Since becoming a pastor, it’s been a ritual for Pastor Li Xiaoyan to give communion and pray for the believers; however, Easter this year was special.
Dressed in clerical robes and wearing a face mask, she stood behind a barrier and placed the communion bread in the hands of each believer. Other believers folded their hands and looked at the communion wafers with awe and longing. She then led them in prayer.
The atmosphere at the church on the bank of the Panlong River was lively even with its doors closed. This was the first time for the church to have communion after a two-month suspension of services. Since Easter, the church prepares the communion wafers in advance, and the believers, who are wearing their own protection, can go to the door of the church in small groups. During this period of time the ministers will be waiting at all times to deliver the Communion and bless the believers.
On January 24, the Kunming Beichen Church issued a Notice of Suspension of Church Activities, posted on the door of the church and its WeChat Official account, to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Although on-site activities have been suspended, the church began to post the sermon online and hold gatherings through WeChat groups. Meanwhile, Beichen Church has recorded the "yiren online lectures" to enrich the home life of believer's with interactive themes, scriptures, stories, poetry and life experiences. The lectures include a recorded message called "Pastor Jing begins to speak," in which Pastor Jing Jiuwei shares from the book of Samuel.
Trinity International Church has reviewed and publicized information about the five ministers and one elder to be ordained according to the regulations of the Yunnan Christian Church.
Instead of passing the time through various forms of entertainment, believers read the Bible and pray so they can develop their personal spiritual life while staying at home. From February 17 to 22, Trinity International Church organized six days of Bible reading with nearly 400 brothers and sisters joining the group. Every day, after reading the passage of the day, they posted cards in the WeChat group to urge and encourage each other.
Beichen Church also launched a cooking competition through their official WeChat account, and many believers have posted foods they have made in their homes, bringing added fun to life during this special time.
During the epidemic, a believer died of cancer. The church could not organize the memorial service, so they joined in a WeChat group to accompany the families and friends of the departed through the difficult time by singing hymns and praying with them.
Pastors who ordinarily spend their time preaching and answering questions have also become volunteers during this time. The staff of Beichen Church and Trinity International Church are divided into several groups, one for each day, to cooperate with the local health department in epidemic prevention, control and protection. They walk through the streets and lanes of the community to disinfect residential areas and garbage sorting points within their jurisdiction. For the believers who don’t have access to masks, the clerical staff also
donated their own masks to those in need.
On January 27, Trinity International Church and Beichen Church jointly donated RMB 50,000 yuan to “Help Wuhan” through the Amity Foundation for the purchase medical equipment that was then shipped them to Wuhan. On February 12, they also donated 50,000 yuan to the Red Cross of Panlong District, Kunming, Yunnan province, to support the epidemic prevention work at the local level.
Beichen Church shot a public video entitled "Angel's Heart", a tribute to the workers and medical staff fighting against the epidemic. The Yiren text department of the church created poems as condolence for the martyrs and compatriots who died in the fight against COVID 19. They also encouraged brothers and sisters to wait for the "spring blossoms” with hope.
- Translated by Sophia Chen