Stewards of God’s Creation
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
(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.
(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.