Dai Dai had just whispered that he was hungry to me. Now what was I going to do? I wanted to meet Pastor Steven Chin.. I had three peanut butter and nutella sandwiches in my bag, but I was in a packed auditorium with people that could potentially be allergic to Peanuts. We ended up walking outside to the steps where I put down some extra clothes on the stone steps and fed the kids.
I met up with Noah and Jonah's old swim teacher form the Y who said that he goes to this church whenever he can. Apparently it is full like this every week and that you see a lot of young people coming here. A lot of people may live outside of Chinatown but maybe in their suburb they feel a little isolated because their Church doesn't have a lot of Asians. So they come into Chinatown (Or Newton also has a BCEC satellite) because they feel more comfortable. Also the structure of the Church is different. There is a band playing throughout the whole service, and one of the pastors is very charismatic. Apparently the other, not so much. This Church is packed for the English services and is starting to attract some non Asians as well. Mostly they are the boy friend or girlfriend of a Church member or friend.
The reason why I wanted to do a story about this Church is because I do know a lot of people who have some connection to it. It is "non denominational" which means basically that it is it's own independent Church. In other words if it keeps growing it will be it's own denomination really. I always felt that non denominational was a weird word because it's still Christian. It's not a Jewish or Islamic Church, or a Buddhist Church, or Temple or whatever you want to call it. It just means it's not Catholic or Orthodox or Presbyterian or Lutheran or what have you.
But in Chinatown and Newton it has probably the most members out of all the other Churches. St. James (Catholic) does get pretty full for the Mandarin services with newer Fujianese immigrants. But the English services are small. This Church is actually the opposite. The English services are packed (with Asians) and the Chinese service is a little smaller in that it does not fill an entire auditorium. Still a lot of people though. We sat through some of the Chinese service after we finished lunch and the first thing that I liked was I could see the screen and read the Chinese words (or follow along) so basically I could learn some Chinese while doing the Church thing. But eventually, despite it being a more relaxed format, my kids still got bored so we headed out to the playground right after we chipped in our dollar.
I got to Speak to Pastor Steven Chin and he gave me some reasons why he thought they were so successful. To find out read part 3. I will also try to meet up with Pastor Steven Chin tomorrow for a more in depth discussion about Chinatown. He has been here for 40 years so I'm sure he will have a lot to say about some of the changes.