CHURCH HISTORY

Historical Dates & Locations

9/14/69First Sunday Worship at Dr. Peter Yen's home attended by 13 people.
11/2/69First Sunday worship at Grace Chapel, Lexington attended by 25 people.
11/20/69First election of seven members to the interim Deacon Board.
3/8/70Guidelines to church membership formalized.
10/8/70First church membership meeting and election of new deacons.
12/27/70First baptismal service.
8/5/73First Sunday Worship at Woburn church building.
6/15/75Dr. Peter Yen elected as the first elder of the church.
10/2/82Dedication service for the 2nd church building in Woburn.
11/14/82First membership class.
6/1/83Name of the church formalized in Chinese as the Chinese Bible Church of Greater Boston.
7/12/87First English worship held.
11/17/91First Sunday worship at the Lexington church building.

Inception Process

In the early 60’s, large number of Chinese students began to attend schools in Boston areas. These were students from Hong Kong, Taiwan, and various other parts of the world. For their spiritual needs, a Bible study group was formed at MIT (Spaulding Lounge). It soon grew into three subgroups (Mandarin, Cantonese and English) with a combined number of near one hundred students. By 1967, we felt an obvious need for a Chinese church in greater Boston area to meet the special needs of many, who wanted to serve and to worship in Mandarin. This idea started when a group of Boston Christian Chinese went to a retreat in Pennsylvania and gradually grew into a common vision among Chinese Christians in the area. 

We started a Tuesday prayer meeting at my house (15 Bank Street, Newton) after the Pennsylvania trip. One of the reasons was due to the encouragement of brother Edward Wu, who happened to take a job at Wang Laboratories and moved into the area. The regulars in the meeting also included another couple (the Kaos) and two sisters (Jessie Lee and Ming-ming Hu). By then, we were praying for a pastor to lead the planned new church. Pastor Steven Chiu soon became our prime candidate in a short list. I first met Steven in 1962 at a Christian Conference in the Philippines when he was the main speaker in the conference. By 1967, Pastor Chiu was studying in Dallas Theological Seminary and we set our eyes on him because he was known to have a burden of Pioneer ministry.

In the next two years, I repeatedly invited Pastor Chiu to serve in this area. He consistently said that the Lord’s time had not arrived. This lasted until the summer of 1969, in the same Pennsylvania retreat where he was the main speaker. In this meeting, he finally agreed to come to Boston for an interview.

In June of 1969, on a Thursday, Pastor Chiu arrived at Boston with his wife and son. We gave him a thorough briefing, including the demographic distribution of Chinese population (the Chinese population was centeredaround Quincy but was gradually moving north and westward), the weather in Boston, the school districts (Joseph Chiu was fifteen at the time) and other issues pertinent to his relocation. We told him that, as a start-up church, our future was in the hand of the Lord. We pledged to him our spiritual trust and our material support. Then we waited for his answer. It was really an exciting moment when we received Pastor Chiu’s final commitment through a phone call, right before the agreed deadline and right in the midst of a prayer meeting.

On August 25, 1969, Pastor Chiu brought his family back to the Boston area and moved into his rented Needham house. A barbecue party was held at my house in his honor. About one hundred people came. By September, Pastor Chiu had presented the name, the church vision and the mission strategy. The new church would be called “Chinese Bible Church of Greater Boston”. It would serve the area west of Watertown (to avoid duplicated effort with BCEC, the Chinatown church). We would concentrate in serving suburban Chinese families. The first Sunday worship service was held on September 14, 1969 at my house with thirteen people attending. Pastor Chiu’s sermon used the verses in Nehemiah, relating the Bible verses to the responsibility of Chinese Christians in North America towards the gospel.

Subsequently, we began our search for a place of worship. Although brothers and sisters labored for months around Newton, Waltham, and Needham, we eventually settled at the Lexington Grace Chapel. With the gracious help given to us by Rev. Gulf, the senior pastor of the church, we began our worship services every Sunday afternoon.

In October 1970, the church held its first plenary meeting. With the help of Mr. Paul Cormick, an attorney of the law, we officially approved the final version of the church bylaw and voted in the first deacon board. The church was well on its way to serve and to bear witness. The rest is now history.

“A Humble Beginning”

Elder Peter Yen (CBCGB 30th Anniversary Special Edition, 1999)