Shanghai is home to the national office of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement (TSPM)–the official Protestant Church in China–and the China Christian Council (CCC), a non-governmental organization that focuses on such areas as the internal affairs of the churches, theological education and relations with Christians in other countries.
Franklin Graham met with leaders of both the TSPM and the CCC Monday, reconnecting with friends he has spoken to on past visits to China. Chinese representatives shared information about current church ministries in China, while Franklin shared about the ministries of the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association and Samaritan’s Purse.
Graham also brought greetings from his father. He related that Billy Graham, in typically humble fashion, had said, “I doubt if anyone in China would remember me, but please greet them for me anyway.” Elder Fu Xian-wei, chairperson of the TSPM, responded, “We will always remember [Billy Graham’s] support and concern for the church here in China.”
Later, at lunch, Elder Fu added, “In 1988, when Billy Graham was preaching here, I was part of the receiving team. Today I am very honored to receive his son here, and I believe that generation by generation our relationship and friendship will be enhanced and strengthened. I wish you a peaceful journey in China, and please give our regards to your father.”
Graham announced a gift of $100,000 for victims of the April 14 earthquake in Yushu County, located on the Tibetan plateau. He mentioned that before his mother met his father, she wanted to be a missionary to Tibet. “We will give this $100,000 to help the people of this region, and I will do this in memory of my mother,” Graham said.
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During the visit, Graham made a stop the former Holy Trinity Anglican Cathedral, built in 1869 but taken over by the government after the rise of the Communist Party. After being used as a government office building for many years, it was returned to the TSPM in 2004 and is now in the final stages of being restored as a church. The leaders invited him to return soon and preach in the newly restored cathedral.