Dedication of Church Building Held After Three Decades' Reconstruction

The choir of Jiexi Church in Shima Street, Zhangzhou, Fujian, sang a hymn to celebrate the dedication of Tatan Church in Zhangzhou, Fujian, on November 5, 2022.
1/2The choir of Jiexi Church in Shima Street, Zhangzhou, Fujian, sang a hymn to celebrate the dedication of Tatan Church in Zhangzhou, Fujian, on November 5, 2022.(photo: Provided by Lin Muli)
Tatan Church in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province
2/2Tatan Church in Zhangzhou, Fujian Province(photo: Provided by Lin Muli)
By Lin MuliNovember 8th, 2022

A rural church in China’s southeastern coastal Province of Fujian hosted its dedication service after the framework was built more than 30 years ago with believers worshipping inside.

During the service conducted on November 5 for the church in Tatan Village, Chengxi Town, Longhai District, Zhangzhou City, pastors from downtown Zhangzhou called believers to worship, gave prayers with congratulations, and led the congregation in reading scripture.

After the congratulatory messages made by local church leaders, Rev. Huang Lihong from Beimen Church in Zhangzhou delivered a sermon titled "The Dedication of the Temple", with a hymn from the choir of Jiexi Church in Shima Street, followed by the introduction of the church.

The church is located in a remote mountain village with an average altitude of more than 500 meters and a permanent population of fewer than 4,000 people.

Rev. Ouyang Hou, who proposed to set up a Christian school - Baotan Primary School - in 1925, purchased the land of the existing church, as well as an old house for gatherings. In 1938, the pastor invested in the renovation of the church, a rare one in the rural areas of southern Fujian at that time.

Tatan Church demolished the original large house and built a church building in 1942, with the number of believers gradually increasing as the meeting time changed from night to day. In the same year, Zhangzhou Dongbanhou Church set up a branch in Tatan Village. Till that time, the church had established seven branches which were called the "seven lampstands".

Pastor Ouyang Shuping who works in Fuzhou Shangdu Church shared that during the War of Resistance Against Japanese Aggression (1931-1945), Rev. Ouyang Hou sent her grandfather Ouyang Hongdai to school then supported him to advance in Minnan Theological Seminary. After returning to Tatan Village, Hongdai served as the president of Baotan Primary School founded by Hou, teaching during the day and preaching at night. When Hou went to Malaysia, he intended to bring Hongdai together with him but left him in Tatan Church considering that there was no pastor in the local church and Hongdai’s children were still young. Hongdai invited a female pastor surnamed Lu to live in Tatan Village with her youngest daughter to carry out mission work, with the gospel prospering as more than 20 families gathered at that time.

After the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, the church stopped its activities since there were no pastors in the village. After the implementation of the freedom of religion policy in 1978, Christians started to gather in believers' homes, with more and more people joining the meeting. Registered as a place for religious activities in 1999, the church which became a dilapidated building in disrepair for many years was rebuilt on the original site in 1998 with donations from the congregation and other brother churches. 

After the framework was built in December 1999, the reconstruction was finished this year due to the lack of funds with believers worshipping inside meanwhile.

(The article is originally published in the Gospel Times and the author is a believer in Fujian.)

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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