The Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong Limited
|Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong Limited
Number of Congregations
The Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong Limited is associated with Mennonite World Conference. In 2011, it had 3 congregations and about 120 members.
Mennonite Central Committee first came to Hong Kong in the 1950s to provide relief work after WWII. This work came in the form of hot meals and the opening of a reading room which provided Christian literature. Dr. Andrew Roy of the Chung Chi College, who knew the workers, suggested that the Mennonites open a mission in Hong Kong. In 1965, James K. Stauffer from Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities goes to Hong Kong to teach about the Bible at a local school and find locals who would be interested in Christ. Next year, two families come to take over the mission work as a part of EMBMC: Allen and Elsie Shirk, and Ira and Evelyn Kurtz. When the Shirks leave in 1967 a replacement family isn’t sent until 1969 in the form of Everett and Margaret Metzler. These families expanded the work into an elementary and preschool program and took over the MCC programs. Interest in Christianity continued to grow slowly in mainly youths through a Bible study. In February of 1976 the Lok Fu Mennonite Church, later called Agape, started having weekly worship sessions and some men are baptized. Two other churches formed, Homantin Mennonite Church, later called Grace, in 1986, and Hope Mennonite Church in June of 1989. These three churches came together in 1991 to form the Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong Limited and registered with the government.
1950s MCC sends relief workers to Hong Kong in response to the wake of WWII and the atrocities which happened in mainland China. Relief comes mainly in the form of emergency material aid and financial aid.
1965 James and Arlene Stauffer from EMBMC arrive in Hong Kong and begin preparation work for expanding the mission work. Mennonites are late to the game in Hong Kong compared to other denominations.
1966 EMBMC sends the Shirks and Kurtz’s to Hong Kong as longer term workers. Begin holding a Sunday school for youths and opened an elementary and preschool. Hong Kong is viewed as the gate for getting Christianity into mainland China and the Southeast Asian area.
1970 Hong Kong hosts the 6th Asian International Reconciliation Work Camp. Hong Kong begins facing difficult times as many people are not interested in staying in the country. Many people move to other countries and are not interested in forming communities in the compact living situations of the lower class.
1976 An economic boom hits Hong Kong from its increasingly popular tourist industry. The wealth gap between the different classes in the city begins to increase. Lok Fu (Agape) Mennonite Church is formed as the first Mennonite Church.
1986 Homantin (Grace) Mennonite Church is formed. The closed policy of China has recently been lifted. The People’s Republic of China begins initiating in trade and attempting to revitalize their economy. This causes Hong Kong to swell even further with trade, and it becomes known as “The Pearl of the East”
1989 Healing Hangs center is opened and focuses on tutoring for high school age students. The “June Fourth Incident” in Tiananmen Square cause many people to worry about oppression from China. About 100,000 Christians emigrated out of Hong Kong because of this, about a quarter of all Christians in the area. Hope Mennonite Church opens its doors as the third Mennonite church in Hong Kong.
1991 CMCHK registers with government to provide insurance that their assets won’t be taken away from them. A Missionary Fellowship group from America comes through Hong Kong to build relationships with their brethren in other countries.
2007 The churches consider combining into one larger church so they could better pool resources. Decide not to so they can focus on different projects and programs that are being supported by the churches.
2011 Jeremiah Choi, the first Chinese pastor of Hope Mennonite Church, is ordained. He also works at Helping Hands Center with his wife.
Key Individuals in the Life of the Church
Jerimiah Choi: Has been pastor at Agape and Hope Mennonite Churches
Alde Wong: Pastor of Grace Mennonite Church
Nora Iwarat: Worker at Cheung Chau Christian Center. Became lead pastor of All Nations Mennonite Church in 2008
1. Augsburger, Myron S., “Hong Kong: The Transient Church” In Perspective on Missions in the Orient, 1973, Harrisonburg: Inter-Church, Inc.
Augsburger focuses on many of the problems which face Christians based on the cultural practices of people in Hong Kong. The culture of ancestor worship brings conflict between families as Christianity is more appealing to the younger generation.
2. Eastern Mennonite Board of Missions and Charities Annual Reports, 1965-1975
These reports provide information and insights on the beginnings of EMBMC work in Hong Kong. They were the first group to send workers for mission as opposed to just relief work. Details on the total budget and number of workers in Hong Kong are provided. The information comes in the form of reports written by the workers in Hong Kong for EMBMC and varies in detail depending on the writer. Major events in each year are focused on to give a general update on what has happened. These are first-hand accounts and the topics focused on are chosen by the writer, yet it gives good insight into what they are working on.
3. Hong Kong Mennonite Centre, Mennonites in Hong Kong, 1984, Kowloon, Hong Kong
This document is only piece found which is published by the Mennonites in Hong Kong. It gives a basic timeline of the first 20 years of work in Hong Kong as well as details all of the overseas missionaries and Chinese workers. Gives good insight into what the goals of the Hong Kong Mennonites are at that time and what is important to them in their faith.
4. “Mennonite Fellowship in 1991: Japan, Nepal, Hong Kong” (Mennonite Historical Library VHS), Accessed on December 10, 2014
This video follows a group of American Mennonites as they visit Mennonite communities in Asia. They get to know the people in each country through meals and lectures about specifics to each area. The group arrives in Hong Kong around 1:42:00. They explore the city seeing key locations for the Mennonites and meet with current leaders of the Hong Kong churches.
5. Mennonite Mission Network, “Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong”, Accessed December 3, 2014. http://www.mennonitemission.net/OURWORK/PARTNERS/Pages/ConferenceofMennonite ChurchesinHongKong.aspx
This website gives a brief description of the history of the CMCHK. It focuses on key dates such as the founding of churches and the formation of the conference. It also provides an overview of the make-up of the conference and some of the programs they support.
6. Miller, Ryan, “Ongoing Leader Supported in Hong Kong”, Mennonite Missions Network, Last Updated, June 5, 2008, Accessed December 9, 2014. http://www.mennonitemission.net/Stories/News/Pages/OngoingleadersupportedinHongKong.aspx
This article goes into detail about one of the big programs supported by the CMCHK, the Cheung Chau Christian Center in Hong Kong. It talks about one of the leaders in the program, Nora Iwarat, and gives insight into some of the more recent works done by the church and this program.
7. Pan, Chiou-Lang. “The Mennonite Churches in Chinese-speaking Areas.” In Churches Engage Asian Traditions, edited by John A. Lapp, C. Arnold Snyder, 251-55, Intercourse: Good Books, 2011.
Pan’s section of the book goes into good detail on the history of Mennonites in Hong Kong and the beginnings of the three churches which are a part of the Conference of Mennonite Churches in Hong Kong. This is the most recent published work giving specific details about the happenings for the CMCHK. It also provides context for what is happening around this group.