SINGAPORE: Mainline Chinese Leaders Laud Global South Anglican Encounter
By David W. Virtue in Singapore
April 22, 2010
South East Asia Archbishop John Chew would like to see a serious Anglican presence in China. In fact, he would like to see what happened in Africa with Anglicanism happen to his neighbor in the North.
Africa has as many as 40 million plus Anglicans. There is not a firm Anglican presence as yet in China, which has more than one hundred million Chinese evangelicals in a population of 1.3 billion, the world's largest and most populous country. Chew has visited China and seen opportunities for an Anglican presence there.
Two Chinese church leaders appeared at the Fourth Global South to South Encounter saying they wanted to deepen their relationship with the Anglican Communion.
“I hope that the Chinese Church and the Anglican Global South can expand their cooperation,” said Elder Fu Xianwei, one of two observers at the Fourth Global South to South Encounter in Singapore.
The Chairman of the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) was making his parting speech before leaving the Encounter. Opportunities for dialogue at the summit benefited him, said Elder Fu.
“The Bible studies, talks and discussions have been helpful for my spiritual growth and for church management,” he said.
Elder Fu told Anglican leaders that he has increased confidence in building his Church. He has attended all the public talks and most of the discussion groups.
Both the Anglican Communion and the Chinese Church face similar challenges of serving God in a multi-religious, globalised and secularized context. Because of this, dialogue has increased understanding and counsel between the two church bodies, he said.
“A key way in which Christians can serve God in our context is by serving others.”
The TSPM, together with the China Christian Council, draws over 20 million Chinese Christians in 55,000 churches, making it the fastest growing Christian community in the world today.
The situation has changed with the rise of the Global South, he told the “Christian Post”.
Elder Fu Xianwei, the Chairman National committee of the Three Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) of China Christian Church, spoke through a translator saying the Chinese emphasis is strong in Singapore. “Both the physical proximity and the number of Chinese nationals that live and work here make the use of the Chinese language normal. Christianity is emerging in China, due to the labors of many missionaries resident there for over 100 years, who laid the foundation for the explosion of the faithful in China today. Now that government restrictions have been eased – and I do mean that with a lower case ‘e’ – there has been a new opportunity for Churches to begin and people to gather in Christ’s name without always facing the possibility of imprisonment. I held a Bible that contained both English (NIV) and Chinese Union Version, which is the most popular Chinese version. This morning, I held a Bible that was only Chinese. It was well worn and dog-eared. It is a new world here!”
Elder Xianwei, the Pastor’s pastor and the master of the Chinese Christian Church, stated he has had the opportunity to meet many bishops and archbishops of the Anglican Communion. “I would like to congratulate Archbishop John Chew for his kind invitation to this meeting and this historic conference. For me I am making new good friends in the Anglican Church worldwide.
“The Chinese Church is set and ready for proclaiming the Gospel. We will deliver that promise. We are an independent church. In the meantime the Chinese Church will pass through ecumenical circles and form relations with other churches. The Chinese Church is facing many challenges, including the development of faith and the training of many disciples. We would like to develop our churches so people can emerge as well formed disciples and as this conference title suggests, be a Light in China.
“I believe in my spirit on this conference will help me to know more about the new world. It will be the Anglican Church that will expand my mind and knowledge so we can run our church better.”
On September 11, 2007, the 50 millionth Bible rolled off the Press at Amity Printing Company in Nanjing.
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