An International, Multicultural Church Fellowship
Sensitivity and outreach to people with Asian backgrounds are the foundations of the St. Louis Chinese Christian Church, an international, multi-cultural church fellowship based at 832 N. Woods Mill Road, in Chesterfield.
More than seven languages are represented– such as Mandarin, Cantonese and even Hispanic languages – among worshipers who mainly come from China, Taiwan, Hong Kong, Malaysia and Indonesia.
English adult education classes and all children’s Sunday School classes are held from 9:30 to 10:50 a.m. on Sundays, with Chinese adult education classes from 11:10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Sundays.
Worship services in English and children’s services are on Sundays from 11:10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m., with a service in Mandarin Chinese at 9:30 a.m. on Sundays.
Friday fellowship and the Vision youth group meet at 7:30 p.m. on Fridays.
A goal of the church is to extend relationships to persons of varied backgrounds, educations and traditions, said Pastor Vincent Choi, who resides in the area and is in charge of the church’s Chinese ministries.
“Our church was founded in 1974,” Choi says. “It began with a small bible study group, with a handful of Chinese speaking students at Washington University getting together, and that small group gradually grew and people started thinking of having their own worship services in the Chinese language.”
After renting a number of facilities, the church bought the Chesterfield site in about 1983.
“What we are using now is actually the third phase of construction on that site,” Choi says. “We have about 150 Chinese-speaking adults in the congregation and more than 50 youth, with some of them second generation and American born.”
Choi was born in Hong Kong and his wife came from Taiwan. He originally came to this country in 1992 and met Josephine in Texas. Choi and his wife Josephine moved to St. Louis in 1998.
“What attracted me to this church was the multi-cultural aspect,” Choi says.
“When my wife and I moved here, we first went to a couple of other churches before we settled on this one, and were attracted because we are of the same ethnic group – Chinese immigrants – of so many of our congregation and because people were so friendly and welcoming.”
Choi became a pastor at the independent, Protestant church in 2007.
He said the church, among others, has a strong college campus ministry for those attending Washington University and Saint Louis University.
“We want to make people feel comfortable and give them further exposure to the message of Jesus,” Choi says. “When we celebrate Chinese new year or serve Chinese food, people feel more close to their original home. And we look for opportunities to reach out to people who have not heard about Christianity before.”
Choi doesn’t want people to “just come to worship and go home.”
“We have lots of programs so people can serve others in a lot of ways, such as through teaching classes or helping with a Sunday lunch and children’s ministries,” Choi says. “I enjoy preaching, teaching and building friendships here, helping with life issues. This really is a church family.”
Another member of the church family is Yvonne Foo; she has been involved with the church, including the youth group, for more than seven years.
“I was born and raised in Malaysia but I came to St. Louis 20 years ago – longer than I had been abroad,” Foo says. “When I first came here, I had some friends already members of the church, so I decided to check it out. I felt very welcome and connected to the group.”
While the church has two separate services for Chinese and English speakers, there are some joint services such as the Christmas services.
“At those services, you can sing “Oh Holy Night” or any hymns in whatever language you’re familiar with,” Foo says. “I’m pleased that we’re proactive in reaching out to international students.”
Pastor Mark Manning lives in the area and is in charge of the church’s English ministry.
“I’d always been interested and had compassion in my heart for Chinese people and in 1997 this opportunity was presented locally, for an English ministry pastor, here,” Manning says. “I applied, prayed about it, and found a good fit here.”
Manning appreciates being with people from different backgrounds, all working together. Knowledge of the church is mostly spread by word of mouth, he said.
He is involved with various church programs, including a very active one for middle and high school students.
The campus grew from a single house, which was added to in 1990 and again in 2000. Another home was added to the campus in 2008.
“Despite the different languages and cultures, we work to love one another and be together under one God in worshiping Jesus Christ,” Manning said.
For more information about the church, call 314.878.4574 or visit: SLCCC.org