Liuerpu Church of Liaoyang: Glorious Witness of 139 Years

Liuerpu Church in Liaoyang City, Liaoning Province
Liuerpu Church in Liaoyang City, Liaoning Province
By Wu ZhongyiApril 21st, 2023

After John Macintyre, a missionary of the Scottish United Presbyterian Mission in England, preached the gospel in Yingkou, Liaoning, local believers gave sermons while selling books and established a church in Liaoyang in 1893.

Liuerpu Church in Liaoyang was set up in 1893 by a Christian sent by George Douglas, a British-Scottish missionary and pastor of the Presbyterian Church in England, who came to China in 1890.

According to the Religious Gazetteer of Liaoyang City, George Douglas first served as a pastor in England, then went to a seminary to study and devoted himself to missionary work. In 1890, he was sent to the Fengtian (now Shenyang) church as a pastor and then in charge of the primary school. 

From 1895 to 1926, George Douglas presided over the Liaoyang Church of Liaohai. In the meantime, he mainly worked on four aspects.

First, handle church affairs. In 1894, James Lee died due to injury, and George Douglas became the pastor of Liaoyang Church. In October 1900, he returned to Liaoyang after taking refuge in Japan, visited fellow Christians, sorted out the affairs of the church, and resumed church and hospital work. In 1905, he rebuilt the Charity Hospital and the Church of Scotland Women's Hospital. In 2021, I saw that the Charity Hospital was still in existence, but the Church of Scotland Women's Hospital had been completely destroyed. Now only the stone carvings that record the Church of Scotland Women's Hospital remain. In 1907, with the 7,000 taels of silver donated by Pastor James Lee's father, George Douglas built the Liaoyang Great Chapel, which is now the Christian Church of Liaoyang City, as the location of the local CC&TSPM of Liaoyang City. Later, he used the surplus money to build a ward building in the Charity Hospital.

Second, establish the churches. From 1893 to 1909, seven churches were set up, including Liuerpu Church.

Third, establish schools. In 1904, George Douglas set up a school near the present Liaoyang Christian Church. Later, he established Wende Middle School on Dongwudao Street in Liaoyang City and served as its principal. He also founded Liaoyang Yucai Girls' School. Here, he assisted in establishing 13 primary schools affiliated with affiliated churches.

Fourth, he was responsible for the management of treatment affairs at Charity Hospital and Church of Scotland Women's Hospital.

After the founding of the Liuerpu Church, it was rebuilt in 1900 to the east of the river in Liuerpu. In 1914, it was relocated. Liuerpu Church covers an area of 1400 square meters, with a building area of 240 square meters.

There are also three figures associated with the Liuerpu Church.

J.W. Findlay (?-1950) wa s Scottish and a pastor of the Scottish United Presbyterian Mission in England. He had a Master of Arts degree. In 1922, he was sent to Liaoyang Christian Church by the Presbyterian Church of Scotland to assist the pastor in school education and missionary work. He was the principal of Wende Middle School at Liaoyang Christian for four years and then became the pastor of Liaohai Diocese, responsible for local missionary work. He was also responsible for running the school and teaching English. From 1934 to 1949, he was president of Mukden Theological Seminary. He died in 1950 at Northeastern Christian Seminary.

Liu Quanyue (1852–1940) was baptized in Mukden in 1877 by John Ross, a Presbyterian minister of the Scottish Church. He was ordained a priest by John Ross in 1889 and visited England in 1896. After 1890, he preached at Dongguan Church. After founding Xiguan Church, he was the first Chinese church minister in Northeast China and the first Chinese Presbyterian missionary in Liaoyang. According to the records, Liu was highly educated, eloquent, capable, humble, and resolute.

Wang Zhengao (1873–?) is a native of Dongbao, Liuerpu, and Liaoyang County. In 1894, he made a living by painting, embraced Christianity, and later carried out missionary activities in the Xiaobeihe area. In 1897, he was appointed by George Douglas to establish a church in Xiaobeihe Port, west of Liaoyang City, known as the Xiaobeihe Church of Liaoyang Diocese. He used funds from the Scottish Church to build 12 rooms for the mission. In 1899, the Northeastern Theological Seminary was officially opened, and Wang was among the first 13 freshmen. He wrote a brief history of the Liaoyang Christian Church and was one of the earliest priests of Chinese Christianity in Liaoyang. He served as the chairman of the Northeast Council of the Church of Christ in China and the vice chairman of the National Council of the Church of Christ in China.

During the Cultural Revolution, the Liuerpu Church stopped meeting for a time, and its followers scattered. After the reform and opening up, this church was able to resume meeting in 1995. In 1996, the local government agreed to give 1,000 square meters of land as returned property to the church. The construction of the church was completed on August 12 of that year.

Elder Qi Heping is in charge of the present Liuerpu Church. He was among the first batch of students at the Christian Training Center of Liaoning Province (studying for one year) and then studied as one of the first batch of students in the Technical Secondary Department of Northeastern Theological Seminary for two years.

Liaoyang Church now has three full-time preachers and more than 300 followers. Its church board, choir, service group, visiting group, and memorial group are all well organized.

(The article is originally published by the Gospel Times and the author reported in Liaoning.)

- Translated by Nicolas Cao

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