Beijing Shouwang Church releases letter, calls for fasting after members detained

China Aid Association

(Beijing—May 8, 2014) Beijing’s Shouwang Church issued an open letter on Tuesday, detailing the detention of three church members on Sunday, the first of its kind during the Church’s three-year history of worshipping outdoors, and asking God to strengthen the Church and forgive the government.

The Church also declared that yesterday would be a day of fasting for the entire Church so that they could focus on praying for the detained church members, who were given five-day’s administrative detention.

A letter to the congregation from Shouwang Church of Beijing

Dear brothers and sisters, peace be with you!

Deacon Chen Youwei, Brother Lan Shunfang and Sister Dai Liying of our church were taken away by Haidian police when they drew near a platform as they tried to hold an outdoor worship service there. After they were detained for 24 hours at the police station, they were placed under a 5-day administrative detention at Haidian Detention Center in the name of disrupting the public order. This is the first time that people from Shouwang Church have been placed under administrative detention for attending an outdoor worship since Shouwang Church started the outdoor worship in April 2011.

We would like to solemnly declare here that Shouwang Church will never flinch just because the government departments take severe administrative measures against us. The church respects the scepter God bestows to the government. However, on every Sunday, God still is an indispensable part of the church’s spiritual life. Meanwhile, this is also the Catholic tradition in the 2000-year history of the church. When we go to the platform in Zhongguancun on Sunday mornings, we go there only to worship God and we don’t disrupt the public order in any way. If the government didn’t disrupt our previous site for worship that we rented or exert the pressure on the developer not to give us the keys to the place that we already bought, we wouldn’t conduct our Sunday service outdoors. The government departments steer clear of the issue of religious site that they should face and they steer clear of their obligation to protect the freedom of religion endowed to Chinese citizens by the Constitution. Instead, they detained our brothers and sisters on the excuse that we disrupted the public order. Such an action can only aggravate the state-church relationship that they otherwise need badly to address and bring more disruptions in the public order.

However, it is our belief that the fighting we are engaging in the current environment of the Chinese society is under the control of God. When He leads Shouwang Church into this situation and makes Shouwang Church face the challenge it faces now, He must have a beautiful intention in doing this. Indeed, we are not optimistic about the current social situation. The fighting ahead of us may even escalate and exceed the challenges we face now. However, we are full of expectations and hopes for what God will do in China. We are grateful that He has already spent three years training us. Therefore, we take it as we are better preparing ourselves. We estimate the prices we have to pay, follow the Lord according to the confidence endowed by God and bravely face the current challenge together with Him so as to share His glory in His work.

To face the challenges ahead of us together with God, we pray to the Holy Spirit to endow us with a united heart so that we can vanquish the suppression by the dark forces. In facing the dark forces, we should remind ourselves that we are not fighting with carnal creatures. Therefore, we ourselves don’t need the sentiments that we would otherwise have in fighting carnal creatures. We should be strong and brave because our Lord has already vanquished the dark forces—“For the Spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.” (2 Timothy 1:7). May we join this fight with such a belief.

Here, we would like to call on every brother and sister of our church to pray for the following items.

First of all, let us pray sincerely for these three brothers and sisters. We implore the Lord to bless them during their days in the detention center, protect them from mistreatment and harm and pray that they enjoy peace by being with the Lord. We also pray that, thanks to the grace endowed by the Lord, they will stay strong in the heart and deal with everything that happens to them with the wisdom and language endowed by God. We also implore the Lord to bless the families of these three brothers and sisters, support them with grace and comfort them so that they don’t weaken due to pains or worries, and instead will experience the rich love from the Lord.

Secondly, we will pray for every outdoor worship on Sundays by our church members. We implore the Holy Spirit to water the life of Shouwang Church and of every brother and sister of the church and to chase away the fear and worries in our bodies, so that we carry with us the confidence, courage and the testimony of life when we are headed to the platform for our outdoor worship on Sundays. Meanwhile, we implore the Lord to give us “power, love and self-discipline” when we face the police so that we can stay peaceful and stable and answer their questions with elegant and wise language, even if we are treated with rudeness and impoliteness.

Thirdly, we will pray for the people working in the government departments that have been suppressing the church. We implore the Lord to pity them and pardon them. This is because they don’t know what they are doing. We implore the Lord to open their hearts and let them see the scepter God endows them is for rewarding the benevolent and punishing the evil, for safeguarding justice and righteousness, and not for suppressing the church. We implore the Lord to guide their hearts and establish a benign, interactive church-state relationship with the church so as to bless the Chinese society, so that the sons and daughters of God can spend their days in piety, uprightness and peacefulness, and so that they can freely worship the Lord in a normal way.

Shouwang Church of Beijing

May 6, 2014

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