Chinese Officials Visit Tyndale
On July 11 a delegation from the State Administration for Religious Affairs of the People’s Republic of China (SARA) paid an official visit to Tyndale University College & Seminary. SARA is committed to promoting inter-faith dialogues in China to create a harmonious society. China is the most populous state in the world, the world’s second largest economy and there are officially 23 million members of the Church in China. Some of SARA’s mandates are to protect the freedom of religious belief, survey religious status in China and abroad, and draft laws relating to religion.
The delegation, led by Mr. Jiang Jianyong, the Deputy General Minister of SARA, spent a week in Toronto hosted by the Buddhist Association of Canada. They were in Canada to observe the religious landscape and visit various Chinese religious organizations. There are over one million Canadian citizens that designate themselves as ethnically Chinese and China is Canada’s second largest trading partner. Mr. Jiang Jianyong, who is also the director of the Christian stream in SARA, set a day of their time in Canada aside to visit Christian churches and organizations. Sylvia Soon of the World Evangelical Alliance organized a day for the group to see the broader life of the Christian community. She wanted them to see the “different ways that Christians contribute to the community and the country." She planned a day where the 10 person delegation could visit a church (Richmond Hill Christian Community Church), a seminary (Tyndale University College & Seminary) and a Christian multimedia company (Crossroads Christian Communications).
Tyndale’s President Emeritus, Brian Stiller, introduced the delegates to Tyndale explaining how Tyndale’s history is closely tied to China through a historical connection to Hudson Taylor. The SARA delegation had lunch at Tyndale and was presented a print of a painting by friend of Tyndale, and world renowned artist, William Ho. The delegation presented Tyndale with a SARA commemorative plaque.
“The biggest opportunity in connecting with them,” commented the Tyndale VP of External Relations, Winston Ling, “was building bridges and sharing about the evangelical community. We are in a unique position to do so because of our Mandarin track in the seminary and Mandarin courses offered at the undergraduate level.”
“It was a very neat experience meeting people who hold such high offices in China,” said Peter Choi, the student representative at the luncheon. Peter is a third year History major and international student from Korea. “They were really respectful and open,” said Peter of the delegates, “I appreciate the link that Tyndale has established with the Chinese delegation, that is something that can grow even further.” The SARA delegation returned to China on July 12.