On May 11, the 1,100 square meter Hanchuan-Hallelujah Church was finally dedicated with 2,000 pastoral staff and church parishioners attending the event. For many, the event not only opens new opportunities for parishioners and the ministry as they could now hold gatherings and other major events without worrying about accommodations and structural problems for the church as it could now hold 1,000 people at any given time in any area of its seven floor structure.
According to Rev. Yue, the senior pastor of the church, the construction of the church began even before they had enough money to begin the construction. "We only had 380,000 yuan when we started the construction of Hallelujah Church. We spent approximately 6.5 million yuan in total before the church was completed."
The pastor also shared that the money used for the construction came from donations and personal contributions from the pastoral staff. The construction started in August 2012, but its supposed-2013-opening was thwarted by the lack of funding.
Rev. Yue also recalled that there were a lot of tears involved in the construction process, but with God's grace and the support of their parishioners, they were able to ensure that the Church would be completed.
"The completion of the church shows God's special mercy and care and a ministry held by the knees. The church elders, co-workers and members have poured a lot of time and effort into it. In my eyes, God's love doesn't resemble a waterfall nor the Yellow River, but is like a spring with the proper capacity and at the right speed, flowing without ending." said the pastor as he recalled the entire process.
Two donations, according to the pastor, touched his heart. The first donation came from an elderly couple who donated more than 20,050 yuan before the 2014 Spring Festival. The amount allowed the church to fill in the deficit of the construction at the period. The couple lived in Fujian, but it did not stop them from donating. In total, the couple donated more than 100,000 yuan to the church.
The second donation came from a brother who just started his business in the period. The pastor said that the brother donated 200,000 yuan after hearing a sermon in May 2015.
The beginning of Christianity in Hanchuan began in 1886 after a British missionary from the Methodist Church built a church in the area. However, there were not much parishioners in the period and the onset of the Cultural Revolution prevented the religion from growing. However, in 1984, seven elderly women gathered in their homes to practice the faith and slowly enticed others to worship. In 1988, the house was purchased by the congregation and used it to make a chapel for the faithful.
The numbers grew to 600 people, prompting the congregation to move the chapel in a factory lot in 1997. However, it was identified that the area was dangerous after the 2008 Wenchuan Earthquake, thus the construction of the Hallelujah Church.