Added on 20/03/2013
The leader of 25 million Chinese Christians, Elder Fu Xianwei, visited Dublin for four days over the St Patrick’s bank holiday weekend. The Chairperson of National Committee of Three–Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China was accompanied by the Revd Peter Koon, Provincial Secretary General of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican Province of Hong Kong).
During the visit, the churchmen attended the Patronal Sung Eucharist in St Patrick’s Cathedral on St Patrick’s Day. Elder Fu also addressed a second service on St Patrick’s Day in the Cathedral organised by the Dublin Council of Churches, which represents 14 Christian churches in the Dublin area. Meanwhile on Tuesday morning they attended Morning Prayer in the Chapel of Trinity College, Dublin followed by a special breakfast. During their visit Elder Fu and Mr Koon met a number of Dublin–based clergy and visited historically important church sites in the Dioceses of Dublin and Glendalough.
The visit was sponsored by the Archbishop of Dublin, the Most Revd Dr Michael Jackson, and the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission. It marked a new step in the growing relationship between the Province of Dublin and that of Hong Kong.
Chairperson of the Dublin Council of Churches, the Revd Mary Hunter, welcomed Elder Fu and Mr Koon to their service in St Patrick’s Cathedral. She stated that the churches in China had faced difficulties which churches in Ireland could only imagine. To enthusiastic applause she assured Elder Fu of their prayers for all his endeavours.
Elder Fu said he brought the greetings of 25 million Christians in China. He asked the congregation to keep the Church, especially the Church in China in their prayers and said they would work together for God’s Kingdom.
Addressing the breakfast in Trinity College, Dean of Residence, the Revd Darren McCallig, recalled the Chapel Choir’s visit to Hong Kong in 2009 where they sang in St John’s Cathedral. He said the college had a long association with China through the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission which was founded in 1895 and has been rejuvenated in recent years. He added that he hoped the long standing connection would be strengthened in the future.
Elder Fu spoke of his desire to visit Ireland and said the opportunity arose when he was invited to the enthronement of the Archbishop of Canterbury. He was particularly delighted to have heard the Trinity College Chapel Choir sing at Morning Prayer. “This morning was like a dream come true because the choir brought me to heaven. It was just like listening to the angels’ voices,” he said extending an invitation to the choir to come to visit Shanghai and Beijing.
Elder Fu said that the Church in China had grown significantly in the last few decades and now had 25 million members most of whom are young, educated people. He said that although they were called Protestant, they no longer had denominations. The Church, which is just 60 years old, had a lot to learn, he said adding that the congregation came from very different backgrounds and cultures which presented a challenge to the Church’s good work.
He expressed a hope that Dublin and China could collaborate in the future – not just through sacred music but with students also. He said he had been deeply moved by the trip because he had seen a very different part of the world.
Mr McCallig presented Elder Fu with a CD of the music of Trinity Chapel Choir.
Elder Fu Xianwei is the Chairperson of National Committee of Three–Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China. He was born in 1944 and was educated at the Nanjing Union Theological Seminary. He worked at a shipyard and schools in Shanghai before joining the National Committee of Three–Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China and the China Christian Council in 1988. He has been the Chairperson of the National Committee of Three–Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China since 2008. Elder Fu has visited many countries and received visitors from other countries as well as taking part in a number of international conferences and events on Christianity. This is his first visit to Ireland.
The Revd Peter Douglas Koon, Provincial Secretary General of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, is in part responsible for the pastoral and spiritual care of the Mandarin speaking community in Hong Kong. He has travelled to Dublin before and has delivered the prestigious Godfrey Day Memorial Lecture at Trinity College Dublin when he addressed the issues of the social work and social support structures of the Anglican Church in Hong Kong and Macau.
Photo: The leader of 25 million Chinese Christians, Elder Fu Xianwei, the Chairperson of National Committee of Three–Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China attended the Dublin Council of Churches ecumenical service in St Patrick’s Cathedral to mark St Patrick’s Day. Pictured are the Revd Peter Koon, Provincial Secretary General of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican Province of Hong Kong), Elder Fu Xianwei, Archbishop Michael Jackson, Dean Victor Stacey of St Patrick’s Cathedral, Canon Robert Reed, Precentor of St Patrick’s Cathedral; and Revd Dr Alan McCormack of the Dublin University Far Eastern Mission and Rector of Bishopsgate.
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