches with the minority as their main body of believers could do more exploration in the Sinicization of Christianity, especially in pastoral care and church management, reflecting characteristics of Chinese Christianity and how to integrate with the excellence of traditional Chinese culture.

Rev. Yang Fengqin, the person in charge of the Qinghe Church in Yanji, introduced the normalization of pandemic prevention and control after the resumption of activities.

The research content of the academic affairs contained five aspects: educational administration development, forms of pastoral care, measures for normalization of pandemic prevention and control and restoration activities, methods to resist heretical cults, "four enters" activities (the National flag of China, the Constitution, laws and regulations, core socialist values and fine traditional Chinese culture shall enter places of religious activities) and the development of the Sinicization of Christianity.

At the same time, the eight pastors recommended by Yanbian Prefecture CC&TSPM to be ordained were evaluated. According to the evaluation of the assessment team, seven of them passed successfully, and one needed an additional assessment.

The educational administration research team of the Jilin CC&TSPM spent one month visiting Tonghua, Baishan, and Yanbian Prefecture’s four border cities. They held three symposiums with pastoral staff, and successfully completed their research in the border areas.

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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