The Christian Fellowship Church of Vietnam began its second congress in HCM City on Oct. 31.

At the three-day session, its executive board was elected with Pastor Dinh Thien Tu being chosen as head.

A report on the church's activities in 2009-11 was discussed, while a charter and working programme for 2011-13 will be adopted.

More than 600 pastors, ministers, and faithfuls from 45 provinces and cities and representatives of some foreign organisations are attending the congress.

Bui Thanh Ha, Deputy Head of the Government Committee for Religious Affairs, congratulating the congress, dignitaries, and others, hoped the church's followers would continue to demonstrate their patriotism and make further contributions to the cause of building a rich and strong country with an equitable, democratic, and civilised society.

Speeding up the current efforts for national renovation, industrialisation, and modernisation thrust responsibility upon the entire nation, including religious organisations including dignitaries and followers of the Christian Fellowship Church, he said.

The Government's consistent policy is to respect and ensure the freedom of people to follow or not to follow any religion or belief, that all religions are equal before the law, and there will be no discrimination based on religion.

This policy together with the aspiration and determination of the church would provide the basis for the Christian Fellowship Church to develop its religion in line with the guidelines and purposes written in the church's charter, he said.

The Christian Fellowship Church of Vietnam was established in 1962 and has 1,954 groups with more than 300,000 followers, including more than 159,000 ethnic minority members in 59 provinces and cities.

In October 2007 it received a certificate for religious practice from the Government Committee for Religious Affairs. /.