The second largest delegation, more than 230 Christian leaders from China, have been prevented by their government from attending the Cape Town 2010 Congress on World Evangelisation.
More than 4,200 participants from 198 countries are meeting together in South Africa for the third Lausanne Congress on World Evangelisation. Through global link another 100,000 individuals, at almost 700 venues, in more than 95 countries around the world are receiving live streaming of the Congress.
Bishop Henry Orombi, Archbishop of the Church of Uganda and Chairman of the Africa Host Committee expressed his “profound disappointment and sense of incompleteness” among the congress leadership in knowing that Christians from China will not be allowed to join in this vital congress. “We want the Chinese Christians to know that this community, reflecting the worldwide body of Christ, stands with them as they gather in spirit with us here.”
Rev. Doug Birdsall, the Executive Chairman of the Congress Executive Committee recalled that at the last Lausanne Congress in Manila, the Philippians, in 1989, 200 seats reserved for the Chinese participants were left vacant as they were prevented from leaving their country on that occasion as well. “It is a major disappointment to participants from 198 countries that at this congress once again, the Chinese delegation is conspicuously absent.”
Mr Birdsall lamented the “unfortunate restrictions placed on our Chinese colleagues” and “the limitations on religious freedom in their country.” He observed that “this action is inconsistent with the principles upon which great nations and enduring societies are built.”
On the Monday evening, 18 October, plenary session the entire congress stood in solemn solidarity with the Chinese church pointing to the empty chairs and then united in heartfelt prayer for the suffering church in China. A film of Chinese believers singing Scripture songs was screened. It is estimated that there are over 105 million Christians in communist China today.
Dr. Peter Hammond
P.O. Box 74
Cape Town South Africa