Global Ministries Remembers Protestant Leader of China
Atlanta, Georgia, August 27, 2018 – The United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries has received with deep sorrow news of the death of the leader of the registered Protestant churches in China. Elder Fu Xianwe died on Aug. 20 at age 74. He was chairperson of the National Committee of the Three-Self Movement, the official Protestant organization.
“Elder Fu worked tirelessly for cooperation both internationally and ecumenically,” said Thomas Kemper, chief executive of Global Ministries, in a letter to the head of the China Christian Council. “He led the Three-Self Movement through a period of astronomical growth.”
Global Ministries will be represented at services for Elder Fu the first week of September by Ruhong Liu, program associate with Global Ministries’ Asia Pacific Regional Office. The funeral will be held on Sept. 5 at a Shanghai funeral parlor, and a memorial service is set for the following day at Mu’en Church, the former Moore Memorial Methodist Church, in Shanghai.
Elder Fu was also chair of the board of Nanjing Union Theological Seminary, a primary institution for training Chinese Protestant pastors. He was a familiar figure to the leaders of American and European churches with historic and current links to the Protestant community in China. He both visited Global Ministries headquarters in the U.S. and welcomed a delegation of United Methodist bishops and mission executives in China in 2013.
With the revolution in China following World War II, Christianity in China was formed into two communities, Catholic and Protestant. Denominationalism is strongly discouraged. Mutuality became a key concept, and Protestantism has flourished in recent years.
Elder Fu is credited with strong leadership in a time of rapid Christian growth, as Kemper recognized in his letter of condolence. “With China expected to become the world’s largest Christian population,” Kemper wrote, “his leadership through times of change will shape the future of Christian cooperation for generations.”