Bulletin on Shouwang Church's Outdoor Worship Service in Beijing on April 10Wednesday, April 13, 2011
Shouwang Church website, April 11, 2011
Translated by China Aid Association
Brothers and sisters in Christ:
Peace in the Lord! I believe that for every brother and sister of Shouwang Church, and for all brothers and sisters everywhere who are concerned about Shouwang and pray earnestly for our peace, April 10 was an extraordinary day, a day of special remembrance in the Lord.
Even though the temperature had dropped a bit on the morning of April 10 and there were force 4-5 winds, and despite knowing that the open space designated as the meeting site would be full of police, other than the church workers and church members who had been confined to their homes the night before by police from their local police stations and temporarily mobilized neighborhood security guards, the brothers and sisters who went out were still full of faith. Either singly or in groups, they started arriving at a little after 8 a.m. to the site the church had designated as its outdoor worship place. As expected, police had already sealed off the area with police tape, police officers were deployed everywhere, and police vehicles were parked at many intersections.
Many brothers and sisters arrived there before 8 a.m., but they were not able to gather together and could only stand alongside the police tape and wait. Just before 8:30 a.m., the time set by the church, several dozen brothers and sisters at the southwestern side of the square tried to start their worship service, but they were quickly surrounded by a large number of police officers who put them on waiting buses that took them to the nearby Caihefang Elementary School. At the school, they were divided into groups according to their home addresses and the groups were put into different classrooms where they were interrogated and their personal details taken down.
Most of the other brothers and sisters who were at the square gathered at nearby open spaces or in a nearby Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant and, following the service order sheets previously distributed by the church, proceeded to hold their worship service. The KFC group was just finishing their worship service when police swarmed in, put them on buses and took them to Caihefang Elementary School. Based on an incomplete count, on April 10, more than 200 brothers and sisters went (to the designated meeting site) to worship; more than 160 people were taken to Caihefang Elementary School.
The brothers and sisters who were detained at Caihefang Elementary School still managed to sing hymns and worship together, attaining great spiritual peace and freedom. After 12 p.m., various local police stations and neighborhood committees transferred the brothers and sisters to their respective police stations where the interrogations continued. Some sub-police stations even demanded that they write statements of repentance or guarantees in which they were supposed to promise not to participate in such "illegal" religious activities. After 3 p.m., the brothers and sisters were gradually released by the local police stations. But at midnight, about 30 people still remained in detention at various local police stations. The church's pastor, elders and several lay leaders went separately to the various local police stations and negotiated with the local police, demanding that they release the brothers and sisters as soon as possible. By the evening of April 11, Pastor Li Xiaobai and his wife were still being detained.
Though most of us were barred from leaving our home and were not able to go stand with our brothers and sister, our hearts were always with you. When you faced trials and dangers, we in our prayers experienced the same challenges from these trials and dangers. When you sang hymns and worshipped, the same hymns and praises came from our mouths. When you experienced the joy of victory, we in Christ shared with you the same joy of victory. It is our belief that the worship on April 10 was a worship service of special significance to most of us. Because of the Lord's keeping, many brothers and sisters experienced peace in the Lord. Some brothers and sisters felt the oppression of darkness in this experience, and some were even hurt; we ask the Lord to give them special comfort and healing. We believe the church is Christ's church, and Christ is the head of the church. The church ought to honor only our Lord Jehovah as God. There is no other god besides Him. Therefore, the church will never be controlled or manipulated by any external forces; she belongs only to our Lord. What this outdoor worship expressed was our uncompromising position with regard to (the practice of) our faith. Furthermore, we believe that holding on to this faith position is itself a form of worship. Therefore, we believe our outdoor worship is pleasing to the Lord.
The position of the church remains the same. We will persist in holding outdoor gatherings until the Lord finds a way out for us. We have already bought the premises on the second floor of Daheng Science and Technology Building. Due to interference by some government departments, we still have not gotten the keys. After the church announced that it would move to the newly leased Xihua location, we were again unable to use the premises because of immediate interference (in our plans). After the church decided to hold outdoor worship services some people in some government departments said we could go here or there to worship, but the church has tried to use rented facilities three times and was denied in every instance. We can no longer trust promises from some people. This time, the church has said that it requires written proof, in the hope that some department that can truly represent the government will step forward, stop its nonfeasance and make a responsible decision so that together with Shouwang Church it can face the current new situation in church-state relations. Today, we still think allowing Shouwang Church to enter the property it has purchased is the best way to resolve the issue of the church's meeting site, and is also a good opportunity for the beginning of positive interactions between church and state.
Here, we would like to state clearly once again that Shouwang Church's outdoor worship on April 10 and following is purely an act of religious worship and has nothing whatsoever to do with any political activities or anyone's rights defense activities. The church doesn't want its religious activities to be colored in any other way. If someone purposely tries to do this, we believe the pit he digs for God's church will turn into a net that ensnares himself.
We don't know how long the fight before us will last. We can only beg God to have mercy on our weakness. We call on brothers and sisters, whether from Shouwang Church or from churches throughout China and even from the rest of the world, to go before God with fervent prayers that He lift up His church. We beg God to protect His church with His omnipotent arms, fight for His church in this spiritual fight, close the gaps in the battle lines of our fight and bless the unity of the church members so that it is not broken up by Satan's conspiracies and sabotage. We also make our special plea to God, for Jacob is small. We beg the Lord to bless His church so that it can stand firm before Him. We beg the Lord to find a way out for His church so that the church can go back to the indoor site it has prepared for itself.
Peace to the brothers and sisters of Shouwang Church and everywhere in the world. We believe the love of Christ will bind us together; with Him, we will triumph!
Church Governing Committee
China Aid Contacts
Rachel Ritchie, English Media Director
Cell: (432) 553-1080 | Office: 1+ (888) 889-7757 | Other: (432) 689-6985