You can't buy a 110-year relationship.For three members of First Presbyterian Church, working on that relationship with Jiangyin Church, its Chinese sister church, meant traveling to Jiangsu Province in October.
The group – Alex Munroe, Walter Conser and the Rev. Ernie Thompson – attended the dedication of the new Jiangyin Pastoral Training Center there, a venture the Wilmington church partially funded.
The center is one of the first projects of its kind to open in China using foreign funding, Thompson said.
Several high-ranking Chinese officials, including the undersecretary of the state administration for religious affairs, attended the opening.
“The government is having a stronger sense that the church is good for the overall good of society,” he said. “The Chinese government supports these partnerships with only three requirements – that the work be open, that the work be legal, and that the foreign churches treat the Chinese church as equals.”
A mission's legacy
The story of how the churches got to this cooperative point started in 1895 when First Presbyterian sent missionary Rev. George Worth to establish the Jiangyin Mission Station. (Jiangyin is 200 miles west of Shanghai on the Yangtze River.) Until Worth left the country during the Cultural Revolution in the 1950s, he and his family founded a hospital, schools and nursing schools. After that, the churches lost touch, until Munroe visited Jiangyin in 2005 and found the original mission had grown to 14 government-recognized Christian churches in the province.But these churches had a problem. There weren't enough pastors to handle the needs of each growing parish – most megachurch-size – and new churches couldn't open without leadership. The Jiangyin Church, for instance, has four two-hour services each Sunday, all with the same pastor.
Pastors from the Jiangyin church and Chinese officials traveled to the United States to visit First Presbyterian for the first time during Tropical Storm Hanna in September 2008.
Since, the two congregations have been working together to establish the training center. Though not a divinity school, the training center will educate lay leaders to preach, direct choirs and provide continuing education for the ordained pastors in the province. It will accommodate 90 students at a time. In addition to the center, First Presbyterian also sent money to re-vamp the Jiangyin Bible School library – donating about $100,000 to both projects.
One of the marvels of the center's development was the government's support, agreeing to donate the building to the center for free.
(Read on: Here).
Time Warner Cable to announce new charity effort
From staff reports
Published: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 8:13 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, November 18, 2009 at 8:13 p.m.
Time Warner Cable launches a new philanthropic effort at 3 p.m. Thursday on Wilmington's riverfront.
Called Connect A Million Minds, it will introduce youth to opportunities and resources to develop skills they need to succeed, the company said.
Time Warner Cable said it is making a 5-year, $100 million commitment in cash and in-kind support companywide, with $11 million of that going to North Carolina, according to spokeswoman Melissa Buscher.
Read more: Here.