At the end of last August, a rural church of China's central part of Henan collapsed due to an aging tie beam. No casualties were reported.
Built in 1995, Wasun Church had an area of 150 square meters (0.037 acres) and attendance of over 100 believers. The migrant church was usually crowded with about 300 migrant workers at Christmas and during the Lunar New Year holiday.
A church worker who graduated from Nanjing Union Theological Seminary said that corrosion caused the church's timber tie beam to crack then the roof fell down, breaking the first row of pews.
"We transferred the church property and cleaned the collapsed part." the worker said, "Later the church staff decided to reconstruct a church in a meeting."
It took the congregation three days to remove all the roof tiles and tie beam.
Sister Wang, the church leader, told CCD that the believers raised barely enough money to build a small chapel when the church was poor in its early days. Since the church couldn't afford a new beam, a used beam was bought from a distant place in 1995.
Though it plans to construct a new church, it is short of money. Wang said that the church spent most of its money on cultivating people. Currently, it has seven theological students, including four graduates.
Wang said, "It's not a small matter to support the education of the students. There is no budget for church construction since many believers give tithes and offerings from their earnings by selling eggs and doing odd jobs and the bulk of the donations has been invested on fostering personnel. Now that the church has suddenly fallen down, we are in confusion."
"Who will support the theological students if we tighten our belt to build a new church? How will the graduates live?"
"We're in a dilemma. We intended to build a church when the three students graduate, but it turned out that the church collapsed before their graduation. It happened so suddenly that we don't know what to do at this moment."
In the transitional period, church services are held in a 20-meter-long bike shed. The narrow shed is ventilated on three sides and full of church chairs. Wang called on prayer that they could gather in a spacious, bright, and safe church as soon as possible.
- Translated by Karen Luo