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Annual Report 2017
Pictures of AGM 2017
FAITH IN CHINA, was the theme of the 15th AGM of CEC. Issues explored were: Do we believe what the media tells us about China? Peoples' lived experience of China and the UK by those who visited and Chinese students now studying in the UK; Faith possibilties in China; exploring the state context of Faith in China.
Xinan Li, ((left) PhD candidate at Loughborough University; Fr Joseph Liang, (Centre) Chaplain from China on loan to Westminster Archdiocese for the Chinese community, and Teng Li, PhD candidate at Liverpool University, researching "The Holy Spirit, Reform and Salvation History in 12 Century thought of Rupert of Deutz and Anselm of Havelburgh.
Bin Jiang, (left) postgraduate student of International Relations at Durham University with Li Xinan. When asked about introducing Catholic beliefs to people in China, he had this to say: "that they had to consider this in the context of modern China. First most Chinese people were raised as atheists so they usually had an instinctive opposition towards religious preaching. Another thing was that most people developed serious trust issues after the holocaust in the 1970s. And with the scandals of the pyramid scheme in recent years, a lot of people are especially careful with anything related to unknown organisations. So it is better to get people's interests with cultural influences such as music or architecture first, especially with younger generation who are more open to cultural diversity."
Teng Li viewing the display at the AGM and had this to say as part of his presentation - Experience of being part of the Church in China and here - support, difficulties, challenges, etc .
“Chinese authorities are believed to be becoming progressively more suspicious of the influence of Christianity, which is experiencing significant growth in the country. Under such a stressful environment, the Catholics in China are still practicing their faith in God and they are loyal to the Universal Catholic Church and to our Pope. Contemporary China has many similarities with the sufferings of the Catholic Church in this land during the last centuries. This is possibly also a deeper meaning of the cultural exchange with China.”
Kerry Jackson, Director of the St Gemma Hospice in Leeds, visited China with a CEC group in 2015, She described her experience of palliative care centres in China including St Augustine Gardens retirement home. She said as part of her input:
Provision of high quality palliative and end of life care is a worldwide challenge; in many countries including China lack of access to opioids to effectively manage pain is a major issue.
Provision of care is a particular challenge in China with a rapidly ageing population and societal changes together with underdeveloped palliative and end of life care services.
However, we have much to learn from the palliative care services that do exist in China, particularly around the importance of family involvement in the povision of care for people as they approach the end of their lives.
Xinan Li, currentlly reseraching "Chinese migrant workers and students in the UK and their Faith experience"
He addressed the topic of "Chinese Migrant workers and students in the UK and their faith experience": He suggested:
"CEC has done an excellent job building bridges between the Church in the UK and China.
As the Chinese immigrant community in the UK is one of the fastest growing ethnic minority communities in the UK, I think the CEC could also try to reach out to this community. Since they are also part of CEC's vision.
As Evangelicalism is the fastest growing religion among the Chinese world-wide, I think CEC could also build bridges between the Church and the Chinese adhering to non-Catholic Christian traditions, to extend the mutual understanding. "
Jim Simmons, (Left) Chair of CEC Executive chatting with Andrew Thompson made this comment about our day conference: "The CEC AGM this year seemed so much more alive! I think one of the reasons for this was the participation of some young Chinese people who are studying in the UK at the moment. It was really interesting to hear their understanding of both the Church in China and in the UK"
He invited participants and readers of this blog who would wish to offer their services as an Executive member to contact us.
David & Rachel Winton (left) with Margaret Sibberry (right) . David and Rachel have taught English in China for a number of years and coordinate the CEC programme for Teachers to China. Over the past 20 years 44 teachers from UK have taught English in Chinese Universities, some for as many as four years. Further information on this programme from firstname.lastname@example.org or Click Teaching in China on this website for further details, requirements and applications.
Fr Eamonn O'Brien, Director, CEC made a presentation on the relationship between the State and Religion in China through history, focusing on the period from 1950. He reviewed the proceedings of the National Congress on Religion, which took place in Beijing, April 22 and 23. "The State has always been involved in religious affairs throughout Chinese History. This is not a new phenomenon of the last fifty years", he said. But President Xi Jinping signalled a new stance on religion by the party via a subtle change of words. Xi indicated that the Party needs to 'recognise each religion's specific characteristics'. . Fr O'Brien expressed the hope that the old 'chestnut' whether you obey your religion and then the Party or vice versa could become obsolete. Law is a work in progress for the whole Chinese state, and a draft Law on religion has been prepared by a private reserach Insitute.
A short time after this National Conference, there was a delegation from the Vatican in Beijing for a second meeting this year with Chinese Government officials. Two such meetings were also held in 2015. Pope Francis has made it clear that a rapprochement with China is a key priority for his time in office. While there are restrictions, there are possibilities and a vibrancy about the Catholic Church in China that rarely gets media attention here in the UK, where negative news seems to be the order of the day.
Margaret Siberry, Leeds, and former Sec to CEC Executive, chat with two of our speakers. Margaret shared on why she had joined CEC in 2002 and had this to say about the AGM. " I was really encouraged by the buzz, energy and enthusiasm that permeated the day. People seemed genuinely interested in learning more about faith in China, its historical traditions and deep spiritual heritage as well as the complexities of practising faith now. The contribution of three post graduate Chinese students and Chaplain, Fr Joseph Liang, all speaking from their experience, was particularly illuminating. For me the conference was a welcome opportunity to learn, discuss and appreciate the complexity but great hope for people of faith in China and, more importantly, how we can build bridges with people of faith in our own country."
Fausta, former treasurer of CEC, speaking on behlaf of the current treasurer who was unable to be at the AGM, presnted the accounts for 2015. CEC had an income of £233,055 and expendite of £221,229, with a CBF of £11,826 , of which £8,412 was a liabiity.
Our audited accounts for 2015 will appear on the Charity Commission Website shortly.
Group discussion, including from left, Anne Forbes, Leeds, David Winton, Redwood Fryxell, Faustina Cofie, and Helen Murphy.
'Cultural Exchange with China' AGM lived up to its name. Particularly interesting were the analyses of the contemporay Church situation, the accounts of visits by people from UK and Ireland, and especially the contributions by Chinese Christians, mainly graduate students, currentlty livingin the UK. A real exchange!
Jim Simmons, (left) Chair of CEC Executive and Rachel Winton (3rd left) Vice Chair of Executive in discussion led by Kerry Jackson. Rachel had this to say: " It was very good to meet with others with a common purpose and especially invigorating to hear young Chinese voices. It was fascinating to compare palliative care in the UK and in China, and the subsequent workshop produced a stimulating discussion."
Regina Ng ( right) part time adminstrator to CEC with Kathleen Venting, one of our volunteers. Without our volunteers we could not funtion as well as we do. Other volunteers not present at the meeting are: Elise Peter, Marie Ryde, Ida Lobo, Sr Teresa Tan, Agnes Gallen; Leonilda Alphonso, Gabrielle Scott, Bridge Vama, Lucy, Patricia Aruofor, Frances Lo, Bibi.