Author: Hazel Southam, 22 October 2023
The Chinese Church is now the fastest-growing Church in the UK, according to a new report from Bible Society. It has seen a 28.8 per cent growth in the last two years.
The growth is happening largely in Cantonese congregations, boosted by people emigrating from Hong Kong to the UK since 2021.
Dr Yinxuan Huang, who carried out the survey, said, ‘This is an exciting time for the Chinese Church in Britain. It is seeing a time of incredible growth, which is also a missional opportunity as others from within the Chinese community are drawn to the Church.
‘It is also a time when local, English-speaking congregations can welcome people from Hong Kong to their services. There is a real opportunity for growth, but also for learning from each other.’
The new report finds that not all Chinese Christians attend a Chinese church. A quarter prefer to attend an English-speaking church. This means that the current influx of people from Hong Kong represents an opportunity for established churches to welcome Chinese believers.
One of the fastest-growing Chinese churches is the Manchester Alliance Centre, which has seen six-fold growth.
Its pastor, the Rev Wai Chor Chiu, said: ‘When the UK government welcomed Hong Kong people to move, it was quite exciting. The church expanded to six times the original size to more than 1,500. It’s a big change.’
Grace came to the UK in May 2021 with her husband and children, looking for ‘a more fair society’. The couple were Christians in Hong Kong.
The decision had been both ‘exciting’ but also ‘worrying’. And though ‘on the surface it felt as if everything is settled, in my heart, I still felt uncertain,’ she said.
Help was to be found in her church, which she said had ‘really welcomed new people’. Reading the Bible had also helped her, she said, especially Proverbs 4.23, ‘Guard your heart with all diligence, for out of it is the wellspring of life.’
Grace said, ‘I have a lot of emotions and feelings, but the way forward is to connect with God, so I must “guard my heart”, so that I can connect with him.’