Beijing’s embattled Shouwang Church has been rocked by a split in its leadership team of more than a dozen, marked by the departure of one pastor, one preacher and two deacons, according to the South China Morning Post.
Since early April, the Shouwang Church, Beijing’s largest house church, has been holding its services outdoors after the congregation was evicted from its previous location due to pressure by authorities. Police detained over 100 church members on their first service, but that hasn’t deterred the senior pastor Jin Tianming (now under house arrest) from calling on his members to continue meeting at the same place. Dozens were detained during the church’s Easter service, and there were also fears of a widening crackdown on other house churches in Beijing and across China.
In an open letter sent to the church, Pastor Jin described the departure of his colleagues as a “huge earthquake shaking the entire church” and exhorted his members to continue to stand firm.
While some church members remain under house arrest, others are either too fearful to attend upcoming Sunday services, or have decided to leave the church altogether. It will be interesting to see how many of them show up this weekend.