This past weekend (Nov. 1), an influential house church in Beijing held their Sunday Service in snow at the Haiden Park. According to source, Watchtower Church moved out from their original gathering place in Huajie Tower on Oct. 30, because the landlords have been pressured by relevant government department since Aug. Since an appropriate place hasn’t been found, they can only gather temporarily outdoors.
Around 10 a.m., the worship service started with the solemn singing of the choir, music worship, sermon, prayer, announcements, and its procedure remains the same as before with the exception that the message was shorten a bit. Rev. Tian-min Jin referred to Hebrews 11 and described how God led Moses and the Israelites out of Egypt in order to nurture their faith and to challenge the brothers and sisters to make a decision in faith; at the same time, he explained about the current situation of the church-building progress, encouraging the congregation to walk together with the church in the Lord’s footsteps. That day’s participants exceeded 500 people.
Prior to this, Watchtower church has already made an announcement to their congregation that “Out of Christ’s love, the church is unwilling to let the landlord bear the burden that the church should bear, thus it was decided to accept the landlord’s request that complies with the relevant government department’s demand for an early termination of leasing agreement…the church expresses regret towards the relevant government department whose duty should be “To serve the people” as until now they did not show the expected good-will toward the law-abiding Christian citizens.”
According to sources, the church also faced same kind of pressure at the previous office rental location in Hengrun and was forced to leave. In particular prior to last year’s Olympics, they’ve received some conflicts. Therefore, the church has established a “Church Building Fundraising Committee” in order to resolve the gathering place location through the method of purchasing, but until today they are still in the midst of negotiation and has yet to hear back from the other end.
Watchtower Church earnestly requests that brothers and sisters can keep watch and pray during this special time. Although they do not know how many times they will have to gather outdoors, they pray that God can give His people sufficient strength to face the winter weather of below negative ten degrees in Beijing. They pray that God can protect every one of his sons and daughter in the church to walk together with the church, not complain, and both they and the church can receive training.
Moreover, the church hopes that brothers and sisters can stay awake and not fall into Satan’s trap. One of the traps is to paint a layer of “political” color on the temporary outdoor church services.
“We did not come outside to protest. This is our conscience before God. We pray that God can give us wisdom, allow our gatherings to not be influenced by any political reasons,” according to the church website.
In conclusion, they hope that the outdoor gathering for the church is only temporarily, pray that God will continue to lead the entire church building process, and help them to quickly move into the new church building.