Next year will mark 200 hundred years since Robert Morrison set foot in China as the first missionary, in the city of Guangzhou in Sept. 1807, with much anticipation from the Chinese Christians to celebrate.
Chinese churches, organizations and Christian literary groups are also anticipating the response they will receive from Chinese Christians towards this historical mission event.
At the front of the celebration, Chinese Coordination Centre on World Evangelism (CCCOWE), who will hold their world conference in 2006, a conference held once every four years in Macau, will acknowledge the 200th anniversary of Robert Morrison, along with its 30th anniversary.
Christian Cosmic Light Holistic Care Organization (CCLHCO) is partnering with CCCOWE in organizing the "Robert Morrison 200th Year Commemoration Celebration."
Since 2003, they have been actively preparing the celebration activities, with Professor Lin Zhi-ping as the general secretary of the event. The event will highlight a historical picture display, literary discussion seminar, and a Robert Morrison 200th Anniversary Commemoration dissertation collection.
Historical Picture Displays and Literary Dissertation Discussion Discourse
The historical picture display and the literary dissertation discussion will be one of the seminars at the Seventh CCCOWE world conference.
In preparation for the seminar, the Conference has asked famous scholars from Taiwan, China, Hong Kong and other various regions to write 15 to 20 dissertations, with an article length of 10,000 to 20,000 words.
The scholars will read these dissertations in groups, while participants from the similar field will review them through discussions. After the conference, two or three of the main scholars will go on tour to various places to further discuss what was shared at the seminars.
Meanwhile, the dissertations will be published after the reviews in order for it to be widely circulated in influential libraries and literary study institutes, thus influencing people in literary and cultural studies, marking a historical testimony that can potentially influence the future.
Publishing Robert Morrison Entering China 200th Anniversary Dissertation Collection
The collection series are being produced by China church-history research scholars from Hong Kong, Taiwan and China, who were asked to research separately to write one booklet each on the history of Chinese mission. The purpose was for them to produce a book, where 20 to 30 booklets could model after, and then be published.
The book collection will present the complete listings of contributions and influences that Christianity has brought to China during the past two centuries that will also address the gains and losses, objectively. The information will be used to advance future mission strategies, planning, and influencing the literary culture.
In addition, the celebration will publish a missionary biographical illustration series, consisting of 20 booklets, which, they hope will root the spirit of mission into the families.
CCCOWE will donate 1000 sets of dissertation collections and 500 sets of mission story illustration booklets to prestigious colleges and research organizations, to be used by researchers as references, as well as developing literary cultural influences.
CCLHCO is responsible for most of the planning that involves fund-raising, publishing management, display tours, and discussion seminars. At the same time, CCCOWE and other supporting parties are assisting in marketing and organizing each regional display tour to hold discussion seminars.
Professor Lin Zhi-ping hopes that the Chinese cultural-social organizations will care about and respect Christianity, and the relationship between Christianity and the Chinese cultural society. He wants them to remove any misconceptions, "preparing soft and good gospel hearts, so it would help the gospel seed to sprout, bloom, and bear fruits 30 times, 60 times, and 100 times more."
He added that the research studies of contemporary scholars are important in enhancing the studies of researchers, and in improving the quality of research to exert a Christian influence on the Chinese literary culture.
With regards to the seminar, he hopes that the displays, discussion seminars, and the event as a whole, will be educational in informing the society about the contributions of Christianity, and the missionaries that brought the gospel to the Chinese.
Lastly, he hopes that the literature will deeply root in every family, the spirit of missions, and that the relationship between the parents and the children can improve, raising a good mission environment that will produce future mission workers.
The estimated cost is $480,000. Right now, they have collected $210,000 dollars, and are still $270,000 short, which is a prayer request that they want that their "brothers and sisters in Christ" to continue to pray for.