Relaymedia

Massive Growth of House Churches in Beijing Found

( [email protected] ) Mar 04, 2004 12:58 PM EST

BEIJING: A recent survey conducted found out that House Churches in Beijing have increased beyond expectation.

The survey was conducted by leaders of the Three Self Patriotic Movement(TSPM) Church in Beijing who have been asked by Chinese Government Religious Affairs Bureau (RAB) to collect the information of House Churches. They found out that despite the Chinese Government suppressed over unregistered Churches they have rather multiplied and have increased much in recent time.

The survey concluded that there are at least 3,000 unregistered Churches in the city. Most are small fellowships with an average of 20 members, but larger groups meet on the outskirts of the city. House church leaders said groups usually divide when they reach 70 members in order to avoid trouble with the authorities.

The fear of massive growth of unregistered Churches in the city fuelled the city's top advisory body Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) Beijing Committee to suggest to build two new Churches in Beijing, which RAB approved.

The city(Beijing) seriously lacks ritual places and the current distribution of religious sites is unbalanced,?the committee reportedly as saying.

The construction of these two TSPM Churches will be completed by Christmas 2004.

However, some observers believe the provision of these churches is a move to encourage house church Christians to attend official Church services.