Getting Spiritual in Shanghai: Religious Institutions, Lectures & Groups

Getting Spiritual in Shanghai: Religious Institutions, Lectures & Groups
By Andrea Scarlatelli ,

Shanghai can be a lonely place, despite its population of twenty plus million. And while bar hopping and trying all the hottest restaurants can be fun, sometimes you just need a little… more. Whether you’re strictly religious and want to attend worship services on a regular basis, or you’re of the more laid back persuasion, there are many outlets in which you can bond with others of the same faith. This city has a surprisingly rich and varied set of religious and spiritual gatherings, from formal churches and synagogues to guest lecturers to casual groups of like-minded people.

1) Judaism
For those of the Jewish faith, the two main synagogue choices in Shanghai are the Chabad Jewish Centre of Shanghai and The Shanghai Jewish Center. The latter runs the Shanghai International Jewish School and is officially partnered with the Israeli consulate. In both cases, they help organise things such as religious services, tours of the historically Jewish areas around the city, mikvah for women’s groups, and other spiritual and networking events.

The Shanghai Jewish CenterView In Map
Add: Villa 1, Shang-Mira Garden, 89 Shuicheng Nan Lu,  Changning District, Shanghai
地址:上海市长宁区水城南路89号美丽华花园1号别墅 , 近虹桥路
Tel: 021 6278 0225

Chabad Jewish Centre of PudongView In Map
2B, Bldg 11, Lane 99, Puming Lu, Pudong New District, Shanghai
Tel: 021 5878 2008

2) Christianity
There are various Christian churches and organisations scattered throughout the city, so it may be necessary to try a few before you find the one that feels right. You’ll find that the percentage of Catholic churches greatly outweighs those of the Protestant faith. For those looking for the latter, check out Hengshan Community Church (which simultaneously bills itself as "Shanghai’s best known Protestant church" and as an "interdenominational" place of worship). There are specific groups within the church that cater to all sorts of parishioners, including foreign students, youth groups, singles ministries, and men/women only. The options for Catholics are a bit more varied, with St. Peter’s Catholic Church still holding its own as the leader of the pack. Known for its international expat community (some estimates have 1,000 foreigners attending weekend services), St. Peter’s offers weekly services in English, Korean, French and German.

Hengshan Community ChurchView In Map
Add: 53 Hengshan Lu, near Wulumuqi Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
地址:上海市徐汇区衡山路 53号 (近乌鲁木齐路)
Tel: 021 6437 6576

St. Peter’s Catholic ChurchView In Map
Add: 3F, 270 Chongqing Nan Lu, near Hefe Lu, Luwan District, Shanghai
地址:上海市卢湾区重庆南路270号3楼, 近合肥路
Tel: 021 6467 8080

3) Islam
Considering the first mosque was built in this area over 600 years ago, it’s not surprising that there are at least five mosques in use today. The oldest, largest, and most active one is the Fuyou Lu Mosque, which was built in 1917. The main worship hall, which holds hundreds of attendants, is for males only. There is, however, a separate prayer hall for women. Since no one who is not Muslim is allowed in the hall, those who are interested in learning more about this religion should stop by the open market outside the Huxi Mosque on Fridays, where you can interact with the community while sampling their delicacies.

Fuyou Lu MosqueView In Map
Add: 378 Fuyou Lu, near Houjia Lu, Huangpu District, Shanghai
地址:上海市黄浦区福佑路378号, 近侯家路
Tel: 021 6328 2135
Huxi MosqueView In Map
Add: 4, Lane 1328 Changde Lu, near Aomen Lu, Putuo district, Shanghai
地址:上海市普陀区常德路1328弄4号, 近澳门路
Tel: 021  6277 2076

4) Buddhism
Buddhism is still alive and thriving in China today as evidenced by the various Buddhist temples you’ve not doubt visited by now. The Jade Buddha Temple, built in 1882, is one of the most popular in Shanghai, where people go to visit the three-ton Buddha statue as well as the famous reclining one. While the Jade Buddha Temple, and others such as Jing’An Temple are active Buddhist monasteries, the number of tourists usually far outweighs the number of worshippers. Despite this, these places are still very much a spiritual comfort to those who visit, and can provide insight and knowledge to those who are interested.

Jade Buddha TempleView In Map
Add: 170 Anyuan Lu, near Jiangning Lu, Putuo District, Shanghai
地址:上海市普陀区安远路170号, 近江宁路
Tel: 021 6266 3668

Jing’An TempleView In Map
Add: 1686 Nanjing Xi Lu, near Huashan Lu, Jingan District, Shanghai
地址:上海市静安区南京西路1686号, 近华山路
Tel: 021 6256 6366

5) Other options
If organised religion isn’t your thing, or you’re just in the mood to try something a little different, there are alternative ways to get in touch with your spirituality in the city. Spiritual Shanghai, a monthly gathering of people interested in everything from health to healing to spirituality, holds meetings on the first Monday of every month at various locations. They invite guest speakers to lecture on topics such as sound healing, Shamanism, meditation and the Emotional Freedom Tehnique (EFT). See for more about the group and their calendar of events.

For the musical minded, Melange Oasis holds their Music for Energy, Community, and Relaxation group every Tuesday from 7:00pm-8:00pm. Music therapist Lindi Fogarty leads this introductory class to demonstrate how music can be used to improve emotional, mental, social and spiritual well-being. The cost is 100 RMB per class, which includes one drink. Call Melange Oasis to RSVP to this weekly event.

And lastly, if you enjoy focusing on yoga’s spiritual properties in addition to getting a great workout, try a class at Darshana Healing Yogic Studio, which touts itself as "a community for healing and planetary health." They offer classes for various styles of yoga, including Vinyasa, Kundalini, Yin, Hatha, and Pranayama. The studio also hosts regular "spiritual events and gatherings," sometimes in partnership with Spiritual Shanghai (see above). Visit or call for information on specific classes and times.

Melange OasisView In Map
Add: 37 Bldg. D, Jiashan Market, Lane 550 Shaanxi Nan Lu, near Shaoxing Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
地址:上海市徐汇区陕西南路550弄嘉善老市D楼37号, 近绍兴路
Tel: 021 6433 7727View In Map
Darshana Healing Yogic Studio
Add: 3 Taojiang Lu, Xuhui District, Shanghai
Tel: 135 2444 2004

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Keywords: Religion in Shanghai synagogues in Shanghai Spiritual in Shanghai Mosques in Shanghai churches in Shanghai Buddhism in Shanghai


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