MANCHESTER

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FAITH

In China, one of the oldest native faiths is that of Taoism.  It was formed and inspired from the ideas of the 6th century BCE Chinese philosopher Lao Tse.  His teachings, called Tao Te Ching, centre on the idea that to function properly as physical and spiritual beings, you must harmonise with nature and avoid behaviour that disturbs the natural order of the universe, which is simply unity.

The biggest faith in China today is not actually from China.  Buddhism was brought to China by Indian monks travelling along the trade routes such as the Silk Road in the 6th century CE.  It settled in the North and then spread to the South where it found a wide reception.

Taoism and Buddhism in Manchester

Knowledge and understanding of Chinese Buddhism and Taoism in the UK have roots in the early missionaries of the West such as the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci (1552-1610 CE) who translated many Chinese works of faith, including those of Confucius, into Latin to be studied by the West.

In Manchester, the history of Buddhism and Taoism is much more recent.  Immigrants bring their faiths with them and it is not uncommon to see shrines set up in the houses and businesses of the Chinese in Manchester.  One of the longest established groups is that of the Manchester University’s Buddhist Society, established in 1971, which has always been open to anyone who is interested in or actively practicing Buddhism.

One of the oldest worship centres was the Tian Guan Temple.  It was the first Taoist-Buddhist worship centre in Europe, set up by Mrs Tan Kaun Hoang, the temple’s keeper and spiritualist, in 1992.  It was originally located in Chorley before it moved into the abandoned property of St. Luke’s School in Miles Platting.  Since 1995, it had served many Buddhists and Taoists from all over Britain and abroad until Mrs Hoang’s death in 2004, after which it was controversially sold.

An older organisation but newer addition to Manchester is the Fo Guang Shen Buddhist Temple, one of many temples under the Fo Guang Shen Buddhist Order founded by Master Hsing Yun.  In August of 1993, the Fo Guang Shen Buddhist Propogation Centre was established on Faulker Street in Chinatown but due to the rapidly growing number of members a larger, more fitting location was needed.  After initially moving into the Ching Yee Building on Portland Street, it relocated to Trafford Park in 1996, under the name of Manchester Fo Guang Shan.

Taoism and Buddhism in Manchester

Christianity has been known in China for as long as Chinese Buddhism has been known in the West.  Jesuit missionaries, namely Matteo Ricci (1552-1610), went to China to spread the Catholic faith and introduce Western technology to China.  He translated works of Chinese faith into Latin, particularly Confucian works, and these then influenced the Western philosophers and spiritual leaders.

During the times of trade with China in the 18th and 19th centuries, many missionaries converted thousands of mainland Chinese, with the South and Hong Kong remaining mainly Buddhist and Taoist.  Missions stilled during the early years of the 20th century due to the Boxer Rebellion which targeted and resulted in the death of many Christians and foreigners in China.  Under Communist rule, the open practice of all religion was banned and many faiths, including Christian, fled to the West.  One of the reasons that Christianity was not brought by the immigrants who came to Manchester was that many of the initial immigrants were from Hong Kong, and the missionaries came with the trade ships to the mainland ports such as Shanghai.  Whist many Chinese converts had visited England in the early part for the 20th century, such as Watchman Nee (1903-1972), Chinese churches didn’t settle in Manchester for a number of years later.  Witness Lee spread the teachings of Watchman Nee from Taiwan in 1932, but the teachings didn’t come to Manchester until the late 1970s.  Since 1996, this particular congregation meets as an independent assembly in Heaton Moor.

However, Western missionary work within Manchester had a long history by this time, with famous figures such as the Reverend F. S. Collier working to teach English to the Chinese immigrants working in laundries from 1912.

Now, there are many Christian organisations with Chinese affiliations or origins in Manchester.  One of the oldest is the Manchester Chinese Christian Church.  One of the main founders of which was Rudolf Alfred Bosshardt (1897-1993), a Manchester-born missionary of Swiss decent.  He travelled to China in 1922 as a missionary with the China Inland Mission and lived and worked there with his wife, Rose Piaget (2894-1965), until his capture by the Red Army in 1934 and forced to join their “Long March”: 2500 miles on foot in 18 months.  After being released and leaving for Europe to recuperate, he returned to China in 1940 to resume his mission until 1951 when he and his wife were expelled from China by the Communist government.  They left for Laos (a small republic bordered by China) where Rose died in 1965.

On returning home to Manchester in 1966, Bosshardt founded the Manchester Chinese Christian Church in Whalley Range which now boasts a membership of more than 250. The MCCC is a non-denomination organisation that holds four congregations: one in English, one in Mandarin, one in Cantonese and the other for the youth of the church.  Chinese language lessons are held for the children in the supplementary school, as well as English lessons and community outreach projects. The original mission of Bosshardt is kept alive: educating the community and spreading their faith, as well as continuing to carry out missions in Singapore, Taiwan and Cambodia.

Another large Chinese Christian group is The Manchester Alliance Mandarin Fellowship, established in 1994, which aims to teach language and faith to the Mandarin speakers in Manchester.

宗教信仰

华人来到曼彻斯特后也带来了他们自己的宗教信仰,其中包括古老的道教和佛教以及基督教等,遍及所有的华人社区。曼彻斯特大学佛教协会成立于1971年,是最早的宗教团体之一。


1984年,曼彻斯特成立了欧洲首座道教与佛教相结合的观音庙,即后来1992年修建的天观寺,位于Miles Platting。该寺庙由仙师和管理人黄天葵女士筹建。2004年黄天葵女士仙游之后,这家寺庙也在一片争议声中售出。


曼城现存两座佛教寺庙,第一座是 1993年兴建的佛光山(台湾星云大师),它最初是在曼城唐人街,之后迁址到Old Trafford。另一座是在Openhsaw的真善堂(台湾真佛佛学会)。现在曼城的中国本土宗教道教则是由陈法达大师发扬光大。


曼彻斯特华人基督教史已超过100年。从1912年起,The Wesleyan Reverend S. F. Collier牧师就在Oldham大街的传教中心给100多位中国洗衣店的员工教授英文。


之后,另一位曼城传教士R. A. Bosshardt在中国大力传教,1951年被驱逐出境。1966年回到曼城, 后来成了曼彻斯特华人基督教会的创始人之一,该教会直至今天依然不断壮大。

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