November 24, 2009
A group of 24 leaders from seven regions of the world has concluded the World Evangelical Alliance’s first official visit to China.
After spending time in Shanghai with the national leadership of the China Christian Council (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China (National Committee of the TSPM), the group left for Nanjing and Beijing.
In Nanjing the WEA representatives were hosted by the Jiangsu Christian Council, Nanjing Seminary, the Amity Foundation and the Amity Printing Co., Ltd.
The WEA’s International Director Dr. Geoff Tunnicliffe commented, “Our team was impressed by the significant Bible printing operation which provides Scriptures for both the Chinese and international markets.”
At the Foundation, the group was challenged and encouraged by the scope, depth and professionalism of the community services, development projects and humanitarian aid.
During the visit to Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (national seminary), the group was deeply encouraged by the vision of the graduate students.
Gordon Showell-Rogers, WEA Associate International Director designate and current General Secretary of the European Evangelical Alliance:
‘’The love of this group of young men and women for their Lord and His word, and for their country and people, was tangible, even through translation’’’
Finally, the group travelled to Beijing, to meet local church leaders and government officials.
The WEA delegation was warmly received by leaders of the State Administration for Religious Affairs, who spoke of the government’s desire to see Christians contributing more and more to social welfare programs. The WEA leaders were able to explain something of the character and values of global evangelicalism.
At Yanjing Seminary (a regional seminary), the WEA group was graciously hosted by leaders of the seminary and the Beijing Christian Council and TSPM.
Bishop Gerry Seale, General Secretary of the Evangelical Association of the Caribbean described how these leaders explained their context: “In their fast-changing situation, the growing church in China is facing the challenge of continuing to grow their own pastoral and leadership training to equip believers to serve their churches and the broader needs of society.”
As the trip drew to a close, Mr. Showell-Rogers concluded that the “WEA had gained some new perspectives on the church in this complex and huge nation”. On Sunday morning Dr. Tunnicliffe brought greetings on behalf of WEA at the famous, Chongwenmen Church in Beijing, where over 7500 people attend the services.
Dr. Tunnicliffe summed up the historic weeklong visit “As Chinese friends said to us several times: ‘every journey starts with one small step’. Our long-term commitment in China is to build on these first small steps for the good of the church worldwide.”
World Evangelical Alliance (WEA): World Evangelical Alliance is made up of 128 national evangelical alliances located in 7 regions and 104 associate member organizations. The vision of WEA is to extend the Kingdom of God by making disciples of all nations and by Christ-centered transformation within society. WEA exists to foster Christian unity, to provide an identity, voice and platform for the 420 million evangelical Christians worldwide.