Hundreds of Chinese Christians gathered at the Empress of China Restaurant in San Francisco's Chinatown to celebrate the 125th anniversary of the First Chinese Baptist Church of San Francisco on Oct 8.
The anniversary gathered church members, past church attendants, and members of other Baptist churches to reflect on the history that they were able to share together as descendants of the first Chinese immigrants in the United States, and the problems the Baptist churches face in preaching the message to the next generation.
"What does 125 years mean for me?" Rev Don Ng, senior pastor of FCBC said. "It means the day that the Lord delivered us from Egypt."
Referring to Exodus 13:14 in his sermon, "Time to Remember," Rev. Ng said, "In days to come, when your son asks you, 'What does this mean?' say to him, 'With a mighty hand the Lord brought us out of Egypt, out of the land of slavery.'"
Meanwhile the challenges facing FCBC, Dr. James Chuck, emeritus pastor of FCBC addressed, was keeping the Chinese-speaking and English-speaking congregations together.
"Without the English-speaking congregation, the Chinese-speaking congregation wouldn't be able to survive in Chinatown San Francisco," he told the Gospel Post. "We need each other."
Similarly, Rev Ng preached, "If one member is missing then it also deprives the body of what God created. When we come together, it also helps inform us of what is happening today, and it helps us rejoin our fellowship."
Among the fellowship, representatives from American Baptist Churches of USA were there to congratulate FCBC for their contribution to the Baptist society.
Florence Li from the American Baptist National Ministries in Valley Forge, PA, presented Rev. Ng with a hand-craft sculpture, shaped of people holding hands while standing together in a circle and a placard.
From the American Baptist Historical Society (ABHS), Executive Director Deborah Van Broekhoven presented a certificate of recognition for FCBC's longstanding history and their commitment to the American Baptist Society.
"One thing people might not realize," Broekhoven said was, "This celebration is not just in Chinatown," but it represents "hundreds of people outside of China who has relatives all over the world," which makes the anniversary, "a global celebration."
A testimony was delivered by Rev. Chuck after he received a standing ovation and a wave of applause. He said, "When I came to church, what I did mattered and made a difference."
The "Church gave me something that is trustworthy." The "Church taught me that only God deserves the center part of my life," he continued.
In the end Rev. Chuck was able to learn from the wisdom of Saint Paul who said, "When everything else fails, faith, hope and love will endure," he added.
"We have this tremendous power to bless the lives of the people; we're here to bless the community; we're not going anywhere."
After his testimony, he asked the audience for a silent moment of pause, thanking God for His blessings and what He will do in the future through FCBC. "This celebration is not about us, but it is about God; May He continue to bless this church."
The anniversary theme, "Abounding in Faith," focused on Colossians 2:6-7 that says, "As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, continue to live your lives in him, rooted and built up in him and established in the faith, just as you were taught in abounding thanksgiving."