From June 14 to 19, 2019, a meeting of the World Council of Churches (WCC) Faith and Order Commission convened in Nanjing, Jiangsu. It is CCC&TSPM’s third time hosting relevant conferences for WCC since the CCIA meeting in 2012 and the Executive Commission meeting in 2016.
Over 50 people including Faith and Order moderator Rev. Dr Susan Durber, members and inspectors of the commission, leaders from WCC and representatives of different denominational churches from over 30 countries and regions attended the conference.
At 8:00a.m. of June 14, all attendees participated in the morning prayer. The choir of the Southwest Fellowship from Nanjing Union Theological Seminary (NJUTS) sang Praise Jehovah. Rev. Dr. Lin Manhong, associate general secretary of CCC, and executive member of WCC cited verses from Ephesians 4:1-6 to share a sermon entitled “The Unity”.
Rev. Dr. Lin said that the post-denominational practices, Bishop K.H. Ting’s cosmo Christ and Confucian’s concept of the unity between Heaven and Human are correlated with the idea of unity, peace, justice and ecology that the F&O commission advocates.
At 10 a.m., Rev. Wu Wei, president of CCC delivered the welcome address. Rev. Wu first reviewed the history since CCC joined WCC membership, and said that he felt delighted having such opportunity of CCC’s hosting the meeting in Nanjing.
Rev. Wu said that since the People’s Republic of China was founded in 1949, the church in China made attempts in the unity of the church and began its major step in the year of 1958 by introducing the union service. Afterwards, Rev. Wu also introduced the progress and achievements the church in China has made since the reform and opening up in the aspects of church development, social services, public charity, Bible printing and publication, etc.
The meeting is good for offering the latest research in ecclesiology by the world church, which could help inspire the development of ecclesiology of the church in China.
As WCC has long been encouraging its member churches to study and apply the contextualization of Christianity in specific context, the church in China in recent years is striving towards self-articulation of the faith enrooted in Chinese Culture through dialogues, consultations and practices. The church in China is open to establish constant dialogues with the world church.
On behalf of WCC, Rev. Dr. Susan Durber, WCC Faith and Order Commission moderator, appreciated the introduction by Rev. Wu Wei, and sent a gift to CCC. Later, Rev. Dr Odair Pedroso Mateus, director of WCC Faith and Order Commission and Rev. Dr. Susan Durber reported to the commission of the work and vision.
On June 15, Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, general secretary of WCC attended Faith and Order Commission meeting and made a speech. The general secretary also paid visit to the authorities, CCC&TSPM headquarters, Shanghai CC&TSPM, in addition to some church service projects.
On June 16, participants of the meeting went to Mochou Road Church and St. Paul Church in Nanjing for the Sunday service.
On the evening of June 16, Rev. Kan Baoping, vice chairman of National TSPM introduced the current situation and challenges facing the Christianity in China. Rev. Kan Baoping shared the development over the past forty years in Chinese society, politics, economy, etc., and analyzed the problems that come out when some foreign forces interpret the church in China. He shared the figure of Christian population, clergies as well as the achievements made in theological education, etc.
More detailed introduction was also given by Rev. Kan in terms of the cultural background and social situation of the church in China. He particularly mentioned the background of the theological renewal of the church in China and the ongoing indigenization and contextualization of Christianity in China.
The theological renewal is to shake off the self-righteousness, self-centeredness and narrow-mindedness to know God. Developing Christianity in the Chinese context is the effort made towards indigenizing and contextualizing, which is a continuation of the reconstruction of theological thinking.
Afterward, Rev. Dr, Wen Ge, associate general secretary of CCC shared the translation work of The Church Towards A Common Vision and its publication process, a significant piece of work in promoting the unity of the world church by Faith and Order Commission. He also shared his understanding and reflection.
In the evening, members of the commission bore witness to the book launch of the Chinese version and sang together to give honor to God.
During the meeting, members of the commissions visited NJUTS, Nanjing Massacre Memorial Hall, the Amity Printing Press LTD., etc.
They felt grateful to see the accomplishments achieved by the church in China in theological education and Bible printing. These visits also allowed them to better know the history of China.