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Congregation of the Good Shepherd_ Beijing

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					                                     A Church Profile:
                     Congregation of the Good Shepherd, Beijing, China
                                           http://www.cogs-bj.org
                                        COGS.PastorSearch@gmail.com

Mission Statement: The Congregation of the Good Shepherd (COGS) is an active spiritual community for
expatriate Christians in Beijing, China. We affirm a common, Biblical faith as set out in the historic creeds
and confessions of the Church and within that unity celebrate a rich tapestry of Christian traditions and
cultural diversity. We aim to live in God's grace through Christ-centered liturgical worship, compassionate
service to the broader community, study of the Scriptures, congregational care and fellowship with one
another. We pray that we shall be a “house of prayer for all peoples” (Isaiah 56.7), and that we may be one
in Christ Jesus and servants of all.

Vision Statement: The vision of COGS is to become a vibrant, diverse, responsive and participatory
congregation which provides a broad spectrum of opportunities to support, develop, challenge and strengthen
our Christian faith and community to further Christ’s kingdom here on earth.

                                                    Who We Are

COGS was established in 1993 and is a self-organized and self-funded organization with an active
lay leadership. It is not affiliated to any denomination in another country. In accordance with Chinese
law, only foreign passport holders are allowed to attend our services. We presently have a fluctuating
membership of 150-200 people. Membership in our congregation is by self-identification: Our regular
participants are our members. Approximately 65% of our members are North American, 15% Europe and
UK, and the remaining 20% from a wide variety of countries including South Africa, Fiji, Australia, New
Zealand, and Brazil. Diversity of nationality is a consistent value of COGS.

Membership is weighted toward couples and families but with a significant number of singles. Most are
professionals, with a majority of business people and diplomats and a significant minority of educators. As
would be expected, there are essentially no unemployed retirees or shut-ins. There is a large population of
about 40 school-aged children, the majority in middle school or younger.

In addition to the Chinese Church in Beijing, the expatriate Christian community has three main groupings.
There is a Roman Catholic community, an evangelical-charismatic collection of congregations and COGS.
COGS embraces a wide diversity of denominational backgrounds. Twelve distinct church denominations
were named in our most recent congregational survey, with the largest representation by the Anglican and
Episcopal churches. This diversity in theology, liturgy, and traditions of church governance creates one of
our greatest challenges: to continuously find points of consensus on which to stand united. It also affords an
extraordinary opportunity to enlarge our perspectives and enrich our experience of Christian faith and
worship by sharing the best of our formative traditions.

COGS is also a highly transient community. Our average term of stay in Beijing is only 2.25 years. Since
this average includes the stays of a significant number of long-term residents, our congregation clearly faces
a high degree of mobility and turnover. In an average 12 month period approximately one third of the
congregation turns over with most departures in May-July, followed by an influx of new members each fall.
COGS has a history of inviting new participants to jump in and find a place of service or leadership in our
program.

                                                What We Value
As our mission statement sets out, Christ-centered liturgical worship is at the core of our values. Currently
we meet on Sundays at 10:00 a.m. at the Capital Athletic Club (northeast Beijing) for worship. Our worship
is organized around the church calendar seasons (e.g. Advent, Lent, & Easter) and we utilize the Revised
Common Lectionary. Our primary hymnal is the New Methodist Hymnal and in October 2009 we began
using Sing! A New Creation as a supplemental hymnal. We value preaching that is based in the appointed
Church Profile                                                                                     Page 1 of 3
Congregation of the Good Shepherd, Beijing, China
December 2009
scripture, utilizes head and heart, and gives voice to the call and grace of the Christian faith. Our identity
and our appeal have always been tied to these liturgical distinctives: confessions and creeds, the Revised
Common Lectionary, sacraments, and traditional hymnody. We celebrate Holy Communion twice each
month.

Grounded in our worship, we value and strive to maintain an active program life during the northern
hemisphere school year. Our church program is planned and implemented through a list of standing
committees including service, fellowship, and education. During school terms, we have Sunday School for
children aged 3-11 and a youth bible study for students in middle school. A group of 9 teenagers are
currently preparing for confirmation.

The service committee has long been the most active and vital committee at COGS and currently
approximately 30% of the annual budget is distributed by the committee to humanitarian and church projects
in China.

Our history and structure also declare a value of lay leadership in liturgy and administration. As a church in
frequent transition, the strength of lay leadership has been one key to our survival. As is set out below, our
members want a consistent and transparent system of administration and a role in making important
decisions.

COGS also places value on the importance of Christian fellowship, particularly for a community largely
without extended family and support networks in Beijing. Acknowledging the movement of the
congregation and prayer needs of the members is an important part of each service. We have morning
coffee after church each Sunday and periodic community events, especially at times such as Christmas and
Easter.

                                               How We Operate

The congregation nominates and elects a lay leadership board every spring to administer and manage the
activities of the congregation. Board members serve a one year term with a maximum of three terms. The
constitution stipulates that the congregation is to meet twice a year and it approves major decisions such as
calling a pastor and making changes to the constitution. The COGS pastor supports and nurtures the lay
leadership of the congregation.

The board is responsible to the congregation through regularly scheduled congregational meetings. The
board conducts itself in an open communication manner as prescribed in the congregationally adopted
constitution and bylaws.

The sole source of funding for the operating expense of the congregational activities is provided through
congregational member contribution. This funding activity is organized by the finance committee and is
centered around an annual fund drive seeking pledges from members for regular financial support.

                                        Where we have come from

COGS was founded by a group of about 20 people seeking a more structured form of worship than was
available in Beijing at that time. It grew steadily and was initially led by the members, since there were
several working in Beijing who were also ordained or had formal seminary training.

In 1996, the Northwest District of the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod (LCMS) generously provided a full-
time pastor, Rev. Robert Banken, with a substantial portion of his expenses covered as part of their outreach
program, although COGS remained independent and not an affiliate of the LCMS.

Upon Rev. Banken’s retirement in 1998, COGS was again led by members while a search committee sought
a full-time Pastor. During this six month period, Pastor Johann Symmington from the Republic of South
Africa served for two months.
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Congregation of the Good Shepherd, Beijing, China
December 2009
In March of 1999, COGS called Elyn MacInnis, who has lived in China since 1988 and is ordained in both
the United Church of Christ and the Episcopal Church. Pastor MacInnis led the Congregation from that time
until the end of August 2003.

Prior to Pastor MacInnis’s departure as pastor, a search committee was formed which called Rev. Herbert
Barker. Pastor Barker was ordained in both the United Methodist Church and the Episcopal Church, was a
counseling psychologist and had served as a US military Chaplain. Pastor Barker served as pastor for one
year, ending in August 2004.

Upon Pastor Barker’s departure, COGS initiated a process of re-visioning to take stock of who we are, set
appropriate ministry goals for the future, and find the right candidate to serve as our next long-term pastor.
We were greatly assisted in that process by the Rev. Bill Anderson, a pastor with the Evangelical Lutheran
Church in America and with 10 years experience as pastor at international churches, whom we called in
August 2005 for a one-year term as our interim pastor.

After Rev. Bill Anderson left to serve a Lutheran congregation in Seoul, Korea, the Congregation struck a
search committee which called Rev. Dan Sandifer-Stech. Pastor Dan, a Minister of Word and Sacrament in
the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA), began serving as pastor in August 2006. He, his wife Gwen and their
three daughters, moved to Beijing from Birmingham, USA. Pastor Dan previously held an associate
professor position in Family Studies at Samford University in the USA. The Congregation has appreciated
Pastor Dan’s capable leadership, his theologically deep sermons, counselling skills and his warm and caring
personality. During Pastor Dan’s tenure the Congregation went through another visioning process, adopted a
new supplemental hymnal, Sing! A New Creation, and transformed our worship space. In autumn 2009
Pastor Dan announced to the Congregation that he will not renew his term at the Congregation of the Good
Shepherd. He and his family will be returning to the US in July 2010.




Church Profile                                                                                       Page 3 of 3
Congregation of the Good Shepherd, Beijing, China
December 2009

				
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