Of the many architectural and historic attractions in Beijing, the city's Christian churches may not be on the regular tourist agenda, but they are well worth a tour.
Christianity was first introduced into China the 7th century. The first Protestant missionaries came in 1807. The efforts of Western missionaries to spread Christianity in China reached a peak at the dawn of the 20th Century and were concurrent with incursions by the imperialist powers which semi-colonized parts of the country. Many Christian institutions established beachheads throughout China, building churches, schools and other institutions. Most Beijing churches were built during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and have been refurbished many times.
The following are the seven major churches in Beijing:
(3) Chongwenmen Christian Church
Address: No 2-D, Hougou Hutong, Chongwenmennei Street.
The Chongwenmen Church of Beijing Christian Council was first established in 1870 when it was then called Asbury Church. It was the first church constructed by the American Methodist Church in northern China. The scale of this church was smaller than its present size. It was originally designed to hold 400 to 500 people. Although the church appears now as it did back then, its current seating capacity is 2,000 people. As the number of believers increased, the Methodist church began reconstruction of the building, which was completed in 1882. During the Yihetuan Movement (Boxer Rebellion) of 1900, the church was burned down. In 1902, the Qing Dynasty Government appropriated money to rebuild the Asbury Church and was completed in the spring of 1904. This is the main structure we have here today.
The Chongwenmen Church is one of the largest Christian Protestant churches in Beijing, and it enjoys high prestige both at home and abroad. Its architectural style shows grace, ingenuity, and a blend of many cultures. The church consists of two levels. The main level, at 8,245 square meters, is divided into two sections: the main hall that seats 400 people, and the side chapel that seats 300. These two sections are separated by a movable partition so that they can be used separately or as one large room. The second level is the basement, which boasts a seating capacity of 800-1000. Services are filmed and viewed in the basement via closed-circuit television. In 1990, Beijing People's Municipal Government approved the church as a historical relic in the municipal district.