Axe Falls on China Program: Member Churches Hope to Maintain Ties Formed with Chinese Christians

Article excerpt

The Canada-China Program, an ecumenical coalition supported by Anglican, United, Presbyterian and Roman Catholic Churches for the past two decades, has been disbanded.

Declining support from the churches forced the board to make the decision, said Rev. Nan Hudson, board chair and area secretary for East Asia for the United Church. The two coalition staff members had already taken a 10 per cent cut for 1996 to keep the coalition alive.

"Church support has been reduced in recent years. We'd cut the program budget to almost zero," said Ms. Hudson.

"We could have carried on for another three to six months but we wanted to act responsibly and provide severance for staff."

The decision is a reflection of changing times for ecumenical coalitions, which are seeing their support reduced as supporting churches themselves face cutbacks.

The program had been re-evaluating its mandate. Ms. Hudson said Canadian churches decided they want to maintain ties with the churches in China ecumenically, but they no longer have the resources for the coalition. …