The Hong Kong Christian Institute (HKCI) was born in 1988 out of a sense of urgent need as well as frustration among Christians-the need for sharing a common concern for the future of Hong Kong and active participation in it and frustration because the churches did not seem to be able to offer much guidance in this regard. The social concerns were controversial and often divisive. If the churches themselves did not take the risk in taking a stand or getting involved in social and political action, perhaps a voluntary agency like HKCI could be formed alongside the churches to help fill the need.
Thus, 120 individual Christians came together to form HKCI as an ecumenical Christian NGO outside of the institutional constraints of the Church, a vantage point which has permitted more freedom to exercise the prophetic vision of the Church for Hong Kong.
To gather concerned Christians together and to enable them to make a continuing contribution to Hong Kong and the Church in Hong Kong.
- To be a Christian Center: to assist Christians to reflect on the Christian Faith and to act upon it.
- To be a Forum for Christians to share their views and experiences.
- To be a Support Base for Christians and Christian groups actively engaged in putting their faith into practice.
- To be a Think-tank: to search for directions in mission for Churches and Christians and to develop a contextual theology in Hong Kong.
- To be a Resource Center: to interpret the Hong Kong situation to overseas Christians and to introduce ecumenical activities and thinking to local Christians.
- To be a Sign of a continuing quest for human rights, democracy and justice.
- Issue 274 (September, 2016) ：Love is the Conclusion: An Interview with Rev Kwok Nai Wang on the Occasion of the 50th Anniversary of His Ordination (Editors))
- Issue 273 (October,2015) ： The Occupy Movement and the Catholic Church (Mary YUEN)
- Issue 272 (April, 2015) ：Analyzing the Church Demolition in Zhejiang Province from the Perspectives of Public Sphere and Civil Society (Edward LAW)
- Issue 271（July, 2014）: My detention registration number is 239: From bystander to sit-in protestor (Vicky SHIU)
- Issue 270（March, 2014）: Human Rights Situation in Post 1997 Hong Kong (WONG Kai-sing)
- Issue 269（October, 2013）:Truth and Lies, OR True Lies (SHIU Ka -chun)
- Issue 268（July, 2013）:Order, Non-violence and Reconciliation in ‘Occupy Central with Love and Peace’ （KUNG Lap-yan）
Focus : School of Ecumenical Mission 2016-2019
Current Political Situation of Hong Kong
Hong Kong has become the Special Administrative Region of the People’s Republic of China for almost twenty years; however, the rule of law, governance, democracy and social policy have yet been solidly developed. On 1 July 2003, 500,000 people protested against the legislation of national security stated in Article 23 of the Basic Law. On 28 September 2014, the Umbrella Movement broke out and lasted for 79 days. Hong Kong has entered into a new era where political awakening, local consciousness, youth political participation and active involvement in civil society have been emerging. The election of the Legislative Council on 4 September 2016 was the best example. However, conspiracy and suspicion have been circulating in the society; consequently, collaboration become increasingly difficult.
As the icon and sacrament of God, the church must recognise her identity consecrated by Him. She should also reflect on how people can experience God’s reconciliation and redemption in such a gloomy condition of Hong Kong.
The Church’s Witness of the Time: Church Unity and Unity of Creation
Ecumenism is about communion, which implies sharing, participation and common good. The church can be united because she belongs to Christ and in Christ, the Holy Spirit unites us. The church is united through baptism and the Eucharist in Christ. In the Trinitarian God, the unity of the church is not uniformity, but unity in diversity, and diversity in unity. The tension derived from ‘oneness’ and ‘difference’ is not destructive at all; but in the contrary, creative. On the one hand, the church is not restricted by denominations and its religion, namely, Christianity. On the other hand, the church can be incarnated in the world as Christ lives in the everyday life of humankind.
Nevertheless, since the church is God’s icon and sacrament, ecumenism is not only a business of the church―it signifies the unity of the creation in Christ. The Holy Spirit who brings about unity to the church is also the Spirit of creation and renewal. Thus, without the unity of creation, the ecumenical movement of the church cannot be accomplished. As far as ecumenism is concerned, the church aims for a higher goal―God’s governance and redemption of the entire creation.
The society needs to be changed. To respond to God’s calling, the Hong Kong Christian Institute (HKCI) proposes ‘The School of Ecumenical Mission’ with the joint effort of the staff and volunteers.
- To reflect on Christian values and social policies; to initiate relevant actions;
- To enhance theological discussion and construction; to engage in cross-level dialogue;
- To build up the strength of individuals, churches, and the connection between the church and civil society.
Working Plan (2016-2019)
- Discourse Construction
- Policy Studies
- Prophetic Actions
- Reconciliation and Ecumenism
The HKCI seeks to empower and equip churches and individual Christians with knowledge, theological reflection and spiritual ministry, so that they will be more confident and committed to face different levels of challenges in the society and to minister to other Christians. The proposed projects are as the following.
1.1 Minister to Christian Women
The HKCI will collaborate with the Church of Christ of China Shum Oi Church to raise the awareness of social affairs, ecology, environmental protection and so on among women. (in progress)
1.2 Christians in Dialogue with Politicians
In the last two years, the HKCI held the dialogues between theologians and politicians, including Helena Wong Pik Wan, Leung Kwok Hung, Priscilla Leung Mei Fun, Holden Chow Ho Ding, Tik Chi Yuen and Martin Lee Chu Ming. Now we are planning to dialogue with civil organisations and politicians who are concerned about people’s livelihood. Hopefully, the audience will be aware of the values and beliefs behind the social policies and will actively inspect the administration of the government.
1.3 Asian Youth Forum
The first conference of the Forum was held in August 2016 which attracted active participation. The delegates were youth pastors from mainland China, Taiwan, Malaysia and Hong Kong. We plan to hold an annual conference in one of these countries so that delegates will get to know the challenges and outcomes of local youth ministry. We believe that the cross-regional communication and connection will foster the core values of ecumenism.
1.4 Interreligious Dialogue
This has been the featured project of the HKCI for many years. It has promoted constructive dialogue concerning ethical issues among representatives of different religions. It has also nourished humility, respect, mutual appreciation and empowerment.
1.5 Empowerment Courses
The following course have been planned.
- The Transforming Youth Phenomena and Ministry (27 September-18 October 2016)
- Social Workers’ Actions and Theology: What do Social Workers Safeguard in Neoliberalism and Autocratic Authority? (25 October-29 November 2016)
- Daily Politics and Theology (December 2016)
2. Discourse Construction
To enhance theological discussion and cross-level dialogue and to construct local theological discourse of Hong Kong, we have the following publishing plans.
2.1 Praxis of Social Workers and Theology in Dialogue
As Neoliberalism is growing and the government has become increasingly dictatorial, how have dehumanization and objectification been discovered by social workers? Can autonomy and subjectivity still be practiced? Can the others and social communities share equality in God’s communion? Do social workers actively confront or passively resist? Should they act with outward devotion but inner opposition? Should they resign oneself to adversity? What should social workers, especially Christian social workers, safeguard? The dialogue between the praxis of social workers and theology is a challenge, a reflection and a safeguard of human and global values; and more importantly, an acknowledgement of mission possible. Materials of this publication will be collected from a course of six lectures, where Christian social workers and theologians will engage in dialogue to investigate the core values of social work in praxis.
2.2 Local Consciousness: Cultural Studies and Public Theology
In recent years, the youths, including Christians, have been zealously discussing the meaning of local consciousness. The crises of narrowness, exclusivism, rejection of diversity, radicalism and so on also emerge. This project aims to integrate the positive meanings of ‘local’ and to discuss the relationship between ‘local’ and ‘universal’ in the framework of public theology through dialogue, seminar and publication. We believe that this project will build up the youth who embrace a healthy local consciousness and pursue universal communion.
2.3 The Bible and Contemporary Feminism
Feminist biblical scholars and some of their students will play the role of some of the biblical women. They will write a letter to the author of the books which refers to them. For example, a writer will play the role of Ruth in the era of Judges and will write a letter to the author of the Book of Ruth to express her feeling of being described. The letter will analyse the social context and examine women’s situation in the particular biblical era to compare the situation of contemporary women who are ‘described’. This book, on the one hand, aims to reconstruct the voice of biblical women and to demonstrate their self-description which is supposed to be close to reality. On the other hand, it aims to address to contemporary society and churches that women ought to be in control of their voices, the space and opportunity to express themselves. During the Umbrella Movement in 2014, women were advised not to stand in the front; otherwise, they would be sexually assaulted and had to bear the consequences themselves. This idea reflects that the awareness of gender equality in this society is still very backward and needs to be improved.
2.4 God Can Be a Woman: The Praxis of Rose Wu
Rose Wu is the former General Secretary of the HKCI. She has been the pioneer of a number of social actions and arouses political awareness of women. She is one of the major initiators of Civil Human Rights Front and fights for the rights of sexual minority. Rose has agreed to publish her articles and sermons in the last two to three decades with the HKCI. Hopefully, this book can be a reference for the successors of these movements and will enhance theological discussion.
3. Policy Studies
Ever since the leadership of the first General Secretary, Rev Kwok Nai Wang, the HKCI has been concerned about the social policies which may affect justice and equality in the society. We study policies with Christians of different professions and offer our initiatives to the government. We also encourage the public and the church to be concerned about certain policies. In the last two years, we focus on the use of land, natural conservation, poverty alleviation, gender equality and retirement protection. We will continue to work with civil organisations, churches and individual Christians to follow up these issues in the next three years.
3.1 Christian Land Concern Group
It was established two years ago, endeavouring to study and inspect the conservation and the use of lands in urban and rural areas, such as the land in Lantau Island north and the so-called ‘Backyard of Hong Kong’. In the last two years, we proposed initiatives, held study groups and guided tours, etc.
3.2 Study on Poverty Policies
The gap between the rich and the poor has been tremendous in Hong Kong due to the knowledge-based economic development policy which benefit entrepreneurs, the affluent and the elite. It has caused multi-facet damages to the weak, which is not only economic, but also the poverty of spirituality, resource and core values. This is more worrying. The youth has been especially hit by these sorts of poverty. The HKCI seeks to study and inspect on these problems; subsequently, to propose initiatives and provide education.
3.3 Gender Equality
The HKCI has been supporting sexual minority to fight for their rights, such as anti-discrimination. We have actively inspected on government’s policy on gender equality, proposed initiatives, taught and published on this subject. In the next three years, we will continue to support sexual minority groups and fight for their rights with various organisations.
3.4 Policy Newsletter
It is published quarterly in electronic and printed version. Each issue focuses on a newly proposed policy by the government during the consultation period. Its articles offer analysis, life stories and Christian reflection. The newsletter aims to provide references for churches and Christians to discuss and reflect on certain policies, and to offer Christian viewpoints for non-Christians.
4. Prophetic Actions
Micah delivers the message from God to us, ‘To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God’. Jeremiah also teaches us to say the truth and not to ally with the rich and the powerful to act unjustly. Recently we took part in these prophetic actions: ‘Opposition against Christians’ Involvement in the Coterie Election of the Chief Executive of Hong Kong’ (from 2015); ‘Joint Declaration of Christians Concerning Chu Hoi Dick’s Incident: Stop All Intimidation; Safeguard Land Justice’, followed by signature petition and demonstration (September 2016). We will continue to act prophetically with Christians and to walk with the people of Hong Kong.
5. Reconciliation and Ecumenism
The HKCI is ready to work with different organisations with an ecumenical spiritual and strength. We have been closely working with Christian Social Workers, Mission to New Arrivals, Hong Kong Citizens, Civil Human Rights Front, Rainbow Covenant, Retirement Protection System Assembly, Christian Land Concern Group and Gender Justice Ministry.
Although the church is God’s icon and sacrament, she has never been arrogant. In fact, she may have only been a gravel of a precious stone in a mine. In the last thirty years of service, the HKCI has never considered itself as the light in the darkness, but only a gravel. We hope to become a precious stone by God’s grace and through the cutting and polishing of Hong Kong people. We endeavor to establish a democratic, just and affectionate Hong Kong society with God’s words and prophetic courage.
The HKCI needs your participation, recommendation, intercession and financial support to witness God’s will of the unity of creation in this time.
We are very thankful to receive any comment, suggestion, sponsorship and donation. Please contact our Director, Professor KUNG lap-yan directly in your convenience:
Mobile: (852) 9757 1204
Office: (852) 2398 1699
口 Please make your crossed cheque payable to “ Hong Kong Christian Institute Ltd. ”
口 Cash deposit to The Hongkong and Shanghai Banking Corporation Limited, our bank account is 196-035927-001
School of Ecumenical Mission 2016-2019 is advised by Joseph Cardinal ZEN Ze–kiun S.D.B. and Rev. CHU Yiu- ming.