Amity: Growing respect
Qui Zhonghui, Amity’s general secretary, recently announced that Nanjing University had asked to use an Amity program location as a training site for students. He attributed this to a growing respect for Amity within China.
But there is little time this day to celebrate. Church groups from Canada and Norway are waiting to discuss programs that need financial support. Some 90 percent of Amity’s budget comes from sources outside China—from groups as varied as Lions International and the ELCA.
To learn more, visit www.amiâ€¨tyfoundation.org.
Outside of China, the Amity Foundation has been best known for recruiting more than 2,000 volunteer college teachers and printing 35 million copies of the Bible in Chinese. That’s all since 1985, when it began serving as the educational and social service arm of China’s Protestant church.
Not so well-known are Amity’s social service projects, which help hundreds of thousands of people, including those affected by poverty, AIDS, polio and blindness.
Amity doesn’t want rural people living in poverty to be ignored in a country where glitzy new urban buildings can give a false impression of widespread wealth. The foundation helps care for the poor and brings attention to their plight as China develops economically.
Working with the rural poor “is a big challenge for us,” says Qui Zhonghui, Amity’s general secretary. “It’s tough work. Poverty isn’t caused by one element. There are many factors.”
But Amity doesn’t shrink at the enormity of the task. “God’s love for all is why we exist,” Zhonghui points out.
To help the poor, Amity uses a participatory approach. Trained field workers spend one or two days meeting with community members, assessing their needs and proposing solutions.
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© 2014 Augsburg Fortress, Publishers