Thursday, January 29, 2009

And now let’s go East…

Wenzhou Christians Hold First Ecumenical Concert, During Unity Prayer Week

Two Catholic parishes in eastern China's Zhejiang province, Wenzhou diocese joined with Protestants to hold probably the first-ever Christian unity concert in mainland China.

Zhejiang province is the 25th largest administrative division of China in terms of area (101,800km2) and the 11th largest with respect to population (47,200,000).

The concert on Jan. 18, first day of the Prayer Week for Christian Unity, attracted about 1,000 people to the Catholic Church in Leqing, a city 1,400 kilometers southeast of Beijing. Leqing and Xipian Catholic parishes in Zhejiang province co-hosted the event.

The concert, under the theme Walking the Road of Love Together, started in the afternoon with a Mass during which the local Catholic Tianyin (sound of heaven) choir led the hymns.

Local Catholic choir Tianyin (sound of heaven) leading the hymn-singing in an afternoon Mass and performed on stage at the unity concert on Jan. 18 to mark the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity 2009.

A Protestant worship session followed, led by the Praise Whole-heartedly choir from Qingdao, in the eastern province of Shandong, 920 kilometers north of Wenzhou.

The concert's theme song was composed by a Protestant singer whose elder brother, a Catholic, wrote the lyrics. The siblings sang it at the concert.

The Week of Prayer for Christian Unity is observed annually Jan. 18-25 in many parts of the world. This year's theme was “That they may become one in your hand (Ezekiel 37:17)".

In a follow-up event the next day, members of the Catholic run Tianren Rainbow website, based in Wenzhou, and Protestant musicians exchanged Church music.

They also agreed to do more together in the Christian music ministry in the future so that ordinary families could hear the Gospel in a lively form.

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