This Sleek Shenzhen Church Has 120 Years of History

By Bailey Hu, May 4, 2018

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Behind the Concrete is a monthly snippet where we introduce a piece of architecture that has a unique design and/or interesting story.

History nerds, gather round. We have a story to tell.

It starts in 1846, when evangelists came to Shenzhen (called Bao’an county at the time). They were European, sent by the Protestant Basel Mission as well as Germany’s Rhenish Missionary Society. In 1898, the Rhenish group happened to found an outpost in current-day Luohu District.

Over the next five decades, through the rise and fall of two governments, invasion and civil war, the church survived. In 1949, the same year the People’s Republic of China was born, it even found a new home at 22 Heping Lu [‘Peace Road’], Bao’an county.

The church was forced to stop services during the 10-year Cultural Revolution, and its pastors were sent home to farm while other work units took over the building.

READ MORE: Lao Shanghairen: Qian Yaqin on Cultural Revolution Ills

It took a historic 1978 government meeting – which also kick-started the ‘reform and opening up’ that would soon transform Bao’an county – to restore the freedom to worship and begin to revive the congregation. In 1983, the Heping Lu location was reclaimed. By the following year, it had become the first church in Shenzhen to resume services post-Cultural Revolution.

The years since then have been kind to the church. Despite being forced to move as a city sprang up around them, the congregation slowly grew into the thousands and was granted a large parcel of land from the government.

18_05-PRD-Behind-the-Concrete-Shenzhen-Christian-Church-top.JPG

The Shenzhen Christian Church, opened in the Meilin area in 2002, was constructed to (vaguely) resemble Noah’s Ark. The angular white building towers over an ample garden area, and houses two large halls as well as offices, meeting rooms and dormitories.

Although the Heping Lu church is no more, a namesake Christian Peace Church lives on nearby, while a third building was bought and converted into Christian Luohu Church in 2011.

See listing for Christian Shenzhen Church.

For more Behind the Concrete(s), click here.

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