In the morning of Oct. 18, Guangdong Shamian Church celebrated the 150th Anniversary of its foundation. Peter Kwong Kong-kit, Archbishop of Hong Kong, gave the sermon during the ceremony. Archbishop Kwong recalled the history of the Shamian Church and shared the message, "Full of Grace and Truth." He encouraged the pastoral staff and believers to remember the grace, to be living Christians and to strive to establish a fellowship of love and work for the Lord.
Shamian Church sits in No.6, South Shamian Street, Guangzhou. Recalling the past, we find that the Lord's grace has never changed through the history. After 1841 when the First Opium War started, the Qing Government opened Guangzhou as one of the five trading ports. During that time, many foreign business ships were berthed in Guangzhou. For foreign crews who needed worship and rest, they established the church and cemeteries in the west of Shamian Island, a British and French concession where British and Dutch nationals lived.
Shamian Church was built in 1865 and it developed into a church where foreigners worshipped publicly.Many foreign church societies took charge of this church in turns. Later it was managed by Hong Kong and the Guangdong Parish. After World War II, the Chinese government recovered this concession and the church was transferred to the charge of the Anglican Parish of Southern China. After 1949, it was occupied by the government.
In 1989, when the government implemented the Policy Freedom of Religious Belief in China, the church was managed by Guangdong CCC&TSPM. After some repairs, it was opened for use in 1992. In 1994, to continue theological education, Guangdong CCC&TSPM used the Priest Building as the school house of the Canton Union Theological College, a cradle for developing Christian clergymen.
After the Canton Union Theological College was moved to Dongping Village of Baiyun District in November, 2011, the Shamian Church, directly under Guangdong CCC&TSPM, took over the responsibility of shepherding believers, preaching the Gospel, expanding the ministry, and hiring professional preachers as a step-by-step process to satisfy the needs of the believers.
The church not only emphasizes on preaching the Gospel and shepherding believers, but also on the importance of charity work. Shamian Church has donated over a million yuan for charity and the aid of poverty-stricken children in the northwest of Guangdong.
Archbishop Kwong stated in his sermon, "Full of Grace and Truth" that our faith is connected with our life. As Jesus Christ said, "I am the way and the truth and the life." Thus, when Jesus Christ enters into our lives, he fills and connects us with God closely. Kwong hopes that a fellowship of love can be established in Shamin Church, connecting the truth with the lives of the believers. The believers in the church should hold on fast to the faith of the founders, not for the founders’ decrees, but God’s, sacrificing themselves as God's vessels. Believers are quite important in a church and if the believers do not grow, the church, therefore, cannot grow. A church has its history and is a group filled with the love of obeying Lord's Word. So with Shamian Church continuing to grow, it means that the churches of Guangdong are alsogrowing.
However, if a church exists just for a specific group and does not care for the society then it has become a selfish church. Although Shamian Church is not big, its influence is considerable. It preaches the Gospel to society and leads more people to repent and to walk in the right way.
In addition, Kwong believes that a church is not just a church itself. A church cannot live without the country. Shamian Church has receivedland and fund support from the government. Churches and the government should both walk in the right way away from the effects of misconception. He hopes every believer does not "waste" his or her incarnation and can be used by the Lord. To be a true disciple and a righteous testimony in life, working, studying, and also helping and caring for each other.