Distinguished Service Award: Wu Wei

By Lauren Jefferson | May 30th, 2019

Wu Wei MDiv ’06 remembers his time at Eastern Mennonite Seminary with great fondness for the kind professors, patient Intensive English Program instructors, and helpful writing tutors.

“Maybe, though, I just liked being in the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of Harrisonburg most,” said Wu, who comes from Beijing, a city of approximately 20 million people.

Learning more about Anabaptism theology and peace witness made an impression as well, he said. “What I learned at seminary gave me a deep feeling and understanding of what I really believed. Our church in China is small. We are a minority and have many struggles. We have much to learn from Anabaptist history, even as many people here do not know who the Anabaptists are.”

In fall 2018, Wu became president of the China Christian Council (CCC), an umbrella organization based in Shanghai that oversees more than 60,000 churches and nearly 25 million believers.

For his steadfast work on behalf of the Christian church in China, Wu is EMU’s 2019 Distinguished Service Award recipient.

“I feel very honored by this award and send thanks for selecting me, but I don’t feel I have done very much to deserve this,” he wrote in an email. “I really just want to be a simple pastor of a church, which is what I enjoy the most. But I’ve been asked to serve as a leader in the China church. I hope I can use my experience as a pastor, the training I received at EMS and the help of good friends to serve the China church well.”

The CCC provides theological training and resources for churches and oversees pastoral development. As the voice of the registered Chinese churches to church bodies overseas and a member of the World Council of Churches, the CCC connects to provincial and municipal church councils across China and hosts numerous delegations from churches all over the world.

Wu studied at EMU for four years with the support of the seminary and Mennonite Partners in China. He and his wife, Wu Jinzhen, then spent five years pastoring a small Chinese-language congregation in Louisville, Kentucky.

Back in China in 2011, Wu asked to return to the pastorate, but church leaders and the Beijing government asked him to serve in an administrative capacity, overseeing churches and pastors in the city.

His new role as CCC president will allow Wu to promote the mission of the Christian Church, he said, and “to strengthen Christian witness to society by uniting all Christians so that others can know Christ.”