Archbishop Paul Kwong in the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui

Revd Professor Philip Wickeri reflects on the historical significance of Dr Paul Kwong’s time as Archbishop.

Archbishop Paul Kwong will be retiring on 2 January, and there will be many tributes offered for everything he has done for the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (HKSKH), for Christianity and society in Hong Kong and Greater China, and for the worldwide Anglican Communion.

He is the second archbishop and primate of our Church, as well as the second bishop of the Diocese of Hong Kong Island and the Macau Missionary Area, positions he has held since 2007. His time as archbishop culminates a life in service to the Church. From his early years at St. Stephen’s Church, with the then Revd Cheung Wing Ngok as his mentor; to his confirmation by Bishop R.O. Hall; to his acceptance to become an ordinand by Bishop Gilbert Baker, studying at the Church Divinity School of the Pacific; to his ordination as deacon and priest by the then Bishop Peter Kong-kit Kwong, he has been immersed in the life of the Church and its mission. He was Curate at Holy Trinity Church (now Cathedral), and then vicar of St. Matthias Church. He has held a variety of other positions in HKSKH schools, churches and welfare councils, as well as diocesan and provincial organisations.

Archbishop Paul has been an important leader in Hong Kong during a difficult and transitional time. He has been concerned with developing an Anglican identity in our diverse community; with strengthening and renewing our educational ministry; and with articulating a mission for the city. His missiological interests were the focus of his studies at the University of Birmingham, where he received his PhD.

His vision is not limited to the SAR, and he has embraced the Church’s concern for greater China, of which Hong Kong and Macao are an integral part. He has further developed our historic relationship with the Church in China, promoting exchanges and social service, while upholding the Three-Self principle. As delegate to the Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference in Beijing, a position which continues, Archbishop Paul has brought a Hong Kong perspective to the nation as a whole, which has been essential for the enhancement of the ‘one country, two systems’ policy.

Globally, Archbishop Paul, is the first Chinese to Chair the Anglican Consultative Conference, a position in which he continues, bringing his wisdom and a spirit of moderation to the many challenges the Communion faces. In this capacity, he has helped make our province better known to churches all over the world. He has also been actively involved in the Council of the Church in East Asia, a regional consortium of Anglican churches that promotes dialogue, mutual support and unity without uniformity.

Institutional memory is vital for any community, and Archbishop Paul Kwong is a living embodiment of our Hong Kong Anglican heritage and our path to the future. He grew up in the Church, his whole life has been shaped by the Church, and at each stage of his ministry, he has in turn contributed to shaping the Church. After retirement, his contributions will continue in a new capacity.

A Message of Gratitude to Archbishop Paul from the Postulants

To The Most Revd Archbishop Paul,

As postulants, we give thanks to God for your wonderful ministry in the past years as leader and father of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, our beloved church. We are especially grateful for your strong support for the postulants’ training for our priesthood here at Ming Hua. Your episcopacy, by the mercy of God, is surely the solid foundation of our theological education.

As Anglican ministers, to unite with the bishop in preaching God’s Word and spreading His Kingdom is always our heritage and privilege. We treasure every time you came to the College and celebrated the Eucharist with us. Your presence shows us the care of the Church as a whole and gives meaning to our studies. It reminds us that our theological training at Ming Hua is not for our personal interest or benefit, but is for the Church, as you have shown us through your loyal service to God as a priest in the past decades. We are sure you will always be a remarkable example for us as we step into the field of ministry in the future and try to discover what kind of servant we ought to be.

We wish you a happy retirement. Your wisdom and experience are always needed in our study here. Please do visit us and share with us God’s marvelous grace.

Yours faithfully,

Francis, Ryan, Tim, Adam, Claire, Michael

大主教給明華的啓導﹕培育與傳承

潘靄君牧師感謝鄺保羅大主教教曉我們如何「全身投入,事奉上主」。         

鄺保羅大主教榮休的日子將近,讓我想起每次與大主教見面,他一定問我一個問題:「『明華』點呀?」大家可能認為他只是禮貌地表達關心,而我只需要簡單地回答,如:「一切正常」、「正常運作」等等的語句就可以,但事實並非如此,他是要我坐下來詳細匯報「明華 」的情況。因此,我就明白大主教對「明華」有一份深厚的情感,切切實實地關心「明華」的動向。他不喜歡聽行政的細節,他較關注聖職候選人的培育及生活,也有興趣了解信徒培育的部份,如:教甚麼科目,如何培訓信徒閱讀及對神學追求的心志。他也經常提醒我,在神學教育上,「培育」是重中之重的。

雖然大主教需要處理無限的事務,但我仍能感受到他那顆完全投入事奉的心,他不僅投入一件事上,而是每件事上都用心關注,這事奉的心態,值得我們學效。

在此,感謝大主教給我看到一位「全身投入,事奉上主」的大牧人。大主教,我要再一次感謝您,讓「明華 」有一顆願意改變及成長的心。感謝您,讓我們變得努力;感謝您,讓我們明白如何愛教會。希望日後的日子,我們仍然抱著感恩的心,傳承這份「全身投入,事奉上主」的精神。

Dr Paul Kwong: Bishop, Teacher, Theologian

Ming Hua Principal Professor Gareth Jones gives thanks for Archbishop Paul Kwong’s time in office.

I have already witnessed two Archbishops retire.

George Carey was my boss at Church House in London when I worked there in the late 1990s. He retired in 2002 and I still remember the grief on his face as he gave up cope, staff, and mitre to the safekeeping of the Dean of Canterbury Cathedral, Robert Willis.

I was a few feet from Rowan Williams, my teacher and old friend, when he was consecrated Archbishop of Canterbury in 2003; a little further away when he, too, retired in 2012. I cannot say I saw grief on Rowan’s face: ‘Godly relief’ might be a better description.

Now my old friend and boss, Paul Kwong, will retire in a few weeks’ time – and this time it is hard to describe my own emotions as he steps down from his leadership of our Church and our College.

I first met Paul Kwong at the University of Birmingham, more than 25 years ago. He was doing something few priests manage – earning a PhD in theology with a creative, engaging and fresh understanding of the relationship between church and society in Hong Kong. The book from that thesis remains an important, provocative argument for an Anglican interpretation of our Christian lives in this city.

I doubt that Archbishop Paul imagined how much his theology would be tested by events in Hong Kong, and how much he would be called to teach and explain his Anglican sense of the balance between faith and life as the city was pitched into social unrest, not to mention the Covid-19 health crisis that we are all still enduring.

I do know, however, that the Archbishop has never lost the creativity and freshness that he brought to his doctoral studies, and that he still shares with his priests at their weekly clergy meetings. As a Bishop Paul Kwong is always teaching, as a teacher he is always thinking theologically, as a theologian he is always sharing the gift of his episcope with every one of us. It is a gift that the Archbishop cares for passionately, and a passion that he always shares faithfully, hopefully, and lovingly.

We have seen these qualities so many times at HKSKH Ming Hua Theological College, where the Archbishop has been a constant visitor over the years: presiding at College Eucharist, teaching students with humour and deep intelligence, sharing meals and quiet conversations with postulants. No theological college anywhere in the Anglican Communion sees its Archbishop as often as we see Paul Kwong, and we are far, far richer for the experience of his times spent with us. It is the College’s great hope that Archbishop Paul will spend even more time with us in the future, as Archbishop Emeritus, for a priest and teacher of such gifts is a rare treasure.

For myself, I must say that, if we have achieved anything in these past 10 years, it has always been with the support and guidance of Archbishop Paul. Open and progressive too, the Archbishop has always given us the freedom to explore ministry and vocational training, to encourage students to think about their faith and to ask themselves the always crucial question, namely, who is God calling me to be? I like to think that the 600 students who have graduated from Ming Hua under Archbishop Paul have been successful because of that support, and I trust they know that as they work to express their Christian faith in the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui.

Above all, though, I want to acknowledge that it has been a joy to share this time with a spiritual and kind man who remembers so much about the people he meets and loves, as my own family knows very well. Archbishop Paul Kwong has shared himself with us all these many years and watched over us all as we have lived and worked together in this Church of ours. It is now our turn to watch over Paul and share with him as he enjoys his well-earned retirement. I hope he does so knowing the special place he has in our hearts.

‘Thy Kingdom Come’ Praised in Academic Journal Review

Congratulations to Faculty members Revd Professor Philip Wickeri and Dr Rowena Chen after their recently published book, Thy Kingdom Come. A photographic history of Anglicanism in Hong Kong, Macau and mainland China, was featured in the Journal of Ecclesiastical History.

The review praised the book for being an informative institutional history, documenting the historical development of the Anglican Church in modern China, and the response of Chinese congregants to wider historical trends, including wars, revolution and modernisation.

Reviewer Joseph Tse-Hei Lee, Professor of History at Pace University, New York, said: “Compiling the visual representations of such trends, Wickeri and Chen have produced a colourful portrait of how Chinese clergy and laity asserted their Anglican identity during times of profound upheaval.”

He observed that the carefully selected images showed the evolution of Anglican evangelisation, education, welfare services and medical work involving British missionaries, Chinese congregants and secular authorities, illustrating the way in which the Anglican Church acted as a space where both local and overseas people met and interacted with each other.

At the same time, he said the photographic narrative showed the cultural collaboration and modernisation of the Anglican missionary movement, as well as recording the experiences of ordinary people, including refugees, underprivileged children and patients at the Pakhoi Leprosarium in Guangxi Province, who were often ignored by early 20th century Chinese photographers.

Lee pointed out that the book showed that, despite its top-down infrastructure, Anglicanism transformed itself into a Sinicised religion that fused local sensitivities into a socially engaged gospel.

He concluded: “This nicely compiled photographic history should be of interest to scholars concerned with the globalisation of Anglicanism and the preservation of historical heritage.

“Its easily accessible prose is appropriate for general readers, and its extensive illustrations complement many in-depth scholarly analyses of Anglican and other Protestant denominations in modern China.”

文憑課程

文憑課程內容精彩,期待您一起參與!

實踐神學:

靈修學 (DPT005)

學員透過本課程,除初步認識基督教靈修外,也以自己的生命與各單元的學習互動,帶來個人的轉化及靈修使徒的召叫去服務。每個單元包括某些祈禱方式或靈修操練,並以意識省察結束。

講師:李子林先生

日期:21/10, 28/10, 4/11, 11/11, 18/11, 25/11, 2/12, 9/12 (三)

時間:晚上7:30 – 9:30

地點:Zoom

聖經硏習

《在起初…》創世記導論 (DBS004)

本課程嘗試從近東文化、文學角度,幫助信徒以多角度理解《創世記》內容,從而學習基本的舊約釋經方法與技巧。

講師:陳榮豐牧師

日期:29/10, 5/11, 12/11, 26/11, 3/12, 10/12, 17/12(四)

時間:晚上7:00 – 9:00

地點:Zoom

系統神學:

神學導論 (DCS006)

神學導論是信徒追求神學學習旅程的開始。本科將從宏觀角度,介紹神學的基本概念,學習的方法、範圍及當中帶來的信仰挑戰及機遇。本科也是日後鑽研系統神學的入門基礎。

講師:范晋豪座堂主任牧師

日期:16/11, 23/11, 30/11, 7/12(一)

時間:晚上7:00 – 9:00

地點:Zoom

Welcome to Ming Hua’s New Postulants

We are delighted to welcome two new postulants to the College this academic year.

Claire Wang

I am from St. James’ Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Taiwan. It is because of God’s grace that I am on the path to be accepted as a postulant and to study at Ming Hua. I once turned away from God’s calling because I was not ready to answer it. However, He asked: “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” during a missionary trip to Myanmar in 2015 and at a children’s camp every year. I always answered without hesitation and said: “Here I am. Send me.” And through days passing by, God showed me the great need in the hearts of the teenagers I taught before I became an intern of the church. I then realised that God never stopped calling me. I turned to deep prayer and meditation, and talked more frequently to my rector, Rev. Lily Chang. This time I said: “Dear Lord Jesus Christ, I am here. Please guide me to walk in your ways since you know better than I!”

I would like to especially thank my family, the parish, and the diocese of Taiwan for all the support I have received from the people who care about me. I know I am not alone on this journey. 

Michael Chan

我是來自西九龍教區諸聖座堂的Michael。很榮幸蒙教會呼召,有機會在明華神學院接受訓練,修讀神學。我年輕時已立志為主工作,而過去十多年亦一直在教會全職事奉,主要參與青年事工和學校福音工作。一路上經歷上帝的恩典和帶領,沿途亦獲得牧者和長輩的提點和指導。今天能成為神學生不但充滿感恩和興奮之情,同時也盼望自己能好好回應教會的呼召和信任,裝備自己奉獻給主所用。相信未來幾年會充滿挑戰,但我更相信上帝的恩典總是夠用的。

Does Anglicanism Have a Future?

Revd Professor John Kater considers the identity of the Anglican Church.

No one who identifies with the Anglican Communion as it has extended itself around the world can fail to notice that these are not the quietest of times to be an Anglican. For several decades, Anglicans have found themselves embroiled in controversies which at times threaten to break the bonds of communion that have held us together. Indeed, sometimes those arguments seem so deep and difficult that we begin to wonder if the Communion can hold together, and ask if the Anglican Way has a future at all.  

One of the problems in discovering an answer is that the question is tied up with another related question: just what do we mean when we talk about the future of Anglicanism? What does it mean to be an Anglican? What does it mean to be an Anglican in the 21st century – in Hong Kong, or Canterbury, or Brazil or South Africa? And as soon as we begin to ask ourselves that question, we are confronted by the fact that the answer has, in fact, changed over the years.  

At the time of the Reformation, when the Church of England declared its independence from Rome, the answer was very clear: to be Anglican was to be an English Christian.  Anglicanism was the faith of the English people; the Reformers were quite clear that the English Church and the English people were one and the same. The particular form that the Church of England took on was based on what we might call the Anglican principle: each people has the right to worship in its own way, in its own language, to sing its own music, to interpret the Bible in ways that make sense in a particular context, and to organise the Church as best fits that context. That was the principle that guided Thomas Cranmer when he directed the emergence of the Church of England during the reign of Henry VIII and his son King Edward VI. It was the same principle that was developed in the work of Richard Hooker, writing at the time of the first Queen Elizabeth and still considered by many to be the greatest theologian Anglicanism has produced. In the case of the Church of England, this meant that the church would be governed by bishops under the direction and by appointment of the monarch, who was understood to be the ‘supreme head on earth’ of the Church of England because the church was simply one aspect of the life of the English people. Its worship would be shaped by the Book of Common Prayer. 

Hooker pointed out that there are some aspects of Christian faith that belong to all Christians – the importance of the Bible, the doctrine of the incarnation that affirms that Christ is both human being and God among us, the sacraments of baptism and Eucharist which Christ himself commanded us to carry on. But he also affirmed that the scriptures must be interpreted in order to discover how they apply to a given context, and that there are a great many aspects of Christian faith that are neutral. Christians are required to celebrate the Eucharist; but what words they use, how the officiant dresses, and whether they use leavened or unleavened bread, are left to individual national churches to determine as best suits their circumstances. Hooker even believed that while it is appropriate for a church to be governed by bishops, where circumstances make that impossible, the church does not stop being part of the Body of Christ. The Anglicanism of the Reformation was a profoundly contextual expression of Christian faith.

Another aspect of the Anglicanism of the Reformers was that they understood it to be a via media – a ‘middle way’ between the two extremes of Roman Catholicism and the Protestantism of John Calvin’s followers. But as a reflection of English culture at the time of the Reformation, Anglicanism was always something of a hybrid, just as the English themselves were a hybrid people. English culture – and Anglican identity –  included elements from the original Celtic inhabitants of Britain, but also from the Romans who occupied England for centuries, from the Anglo-Saxons who brought their Germanic culture and language, from the Vikings who invaded from Scandinavia and settled over much of the country, and finally from the French who conquered England in 1066. The Anglicanism of the Reformers drew, whether consciously or unconsciously, on all those aspects of its heritage. And it never occurred to our Anglican ancestors that Anglicanism should be a church for anyone who was not English; other peoples had the right to their own churches, though they considered themselves to be a ‘sister church’ to the other churches of the Reformation – Calvinists, Lutherans and others.  

A Changing Identity

The definition of Anglicanism began to change when England joined other European countries in establishing colonies in other parts of the world.  Because the Church of England considered itself the church of English people wherever they might be, it followed the colonists to North America, South Africa, Australia, New Zealand, and the islands of the Caribbean. And in each of those places, the church tried very hard to create the same setting as English Christians knew back in England. But from the beginning, it was an impossible task. For one thing, the context was completely different. Anglicanism in England was a religion of cities, towns and a settled countryside. In the new settings, it found itself in a wilderness. Furthermore, there were already people living in those places, who had never encountered Christian faith and who now found themselves considered subjects of the English Crown and ripe for conversion (whether they wanted it or not!). Furthermore, in many cases Anglicans had to do without bishops; the Church of England was present in North America for a century and a half before the first Anglican bishop was sent to the New World. This meant that no one was confirmed, and anyone seeking to be ordained had to make the dangerous sea journey across the Atlantic. In the years before the first bishops, fully half the North Americans seeking ordination died in the attempt. In time, those colonies became independent; and because the Church of England was a national church, it no longer belonged to them. In each of the former colonies, new churches were established that tried to hold on to the heritage they had received from the Church of England, but in each case, they found it necessary to make changes to fit the new context. For example, in the newly-independent United States, Anglicans called themselves ‘Protestant Episcopalians’.  They devised a new Book of Common Prayer, with prayers for the president and Congress instead of for the king and the royal family. For the first time, bishops would be elected by the clergy and laypeople they served. Unlike the Church of England, the new Episcopal Church had no connection with the state and must become financially self-sufficient. And because American culture was attempting to embrace the concept of democracy, the church established a system of government in which laypeople had an important role in its life. As colonial churches in other parts of the world became independent, each of them found it necessary to make adaptations to fit their new context. In doing so, they were following that ‘Anglican principle’ that each people has the right to a church that reflects its own context. As a result, while the Anglicanism of Australia or New Zealand shared much with Canadian or South African Anglicanism, in each case there were also significant differences.  The members of these churches continued to identify with the tradition they inherited from the Church of England; Anglican no longer meant ‘English’ though it still had a strong reference to the heritage of the English Church.  

Missionary Anglicanism

            That definition underwent even more changes in the19th century, which Church historians consider the ‘century of mission’.  We might also call it the ‘century of colonialism’ since Anglican Christianity accompanied the British Empire as it expanded around the world, in much of Africa and large parts of Asia. In these colonial settings, Anglicans seem to have forgotten that ‘Anglican principle’ which affirmed that each people has a right to its own practice of Christian faith. The colonial Anglican churches worshipped with the English Book of Common Prayer, preferably in English; the hymns that were sung were the hymns of the Church of England. Church buildings were built to look like English churches, even when the climate made them radically unsuitable. Bishops – always English – continued to be appointed by the English state. Many of the missionaries imposed a completely British style of Anglicanism on the colonial churches. Late in the century, the United States also became a colonial power, and American Episcopalians attempted to impose American-style Anglicanism on Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Cuba and Panama.

            By the latter decades of the 19th century, the missionary movement had spread Christianity of various traditions throughout the world. Missionaries often found themselves in conflict and competition with representatives of other churches and traditions, and it was clear that such disunity was having a negative effect on mission. In 1888, for the first time Anglican bishops, who had begun meeting every 10 years for what was known as the Lambeth Conference, addressed the issues of competition among churches, and raised the possibility of entering into full communion with Christians of other traditions for the sake of the Church’s mission. If churches could be brought to unite, they suggested, they could work together instead of competing with each other. In a document which continues to be of great importance today, the bishops adopted what is known as the Lambeth Quadrilateral. In that document, the bishops of the Anglican Communion affirmed that Anglican churches are prepared to enter into full communion with any church which shares four principles: the Bible as the ultimate principle of faith; the Apostles’ and Nicene Creeds; Baptism and the Eucharist; and the ministry of bishops.  It is interesting to note that the bishops accepted the idea of full communion with churches that do not have deacons, or Confirmation, or the Book of Common Prayer.  

Contemporary Anglicanism

In the 20th century, as the colonial churches one by one became autonomous, the Anglican principle that peoples have the right to a church that reflects their culture and context was rediscovered. As a result, the Communion as we know it today is marked by a diversity that would have astonished our ancestors at the time of the Reformation. ‘Anglican’ no longer means ‘English’ and in some cases it no longer refers to the Church of England at all. Reformed churches in Spain and Portugal had no bishops, so they appealed not to the Church of England but to the (Anglican) Church of Ireland for the gift of the episcopate. The bishops of the Philippine Independent Church were consecrated by the American Episcopal Church. In some churches, bishops are elected by clergy and laypeople; in others, it is the bishops who do the electing. There is also enormous diversity in worship: some Anglicans are Pentecostal, especially in the Church of Southeast Asia, the Anglican Church of Chile and the Anglican Church of South America. Some churches prefer ‘free’ worship to the use of a fixed liturgy. Anglicans in Africa frequently dance as part of their worship. And in Asia (India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh), following the principles outlined by the bishops in 1888, Anglican churches joined with Christians of other reformed traditions to create United Churches.

            Perhaps it is in the diversity of contexts experienced in a truly global communion that makes the survival of Anglicanism a question to be asked. Contemporary Anglicans are divided by aspects of culture such as polygamy, the nature of Christian marriage, human sexuality, and gender: some churches ordain women while others do not; some churches bless same-sex marriages while most do not; some churches allow polygamous families to be baptised, while others do not. Anglican churches have very different roles within their society: in some places, evangelism is against the law and Christians must keep a low profile in order to survive. During the dictatorship of Idi Amin in Uganda, the Anglican Church opposed his tyrannical rule and its Archbishop was martyred. In Brazil and Oceania, Anglicans are deeply involved in issues of climate change and the destruction of the environment. In Canada and New Zealand, the place of Native peoples in church and culture continue to be of primary importance.  

            For some, such diversity seems to be unbearable; as a result, some member churches have declared themselves out of communion with others or have boycotted important gatherings such as the Anglican Consultative Council and the Lambeth Conference. In a few places, including Brazil and North America, bishops, clergy and laypeople have withdrawn to form new churches which claim to be ‘Anglican’.  It is such schisms and other symptoms of a damaged communion that makes some people ask if Anglicanism has a future.   

            Given the seriousness of the challenges, the question is a fair one; but I believe that the Anglican Way does indeed have a future – if it takes its history seriously. Specifically, I believe that our future as a Communion depends on five points.

First, we must realise that from its beginnings, Anglicanism has been a hybrid tradition. While its earliest manifestation incorporated the various distinct elements that made up English culture, Anglican Christianity today has elements drawn from every continent. Its members speak a multitude of different languages, worship in distinct ways, and read the Bible from different perspectives. There is no ‘pure’ Anglicanism. Anglicans who, like many African believers, dance their way to the altar with their offerings, are just as Anglican as those who prefer to place their gifts in silver plates or brocade envelopes passed by solemn laypeople. The Anglicanism of those who greet one another at the Peace with a profound bow, as is the custom in Korea, is no more or less authentic than that of Pacific Islanders who exchange the greeting by rubbing noses or of Latin Americans who exchange vigorous hugs as they sing a hymn of greeting.    

The reason, of course, is that Anglicanism is a living tradition which has continued to evolve down through time. The Anglicanism of the Reformers is not the style of faith we practise. A century and a half ago, a priest of the Church of England was arrested for having lighted candles on the altar of his church, while another congregation experienced rioting that required fifty police to quell when its choir began wearing vestments. Neither would be considered offensive – or troubling – to Anglicans of our time.  

Second, I believe our future depends upon our recognition that the Anglican Communion is what it says it is. It is not a church but a communion of churches, sharing their life with each other but free to develop their own style of faith as the Church of England did at the time of the Reformation.  

Third, it is that Anglican principle first spelled out by Cranmer, Hooker and others that continues to guide our evolution: each church has the right and the duty to worship God using the language, the music and the concepts of its own culture, organising its life in ways that best serve its mission and ministry, reading the scriptures in dialogue with its own context.  

Fourth, the Lambeth Quadrilateral, first approved by the Lambeth Conference in 1888 but affirmed repeatedly by churches around the world in the years since it was first spelled out, continues to provide a framework for mutual respect in mission and ministry. Communion does not depend on uniformity; it depends on sharing a common trust in scripture, a common affirmation of the Creeds, a common commitment to baptism and Eucharist, and the ministry of bishops as the way to hold our diversity together. There is no reason why Anglicans who share those four points need fear our differences; to the contrary, if we will pause and reflect, I believe we will realise that they do in fact provide the common ground necessary for us to recognise that what we share is far more important than what we differ about.

Finally, our future depends on reaffirming what Richard Hooker taught us more than 400 years ago: there are many aspects of Christian practice that are not essential to our faith, but are in fact neutral, the accidents of time and place. While we may be personally devoted to them, our future depends on recognising that what makes us Anglican is not a matter of taste or preference.  

Does Anglicanism have a future? Yes, if we can recognise our diversity and understand it as a blessing and a gift and not a problem. “The Church’s one foundation,” we sing, “is Jesus Christ our Lord.”  How we build on that foundation is a matter of culture and context; and who knows, those who seem most different from us might turn out to be our sisters and brothers after all.   

New Beginnings

Ming Hua Principal Professor Gareth Jones reflects on the beginning of a new academic year.

2020, it almost goes without saying, has been an awful year. We have all experienced so much disruption, seen so much disappointment and sadness, heard so many heartbreaking stories. The worst year of our lives, we say; and in so many ways it is true.

Yet even in such an annus horribilis there are reasons to celebrate. Here in Ming Hua we are delighted by the arrival of two new postulants, Claire from Taiwan and Michael from Western Kowloon. As a Church we have rejoiced together over the consecration of a new Bishop of Hong Kong, The Right Reverend Matthias Der, and the election on 18th October of a new Archbishop, The Right Reverend Andrew Chan, Bishop of Western Kowloon, to succeed His Grace, The Most Reverend Dr Paul Kwong, in 2021. We will honour Archbishop Paul and give thanks for his distinguished ministry, when he celebrates Eucharist in the College Chapel on 22nd October.

Academically, too, we can see signs of new beginnings. I am happy to announce, therefore, that the Hong Kong Education Bureau has formally confirmed the registration of Ming Hua’s new Doctor of Educational Ministry degree. This award, offered in partnership with Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS) and accredited by the Association of Theological Schools (ATS) in the USA, will begin in March 2021: please contact the College for registration!

The Doctor of Educational Ministry is a taught doctorate offering students the opportunity to develop professionally and more deeply in their ministries and careers. It is designed to offer many different courses and pathways, particularly for teachers and lay ministers, allowing those taking it to deepen their understanding of different areas of theological education, as appropriate for their own work and spiritual reflection.

An exciting part of the programme is that it offers students the opportunity to take part in residentials in both Hong Kong and Virginia, where they may come together with other teachers and ministers in shared reflection and intensive study. This Doctoral programme, therefore, offers new opportunities for Hong Kong students to learn and experience more about the Anglican Communion, by sharing new experiences with VTS’s students from around the world.

In 2022, Ming Hua will be 75 years old, while in 2023, Virginia Theological Seminary will be 200 years old! A big brother indeed – and, we trust, a faithful and loving partner in this new partnership with us. We must always look for reasons for hope: even small things are often signs of the Presence of The Lord.

Global Classroom

Please follow the below instructions to view a lecture through Ming Hua’s Global Classroom.

  1. Go to our Global Classroom webpage here.
  2. Click the ‘Live’ button under the public lecture you wish to attend.
  3. Enter your name and click ‘Enter Room’ to attend the lecture as a guest.
  4. Click ‘Open Adobe Connect’ if you have Adobe Connect installed on your desktop/laptop. If you do not have Adobe Connect, you will need to install the application, then repeat steps 1 to 4.