Hymns and the Singing Community: The Formation of the Canaan Hymns in Contemporary Chinese Churches

赞美诗与唱诗社群: 迦南诗歌在当代中国教会里的形成

In: Review of Religion and Chinese Society
Songzan Xu Independent Scholar Hangzhou China

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Xiaoli Yang Whitley College, University of Divinity Melbourne Australia

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This article studies the formation of the Canaan Hymns (Jianan shige 迦南诗歌) in relation to the history of the contemporary Chinese indigenous church. Over the last thirty years, Lü Xiaomin (吕小敏, 1970–) has composed more than two thousand hymns. They reflect not only her own personal life and evangelism, but also the growth of the Fangcheng Fellowship (方城团契) in Henan Province from a local home gathering to a national mission movement. Through textual studies, interviews, and archival research, this article examines how local congregants adopted Lü’s hymns, which are distinct from both western traditional hymns and Chinese rural spiritual songs (lingge 灵歌). These hymns represent a unique form of theological meaning-making within the indigenous church movement and serve as a pointer to the Chinese understanding of missio Dei as a whole.



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