This week, two executives from the United Church of Christ will meet with President Jimmy Carter to show their appreciation for his work in bridging a way for church mission work in China. Carter helped reopen a path for global advocacy of Christianity and peace in China during his presidency from 1977-81. That eventually allowed Global Ministries — the shared ministry between the UCC and the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) — access to help modernize the globe's most populated country.
The Rev. James A. Moos, executive minister for the UCC's Wider Church Ministries, and the Rev. Xiaoling Zhu, executive for the East Asia and Pacific region, are going to the Carter Center in Atlanta, Ga., to meet President Carter and say, ‘Thank you' for allowing Global Ministries to carry its mission to the Far East.
"He is quite revered in China," Moos said, "and I'm excited to thank him for what he has done there for the church."
"He had a good relationship with China," Moos added. "When he was president he asked the Chinese government for three things; Open up the Christian churches, allow Bibles to be printed, and allow missionaries back into China. He got two of them when China agreed to open churches and print Bibles."
President and Mrs. Carter were in Nanjing, China, in December to dedicate a new wing at the Drum Tower Hospital and unveil the statue of Dr. William Macklin, a Disciples missionary from Canada who established schools and medical care facilities in the Nanjing area. The Drum Tower Hospital, where some UCC missionaries have worked teaching English to the staff, began as an opium addiction clinic in 1892.
In his remarks in December, Carter praised the Christian mission personnel who opened the hospital, which now has more than 3,000 medical staffers and beds, and is the leading hospital that teaches Western medicine in China.
"I'd like to personally thank him for his work of opening China to the Drum Tower," Moos said. "I was unable to attend the dedication in the winter because I was in the Middle East at the time, but I look forward to saying thank you to him in Georgia."
Moos and Zhu will also meet with staff from the Carter Center while in Atlanta to discuss any potential places to work together globally, and seek out new connections for advocacy work. The Carter Center website says that it focuses on monitoring local elections, increasing access to information, rural and urban community building, and civic education about rights, laws, and political participation."
Moos said, "For both us and the Carter Center, peacemaking and fair elections are a high priority in China."