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BWA women’s delegation meets with Chinese women’s leaders

SHANGHAI, China (BP)–A delegation representing the Baptist World Alliance women’s department met with women leaders of the China Christian Council in July, learning that the work among Christian women is growing and is focused on training leaders who will help start and develop churches in the communist country.
Organized in November 1993, the China Christian Council Women’s Commission involves some 20,000 women from 15 provinces in China. The organization is led by Wang Juzhen, a noted scientist and inventor in China. Wang, along with Cao Sheng-jie, vice president of the China Christian Council, hosted the BWA delegation while in Shanghai.
Leading the BWA delegation was Mercy Jeyaraja Rao of India, president of the BWA women’s department, and Chang Young Shim of Korea, president of the Asian Baptist Women’s Union. The delegation also included women’s leaders from the United States, France and Russia.
Those among the U.S. representatives were Susan Gaske of Falls Church, Va.; Noemi Jiminez of San Angelo, Texas; Dorothy Hindman of Russellville, Ky.; and Leslie Allen, Suzanah Raffield and Catherine Allen, all of Birmingham, Ala. Allen is former BWA women’s department president.
Wang told the delegation the purpose of the Women’s Commission is to glorify God, benefit the people and serve the churches and society. The group’s ministries and activities include Bible and theological training, literacy training and a variety of social ministries.
An urgent need among the women is for trained leaders, Wang said. Women represent 70 to 80 percent of Christian believers in China, she said. Therefore trained leaders are needed to serve the estimated 10 million Christian believers who meet in more than 35,000 churches and “meeting points” in China.
Churches are trying to help women make progress in the changing China society, Wang also noted. She described the phenomena of men deserting their families after finding wealth in the emerging market-driven economy in China. This increasing crisis has enhanced the need for counseling ministries for women, she said.
Cao told the group about the phenomenal growth among the Christian church in her homeland. Along with the mushrooming of churches and meeting points, Christian publishing also has exploded. Since 1979, approximately 18 million Bibles have been printed in China, mostly by Amity Press, she said. In addition, a Christian hymnal has surpassed 8 million in circulation. One-fourth of the compositions, she noted, are by Chinese musicians.
“We have to spread the gospel by the leading of the Holy Spirit,” said Cao, an ordained minister. “We thank God for the development.”
The BWA delegation’s visit to Shanghai also included visits to several leading churches in city of 16 million and surrounding suburbs.
*Name changed for security concerns.

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