Five Pastors from Beijing, China to Complete Intensive Study this Semester at Wesley Theological Seminary News and Events Lyndon Orinion Feb 07 2014 First-ever training of a group of pastors from China in the United States began February 4. Washington, D.C. – On February 4, five of the leading Christian pastors in Beijing, China arrived at Wesley Theological Seminary to complete a semester of intensive study. “This is important for both Wesley Theological Seminary and for the Christian church in China,” says the Rev. Dr. Kyunglim Shin Lee, Wesley’s vice president of international relations. “This semester provides rigorous theological preparation for the visiting students, while offering the opportunity for Wesley’s students and faculty to learn about Christianity in China. We have much to learn from these visiting students.” The Beijing Christian Council, which is the official sanctioning body of Protestant churches in Beijing, selected these students to study in the United States. “It is an unusual decision for the BCC to send five top pastors to us for such a long time because there is such a significant lack of pastors throughout China,” says Wesley President David McAllister-Wilson. “The absence of these pastors will be felt greatly in their home churches.” Estimates of Christians in China range from the official government figure of 14 million to 130 million as reported by Christian charities working in the country. China’s population in 2012 was more than 1.35 billion people. Christianity is growing faster in China than in any other region of the world. With this expedited growth, the church has struggled to train and provide leaders. “We at Wesley are very grateful for the trust the Chinese government and the Beijing Christian Council have placed in us,” says Shin Lee. “We anticipate the education these pastors receive this semester will have a tremendous influence on their future ministries. Also, we hope this exchange will build ties at the non-governmental level between the U.S. and the People’s Republic of China.” Wesley Theological Seminary cultivated a strong relationship with the China Christian Council, the official sanctioning body of Protestant churches in China, throughout the past 10 years. Wesley faculty and students have visited China several times. Wesley’s partner pastors in the Korean Methodist Church in South Korea also played an important role in facilitating the relationship with the CCC. Previous collaborations between Wesley and the CCC include the premier of the Chinese Bible Exhibition in September 2011 in Washington, D.C. This was a museum-quality exhibit on the history of Christianity in China, which then went on a four-city tour. At the launch of this exhibit, Wesley brought together leaders of six major Christian denominations. The opening was attended by various U.S. government officials and the Chinese ambassador to the U.S. Since then, Wesley has prepared two faculty members from Chinese seminaries for advanced leadership roles.