An official delegation of The United Church of Canada will visit China at the invitation of the China Christian Council (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China. The CCC, with its 30 million members, is the largest Protestant church within the global ecumenical family.
The 10-day visit, beginning November 28, 2015, represents a major partnership initiative for the United Church and will be led by the Moderator, the Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell and the General Secretary of the General Council, Nora Sanders. The 22-member delegation was selected from across the country to represent the broad diversity of the United Church and its ministries. Funding for the delegation has come from a variety of sources, with each delegate responsible for sourcing half of their expected costs.
Delegates have been preparing for the visit for months, through online readings and seminars aimed at grounding the delegation in an understanding of modern China, and the history, polity, theologies, and ministries of the Protestant Church in China. Individually, and as a group, participants look forward to a unique and historic opportunity for mutual encounter, learning, and deepened partnership with Chinese Christians.
The visit will begin in Shanghai, with Sunday worship services in local Chinese congregations. The delegation will experience urban and rural life in and around Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Beijing. A focal point will be a two-day consultation at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary. This joint discussion will include a range of mutual interests, including “Current Contextual Challenges for the Church in Canada and China,” “Community Ministries and Social Services,” and “Church Governance and Structure for the Church of the Future.” The delegation has also been invited to meet the Canadian Consul General in Shanghai, and the Canadian Ambassador in Beijing.
Moderator Jordan Cantwell notes, “Receiving this invitation is a great honour. Christianity in Asia is undergoing fundamental change as Christians there integrate scripture, tradition, experience, and context.”
She adds, “In China, there is tremendous growth happening within the Christian church. This visit opens a window for deepened church-to-church engagement, and presents an opportunity for the United Church to understand China through encounters with Chinese Christians.”
“The visit also recognizes the existing partnership between our churches, the long history of United Church engagement with the people of China, and the potential for learning and growth between churches which have at their heart a vision of unity in diversity among Christians for the sake of God’s mission in the world,” comments Cantwell.
For information contact:
Team Leader, Global Partnerships/Asia Partnerships
The United Church of Canada
Suite 300, 3250 Bloor St W, Toronto ON, M8X 2Y4
416-231-7680/1-800-268-3781; Ext 4018