Leaders Gather on Seminary's Pasadena Campus
A luncheon gathering was hosted at Fuller Seminary’s Pasadena campus on Tuesday, September 16, to welcome two new leaders of the China Christian Council (CCC) visiting the U.S. from China. Reverend Gao Feng, new president of the CCC, and Reverend Kan Bao Ping, new executive general secretary, offered comments and answered questions on current developments in religion and culture in China.
In his opening address, Fuller President Richard J. Mouw offered a brief history of Fuller’s involvement with China. Fuller first sent a delegation to China in 1984, led by then-president David Allan Hubbard, followed by many more trips and exchanges in recent years. Mouw himself has traveled often to China, including participation in the groundbreaking for Nanjing Theological Seminary; several other Fuller faculty and alumni/ae have participated in exchanges and consultations in the area of pastoral care.
The purpose of their U.S. trip now, explained CCC President Gao, has been "to participate in a Chinese-American multifaith religious exchange," he said in comments addressed to the luncheon group. As part of a larger delegation of interfaith religious leaders from China, Gao and Kan have been engaging in dialogue with a number of faith and government leaders across the U.S.—including meetings with 20 to 30 members of U.S. Congress in Washington DC, and a meeting with former U.S. president Jimmy Carter.
Through these gatherings, said Gao, "We hope to increase a bilateral understanding about the role of religion in China and in the U.S. Our purpose is for all of us to better understand the role of religion in both countries."
Their delegation was posed some "tough, challenging questions" in their meeting with the congresspersons, Gao noted, offering "a good opportunity for us to share about the policies of religious belief in China," he said, and explain misconceptions.
Rev. Kan said that this trip has helped them to share a more realistic picture of current trends in the church and society in China. But the communication must continue, he said: "We can’t expect to break the wall of misunderstanding overnight."
A time for questions followed, with Gao and Kan discussing the growth of theological education in China, as well as the impact of the May earthquake and the summer Olympic Games on international perceptions of China.
"The Olympics were a very good opportunity not only for others to see and learn about China," said Gao, "but it was very good for the Chinese people. The Chinese people were very excited about the Olympics," he said, citing the large numbers of volunteers at the games. "We love having visitors!"
The China Christian Council serves as an umbrella organization for Protestant churches in China. It works to unite and provide services for churches in China by encouraging theological education, publishing Bibles and other Christian materials, and coordinating information exchange and training programs for churches.