China Aid Association
(Beijing – June 27, 2011) Fifteen house church Christians, including several from other churches, were detained Sunday for showing up at Shouwang Church’s designated outdoor worship site as the church-state clash over a church meeting place entered its 12th week.
In the latest twist, pastors from official Three-Self Patriotic Movement churches sought out Shouwang Church members for long sessions of “pastoral counseling.” This was the second week in a row that the Three-Self has directly involved itself in the Shouwang dispute. Last week, Three-Self representatives were on hand during police interrogations to question the Shouwang detainees about the theological basis for the church’s actions.
This Sunday, June 26, several of the believers who showed up at Shouwang’s designated outdoor meeting site in the Zhongguancun area of northwest Beijing in the sweltering heat were members of other house churches. One woman had traveled from Henan province to show her support, following the Biblical teaching to “love one another and share one another’s burdens.”
By 9 p.m. the same day, all were released.
Two other women from the Beijing Shuangshu house church had also planned to show up at the Zhongguancun meeting site, but police stopped them from leaving their home. Their landlord later tried to evict them from their rented apartment
As has happened in past weeks, some Shouwang church members were detained at nearby hotels late in the week to prevent them from going to the outdoor worship site. This week, a female Shouwang member held in a hotel room since Friday was visited on Sunday by a pastor from Beijing’s Chaoyang Church – the capital’s most well-known Three-Self church – to have a “talk.”
A Three-Self pastor also approached the last of the detainees to be released on Sunday for “a long talk.” These pastors had neglected their pastoral duties to their own congregations on Sunday in order to provide “pastoral counseling” on the government’s behalf.
As the Shouwang church-state standoff enters its 12th week, church members are physically tired but still strong and vigorous in spirit. May all the glory be unto God.
Week 12: 15 Believers Detained; Three-Self Pastors “Counsel” Shouwang Church Members
China Aid Association