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Pastor of Largest Government-Approved Church Dismissed by Officials

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Brynne Lawrence  |  China Aid

One of the church cross demolitions in Zhejiang, which Gu Yuese protested (China Aid)
One of the church cross demolitions in
Zhejiang, which Gu Yuese protested
(China Aid)

Hangzhou, Zhejiang. The local Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM) and the China Christian Council (CCC) in China’s coastal Zhejiang province released an official notice detailing the forced removal of a pastor from his position at China’s largest government-approved church.

The TSPM and CCC stated in the notice that their reasons for dismissing Gu Yuese, the senior pastor of Chongyi Church in Hangzhou and chairman of the Hangzhou Municipal CCC, were: “So as to move one step closer towards the proper self-construction and management of church locations by the two Christian organizations in Hangzhou [Editor’s Note: “two Christian organizations” refers to the TSPM and CCC], promote the normal circulation of the principal Christians in charge of churches and sort out the interpersonal relationship between the province and [the local TSPM and CCC]….”

However, Gu’s public opposal of the forced demolition of church crosses raised suspicion among many concerning a correlation between his advocacy and dismissal.

The notice also stated the authorities’ intent to instate Zhang Zhongcheng, the vice-president and temporary secretary-general of the TSPM, as Chongyi Church’s new senior pastor.

The notice can be read in full below, along with a personal statement from Gu and his wife, Zhou Lianmei, who teaches Bible-based classes at Chongyi Church.

Two Christian organizations in Hangzhou [2016] No.1

Municipal churches:

The routine meeting of the two Christian organizations’  chair committees [has reached] a researched decision that the following personnel changes will be effective from this day forward, so as to move one step closer towards the proper self-establishment and management of church locations by the two Christian organizations in Hangzhou, promote the normal rotation of the principal Christians in charge of churches and sort out the interpersonal relationship between the province and the two municipal [Christian] organizations, as is according to the requirements of the relevant provincial and municipal [government] departments:

The chairman of the provincial Chinese Christian Council, Gu Yuese, will no longer work as the senior pastor of Chongyi Church in Hangzhou.

The vice-chairman and temporary secretary-general of the Hangzhou Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee, Pastor Zhang Zhongcheng, will serve as the senior pastor of Chongyi Church and take charge of all the work.

Sincerely,

                          Hangzhou Municipal Chinese Christian Three-Self Patriotic Movement Committee

Hangzhou Municipal Chinese Christian Council

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