Chinese Traditional Church in Mianzhu, Sichuan
By Yi Yang, June 18, 2018 12:06 PM
The architectural style of the Chinese church is colorful, like the Romanesque All Saints Church, the Gothic Holy Trinity Church, and Hongde Church, a Sino-Western combination, in Shanghai.
Mianzhu Gospel Church of Sichuan presents a mixture of Chinese and Western styles. Its main wooden structure is column-and-tie construction with Chinese characteristics. Founded in 1923, the church was damaged during the 2008 Sichuan Earthquake and later renovated.
A traditional style of Chinese architectural arch lies above the church entrance door. The church has colorful windows in the walls. Inside the church, a sanctuary with Chinese characteristics stands at the middle and eight black columns made of toona ciliata supports the building.
At ordinary times, elderly believers sing hymns and study the Bible in the old church. Dance rehearsals are held before Easter and Christmas. Services and gatherings are conducted in a new church after the 2008 earthquake.
There used to be a parlor and a fish pond in the courtyard. Christianity was introduced into Mianzhu in around 1894. In 1923, four medical missionaries from the Church of England established a church that covered a land of 300 square meters (0.074 acres) in the city. A two-story wooden house that provided accommodation for preachers and pastors was built in the courtyard.
To expand Christian influence in society, the church ran a school and a hospital that becomes the People's Hospital of Mianzhu. The two institutions were closed during the World War 2 and owned by the government after the founding of PRC in 1949.
In 1984, the estate was restituted to the church, but the building remains closed until the 1990s. "I started to pay attention to Gospel Church in 1995 when I attended services in the churches of Guanghan and Deyang. We united over 70 local Christians and wrote a letter to apply to the department concerned for its opening. The second year, the door was opened and we were allowed to gather here." Said Xiao Yixun, an old believer who is near 70.
A pastor was appointed to be its pastor-in-residence in August 1996. A maintenance project was carried out in 2007.
However, the Sichuan Earthquake caused the arch's bricks to scatter to the ground, which made the garden into ruins. The tiles were damaged and the annex became dilapidated. After repair, it was reopened to the public in 2009.
- Translated by Karen Luo
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