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February 2011

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Beijing Shouwang Church

Beijing Shouwang Church is the first so-called underground church we visited. As we said before, it is difficult to know where to find these underground churches. A search online led us to Shouwang Church because it has been the focus of several news reports lately.

Claimed as the largest underground church in Beijing, Shouwang Church was established at the Beijing home of a newly-wed intellectual couple in 1993. As the gathering grew larger, a place of worship became a primary challenge for the church. It rented several spaces including an underground basement over the years to hold its weekly services. But in 2009, government intervention (or rather, embarrassment) led to the early cancellation of Shouwang’s rental contract with an office building. Thus, the congregation became homeless. In November 2009, the congregation had to hold Sunday services outside a park in Western Beijing, twice.

See video below:

News reports of these services put the Chinese government in an embarrassing position. It backed down and offered space in a government building to Shouwang. We are not sure if the place we saw is this government-sponsored venue, but it is a government building without a question.

The entrance is hard to find, but look for the “story club” sign.

Once you go inside, it is confusing as well as there is no signs directing you to the “church.” We walked back and forth several times and finally gathered enough courage to pass this daunting statue to enter the building to the left.

The hall of the CCTV building.

The place is on the first floor, next to the restaurant/bar below.

The restaurant/bar has a history theme with old pictures like this one:

This one:

Or of a more recent and recognizable sort:

The services is conducted in the inner section of this restaurant. There are about 300 people and it seems all seats are taken. The format and organization of the service are similar to the other official churches we visited before. It felt just like any other church if you ignore the restaurant setting of the place. Then of course, we weren’t there when the congregation prayed in the snow or were forced to leave their rented home.

As no cameras are allowed, we didn’t take any pictures. But we managed to film a couple of clips of the services.

Beijing Shouwang Church is in the process of being recognized and sanctioned by the government. If that happens, it will provide a solution and future to China’s massive underground church population. But it will be a very difficult task as the gap between the underground churches and the government is enormous.

18 comments to Beijing Shouwang Church

  • john tollerton

    i was looking on website and saw the news about your open air service and your detention.i am a born again christian and i live in northern ireland. in our church we pray for our brothers and sisters in other lands who have not this wonderful freedom to gather together both indoors and outdoors to praise GOD. i totally believe that GOD will bless you and keep you as you serve him and proclaim the gospel of our LORD JESUS CHRIST. you are in my prayers. your brother in the LORD john

  • Ian Carlisle

    A group of christians in Sydney Australia will be praying for you. From Colossians 1 9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you. We continually ask God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all the wisdom and understanding that the Spirit gives, 10 so that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God, 11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, 12 and giving joyful thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of his holy people in the kingdom of light. 13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves.
    May God be your rescue.

  • Yanhua li

    Dear Lord Jesus: we know you love us. you love everyone who come to you throne.Thank you so much to put Your Peace and Love in our hearts.Thank you John and Ian. I am in shouwang church. a sister was detained for 48 hours since Sunday. we have many brothers and sisters came to the police station to pray for her, stay outside all day and all night to show we are always together, together with God.she was released today.Thanks God, she is very peaceful.please continue remember us in your prayer. we do not have any intention to to fight with government or the party. we just want to worship the God. Who shall separater us from the love of Christ?

  • Visitor

    I know the church has gone public, but you can do serious damage to a church member with this footage. Please take this off of the internet. Even side views of faces can still be dangerous.

  • admin

    Dear visitor,
    Thanks for your comment and your concern. We believe these videos will not do “damage” to any of Shouwang’s church members. The Chinese government has much better surveillance on them. Please refer to the next post about the latest on Shouwang church.

  • Victor

    As soon as I heard about the persecution , I felt sad about it and began to pray. GOD IS THE ALL MIGHTY.

  • Mase & db

    May God Bless the Shouwang church and ALL others who seek the Lord and His teaching through Christianity. You are in our prayers after reading about the continued restrictions placed upon peaceful worshipers.

  • Beth Newman

    Dear fellow Christians,
    I teach at the Baptist Theological Seminary in Richmond, USA. Please know that the students and I are keeping you in our prayers.
    May God be with you, sustain you and bless you,

  • Babatope Babalob

    We just created a Chinese Christian blog to reach the country with Bible based sermons and prayers

  • Mr.U.Yesu rathnam, Pastor.

    Respected BICF; and Christian Pastor or people in Chines assembly Christian Greetings to you from India. I am
    bro. and Evangelist and pastor Mr.U. Yesu rathnam, is writing to you. I came to know about you and the assembly by reading in Evangelical news from U.K; so I am interested to know more about you and your services. So send me your contact details and news letters by postal mail also, I need your help and support here for proclaiming the gospel and service for churches here in India. And I doing service by the work of New Life youth Association and Salvation of Jesus Gopspel Ministries; since two years. And thanking you sir.

    Yours Faithfully and Sicerely;in Jesus;
    Pastor, U. Yesu rathnam,Pue,
    arun lankavaripta, Narsapur;.
    west godavari district;534275
    A.P.South India.

  • A.ramarao

    My Dear Beloved in Christ Jesus,
    Grace and peace to you from our heavenly father , soon coming saviour Jesus Christ.
    My Dear Brother: I feel very happy to introduce to you as Arumbaka RamaRao, an evangelist serving the Lord for the last 18 years evangelizing in Penumarru and its rural villags ministering in 2 churches with 8 co-pastors who are young, anointed and dedicated to the service of God. We reach the rural unreached villages, campaign for 2 days in each and every village, knowck door to door, distribute tracts, pamphlets and Bible material, pray for the sick and needy conduct street preaching proclaiming gospel as Jesus said at Mark 13:10, starting churches according to Matt 16:18 and winning souls according to Romans 10:9 and Matt 3:11.
    I am in much prayer like to state that I hailed from a poor respectable Christian family, dedicated to the service of God as Full Time Worker. For the abundance of our service I have started a ministry in the name and style of LIVING GOD MINISTRIES, with the government and working as per its rules and regulations.
    Part of our service we have taken in adoption 20 orphan children as Jesus said Matt 18:4-6, matt 19:14 and and mark 10:14-16 providing accommodation, food, clothing, education etc.,
    As ours is a small Ministry and the resources are very nominal, and as there is a lot of work yet to do, we were not in a position to provide the needy to our orphan children. At this time I invite your kind attention to the scripture referred to from Matt 13:37. You are well aware India is a vast Country with more than 110 Crores of population and there is still a lot of work yet to be done in our area.
    Ours is an Independent Ministry striving for Him with utmost faith only without any help and support from within and abroad.
    We therefore much interested to join in your Fellowship to serve for Him and we are confident that we will be in position to win many a perishing souls to add to His kingdom with our joint efforts.
    The Lord is Great as He is doing wonders, sign, healings and miracle salvations for His soon coming opening the Gospal doors wide. I therefore invite you my Dear Brother to kindly pray for visiting India to Minister with us as Apostle paul visited to Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, Thessalonians to strengthen the Churches. Lord willing and if you are interested, I am prepared to send on to you the photo pictures showing the activities of our Ministry by scan by attachment for kind parayer.
    We were all praying God for your, for your family, for the abundance of your Ministry and for your untiring services for Him and request you to continue to pray for us, for our Ministry, for the orphan children to get the needy and for our Invitation to you to visit India to Minister with us soon.
    With much love in Christ Jesus.Email [email protected]
    I look to receive your Mail soon.
    Yours Brother by grace alone.
    My Postel Address
    Brother.Rama Rao.A
    Penumarru , Vemuru Mandal.
    Guntur District
    Andhra Pradesh
    South India

  • Ian

    Hello Yanhua Li
    A group of christians are still praying for Shouwang… Is there a news update ?
    Bless you for your faith against opposition. Same thing happened in the new Testament and did the church really grow then ! May God be the Rock of your salvation.

  • Kisakye Hosea Samuel

    Greetings from Voluntary Action for Child Care and the Disabled-Africa Mission.

    We work with Vulnerable and disadvantaged communities in Uganda-East Africa.

    We would like to know the guidelines on how to partner with your Organization for the Establishment of a permanent Church Structure in our local area.

    We will be grateful if you guide us.

    Visit: for reference.

  • jim mullen

    becareful, these people is close to cult.
    their leader is claiming they have the message or direction from God which is heretical.
    that’s also how they forced members to join this activity.

    Bible teaching is they should submit to authority and they are not interested in such teaching.

    Just be careful, everyone.

  • pastor spurgeon

    Greetings to you in Jesus Name,
    I used to contact Pastor’s Conference in Chennai.
    I would like to invite you as a guest speaker to India
    I kindly request you inform me about your visit in India
    May God Bless You Richly
    Yours in Christ,
    pastor.Spurgeon Samuel. M.A.,B.Ed.,B.Th.,M.Div

  • Apostle-Seer Prophetess Carolyn H. Engledos

    We are branching into Asia by faith and would love to support Christian House Ministries in South and Northeast Asia including China.

    Apostle-Seer Prophetess Carolyn H. Engledos
    just now
    Your comment is awaiting moderation.
    We need a Pastor or Ministers that we will sponsor, in their spare time, to plant our ministry of Christian Evangelism and Global Outreach Projects that support Churches and the poor in the communities throughout Cambodia, Vietnam, Korea, Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal and throughout east and southeast Asia.
    Apostle-(Seer) Prophetess Dr. Carolyn H. Engledow
    Founder, Chief of Staffs,
    The Early Church House Ministry,
    The Early Church House Ministries International,
    The Early Church House Ministries International Ministries and Churches Affiliation
    [email protected]
    [email protected]


    Dear servants of the most high God, Praise God! To God be the Glory! Great things He Hath Done!Thank you for your email Servant of God we humbly request you to accept our church to be named after your ministry is name and we also request our church to be your church branch here in Kenya , all for the Glory of God. Do you have any ministry in Kenya?sorry for the delay to respond to your email,due to yesterday we had meeting with church board members to discuss partnering with your ministry.we discussed the following:My desire to partner with you is to be part of your ministry here in Kenya and give us a cover. Servant of God we also request for your prayers to our church which faces some challenges.The role you can play as ministry here in Kenya is. 1. We want our church to be registered with the government of Kenya as the law required, and we have not done this due to lack of funds. 2. Pray for us we get church plot and also we build at least a good house of God. 3. Pray for our church to get church instruments i.e keyboard, speakers, microphone and other public instruments. 4. Pray for the orphans our church is caring who have problems in getting food, cloths and to be educated as well. 5.pray for more teaching materials and more bibles to give the new converts. Servant of God we pray God to lead you and partner with us and we also pray for you ways to be open and one time you visit us fellowship with us and witness what we are doing for our Almighty Father in Heaven here in Kenya as we read in the book of ACTS 1-8-9 and MATTHEW 28-18-20.I WILL ATTACH PICTURES OF OUR SERVICE AND FOR ORPHANS FOR YOU SEE AND SHARE WITH OUR BROTHERS AND SISTERS IN CHRIST THERE Thank you and God bless you all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, looking forward to hear from you any time. Your Fellow minister of God, pastor Thomas OMWOYO

  • Dear brethren in Christ,
    our hearts is spiritually touched with your encouragement reading from your website kindly please share more with us and help us with your teaching materials for they will help us in our fellowship here here in Nairobi Kenya and win more souls to Christ Jesus we pray and request you kindly if you have Bibles to send to us that Lord will lead you to come and share the word of God with us we hope that God bless us to share more in his kingdom and pray for the 15 orphans who worship with us happy to read from you in Jesus name.

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