As an important place in the Pinghe Market in those days, Daluding in Pingzhai, Shan’ge was also a crucial landing point for water transport vehicles from the West River of the Jiulong River to Zhangzhou and Xiamen. A century-old rural church there, which has experienced some natural disasters, continues to record the work of God.
Shan'ge Church in Zhangzhou, Fujian, was rebuilt three times to become the biggest one in local rural areas, though it has not been decorated.
In 1872, a prayer house was established in Dahu Village, Pinghe County. A person from Dahu donated a house as a place of worship for believers from Xiaoxi Town and Shan’ge Town. The Xiamen Church provided bibles and hymnals, and the number of Christians increased.
In 1904, with the support of the American Reformed Church and Xiaoxi Church, a believer named Guo Taicang and others raised funds to build the TOA-LO-TENG (Daluding) Chapel in Pingzhai Village, Shan'ge, affiliated with Xiaoxi Church. Believers from Dahu, Bailou, Pingzhai, and Caicuo in Shan'ge attended church services under the leadership of Xu Hetai. In 1907, a 100-year flood occurred in Pinghe County, with countless houses collapsing. "The water swept Xu Hetai and his wife thirty miles away, but they survived." The chapel "was again hit by a flood three years later and was damaged completely." So the chapel disappeared. In 1913, believers rebuilt a chapel in Houshan Village in Shan'ge, which was relatively high.
The gatherings resumed after the Cultural Revolution, and the number of those who were said increased when the gospel spread. In 1990, a church was rebuilt on the basis of the original chapel, (which was already a dilapidated building). In 2012, with the intercession and offerings, the main building of a church that can accommodate more than 1,000 worshipers (not yet decorated) was completed the following year, becoming the largest church in the rural areas of Zhangzhou. The church is now undergoing renovation.
According to the director of the church, Chen Shuangfeng, no pastors in the past had lived in the church due to the poor condition of the countryside. The Bible says those who preach and teach in the church are worthy of double honor. (1 Timothy 5:17)
For this reason, in 2020, the church built a new two-story building as a pastoral fellowship community (or evangelists’ home). With a floor area of about 320 square meters (0.079 acres), it serves as a dormitory for pastoral staff and a station for evangelists.
At present, on the second floor, there are two suites, each with two bedrooms and one living room. One suite is used for the current pastor, and the other is temporarily vacant and is reserved for the future ordained pastor. Some pastors from other places can also rest in the latter one. Among the four single rooms downstairs, three have been used by three pastors, and the left one is used as a communal kitchen.
Director Chen said the vacant suite for the future pastor is fully equipped with air conditioners, refrigerators, beds, tables, and chairs; computers; kitchens; and bathrooms. The person can simply move in with his belongings.
(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the author is a believer in Fujian.)
- Translated by Abigail Wu