Thursday 9 October 2014

Lessons from China and the Social Gospel: The Canada China Programme's Fort Qu'Appelle Conference, 1979

Critics would at times assail the Canada China Programme as too close to the official government-approved Protestant church, the China Christian Council. CCP staff and board members, for their part, located their work in the Canadian social gospel tradition: a link they tried to make explicit with a conference on the social gospel on the Canadian prairies and the challenge of China for Canadian Christians held in 1979 in Fort Qu'Appelle, Saskatchewan. The 80-person gathering, funded by the Canadian International Development Agency and church donors, portrayed “a church challenged by the Chinese revolution and the protests in Canadian society” and struck a note of repentance in focusing on areas where the church, organizers thought, had been a barrier to change: the social gospel on the Canadian prairies and the quest for social justice in China, held back too often by missionary strictures. This post reproduces Elizabeth Smillie, “Lessons from China and the Social Gospel,” Catholic New Times, 1 July 1979.