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FCC AGM recap

 

Nearly 50 members and guests attend the FCC AGM on a very rainy 14 November 2015 in Soho, London.  Membership voted and welcomed onto the FCC Committee Canon Simon Brown as interim Chair for one-year, Lawrence Braschi to serve a three-year term and re-elected Geof Taylor as honorary treasurer for another term.  Rosie Carter was co-opted on to the Committee for involvement with the Summer English Programme.

 

The keynote address was given by James Miles, China editor for The Economist, who summarized trends in China over the last thirty years.  Some of his observations included that while the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) still rules, it is rarely visible in the day-to-day life of its citizens, unlike thirty years ago. The emergence of a civil society in China has been inspired, in part, by the altruism of religions, to serve the poor, while its growth has been propelled by social media. Miles also reflected that the explosive growth of industries and urban areas is having a weakening effect on the Party’s control, for example as employees bypass state trade unions in favour of airing grievances on social media.  While the new middle class traditionally has been supportive of the CCP (it was one mechanism that has created new wealth) wide-spread corruption has undermined confidence in the Party’s function. One thing that seems not to have changed is how internal considerations continue to drive government decisions, not the influence of, for example, overseas human rights groups.

 

FCC is preparing for the arrival of Ms Du Nana, a teacher at the Shandong Theological Seminary, for a three month exposure visit to theological education and church life in UK.  Ms. Du will spend time at Rippon College, Cuddleston before moving on to experience ministry in an urban environment in Stoke-on-Trent.  FCC will be involved in hosting her for a part of her time.

 

A full day also saw contributions from Rosie Carter, Angela Evans and Jane Coates on their experiences of facilitating English with Amity’s Summer English Programme, covering highlights and low-points alike. 

 

Rounding off our AGM were contributions from FCC members Archdeacon Godfrey and Dot Stone on their recent theological lecture and teaching tour in Protestant seminaries, and from Fr Eamonn O’Brien scc, of Cultural Exchange with China, who gave an inspiring briefing on the Catholic Church in China.   He reported on the opening of one of the first contemplative monasteries since 1949, in the hills of Shanxi province.  A new academic journal of Catholic studies has been launched, and new liturgical thinking is underway in the Catholic Church with lay missionaries travelling to remote areas.  There have been 2,000 recent baptisms in the Beijing Diocese alone, along with a general expansion in the training of spiritual directors. 

 

 
 

 

The 2015 Summer English Programme (SEP) teams were prolific writers, reporting back throughout their summer experiences.

 

FCC sent two 4-week teams:  Dave Keir, Rosie Carter and Judith Callahan who were joined by Gina Chang in Harqin Banner, Inner Mongolia; and Angela Evans and Trevor Dickety, joined by David Prada in Salaqi, Tumd Right Banner, Inner Mongolia.   In Huining, Gansu, Jane Coates led a two-week team combining the SEP English learning model with a new teacher development programme called Peer to Peer.  She was joined by veteran SEPers Kate Russell and Lawrence Nip.

 

Jane reports:

The primary and middle school teachers loved the challenge of acting out stories.  They made their own costumes and props.  All classes did Pronunciation Clinic and practiced difficult sounds with tongue twisters, jazz chants and famous proverbs.  Lawrence’s first aid course, treasure hunt and competent leading the wedding service were each a great hit.  Kate’s limericks, writing dialogues for Shaun the Sheep, making posters, Cluedo were highlights. 

 

Rosie emailed:

This week has been the most eventful of my year! Did a series of morning lessons encompassing social media, speed dating, nights out with friends; in the afternoons, surreal art and film and Judith did fashion design and theatre.  Friday evening we went dancing in the square.  A 12 year old girl befriended me and followed me everywhere and practiced her English.  Sunday we got roped into a mad game of football with a shuttlecock.  (Later in the week the group went dancing in the square again and Rosie got paired with the dance instructor.) I followed his lead getting flung around the entire square.  Spectators started filming.  So there you have it, I found myself doing what resembled a ‘Strictly Come Dancing’ performance in Inner Mongolia to Auld Lang Sine! 

Now recruiting for SEP 2016

The Summer English Programme dates for 2016 have now been set, 4 July – 3 August.   The SEP is a short term language programme of the Amity Foundation for volunteers ages 18-70.  FCC regularly sends at least one team each year and will hold an initial inquiry meeting on 5 March, 2016, at St. Mary the Boltons Church, London, 11am – 4pm.  Learn more about this amazing opportunity here, or visit our Contact Page and select China Opportunities to send an enquiry email.

 

 
Two FCC teams participated in the 2014 Summer English Programme.  One team went to Manzhouli in Inner Mongolia and the other was based in Suining, Sichuan province - two very different locations!   For details of SEP and further information, see the China Opportunities page.
In July 2014, FCC welcomed Cherry Chen Qirui, a young staff member from Huadong seminary in Shanghai, where she teaches History of Christian Thought.  Cherry was in UK on a private visit and enjoyed being introduced to FCC members and doing some sightseeing in London!
 

From January - March 2014, FCC welcomed two staff members from Wuhan seminary, Pastor Ge Baojuan and Jenny Zhao Qiufen, who spent study periods of different lengths here in UK, to assist with the completion of their MAs.   They were based at Wycliffe Hall in Oxford.   Jenny spent her last week in Edinburgh and London. We are pleased to report that they both successfully gained their MAs from the Stockholm School of Theology and have now returned to their duties at Zhongnan seminary.