On the afternoon of October 11, 2022, a virtual meeting was held by CCC&TSPM and the UBS. The meeting was attended by Rev. Wu Wei, the president of CCC, Rev. Shan Weixiang, the vice president and general secretary of CCC, and Mr. Michael Perreau, the director general of the United Bible Societies (UBS), as well as other members of CCC&TSPM and the UBS. The two sides reminisced about the cooperation and friendship they had had for many years and expressed concern for each other in the time of COVID-19 and longing for mutual visits after the pandemic was over. They also shared and discussed the challenges they were facing in the development of the church.
Rev. Shan Weixiang hosted the meeting and he said that he was glad to see some old friends in this virtual meeting as it had been long since they last met.
Mr. Michael Perreau introduced the two new directors of the UBS China Partnership, Mr. Bernard Low and Mr. Daniel Loh, who were the successors of the former Director Kua Wee Seng. They gave a brief self-introduction respectively. Mr. Perreau, as the outgoing director general of UBS, also shared his experiences of serving in the post.
On behalf of CCC&TSPM, Rev. Wu Wei said that this virtual meeting was highly valued, and congratulated the two new China Partnership directors. He then showed respect to Michael Perreau for the wisdom and strength he had contributed to Chinese church ministries over the past years. He also extended gratitude to Mr Kua Wee Seng, who continued to stay in the team as a consultant, for his offering many years of support and assistance to the Bible ministries in China. Lastly, he mentioned that it was the best time ever in China today; with noticeable economic growth as well as a higher level of spiritual pursuit in society, the Church in China was provided with a sound social environment; the Church in China would stick to the Indigenization and Contextualization of Christianity in China and keep pace with the development of the society. Rev. Wu hoped that UBS would continue to support the Church in China and bear witness to a healthy church development in China. He welcomed UBS to come to visit China when the pandemic was over.
Rev. Shan Weixiang reponded to the challenges facing the Church in China today. He said that in this new context, to enable more people to understand the gospel of Christ and His testimony, the Church in China should continue to work for the Indigenization and Contextualization of Christianity. Some believed that the contextualization was a natural process, while for more than 200 years since Christianity was introduced to China, Christianity had not been indigenized and contextualized in China. We still had to make a lot of efforts and the big challenge was how to enable more people to understand Christianity and how Christians should bear witness to the gospel of Christ. Therefore, the Church in China ought to stick to the Indigenization and Contextualization of Christianity so that more people would get to know about Christianity and the church would be “enjoying the favour of all the people”. To underline the importance of contexualization, he gave the example of a special edition of Bible published during the Mid-Autumn Festival – “Blooming Flowers and Full Moon” – which was designed with elements of Chinese culture and gained high popularity.
In favor of the notion of contextualizing Christianity in the Chinese context, Mr. Perreau said that people should read the Scripture in their heart language and in their own culture. Only in this way can the faith be their own faith and the God be their own God. Consultant Kua Wee Seng then recalled the long-lasting relationship between UBS and CCC&TSPM. He also said that the future Bible ministries were in his prayers; so were the Indigenization and Contextualization of Christianity in China.
This virtual meeting allowed CCC&TSPM to build a tighter bond with UBS, and the two sides expected to have mutual visits soon.
Ms. Gu Jingqin, interim director of CCC&TSPM’s Overseas Relations Department participated in the virtual meeting.
Translated and edited by Bei Sang.