China's First Bilingual Church: Dushu Lake Christian Church in Suzhou
By Pauline Petro, March 16, 2017 06:03 AM
Located in Suzhou Industrial Park (SIP), Dushu Lake Christian Church has been serving local and expatriate believers since May 2010, well known as a heavenly place and a spiritual paradise.
Along with the steady growth of SIP, more and more people from all over the world came to work and settle down here. According to incomplete statistics, there are nearly 10,000 Christians in SIP, including 5,000 foreigners. As a result, SIP authorities decided in 2008 to build a Christian church at the Egret Garden (bai-lu-yuan) to the east of Dushu Lake.
The 51-meter-tall lakeside church is a 39-million-yuan project with a floorage of 5,600 square meters and a capacity for 2,100 church goers. A square divides the Gothic complex into two parts. The first floor of the north building houses small chapels of different sizes, while the second floor is the 1,000-people main chapel. The lift for those with restricted mobility is available on the first floor. The supporting facilities to the south of the public square include Sunday school, sermon room, archives, reception, and offices.
The church complex is of typical Gothic architectural design featuring pointed arch, ribbed vault, and flying buttress while the interior is characterized by verticality and light. Apart from traditional elements of sculptural decorations, columns, stained glass, and murals, the church is also equipped with modern facilities of convenience and people of different skin colors make it an international community under the same roof in a real sense. Looking at the complex across the lake, its reflection in the crystal clear water, especially the white cross on top of the building, one will find peace of mind in the bustle and hustle of the modern metropolis.
At the main chapel, all the believers, old and young, Chinese and foreign, listened attentively to the sermon and followed the instructions of the parson in praying and singing. While this is the place for the followers to get close to God, it affords the visitors a serene scene of pure devotion and helps them forget all the worldly troubles. In this sense, this is a place for people to share belief and trust and to experience the traditional Christian virtues of faith, hope, and love.
To serve the believers of various nationalities, there are small chapels for individual groups of followers such as Koreans. According to SIP, Dushu Lake Christian Church is the only bilingual (Chinese & English) church in China at its opening.
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