Saturday, March 21, 2009

Sunday Morning on Shamian Island

Jan and I went to church this morning at Christ Church Shamian. It was all in Chinese. Didn't understand a word. Could have used the gift of interpretation today. However, they projected the words of the hymns and a few parts of the service on a screen with some English words, so we were able to speak the Apostles' Creed in English while everyone else confessed the faith in Chinese. That was pretty cool. We also recognized the music to "The Old Rugged Cross" so we sang along in English on that one, too.

We were amazed at the number of people who crowded into this average sized church building. There were at least 350 people, probably more. There was also an overflow room in a side building with the service projected on a screen, so there must have been more people in there, as well. We were also surprised to see a large number of younger people in their teens and twenties...and not just sitting there moping, but actively involved in the service.

Not sure what kind of a church this was. With a name like "Christ Church" I expected it to be Anglican, but the order of service seemed more like a traditional American evangelical church service with Scripture readings, prayers, and traditional hymns.

On the way out we met a charming couple. The woman's name was "Na Na" (sp?), and she was from Guangzhou. Her husband Joe was from Ghana. They were a pleasure to briefly talk with and invited us to come again. Didn't have the chance to tell them that we won't be in town all that long, but it was nice to be greeted by such friendly faces. Needless to say, it was meaningful to be in church on Sunday morning with fellow believers in Christ on the other side of the world.

Here are some shots outside the building before we entered. We arrived around 9:15. The building soon filled up not long after that.


Anonymous said...

The buildings look so beautiful and European. Not how I have pictured China at all.


Kurt Onken said...

The buildings here in this part of Guangzhou are very European, leftovers from colonial days.

You can read about the history at