Christianity in Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture of Qinghai Province, NW China

Guide Church
Guide Church (photo: Guide Church )
By Guide Church November 4th, 2016

Hainan Tibetan Autonomous Prefecture belongs to one part of Qinghai Province in Western China. According to Wikipedia, the prefecture has an area of 45,895 square meters and five subordinate counties. However, there is only one open church in these areas -- Guide Church. 

The church in Guide County has a history of 89 years. Christianity was preached into the county during the late Qing Dynasty and early Republic China. In 1891, the British missionary Rev. Henry French Ridley and his wife established a mission of "China Inland Mission" in Xining. A church with an affiliated clinic was founded in Guide in 1927. There were about 40 believers who often attended services before the Liberation. The church was forced to be closed in 1951 when a missionary was sent back to England.

Over twenty local Christian resumed services in 1987. Three years later, they received a granted land of 1200 square meters from the local authority. A simple church was completed in 1993, with an area of 112 square meters. Elder Yu Zhigong was in charge of the church and Elder Xia Shibin succeeded him. After Xia's death, the church was controlled by Yu Shengxiang, the grandson of Elder Yu, and his brother-in-law. There was no elder or preacher serving in the church during their governing that lasted over one decade. They ostracized advisers and dissensions were sowed in the church, resulting in a bad reputation. 

In 2007, the congregation elected Zhang Lanmei, a believer, to be the director of the Civil Administrative Board. Zhang and Xia Shikai advanced the study in Qinghai Christianity Training Center during 2007 to 2010. Zhang was ordained as preacher and Xia as the elder. They have been co-responsible for the nurturing ministry in the church for a decade.  

The congregation has over 200 members from the six towns of Guide County. Thirty percent of them are young people and the rest are middle-aged or the elderly, most of whom can't read. The majority are female. Eight percent of the believers are farm laborers. The church administrative board consists of three members, including three deacons. 

Its new church building was completed in August 2014, costing over 1.6 million yuan. With a construction area of 1200 square meters, the three-story structure owns a shop on the first story, a sanctuary that can hold over 300 people on the second and a pavilion on the third. 

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