Si-Cheng Church, the oldest remaining Christian church building in Hangzhou city, located at No.132 Jie-Fang Road, has a history of over 100 years. It was started by the Northern American Presbytery. In 1859, a missionary couple, Mr. and Mrs. John Livingston Nevius, came to Hangzhou and preached the gospel. In 1868, a Chinese pastor, Zhang Cheng-Zhai, rented a house as a worship place on Pi-Shi Lane. In 1872, a bigger house with three rooms near Feng-Le Bridge was bought and used as a worship place. When the number of Christians increased, in 1924 a new church building was set up at the original location, and was completed in 1927. The total cost reached 60 thousand silver yuan. In memory of the first Chinese pastor, Zhang Cheng-Zhai, the church was named “Si-Cheng Church” (“Si” means “thinking of”, which is Zhang Memorial Church). The first senior pastor was Fan Guang-Rong.
Si-Cheng Church was built in symmetric structure with an old Chinese style of eaves, blue brick walls outside, wooden beams of imported pine wood inside, and is in the shape of a cross. On the first floor, there is a baptismal pool beneath the surface of the platform, and the main worship hall is on the second floor. The third floor was built in cloister structure. All the windows are removable ones used in traditional Chinese gardens and bear Chinese characteristics.
During the Cultural Revolution, the church building was occupied by the Hangzhou Library as a warehouse. In 1981, according to the Religious Policy, Si-Cheng Church was reopened and the dedication was held on 30th of August. Since then, Sun Xi-Pei、Zhang Yao-Fa and Huang Ming-Ke have served as the senior pastors. The number of regular Christians attending is about 3000. Besides the Sunday Services and Youth Meetings, there are Bible Studies, Prayer Meetings, Inquirers’ Classes, 5 Choirs and 4 Bands Rehearsals, more than 50 fellowships and serving teams, and English Bible Studies, etc. throughout the weekdays. Every first Sunday of each month, there's a Holy Communion. Baptisms are held two times a year. The church witnesses numerous wedding ceremonies as well as funeral services, and makes home/hospital visits.
There are about 3000 regular believers in Si-Cheng Church. At present the administrative team group is consist of 4 pastors, 12 elders/pastoral staff/administrative staff, and 31 committee members, each playing one’s specific role in one position and committed to the purposes of “trusting in God, looking up to Christ, relying on the Holy Spirit, being committed to the church, cooperating with each other, with one heart and mind, and preaching the gospel”. Si-Cheng Church highlights seven objectives: (for everyone individually) to preach the gospel, to worship and praise, to be in a fellowship, to be devoted in the church service; (for the church as a body) to serve in teams, to cultivate the leadership, and to love our neighbors.
Hangzhou is a famous scenic city of China, with numerous visitors and guests from home and abroad coming here every year. Si-Cheng Church is an important venue for religious activities among churches in Hangzhou. Its typical building style, cultural atmosphere, and religious connotation provide the value and significance for the church history and the indigenization of Christianity in China. The church also plays an important role by establishing harmony and promoting religious freedom.