Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Day in Nanjing

We were picked up last night by David Shi Li, who is Executive Associate General Secretary of the Jiangsu Christian Council and TSPM.
He talked to us about the theological system. There are currently 21 seminaries separated into 3 levels--National Level, Regional level and Provincial level.

Nanjing theological seminary is the only one currently at the highest or National level. Nanjing only one to offer Masters degree. There are currently approximately 300 students enrolled. They have a capacity to house 500 students, however there is a problem in that there are not enough professors. They have more students applying than they can take in each year.

Second level, or Regional level includes 5 schools, which are the original seminaries. At this level 3 or 4 provinces around that seminary support that seminary and send students there.

The 3rd level is the Provincial level, training pastors only for that province. There are a total of 15 schools at this level.

There is currently a total of 21 seminaries/bible schools. There is a plan to build more seminaries and upgrade the bible schools.

They cooperate with outside schools-- an Anglican School in Switzerland, Trinity in Singapore, Fuller in Pasadena, Ming Hua seminary in Hong Kong.

David shared with Bishop John Chiu from Singapore wants to create a satellite of his Trinity Seminary in Singapore as a parallel training institute in Nanjing.

The Nanjing Theological Seminary moved 3 years ago and is currently housed within the Nanjing University complex, which is HUGE.
David also shared that as the current system mirrors in many way the Anglican system of dioceses which he attributes to the heavy influence of Anglicanism in Shanghai.

Our guide at the seminary was Professor David Liu, undergraduate New Testament Professor and overseas relations liaison. He took us on a tour of the campus beginning with the Library, especially the Biblical reference part of the library, which the school is very proud of.

...a small sampling

Their chapel is currently housed in an auditorium, but the new Chapel is being built and will be a focal point for the university.

The seminary is housed on 33 acres, two thirds of which are being used.
Rev. Dr. Yilu Chen, Executive Vice President of the seminary joined us for a meeting and to have lunch with us. He just returned from the US where he visited the GTU in Berkeley, Union in New York and Princeton in New Jersey.
Rev. Dr. Chen gave us an overview of the seminary, including the fact that the students are full time, half men, half women.

Bishop KH Ting is responsible for us being here, the government is very supportive of the efforts of the Church in China. Bishop Ting was responsible for ensuring the new seminary was planted in the University. The land for the seminary was free from the Provincial government, and half the money used to build the buildings on the seminary campus. Bishop Ting not only oversaw the church he was involved with the government which opened the door for this work. The government sees the church as an ally in building a harmonious society in these times.

Most of their graduates go back to their home churches to be a pastor. Before they come they must work in their congregations for one year before starting at seminary. Every Sunday there is a Sunday service with communion once per month.

The focus is on spirituality, pastoral skills and relationship building. They understand that many pastors in the past have failed not because they were not capable, but because they lacked good interpersonal skills.

They have a close relationship with Fuller Theological Seminary, and professors in Pastoral Care and counseling and Psychology help out a great deal. They also help with curriculum design and course planning, as well as sending professors to help them write text books.

Over lunch we talked about the fact that the school is focused on practical applications for their students. The problem is that for them they lack PhD faculty who have practical parish experience. For them, their ability to increase the number of students is limited by a lack of faculty. As David our guide from CCC put it, "we have the hardware, we lack the software."

We exchanged gifts, took a group picture and said our goodbyes:

Next we travelled to the Amity Press and were warmly welcomed.

The Amity Foundation was established in 1985, Bp. Ting was chairman.

Today they can print up to 8 million bibles per year. They can print in Chinese minority language as well, including Braille bibles. Braille bibles require 32 volumes to print. Among some of the Bibles we were shown that have been printed there include:

The following (displayed sideways) is a Bible in one of the other languages spoken in China:

"The Bible unites us." Bishop Ting. He is so right!

Here are some photos of the work in the factory

They celebrated publishing their 80 millionth bible.

We said goodbye to our guides and headed off to the Amity Foundation.
The Amity Foundation was co founded by Bishop Ting, and has worked to provide relief in times of disaster, offer education, and train health care workers for rural areas. They created a large facility for child polio victims, and offer training for mentally challenged individuals among many other worthwhile and much needed causes in China.

On the way to the Amity Foundation, we passed by this statue of Sun Yat Sen in Nanjing:

At the Amity Foundation we were given a tour by Helen Zhao, whom we had met at the Everyone Everywhere Conference in Estes Park -- David didn't tell us that Helen is his wife! Here they are together.

At the presentation were:
Benjamin who works in public health and HIV prevention.
Helen has a BTh and MBA.
Du Ying is responsible for HIV prevention education and is Helen's assistant. He Wen is the Assistant General Secretary of Amity.

He Wen shared that Amity has had much support from the Episcopal Church, ERD and this year UTO.

Amity is doing a good number of projects ... 101 different projects going on affecting millions of people. A few to be highlighted:
1. Community health worker training -- In rural areas people can't receive primary health care. Training by Amity has trained over 22,000 health workers since 1989. Amity is getting ready to train in traditional medicine as well.

2. Village clinic buildings. More than 500 clinics have been built which improves the overall health of the village. The government has taken noticed of this work.

3. Community based project in Zhangfeng for HIV AIDS prevention. This effort utilizes community resources. There are a variety of factors impacting this work including local customs, poverty, impoverished spiritual life and poor infrastructure.Amity provides training for women's associations which strengthens the local community. Basic health care includes medicine packages and check ups. Most people with HIV AIDS are very poor and couldn't normally afford the expense of medical care. There are also care and support groups, as well as education of the village to increase production of food, etc.

4. Church related projects. amity supports churches in order to help them engage in social work. More and more churches are expressing a desire to participate in social work, but they lack project management skills. Amity is providing training for them.

Amity is supporting the church's ability to do diakonia work. Amity helps the church put the face of Christ into the community, including health checks for school children. Drug rehabilitation is a big program and is done from a faith-based approach, including daily gospel reflection and animal raising to teach responsibility.

According to Helen, Christianity came to China with guns and opium, and has been a subject of suspicion among the Chinese. Amity's focus on social service work has helped open a window to christianity for the Chinese. In years past many Chinese people thought Christians only stayed in their churches and prayed for themselves. Now they see faith in action, which has brought people to Christ.

Amity is gender equal, participatory not dictating, walking with the people, and also ecologically sensitive. They are following St. Francis: preach the gospel at all times, if necessary use words.

We had dinner with Mr. Qui Zhongshan Hui, Vice Board Chair, General Secretary, Amity Foundation and Vice Chairperson of the Board, Amity Printing Co. Ltd.. We talked about Amity's work, and I strongly urged him to work with the seminaries to get Amity as part of every seminary's curriculum and to encourage the CCC and TSPM to have Amity's "train the trainer" as part of any continuing education offerings for clergy.

At the end of the dinner, I was presented with a numbered copy (only 1,000 were made) of their commemorative bible marking the 80,000,000 bible produced by Amity Press. This year they will mark their 100,000,000 bible
Reduced. I was invited to that celebration in November. Unfortunately I can't make it!

A very full day in Nanjing. Off in the morning to Beijing!
- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Nanjing, China

1 comment:

  1. I think they are learning from you, right along with you learning so much from them. It is truly wonderful to see the Holy Spirit at work. And I can't even imagine how exhausted, as well as exhilarated, you must be.