Translated by China Aid Association
Beijing Shouwang Church Bulletin on the April 17 Outdoor Worship Service April 20, 2011
Dear brothers and sisters:
Peace in the Lord! Our thanks go to the Lord’s churches in various places who have been concerned about Shouwang and to the brothers and sisters who have been lifting is up with their sincere prayers before God. God is using His own hand in holding up Shouwang Church, allowing us to get through another eventful Sunday on April 17.
April 17 in Beijing was a cloudy day with Force 4 to 5 winds. The time and location of the church’s outdoor worship was the same, but more lay leaders and brothers and sisters than on the previous Sunday were restricted to their homes by the local police, neighborhood committees or residential compound security guards and not permitted to attend the outdoor worship. At 8 p.m. the night before, that is Saturday night, Pastor Jin Tianming was summoned by (police from) the Haidian branch and was not sent home until 8 a.m. April 17. Pastor (Li) Xiaobai was summoned by the Laiguangying police station and was sent home after midnight that day. Those brothers and sisters who stepped out (Sunday morning) knew what was in store for them if they went to the outdoor worship site designated by the church, but still they went, in full confidence and with courage.
More than 100 brothers and sisters turned up for the outdoor worship this (past) Sunday. Heeding the church’s instructions, most people arrived there in small groups. Because the police had cordoned off the site, they were not able to worship together; instead, they gathered in small groups in nearby open spaces or restaurants to worship our Lord. Some brothers and sisters were taken away by the police before they started to worship; others were taken at the conclusion of the worship service. Pastor (Zhang) Xiaofeng was apprehended by police from a nearby restaurant before the worship service began. That day, 47 brothers and sisters were taken away by police. Most were taken to the Haidian police station first, then sent to their respective local police stations where they were interrogated, with detailed written records made. Other than the brothers and sisters who were taken away from near the worship site, some brothers and sisters who were not apprehended or who had been restricted to their homes were also required by their respective local police stations for interrogations that were recorded in detail.
At their respective local police stations, in addition to these interrogations, most of these brothers and sisters were also required to write personal guarantees. Some were body-searched and fingerprinted, and some had their mug shots taken, holding up signs with their names on them just like criminal (suspects). At a few police stations, they were not allowed to eat or drink the entire day, and there were even restrictions on going to the bathroom (such as at the Zhongguancun police station). During the interrogation, some sisters were vilely treated by the agents of the Domestic Security Department and some even were forced to take the agents to have their homes searched (such as happened at the Liulitun police station). Of the 47 brothers and sisters, only about a dozen were released on the same day, April 17. Pastor Xiaofeng and some 30 or so detainees were only released on April 18 after they had been in detention for 24 hours. Most of the detained brothers and sisters were able to maintain a heart of peace and joy, but there were also not a few members of the body who suffered great psychological stress and harm from being treated like criminals while in detention and they need special comfort, healing and renewal from the Lord.
We believe that the heart of every lay leader and every brother and every sister who was not able to go out on April 17 was intimately connected with the hearts of those brothers and sisters who were able to go out. We rejoice with those brothers and sisters who feel peaceful and joyful and we share the despondency of those members of the body who have been hurt. Even though we cannot be together to worship in the flesh, but we believe that when together we sing hymns and read the Lord’s words at the appointed time, the spirit of God binds the members of the body closely together though in the flesh we are separated. Let us remain one body in Christ, let us continue to worship as one. We believe that when we offer to him in worship a heart that stands uncompromising in the faith, regarding only Jehovah as our God, God in Heaven will surely find it acceptable.
We know no matter what historical era it is, standing uncompromisingly for the faith always exacts a price. This price might be our homes, jobs, families, businesses, personal freedom and even our life. We pray especially for those brothers and sisters who in the past week or two have already been forced to move or leave their jobs. We ask God to remember the price they have paid for holding on to their faith and ask him to take care of their families and their daily life needs. We believe that our light and momentary troubles are for the purpose of achieving an eternal glory that far outweighs them all.
We want to state clearly once again that Shouwang Church is the church of Jesus Christ and it is not under the control of or being used by any organization, foreign or Chinese. The Lord knows the servants He has appointed and uses in His own church. Other than through the confirmation process that God Himself has established in the church and through the spiritual process and confirmation that reveals the Lord’s selection and the Holy Spirit’s guidance, no person, group or power can establish workers in the church of Christ nor use any authority that does not come from Him. In this spiritual battle, we should be careful in our thoughts and speech, refraining from passing on useless speculations, whether it be with regard to the governing committee or other lay leaders. Don’t fall victim to Satan’s schemes and give our enemies grounds to split the church.
We do not know how long this spiritual battle will last, but the church is prepared to stick to its current position until the Lord finds a way out for His church. In this Holy Week, let us remain quiet in the Lord, and in the Holy Spirit let us go through with the Lord the tribulations He experienced, carrying with Him the Cross He carried, and in this world walking the narrow path that He walked. We believe that when we, in Him, experience all that He went through, even to death on the Cross, then we will certainly experience the power of His resurrection and we will certainly see the glory of His resurrection manifest across this country.
Peace to Shouwang Church and to the brothers and sisters of churches everywhere! Brothers and sisters, please continue to lift up your sincere prayers to God and ask Him to continue to uphold His own church, that it may triumph together with Him!
Governing Committee, Shouwang Church
Beijing Shouwang Church Bulletin on the April 17 Outdoor Worship Service
Translated by China Aid Association