China’s churches are gradually reopening across the nation as of May 31 – coming out of lockdown ahead of the rest of the world.
“The Chinese authorities announced on 30 May that all religious sites are now allowed to reopen and all religious activities allowed to resume, with approval from the local authorities according to the local Covid-19 situations,” the United Bible Societies China Partnership (UBSCP) reports. “Churches all across China are now gradually reopening, with the required preventive measures.”
Along with the reopening of churches, church bookstores have started trading again. “We also praise God that believers are now able to buy Bibles from the church bookstores, where previously many were not able to when the churches were closed,” UBSCP notes.
“On June 7, many churches resumed on-site Sunday services,” Zoe Zhang of the China Christian Daily reports. “Many brothers and sisters recorded the memorable day through texts, pictures or videos.
“Sister F, a co-worker of a church in Hangzhou, said there was a church in a village in the suburbs of Yuhang District, Hangzhou. Things went smoothly. There were two different times for Sunday worship services, one in the morning and another in the afternoon. My heart was full of gratitude and rejoicing. The brothers and sisters rejoiced too, and some were even moved to tears.
“Sister L of a church in Anhui shared it was His grace that our church has resumed onsite service, for many elderly brothers and sisters could not meet through the Internet during the pandemic. The resumption allowed them to return to God and receive His pastoral care.”
Another China Christian Daily story from Beijing reports that churches there can reopen “on June 9, 2020, the Beijing CC&TSPM (Christian Council and Three Self Patriotic Movement) issued relevant notices regarding the opening of religious activities venues. ‘Each hall can be reopened in an orderly manner after being evaluated by the relevant department at the district level.’…
“The Beijing CC&TSPM decided that beginning midnight, June 10, 2020, churches of the Beijing CC&TSPM could be reopened …
“All open religious places would be restricted or controlled by means of appointment or admission with ticket or voucher to restrict the flow of people. Some large-scale religious activities would temporarily not be held.”
Bible Society Australia raises money to subsidise the paper used to print Bibles in China, ensuring that the Scriptures are available across the country. Bible Society Literacy classes teach the rural poor and provide free Bibles. A number of generous supporters are matching gifts by donors to double the impact in a special end of financial year appeal.