The Winnipeg Chinese Alliance offers free Mandarin classes for the neighbouring English-speaking community. Photo courtesy Simon Kwok.

Mandarin lessons make spiritual impact

Church uses its Chinese congregation’s language to spread the gospel

WINNIPEG, MB—A few blocks away from the Manitoba Legislature lies a small church that is making big strides in welcoming others to join them.

The Winnipeg Chinese Alliance (WCA) welcomes an average weekly attendance of about 300 people. It offers three distinct services each week: one in English, one in Mandarin, and one in Cantonese.

While brainstorming community outreach ideas in early 2014, the congregation decided to offer Mandarin classes for the neighbouring English-speaking community, in particular for those people involved in business. Simon Kwok, coordinator for WCA’s English service, enCompass, says it was the church’s language-speaking diversity that helped spawn the idea.

“We have the capabilities to [speak several languages] and we figured this might be a way to reach someone who doesn’t necessarily go to church.”

The first set of classes started last spring and ran for seven weeks as a trial run. It was very popular and with the re-launching of classes this past January some of the previous students have returned to continue to hone their Mandarin-speaking skills.

Classes are held on Sundays and immediately follow the English service. There is no cost and the lessons are open to all. At present has three full classes with six to seven people present in each class.

Organizers hope to see more in the future. “It’s good to reach out to different people as well,” Kwok says. “I am currently attending this class, too. It is nice to meet people there who don’t normally go to church.”

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ChristianWeek Western Correspondent

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