Nearly 1,500 people attended the dedication ceremony of Xiaogan Church in Hubei Province on May 1. It was the first church built in downtown Xiaogan since the 20th century, giving every prefecture-level city in Hubei Province at least one church.
Huang Wu, the senior pastor, talked about the four year construction of the church. It began with a vacant lot with no paths and ponds that needed to be filled. The entire church covers an area of 4,000 square meters, and the local government transferred the land to the church, as well as returned its church properties. As for its size, the church has a total building area of 4,700 square meters. "I will never forget the brothers and sisters who love God and went to great efforts throughout the four year construction period. They helped with cooking, carrying rebar, handling paperwork, purchasing materials, and much more despite the extreme weather," said Pastor Huang when he talked about his appreciation regarding the devotion and hard work of the believers.
Pastor Zhu Zhiguo, the president of the CCC&TSPM of Hubei Province, spoke on its behalf in the ceremony. He thanked all the departments and churches that helped build Xiaogan Church, as well as the efforts of the fellow workers who spread the Gospel in the place. Zhu hoped that the Xiaogan Church could enhance the study of religious policies and regulations and carry out theological ideology construction so that the church could take root in the local culture. He also emphasized that the church should resist heresies, strengthen self-improvement, and carry out social service ministry. Finally, he encouraged and advised the believers of the church to spread the Gospel for God positively.
Two pastors and one teacher were anointed after the dedication ceremony.
Xiaogan is the only prefecture-level city in China named after the principal of filial piety (Xiao means filial piety in Chinese.), and the home to the culture of filial piety. Three of The Twenty-four Filial Exemplars happened there: "He sold himself for his father's funeral," "He cried and the bamboo sprouted," and "He fanned the pillow and warmed the blanket," and these stories showed that the virtue of "Filial piety is the most important of all virtues." There is also a commandment in the Bible that comes with promise and stated "Honor your father and your mother, so that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you." (Exodus 20:12)
The Gospel was first introduced to Xiaogan in 1862 by Griffith John, a Welsh Christian missionary. Unfortunately, his church building in Xiaogan was suspended due to unfortunate circumstances. After the reform and opening up in 1970, the CCC&TSPM sent many preachers to Xiaogan to preach the Gospel and rebuilt the Holy Temple from 2013 to 2016. The new church can hold 1,500 people for services, and was built from the donations of believers.
Translated by: Grace Hubl