History of Christianity in She Ethnic Village of Zhangzhou City

Gospel Church in Gaoceng Village (inhabitated by She ethnic minority), Changtai District, Zhangzhou, Fujian
Gospel Church in Gaoceng Village (inhabitated by She ethnic minority), Changtai District, Zhangzhou, Fujian
By Lin MuliMay 13th, 2024

In a She ethnic minority village located at Changtai District, Zhangzhou City, Fujian Province, there is a newly-built Gospel Church.

Mr. He Jiadian, a former educated youth (zhiqing) who once stayed in Gaoceng Village, Changtai District, for six years, told me that the village originally had eight village communities and is the only inhabited area in Changtai District for She ethnic minority, who live in only one of the village communities. More than a hundred years ago, Christians from Zhuangzao Village in Longjuan Town, Anxi County, moved to Gaoceng Village and built a beautiful homeland together with their She ethnic compatriots. During special periods, Christian villagers here "still gathered to sing hymns and read the Bible."

According to the Christianity in Zhangzhou compiled and printed by Zhangzhou Municipal CC&TSPM in 2021, there were two churches and three meeting points in Changtai District. In 1870, missionaries from the London Missionary Society went to evangelize in Changtai, first renting private houses for preaching. Later, they moved to the outskirts of the county town to share the gospel, establishing Wuan Church in the district. In 1883, Christianity was introduced to Yanxi Town, with Yanxi Church built in 1902. These were the two churches in Changtai District at that time.

With the gospel spreading to Fangyang and Lindun, respectively in 1888 and 1899, Changtai District currently has three meeting points in Fangyang Village of Fangyang Town, Lindun Industrial Zone, and Xinchun Village of Banli Township.

The historical book claims, "Banli Meeting Point (formerly known as Lusi Church) is located in the second group of Xinchun Village. In 1892, a missionary from the London Missionary Society (LMS) came to sell the Bibles and promote the gospel, with He Chu and others converting to the Lord. In the same year, the missionary was sent by LMS to reside there and rented a temporary preaching place in Banli. In 1893, Rev. Chen Chaoju visited this place and baptized four people. In 1894, a house was rented in Xincuo Corner for worship, with five people baptized. Lusi Church was established because there were 12 believers. In 1901, Mr. Yan Jingbo came to preach in the church and also set up a school. In 1906, a branch church was established in Gaoceng Village, belonging to Banli Church." The book later reads, "The branch church in Gaoceng Village was later closed due to the small number of believers."

He Jiadian mentioned in his article, "More than a hundred years ago, Christianity was spread to this remote and backward mountain village. The generations of villagers in Lunzaiwei Village have always maintained a simple faith. After the mountain people moved down the mountain, the original dilapidated meeting place was rebuilt into a spacious and beautiful church. When we visited, we coincided with the villagers worshiping and even saw some old friends I had not seen for decades."

- Translated by Abigail Wu

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