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December 25, 2009

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Places of inspiration and peace

SHANGHAI'S churches are festive, welcoming places for the holidays. They are also tranquil spots where residents can take refuge from the daily turmoil of urban living. Shanghai Daily reporters visit several landmark churches.

Shanghai Community Church

This church on Hengshan Road, the city's largest Christian church, has a welcoming, relaxed atmosphere. The overgrown greenery, lawns and ivy-covered red brick walls evoke an English village church.

The building in a modern, gothic style was built in 1925 mainly for American Christians.

Covering an area of 7,300 square meters, the wood-and-brick church is famous for the high standard of its choir.

This Protestant church was visited by former US President Jimmy Carter and other political figures and celebrities. Around 2,000 worshippers can be seated.

Sunday morning services are held in Chinese. Sunday afternoon services at 2pm and 4pm are in English.

Services: Sunday, 7-10am (Chinese), 2-4pm (English)

Address: 53 Hengshan Rd

Tel: 6437-6576 Shanghai All Saints Church

The red-brick church on Fuxing Road M. was built in 1925 under the supervision of a missionary named Maganlin from the American Saints Association. It is a typical 17th-century-style church with a wooden steeple, main hall and side hall.

The main hall can seat 500 while an attached house and the small hall can seat 1,000.

The main hall has a rose window. The bell tower has 63 steps.

The church was originally built at the intersection of Huangpi and Huaihai roads. As the congregation expanded, it purchased land on the present site.

Services: Sunday, 7-9:30am

Address: 425 Fuxing Rd M.

Tel: 6385-0906, 5382-5196 Grace Church

The Catholic church was built by missionary Frank Rawlinson in 1910.

It holds masses in both English and Chinese.

Covering an area of 2,200 square meters, this red-brick structure with a bell tower has been in its present location since 1942. The original one was on Sichuan Road N.

Rawlinson, a Briton, emigrated to the United States to study religion before coming to Shanghai as a missionary. He studied Chinese, became headmaster of several schools.

His life came to a tragic end after the Japanese troop's invasion of Shanghai in 1937.

Services: Sunday, 9am-7pm

Address: 372 Shaanxi Rd N.

Tel: 6253-9394, 6258-5598 Xujiahui Cathedral

This towering gothic-style Catholic church, originally known as St Ignatius Cathedral, was once regarded as the most majestic in the Far East.

It was built in 1904 by Jesuit priests and designed by W.M. Dowdall.

It has been restored and in 1989 was declared a historical landmark to be preserved.

Seating 2,500 worshippers, the church has many statues, gothic arches and carved pillars.

Da Vinci's "The Last Supper" hangs on a wall.

Stained glass windows destroyed during the "cultural revolution" (1966-76) were restored several years ago.

The cathedral was seen in the opening scenes of Steven Spielberg's 1987 film "Empire of the Sun."

Services: 6am, 7:30am, 10am, 6pm

Address: 158 Puxi Rd

Tel: 6469-0930


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