An official delegation of The United Church of Canada will visit China at the invitation of the China Christian Council (CCC) and the National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China from November 28 to December 7. The CCC, with its 30 million members, is the largest Protestant church within the global ecumenical family.

The 10-day visit represents a major partnership initiative for the United Church. The visiting delegation will be led by the Moderator, the Right Rev. Jordan Cantwell, and the General Secretary of the General Council, Nora Sanders. The 22-member delegation, selected from across the country, represents the broad diversity of the United Church and its ministries. Funding for the delegation has come from a variety of sources, with each delegate responsible for sourcing half of their own costs.

Moderator Jordan Cantwell notes, “Receiving this invitation is a great honour. Christianity in Asia is undergoing fundamental change as Christians there integrate scripture, tradition, experience, and context.”

She adds, “In China, there is tremendous growth happening within the Christian church. This visit opens a window for deepened church-to-church engagement, and presents an opportunity for the United Church to understand China through encounters with Chinese Christians. The visit also recognizes the existing partnership between our churches, the long history of United Church engagement with the people of China, and the potential for learning and growth between churches which have at their heart a vision of unity in diversity among Christians for the sake of God’s mission in the world.”

Delegates have been preparing for the visit for months, through online readings and seminars aimed at grounding the delegation in an understanding of modern China as well as the ministries of the Protestant Church in China. Participants look forward to a unique and historic opportunity for mutual encounter, learning, and deepened partnership with Chinese Christians. They will be blogging about their experiences throughout the visit at their blog, A Journey of Partnership.

The visit will begin in Shanghai, with Sunday worship services in local Chinese congregations. The delegation will experience urban and rural life in and around Shanghai, Suzhou, Nanjing, and Beijing. A focal point will be a two-day consultation at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary. The delegation has also been invited to meet the Canadian Consul General in Shanghai, and the Canadian Ambassador in Beijing.

For information, contact:

Patti Talbot
Team Leader, Global and Asia Partnerships
Tel: 1-800-268-3781 ext. 4018
E-mail: ptalbot [at] united-church.ca (Patti Talbot)