Norwich Chinese church growing 14 years on
A Chinese church congregation which started in a Norwich home is celebrating its continued growth some 14 years after it was launched.
But the rise and rise and rise of the Chinese congregation linked to Wroxham Road Methodist Church is showing no signs of slowing down as it celebrates another birthday.
The Chinese Congregation Methodist Church Norwich (known as CCMCN) has grown to meet the needs of people of all ages, including students at the UEA. It is looking to the future and wanting to become an established church with a full-time Chinese minister.
The size of the church today is a long way from how it was when it started in a home in Taverham and then moved to Taverham Village Hall.
After a while they wanted to hold extra meetings and in 2003 they went to Wroxham Road Methodist Church.
At that time they met on alternate Sundays and two Mondays per month and the congregation numbered about 35 plus 12 children.
The growth continued and the church decided to meet each Sunday as well as two Mondays a month.
A junior church was started and was initially run by members of the English congregation and now most classes are covered by the Chinese.
At the beginning it was a Cantonese speaking church and they had no pastor but the Rev David Foo, who founded the Church, attended twice a month to lead Holy Communion and reach those who could not attend on a Sunday. Mr Foo still does that nine years on.
By 2007, the need for a lay part time pastor became apparent and eventually Edmond Tsui, who had attended a Bible college, was appointed for three days a week.
Since this time the church has continued to grow and in the past months there have been so many Mandarin speakers join that the services will now be conducted in
Cantonese with a translation into Mandarin. The growth has been in young mothers and babies, some couples and several UEA students.
Margaret Hardingham, who is part of a support group for Mr Tsui, said: “Several of the students have helped with music, singing, and in the junior church. When you see the entire congregation, the average age is much younger than many English churches.
“Indeed we have so many under fives now that it needs more than two leaders to be with them.”
Wroxham Road minister the Rev Nigel Fox, Mr Foo and church administrator Kit Holland are also part of the support group.
Nigel said: “The recent growth of this Chinese congregation is a tremendously encouraging sign of the activity of God among us, as new folk are brought to faith in Jesus. The desire of our Chinese friends to integrate with us here is both humbling and exciting. It is a delight to witness such things, and I believe we can anticipate some significant steps forward as we work together more closely.”
The Chinese church meets on Sundays at 2pm. followed by light refreshments.
On the first Monday in the month there is a ladies group at 10am and they are then joined at noon by the men for a Bible Study and food. The third Monday in the month starts at noon with a meal.
Mrs Hardingham said: “Newcomers are always welcomed and befriended. Obviously all are welcome especially if you can speak Cantonese or Mandarin.
To contact the church you can ring Edmond Tsui on 07957 573098 or Kit Holland on 07880 745065.
Pictured above are members of the Chinese congregation at the Methodist Church in Sprowston.