Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
It is with great sadness that we received the news of the demise of Bishop K.H Ting, the great church leader in modern China.
Bishop Ting worked through the last, often difficult, 60 years of changes in China. As a true follower of Christ, he served the church and the ecumenical movement in various capacities. He was on the staff of the World Student Christian Federation in Geneva in the early 1950s and closely associated with the pioneering ecumenical leaders who were in the leadership of the WCC in its formative years. His contributions to the Chinese church for more than six decades in various capacities as the Principal of Nanjing Union Seminary for five decades, president of the Three Self Patriotic Movement, and the president of the China Christian Council will be greatly remembered.
Bishop Ting's contribution to the re-emergence of church life and the opening of the church to the outside world in the 1980s and 1990s is widely recognized. He contributed immensely to raise the profile of the Chinese church to the horizon through the creation of the China Christian Council through which the Church in China re-entered into WCC fellowship after four decades of absence in the global ecumenical movement.
He was a great visionary who demonstrated his commitment to address reconciliation between church and society, Christian and non-Christian, China and re-establishing Chinese Church’s links with the worldwide churches. He made a unique contribution to create an indigenous Christian theology in China, sensitive to the Chinese context, through his efforts of “reconstruction of Chinese theology”.
As vice Chairman of the Chinese Political Consultative Committee of the People’s Republic of China, Bishop Ting played an important role in ensuring that Chinese Christianity continues to survive and grow even under the communist regime. His pragmatic approach of developing a working relationship between the Chinese churches and the communist regime in China was later proved as inevitable when Christianity in China had to strive hard to keep a balance between political and religious demands, to develop a sense of dignity during the difficult time of the communist rule. He guided the church in China and found a space for the church in its witness and mission. The founding of the Amity Foundation and the Amity Bible printing company are examples of his farsightedness in demonstrating the witness and mission of the church in modern China.
I take this opportunity to pay our respectful homage to Bishop K.H.Ting and thank God for the life and witness of this servant of God, a true follower of Christ, who believed and propagated a motto that “Love Never Ends”.
While joining the numerous friends and associates of Bishop K.H Ting and the China Christian Council around the world, on behalf of the WCC, I express our sincere condolences to the China Christian Council and the members of his bereaved family.
Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary