Reflections on a Wandering Life.....
Saturday, October 17, 2009
Rode my bike down to the old street near Houhai park today and spent the afternoon in a little rooftop cafe. I met a guy from Germany who was originally from Vietnam, but actually originally from China. Actually, he was born in Vietnam, but his people come from China, and his wife is from Beijing. He told me that the new Haidian church was designed by a German architect. I told him I had heard that, and I asked him how he knew. He said that the architect was the same one who designed the Disanji Book Building, and that he had to design the church as part of the deal. That was news to me, but it is not surprising. When that part of Zhongguancun was developed, the city people didn't want an old run down church to contrast negatively with the surrounding buildings, so they decided to build a new church building. I am not sure who paid for what, but the result was a building that surely cost someone a significant amount of money. It seems to have come just in time, though, because with the permission granted by the Religious Affairs Bureau to start an English service, the demand for space has increased. That combined with the fact that the Chinese government severely restricts the establishment of new churches in any community, make for a situation where the building, although very nice, is not really a luxury.