1998 NCC News Archives

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Andrew Young Lectures, Preaches:
Email from NCCCUSA China Delegation

October 12, 1998, NEW YORK -- Ambassador Andrew Young’s Nanjing/Hopkins University lecture and Sunday sermon at a Nanjing chuch were the subject of an email received over the weekend from the National Council of Churches delegation at the midpoint of its Oct. 8-15 visit to China.

Ambassador Young, the NCC’s President Elect for 2000-01, and the Rev. Dr. Joan B. Campbell, NCC General Secretary, are leading the delegation, which is looking at the current status of church-state relations in China.

The email comes from Victor Hsu, Director of the NCC East Asia and the Pacific Office, who is staffing the delegation visit.

From: Victor Hsu, Director, East Asia & the Pacific, NCC
Date: October 12, 1998
Re: Ambassador Young’s Lecture & Sermon

On arrival in Nanjing on Saturday, October 10, our first event was a lecture by Andrew Young at the Nanjing University/Hopkins University Center for US-China Studies. Though a Saturday afternoon, there were about fifty students and faculty in attendance.

Ambassador Young spoke from his personal experience. He talked about how he tried to ignore China but was not allowed to because of its significance in the world as the China related agenda continues to thrust itself onto the world stage.

He referred to the maintenance of contacts by U.S. churches and progressive movements with the Chinese Churches during the difficult days of the Cultural Revolution and of the importance of those contacts in helping to build key bridges across the ideological and political divide. He reminisced the time when he was with Martin Luther King after a visit to the U.S. Mission headed than by Arthur Goldberg. King was attacked by many for saying afterwards that "800 million people will not cease to exist just because we don't want to recognize their existence."

In an extensive question and answer exchange, he said that it was very important to both maintain good relations with and develop strong advocates for China because of, among other factors, its economic potential. For example, it stood as a rock of stability during the recent Asian financial crisis. It was essential that the economic well-being of all people be assured otherwise there would be civil strife for any nation including the United States. He said, taking his home city of Atlanta as an example, that if there would be a 10-year long recession it would explosively exacerbate existing and underlying tensions .

Answering another question about affirmative action, he said that he was both a beneficiary of and advocate for it. He also said that good economists realize that poverty is dangerous and therefore it is necessary to help all nations enjoy economic development. He said that was the genius of the Marshall Plan and saw the contradiction among those who oppose helping China because it is allegedly an enemy.

Answering another question about the recent spate of films about China, he noted that they had not been constructive for promoting better ties with China. He urged the audience to write to the producers like Richard Gere to let them know that the reality of China is very different from the picture portrayed in the films.


On Sunday Andy preached at the Mochou Church to a packed congregation. He used Psalm 91:14-16 as his text and preached the theme of "God's All Powerful Love." Saying that we are all precious in God's sight he marveled at the mystery of such a love. He compared that "unconditional" love to the love of the mother for her children and expressed his wonder that God's love could be understood and appreciated from Atlanta to China. It was as mysterious as the way the cell-phones work or the lightening speed of transmitting photos digitally by the phone line. He gave testimonial to his own grandmother's and mother's love for him during his time away from home in college. He believed that their prayers and love for him acted like a cell-phone and were responsible for keeping him from going astray or yielding to the many temptations of youth. He then spoke of the all powerful message love of Martin Luther King who believed that we are all children of God whatever our color. Equally powerful was his message of loving your enemy and of the way of non-violence. He believed that Martin Luther King's death was powerfully transformed by God into a resurrection of a more racially conscious, more accepting and less unequal American society.


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