China Christian Council interacts with ABHMS during Mission Center visit

Representatives of the China Christian Council recently visited American Baptist Churches USA’s Mission Center, Valley Forge, Pa., to discuss issues facing churches in both China and the United States. The delegation met with personnel from American Baptist Home Mission Societies (ABHMS), International Ministries and the Office of the General Secretary.

“With the fast growing Christian population in China comes a shortage of authentic Christian teaching,” says the Rev. Florence Li, ABHMS’ Asian Churches strategist. “The delegation sought genuine partnership with American Baptists.”

Presenting to the group about the political, social, cultural and ministry issues of U.S. churches, the Rev. Rev. Dr. Marilyn P. Turner, ABHMS’ associate executive director of Missional Life and Leadership, noted that an aging and diversifying population is among the challenges faced by U.S. churches and the nation as a whole.

She enumerated the blessings and challenges of homogeneous churches organized along racial or cultural lines.

“Groups of people who look and think alike are less likely to attempt to, or even be capable of, understanding and interpreting perspectives that differ from their own,” she said. “And our inabilities to understand one another often lead to increasing polarization and alienation. Right now our nation is experiencing pronounced racial and economic tensions. Some of those tensions are evidenced by much of the rhetoric that is demonstrated in our current presidential election.”

Turner reminded the group that, while leaving the comfort zone to act on challenges may be difficult, all things are possible with the Christ-centered power of the Holy Spirit that resides within all Christians.

“While the churches of America face significant challenges,” she said, “our historic commitment to Christ and the importance of social justice are evidence that they are challenges that we can and will overcome.”

Founded in 1980, the China Christian Council is an organization of Protestant churches in the People’s Republic of China.