Charity and social services not only help alleviate social problems like poverty and HIV and AIDS, they also help Chinese people to know about Christianity, the leader of the Amity Foundation, a Chinese Christian volunteer agency, has said.
"In China, the basic need to feed and shelter 30 million people has not been answered. There are 300 million people in rural areas threatened by unhygienic drinking water," Qiu Zhonghui, general secretary of the Amity Foundation, said on October 18 at a meeting of the Council of World Mission/Nethersole Fund in Hong Kong. "We believe that through sharing in Christ more and more people begin to know what Christians are, and know about Christianity."
With support from CWM/Nethersole Fund, the Amity Foundation has launched rural development projects and HIV and AIDS prevention awareness programs in mainland China.
Qiu said that, as of July 2007, there were more than 214,000 known cases of HIV and AIDS in China, and that total was expected to grow rapidly in the next few years if there was no proper intervention beforehand.
"We believe that the uneducated and the deprived should be empowered to participate in charity projects, and to help them to help themselves," Qiu said.
At the same occasion, the Rev. Deng Fucun, director of the social service department of the China Christian Council, said that providing social services, including assisting in AIDS prevention and providing basic health care services in rural areas, was the working priority of the council. He said that the Church was to there to serve its people by word and by deed, and thereby to promote a holistic gospel.
The Amity Foundation, which began in 1985, aims to promote education, social services, health and rural development in China. Bishop K.H. Ting, well known in international church circles, is the president of its board of directors. Ting served as China's Anglican bishop in the 1940s and '50s.