Chinese Christians Use Zoom for Church. Their Government Is Making That Harder (November 30, 2023, Christianity Today)
On a hot night in August, Yong Shao, a small group leader of a house church in a major city in northern China, was about to start the weekly Zoom Bible study when he started receiving a barrage of messages from his small group members with an unexpected problem: Zoom wasn’t working for them. An IT professional, Yong went into troubleshooting mode. He suggested they update the Zoom app and switch to using cellphone data instead of Wi-Fi. In the past, these tricks worked when Zoom was down—but this time, nothing.
WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism planning group convenes (November 30, 2023, World Council of Churches)
Among other topics, the group discussed how its work will move with the WCC Pilgrimage of Justice, Reconciliation, and Unity. They also explored how the work of the commission intersects with other programmes of the WCC, including the Faith and Order Commission, Commission of the Churches on International Affairs, Health and Healing, and others. Fundraising and reconnecting with partners were also on the agenda.
Asia Evangelical Alliance 40th Anniversary (1983-2023) – ACML’40 (Asian Church And Mission in a New Landscape) (November 8, 2023, AEA)
In the heart of a rapidly changing landscape, the 40th Anniversary of the Asia Evangelical Alliance (1983-2023), Asian Church and Mission in a New Landscape unfolded as a pivotal moment. Grounded in Joshua 3:4 “You’ve never been on this road before”, the Intergenerational Consultation of Kingdom Leaders delved into the intersection of church and mission in new and evolving landscape. 248 leaders from 24 nations, mostly in Asia converged under one roof to discern and envision the new landscape.
President Jokowi highlights importance of religion at R20 Summit (November 29, 2023, The Jakarta Post)
President Joko “Jokowi” Widodo has highlighted the importance of religion, religious leaders and society in bringing about peace, citing the ongoing humanitarian tragedy in Palestine inflicted by Israel. R20 ISORA has been organized by the Nahdlatul Ulama central executive board to discuss the Israel-Palestine conflict and come up with a solution. Some 150 religious leaders from within and outside the country attended the international forum.
Southeast Asian rice farmers brace for El Nino’s wrath as crops wither: ‘we’re on our own’ (November 18, 2023, SCMP)
Indonesian rice farmer Mudzakir expects to lose several tonnes of grain when he harvests later this year, as stems wither across his hardened fields in East Java. In good years, farmers in his group harvest at least six to seven tonnes of rice for each hectare of their farmland, but with their regency of Probolinggo gripped by unseasonal drought, Mudzakir, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, is ready for the worst.
Japan has a glut of 8.5 million akiya, empty 'ghost houses' left to rot. Now Airbnb wants to fill them with tourists. (November 30, 2023, Business Insider)
Airbnb is looking to capitalize on a growing swathe of empty houses in Japan, hoping to convince owners to remodel the vacant homes into tourist attractions. Japan has some 8.49 million akiya, or unoccupied homes, according to the government's Housing and Land Survey in 2018. The survey is conducted every five years.
Mekong Delta to develop one million hectares of high-quality, low-carbon rice production by 2030 (November 30, 2023, Viet Nam News)
The project is part of an effort to restructure the region’s production system and value chain with a focus on sustainable farming practices, higher product value, greater business and production efficiency, as well as improved livelihoods of rice farmers, in accordance with Việt Nam’s commitment to protect the environment, adapt to climate change and reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
Malaysia to pilot Singapore-styled progressive wage programme next June, says economic minister (November 30, 2023, Channel News Asia)
Malaysia will pilot its “progressive wage” programme next June that aims to raise wages of low-income workers as they become more skilled, with government subsidies helping to pay some of the salary increment.
Protests, court appeals as Nepal's TikTokers decry government ban on app (November 23, 2023, Reuters)
Nepali TikTok creator Manjita Manandhar was caught off guard when the Himalayan nation banned the popular social media platform last week for disturbing "social harmony and goodwill".
The United Nation’s annual climate summit is under way in Dubai, with world leaders approving a climate disaster fund that will help vulnerable nations cope with the impact of drought, floods and rising seawater. The agreement marked a “positive signal of momentum” at the start of the 2023 conference – known as COP28 – its host UAE’s Sultan al-Jaber said in the opening ceremony on Thursday.
We are excited to offer an Advent calendar, to help believers across the globe join together in asking for God’s mercy and thanking him for his blessings on Christians in China. Each day includes either an intercessory item or a praise item to focus on. You can use it in your personal or family devotional time or with a small group. In addition, please share this calendar with others in your network who are passionate about prayer. Download the full Advent Calendar Download the printer-friendly version
Initiating a conversation after conflict can be difficult for many of us; it is a muscle that needs to be exercised in order to grow stronger. Wang Jia’s story of how her father proactively approached her after an intense conflict illustrates the challenge and need for us to exercise this important muscle.
China closing hundreds of mosques in northern regions, rights group says (November 21, 2023, The Guardian)
Chinese authorities have closed or altered hundreds of mosques in the northern regions of Ningxia and Gansu, homes to the highest Muslim populations in China after Xinjiang, as part of broader efforts to “sinicise” China’s religious minorities, according to a report.
The measures that have caused the church to become less visible and less vocal are prompting Christians outside China to rethink how they hear from China’s church. Those who continue to rely on traditional sources of information risk becoming like the proverbial driver searching for their lost car keys under a lamppost because the light is better, while the keys sit undetected in a dark parking lot several meters away.
Chinese Christianity Endures, Part 1: Studying the 18th-Century Church under Authoritarian Rule (November 17, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Following decades of what we now recognize as relative freedom, conditions for Christian flourishing in China today appear to be deteriorating dramatically. Religious policy in China’s “New Era” is reverting back to the ruling elite’s instinctive distrust of all religion (zongjiao 宗教) as heterodox—as demanding allegiance to an alternative authority that is not just politically, religiously, or even ideologically different, but ultimately culturally other.
Data labeling jobs in rural areas are empowering women and the marginalized while also aiding poverty alleviation. But as advanced AI begins to eclipse traditional methods, the future demand for such human-driven jobs faces uncertainty.
Xi may have more power than any Chinese leader since Mao Zedong, but even he can’t fully implement his policy preferences.
Chinese House Churches Find Hope for Gospel Growth Amid Post-Pandemic Turmoil (November 16, 2023, Christianity Today) (subscription required)
Solomon Li, an overseas ministry leader who has served the Chinese church for the past 30 years, finally had a chance to return to China this year for the first time since the pandemic began in 2020. (Li’s name has been changed due to security risks.) He met with 150 pastors within one urban house church network and shared with CT about the new challenges and opportunities that Christians face in this post-pandemic era. The interview has been shortened and edited for clarity.
Listening in the Quietness: "Be Still and Know That I Am God!" (November 13, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
Compared to the noise and bustle of the past, I was struck by the quietness of China this trip. This quietness could be due to the popularity of electric vehicles and the oppressive political environment, or it could be the trauma of the pandemic, or concerns and worries about China’s economic downturn and future… Compared to the past, the Chinese churches also seem to be extraordinarily quiet.
Mapping China’s Christian Legacy: The Story of the China Historical Christian Database (November 10, 2023, ChinaSource Blog)
If a relatively small sample could produce such new insights, what would become visible if someone looked beyond Hong Kong to all of China, included not just Pentecostal Christians but also Protestant, Catholic, Orthodox, and Chinese-initiated movements, and expanded the search from 35 to 400 years (1550-1950)?