The 40th Anniversary Thanksgiving Service in Philadelphia, USA

Daniel Law
Director of Development
DipCS 2014

 

Being part of CGST’s 40th Anniversary Celebration, thanksgiving services were held in four cities.  They were arranged in Vancouver (Canada), Sydney (Australia) and Hong Kong respectively, and the last thanksgiving service was at the Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia, USA which held a special place in our heart.

Although Philadelphia, USA is about 13,000 km away from Hong Kong, half a century ago four Chinese divinity students of the Westminster Theological Seminary prayed together for the burden that the Lord had ignited in their hearts for China, and that started a movement for the launching of theological education in Asia.

In November, around 80 friends and supporters of CGST from North America and Hong Kong gathered together to praise God for His amazing grace and provision through hymns, prayers, sermon and sharing. The Chairman of the US Board Dr Ching Lau recalled how CGST started half a century ago through a vision shared by four divinity students. One of them, Rev Che-Bin Tan, also shared how the Lord guided them step by step to launch CGST. He admitted that they were just a group of idealistic youngsters at the time, yet God used them to establish a seminary for university graduates.

President Emeritus Wilson Chow delivered an address at the Thanksgiving Service.

Our President Emeritus Rev Dr Wilson Chow was the youngest of these four Chinese divinity students. He used Deuteronomy 8:11-20 to encourage the congregation not to forget the vision and mission that God has given CGST, and firmly believed that the establishment of CGST was a movement to bring about theological education to equip and train leaders of strong academic standards for Chinese churches generally and in particular in Mainland China. The past forty years that CGST has gone through was entirely God’s grace and provision. We should therefore not boast about individual achievement but should move forward unremittingly. The Israelites were reminded not to worship idols but only to God. Rev Dr Chow told the CGST community not to overly uplift our vision while embracing it. Otherwise, our vision may become our idol.

After the sermon, Dr Ching Lau led the congregation to light up the small lamps which CGST gifted to each of them. About 100 small lights were shining in the hall and symbolised that CGST’s mission would be upheld and passed on.

Towards the end, CGST President Rev Dr Stephen Lee shared his outlook of CGST’s future. He reiterated that CGST’s vision originated from a burden for China and that has remained unchanged. He also shared that some faculty members who have retired or soon retire have been considering settling down in China to devote the rest of their lives towards theological education in Mainland China. This gives a glimpse of the dedication of CGST to nurture workers for theological education in China. He hoped that supporters of CGST could continue to give their support in prayers, and that the Lord will lead the future path of CGST.

Fellowship after the Thanksgiving Service.

Rev Dr & Mrs Wilson Chow together with Rev Dr & Mrs Che-Bin Tan at Jonathan Chao Center in Westminster Theological Seminary.

President Stephen Lee shared CGST's latest news and development with the Canadian and US Boards.

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