Faith in Hong Kong
Dear siblings in Christ,
Thank you for your continuous prayers and support for our missions in China which have given us comfort and strength. We are grateful to and treasure the mission partnership with the churches in China and an ecumenical fellowship of faith through the Global Ministries.
In this Fall newsletter, I would like to share the updated information about our mission partner – Hong Kong Christian Council, and ask for your continued prayers.
On November 2nd, 2021, the 1st Executive Committee Meeting of the Hong Kong Christian Council elected the new leadership of the council and its committees for 2021-2023. Rev. Wong Ka-Fai was elected as the Chairperson of the Hong Kong Christian Council. May God bless the new leadership and the churches in Hong Kong to overcome the influences of the Covid-19 pandemic and the challenges in the new year.
From the beginning of the Covid- 19 pandemic, Hong Kong has been impacted by four waves of the coronavirus. Besides the pandemic, another major challenge for Hong Kong is the second wave of mass emigration after the 1997 handover to China.
As the Hong Kong National Security Law was passed by the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of China on June 30th, 2020, many Hong Kongese were fearful about the current and uncertain political situation, as well as the pandemic and the economic downturn. According to the recent research on the emigration wave by Hong Kong University, 18.8% of Hong Kongese, mainly the middle-aged generation will emigrate overseas in one year.
The pandemic and emigration waves impacted people’s lives and churches in Hong Kong. With social welfare resources even more limited now, then the low-income families are experiencing serious repercussions as a result. The number of unemployment keeps rising with no sufficient relief measures or plans from the government. Many social service centers have been forced to shut down, social activities have largely declined. Loneliness, physical and mental health have become more serious social issues, particularly among elderly people.
The current emigration wave is having a wider influence than the wave in 1997. Since the church was forced to close its doors and in-person worship for 16 months, the terms of pastoral care have decreased. In addition, many church members emigrated overseas without informing the congregation and pastor. The congregations felt sad for losing members and missing the chance to say farewell to the old friends. In the meantime, the emigration wave is affecting church leadership and succession as well. Some church leaders and potential successors also left Hong Kong. Therefore, the current church leaders are about to retire, which further exacerbated the already challenging issue of church succession.
This situation challenged the church’s ministries and pastoral care. The pastors are frustrated because they don’t have any experiences to respond and care for the congregation in these uncertain times. The Hong Kong Christian Council considered organizing the seminars may focus on preparing sermons, discussion on issues related to the emigration wave, church ministries, pastoral care, psychological counseling, etc.
The social and political tensions continue to grow among the communities in Hong Kong under these circumstances. As the former president of Hong Kong Christian Council, Rev So Shing Yit said: “Although the Hong Kong Christian Churches don’t have abilities to change the policies of the government, economy, people’s livelihood and willingness to emigrate, as the faithful body of Jesus Christ, the current important mission for us is to walk together along with people who are living in Hong Kong.”
The people in Hong Kong are moving anxiously with worries into an uncertain future. We pray for church leaders to have wisdom and know what they ought to do. May God bless Hong Kong Christian Council and Christian unity as they are facing the Covid-19 pandemic and emigration wave and may the faith, hope, and love in Jesus Christ fill all of us with all joy and peace! Amen.
G. Lou’s appointment is made possible by gifts to the Disciples Mission Fund, Our Church’s Wider Mission, and your special gifts.