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NCC, China church leaders meet in Shanghai

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  • Rev Fr John Brian
    NCC leaders warmly received by Chinese church leaders; promise mutual prayers and a deeper working relationship Shanghai, China, March 5, 2009 -- The
    Message 1 of 1 , Mar 4 2:56 PM
      NCC leaders warmly received by Chinese church leaders; promise mutual
      prayers and a 'deeper working relationship'

      Shanghai, China, March 5, 2009 -- The president and general secretary of the
      National Council of Churches, in a historic first, have traveled to China to
      affirm with Chinese Christian leaders a mutual desire to engage in an "even
      deeper working relationship that allows us to consult regularly with one
      another and to speak and act together in response to contemporary issues."

      H.E. Archbishop Vicken Aykazian and the Rev. Dr. Michael Kinnamon met here
      February 26 with leaders of the China Christian Council (CCC) and the
      National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant
      Churches in China (TSPM). It was the first time an NCC president and general
      secretary have traveled together to China.

      The trip was supported financially by the Common Global Ministries Board of
      the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ.
      The Rev. Dr. Xiaoling Zhu, the board's area Executive for East Asia and the
      Pacific, accompanied Kinnamon and Aykazian on the trip.

      The NCC leaders along with the Rev. Gao, Feng, President of the CCC, and
      Elder Fu, Xianwei, chair of the TSPM, expressed "thanks for the distinctive
      gifts that God has given us in our different settings (a point which is
      central to the witness of the Three-Self Movement)" and rejoicing "that we
      are related to one another in Christ, and that through one another we can
      grow in knowledge and love of God.  Ours is a relationship of mutual
      encouragement in order that the body of Christ might be built up in love
      (Ephesians 4)."

      In their discussions, the American and Chinese leaders celebrated "the
      strong bonds that have developed over the years between our organizations
      and between the churches in our countries.  Signs of this relationship
      include praying for each other (as during the 2008 earthquake in China),
      periodic visits (such as the one this year), and occasional support for one
      another's ministries."

      Among the contemporary issues on which the leaders plan to "speak and act
      together" are the pollutants that the U.S. and China emit daily into the
      world's atmosphere.

      "We recognize that China and the United States together produce 40 percent
      of the world's carbon emissions," the leaders said. "For this reason,
      political leaders in our two nations have affirmed the need to work together
      to reduce such pollution and, thus, to address the urgent problem of climate

      "As churches, we can encourage this process of political collaboration by
      joining our voices in defense of God's creation.  We can share materials on
      environmental protection and look for ways to provide education on
      ecological concerns that draws on the resources of one another."

      The leaders pledged to raise the idea of deeper partnership with our
      governing bodies and to continue this conversation on forms of regular

      The NCC leaders also expressed their anticipation of the  Bible Ministry
      Exhibition of the Church in China that, scheduled for display in Washington
      and Dallas in the near future. They pledged to help advertise this event in
      U.S. churches. 

      "This will be a way of calling attention to the reality of the Chinese
      Christian community and of emphasizing our shared commitment to biblical
      study and translation," they said.

      Aykazian and Kinnamon encouraged the CCC "to play an ever more active role
      in the global church, including in the World Council of Churches," and
      promised to advocate for this in appropriate settings."

      "Our common prayer," the U.S. and Chinese church leaders said, "is that
      God's will be done and that God's name be glorified!  May our work and life
      together bear witness to the reconciling love of God, Father, Son, and Holy
      Spirit, the One who creates, redeems, and sustains us all."

      NCC News contact:  Philip E. Jenks, 212-870-2228 (office), 646-853-4212
      (cell) , pjenks@...

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