Pastors Appeal Church’s Social Responsibility after 19 Killed in Blaze

By Daniel Wang , November 28, 2017 06:11 AM

Children of migrant workers(Amity Foundation)

A fire broke out in an apartment at Xinjian Village, Xihongmen Town, Daxing District, a southern suburb of Beijing. It killed 19 people including eight children and injured eight other people.

The cause of the incident is still under investigation. The refrigeration facility newly installed in the apartment's basement led to the fire, the apartment manager said. Beijing ordered a city-wide safety check after the tragedy.

The majority of the more than 400 residents were reportedly migrant workers from inner provinces. The housing block was a temporary resting place for migrant workers thanks to its cheaper rental price and convenient location near their work and schools.

The fire accelerated the forced demolition of Xinjian Village and the eviction of the migration workers. All the shops inside were required to empty as soon as possible.

Most of the casualties were reportedly migrant workers and their families from places like Henan, Shandong, and Hebei.

Four Chinese pastors shared their views on the social issues.

"I feel really sorry for it. Today's church should not merely focus on doctrine, but lead Christians to be responsible in society. They can't dodge their social responsibility because the church is socially marginalized." Rev. Piao from Northeast China said, "We need more social forces to solve social problems. Financial pressure is one of the most urgent and important bread-and-butter matters. Christians should have consciousness of being masters of the society. The church needs to encourage Christians to start businesses and the startups should not only meet their personal needs but also help more people."

"Poor safety awareness is the cause of almost all disasters ", Rev. Lu from Inner Mongolia claimed, "God protects you under His law and the lifetime lesson for Godfearing men is to obey His law. Don't ask God why when we (meet disasters), but think about what's wrong with people."

Rev. Wang from Jiangsu said, "I feel pained and sad for the helplessness when I see coverage of disasters. I mourn for the deceased, rejoice for those who are alive, and grieve for the society. People leave their hometowns to lead better lives, but they pay so much for it. Busy with all kinds of ministries, our churches forget neighbors around us. Because it is impossible for migrant workers to stop working and go to church, we pay little attention to them. We come to realize that the lost souls were unsaved when the incident happened, but we, like everyone, will come full circle over time."

Rev. Huang from Guangdong urged Christians to love the Lord and men while still alive. "The church should take the initiative to care for migrant workers who need love and attention. The church is a warm home where everybody can be accepted and loved." She said.

"A college student here joined one of campus fellowships that offer make-up classes for migrant children. Later, I heard the news from him that the children's parents were moved and accepted Jesus.  So love and care should be life-oriented, specific and also important, but our care should not be fish and bread for the benefit of physical health and material.  Instead, learn from Jesus' talk with the Samaritan woman that He compared the well water to living water; lead people's  temporary and physical needs to their spiritual needs." The pastor concluded.

- Translated by Karen Luo

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