forming Chinese Churches for immigrants

September 20, 2007

Found this article, The Chinese-Church Phenomenon: Cultural Reasons for the Adoption of Christianity by Chinese Immigrants, but not sure who wrote it or what proper attribution to ascribe:

Abstract: This article is meant to examine the cultural and sociological reasons behind the recent wave of conversions to Christianity among Chinese immigrants and the subsequent growth in the number of Chinese Christian Churches. This article argues that history and modernity are the main “push” factors in bringing Chinese immigrants towards Christianity.

Take a drive down Jackson Road in Penfield, New York. The posted speed limit is 35 mile per hour, yet smoothly winding road encourages drivers to drive much faster. But don’t drive too fast. Otherwise you will miss a glimpse of a unique phenomenon in the United States. As you head left around a gentle bend, you will notice brick red Chinese characters on a grey stone backing.

Now, if you are passing by on a typical Sunday morning, you will be sure to see a full parking lot, mostly filled with Japanese-manufactured cars. An usher, dressed in conservative grey colors, politely nods and holds the door open for you. You walk through the doors.

You have now entered Rochester Chinese Christian Church, a medium-sized, non-denominational church located in the heart of the Penfield suburbs. The church started out as a small Bible study group, composed of a dozen or so Chinese Christians. Over time, it has grown and has added new structures, like a Family Life Center and fully-integrated sound system. The attendance of the church has also grown over time, now leveling in at a stable attendance of approximately 300 people every Sunday.

The church holds two services on Sunday morning – one in English and one in Mandarin Chinese. It also conducts Sunday School for all ages and has a Youth Group that meets on Fridays. The church engages in the Holy Communion once a month. It also encourages members of the congregation to be baptized. One can notice a difference between the English and Chinese services. The English services are generally more contemporary and upbeat, as the median age of the attendees is much younger. For example, on any given day, the English worship team may have a guitar, bass, or even a drum-set on stage. On the other hand, the Chinese service, in all practicality, only uses a piano, and often sings its songs from the hymnbook. The Chinese service also generally devotes a longer time to preaching. But that is besides the point.

What I have hoped to do was to paint a picture of my Chinese Christian Church and then to point out that it is not alone. There are many Chinese Christian Churches (CCCs) across America and more churches are sprouting up everyday. In general, the beliefs of these Chinese Churches are very much grounded in traditional Christianity.

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