One of the mission areas I’m involved in at Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC) is the Christian environment movement.
One of the mission areas I’m involved in at Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC) is the Christian environment movement. Ever since our small group called ‘Christians for Eco-concern’ started about eight years ago, it has been an uphill battle. There are plenty of problems in Hong Kong’s environment – dirty air, overflowing garbage, lack of green spaces, polluted harbor – but few churches that put this concern as a priority on their agenda. For most Christians in Hong Kong, environmental protection is a social issue for the government to tackle, not something that is integrally related to one’s faith in God.
I had a chance to reflect on the past 8 years when a photo of our original group was shown at a recent gathering. Let me tell you about some of the people in that photo:
- Per Larsson (center, front row) – Swedish missionary in Hong Kong who pushed HKCC to get involved in Christian environmental advocacy. As he put it: “The church worldwide has been involved in environmental issues for over 20 years. Why isn’t the Christian Council doing anything about it?” Per was a faithful member of Christians for Eco-concerns until his retirement back to Sweden, where he is still active in ecumenical ministry and environmental issues.
- Howard Lai (far left, back row) – Hong Kong native who studied under Per Larsson in seminary. Howard left a government job to follow a call to Christian ministry. As one of the first recruits by Per to our committee, Howard, then invited his former colleagues in the Environmental Protection Department to join the group. Howard maintains our website/blog (http://christians4ecoconcern.blogspot.com/) as well as contributing to our Christian response to government environmental proposals.
- Chris Fung (2nd left, back row) – Hong Kong government worker with a whole other life as a Christian environmental activist. Chris is one of the most enthusiastic promoters of our group as well as connecting with the Christian environmental network internationally. He aspires to be a lay theologian and writer and lives a truly simple lifestyle that is an inspiration to many.
- Judy Chan (2nd right, back row) – Global Ministries mission co-worker who serves as HKCC liaison for Christians for Eco-concern. She is in charge of preparing materials for the annual Environment Sunday each June as well as arranging radio programs on the topic for public radio (RTHK). She was editor for the group’s Education Package for Youth. She has preached in local churches about creation care and tries with difficulty to live an eco-friendly life in urban Hong Kong.
Today, Christians for Eco-concern still has the original core members along with new partners from Christian NGO’s, local churches, green groups and individual Christians. Whenever we gather, we are so encouraged to be with others who share the commitment to care for creation. More importantly, what can we do to bring awareness and change especially among brothers and sisters in the body of Christ? It is our hope to organize a campaign in the churches in the coming year to galvanize Christians to put their faith into action. One proposal is a campaign focusing on water – specifically to organize against bottled drinking water in churches. Why? Because water – a free gift of God – has been transformed into a money-making, garbage-producing product while millions go thirsty around the world. It’s an everyday but powerful symbol of our failure to love God and to love our neighbor.
Living God, all creation declares your glory and so do we. Teach us to how to live in harmony with creation because this is your survival plan for the Earth and all who dwell upon it. We pray in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, Amen.
Judy Chan is a missionary serving with the Hong Kong Christian Council. She is responsible for communications for the Council. She is also in charge of ecumenical radio broadcasting ministry, English publications and ecumenical partnerships in Hong Kong and overseas.