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"By my calculations China is destined to become the largest Christian country in the world very soon," said Fenggang Yang, a professor of sociology at Purdue University and author of Religion in China: Survival and Revival under Communist Rule. Not many people are prepared for this dramatic change." China's Protestant community, which had just one million members in 1949, has already overtaken those of countries more commonly associated with an evangelical boom.In 2010 there were more than 58 million Protestants in China compared to 40 million in Brazil and 36 million in South Africa, according to the Pew Research Centre's Forum on Religion and Public Life.The parish's revival reached a crescendo last year with the opening of its new 1,500ft mega-church, reputedly the biggest in mainland China."Our old church was small and hard to find," said Ms Shi.By 2030, China's total Christian population, including Catholics, would exceed 247 million, placing it above Mexico, Brazil and the United States as the largest Christian congregation in the world, he predicted. He thought he had accomplished this," Prof Yang said. They actually failed completely." Like many Chinese churches, the church in the town of Liushi, 200 miles south of Shanghai in Zhejiang province, has had a turbulent history.It was founded in 1886 after William Edward Soothill, a Yorkshire-born missionary and future Oxford University professor, began evangelising local communities.From Yunnan province in China's balmy southwest to Liaoning in its industrial northeast, congregations are booming and more Chinese are thought to attend Sunday services each week than do Christians across the whole of Europe.A recent study found that online searches for the words "Christian Congregation" and "Jesus" far outnumbered those for "The Communist Party" and "Xi Jinping", China's president.
If you would like to be considered for selection, please click the banner to the right.Register Free today and meet the Love you've been waiting for.Alternatively, if you are looking around to see what we offer, do check out the news from within our Social Channels below.The 5,000-capacity Liushi church, which boasts more than twice as many seats as Westminster Abbey and a 206ft crucifix that can be seen for miles around, opened last year with one theologian declaring it a "miracle that such a small town was able to build such a grand church"."It is a wonderful thing to be a follower of Jesus Christ.
But by the late 1950s, as the region was engulfed by Mao's violent anti-Christian campaigns, it was forced to close.