St John's Church, Chengdu

St John's Church (traditional Chinese: 聖約翰堂; simplified Chinese: 圣约翰堂; pinyin: Shèngyuēhàn táng; Wade–Giles: Shêng4-yüeh1-han4 tʽang2), today known as Shangxiang Christian Church (Chinese: 上翔堂; pinyin: Shàngxiáng táng; Wade–Giles: Shang4-hsiang2 tʽang2), is a Protestant church situated on Shangxiang Street in the city of Chengdu, Sichuan Province. Founded in 1909, it was originally an Anglican church in the Diocese of Western China (also, Diocese of Szechwan).

St John's Church, Chengdu
Shangxiang Christian Church
The St. John's Christian Church in Chengdu 01 2014-09.JPG
Location20 Shangxiang Street, Qingyang District, Chengdu, Sichuan
DenominationSichuanese Protestant
Previous denominationAnglican
ChurchmanshipLow church evangelical
Founder(s)William Cassels
DedicationJohn the Evangelist
Past bishop(s)William Cassels
Functional statusActive
ProvinceChina (formerly)
DioceseSzechwan (formerly)


Interior of St John's

At the close of 1891, the Rev J H Horsburgh of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) of Church of England, along with other missionaries, entered Sichuan as the first band of CMS missionaries to take up work in that province.[1]

The Diocese of West China was established in 1895, and William Cassels, one of the Cambridge Seven, became the first diocesan bishop, ordained by the Archbishop of Canterbury (Edward White Benson).[2] In 1909, Cassels purchased a land near Xishuncheng Street, in Chengdu, for building the Fu Jen School. After the school's closure in 1926, a chapel was added to the building, and a second storey added in 1939. The building had completed its conversion from a school into a church, and renamed St John's.[3]

The church was bombed in World War II. In 1946, the plan of building a large chapel in front of the church was unsuccessful, but it was restored and communal worship services resumed shortly after.[4] In 1954, the communist government established the 'self-governance, self-support, and self-propagation' Three-Self Patriotic Church, Christian Churches in China were forced to sever their ties with respective overseas Churches, which has thus led to the merging of St John's into Three-Self Church.

In 1992, the church was demolished, in order to support a street extension project. Reconstruction was completed in 2011. The new church is built in the fusion of neo-Gothic and Minimalist architectural styles, and is the largest Protestant church building in Chengdu.[4]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Norris, Frank L. (1908). "Chapter X. The Church in Western China". Handbooks of English Church Expansion: China. Oxford: A. R. Mowbray.
  2. ^ Gray, G. F. S. (1996). Anglicans in China: A History of the Zhonghua Shenggong Hui (Chung Hua Sheng Kung Huei). New Haven, CT: Episcopal China Mission History Project. p. 14. CiteSeerX
  3. ^ John (10 April 2019). "剑桥七杰之一:四川圣约翰堂首任主教盖士利传" [One of the Cambridge Seven: An Introduction to William Cassels, the First Bishop of St John's Cathedral in Sichuan]. (in Simplified Chinese). Retrieved 9 May 2021.
  4. ^ a b "成都目前最大基督教堂上翔堂 由"剑桥七杰"之一盖士利所建" [Shangxiang Church, the Largest Christian Church in Chengdu, Built by Cassels, one of the 'Cambridge Seven']. (in Simplified Chinese). 9 August 2015. Archived from the original on 9 May 2021. Retrieved 9 May 2021.