Its Special Characteristics
The Diocese of Hong Kong Island, one of the three dioceses of the Province of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, established in 1998, includes Hong Kong Island and the Lantau Islands. It is situated in a district which is the centre for religions, culture, business and politics. In contrast to the magnificent and vibrant district of skyscrapers and concrete jungle, it is also an area of quiet, refreshing and natural environment. The bustling and busy streets lie side by side with the quiet and soul-refreshing churches. In the past century, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui has contributed to education, social services and ministry.
In 1843, a young Englishmen, the Revd Vincent Stanton arrived in Hong Kong. He ministered not only to the European Community but also started spreading the gospel to the local people. In 1847, the Revd Stanton worked with a local committee in planning and building the first Anglican Church, St John's Cathedral, which was consecrated in 1849. It is the oldest building of Gothic architectural style and has now been declared a historical monument building. St. John's Cathedral is a church of diversity and international congregation.
It has witnessed the many changes taking place in Hong Kong and has also witnessed the Kingdom of God and the love of God in every corner of the territory, kindling the body, heart and mind of the faithful. The Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui was established in 1998, with Archbishop Peter Kwong as its first Archbishop and was succeeded by Archbishop Paul Kwong whose installation was held in January 2007. Thus, the continuity of leadership and its future development was ensured.
Churches with a Long Historical Background
The Diocese of Hong Kong Island has a long historical background, with several parish churches founded a hundred years ago. In 1865, the first Chinese Anglican parish, St. Stephen's Church, was built. It started the change in the tradition of parishes providing pastoral care only for the European community, and it opened up the ministry work for Chinese. Two other parishes with a history of almost a century have played an important role in ministry work for Chinese. They are St. Paul's Church and St. Mary's Church, which was founded in 1911 and 1912 respectively. St. Mary's Church was built in the Chinese Renaissance style which incorporated both Western and Chinese architectural style. In order to explore new mission horizon, the Diocese has established new mission churches in the new towns, e.g. Church of the Incarnation in Discovery Bay, Grace Church in Stanley, St. Timothy's Church in Aberdeen and Church of the Ascension in Tung Chung.
Education Services in the Past Century
Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui has endeavoured not only in spreading the gospel and providing pastoral care to the faithful, it has also played the important role of sponsoring schools; and through education proclaim to all the Lord of all truth, goodness and beauty, and thus sow the seeds of the gospel. In the past 150 years, Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui has founded numerous secondary colleges, primary schools and kindergartens, successfully nurturing many talents. There are many schools with a history of a century situated on Hong Kong Island. St. Paul's College was founded in 1851 and St. Matthew's Primary School in 1876. Several Schools have been declared historical buildings, e.g. St. Stephen's Girls' College, St. Stephen's College (Stanley) and St. Paul's Co-educational College.
Social Services Providing Welfare Care
The diocesan social service organizations have provided long lasting welfare care to the needy. St. Christopher's Home was established in 1935 and St. James' Settlement in 1949 by Bishop R.O. Hall. The former, which operates the largest number of children's homes among the NGO, has its head office in North Point. The Latter with its various centres on Island North provides services to children, youth and the elderly, and its first centre was operated in a room of Pei Ti Temple in Stone Nullah Lane in Wan Chai. Another more significant social service institution is the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council, which has its head office next to the Bishop's House and Ming Hua Theological College. Since 1973, it has provided diverse and appropriate services to children, youth and elderly throughout the whole territory, with integrated services, rehabilitation services, new immigrant service and homes for the elderly.
Diocese of Hong Kong Island Today
In the past ten years, in response to the Five-year Plan of the Province, the Diocese of Hong Kong Island has researched and promoted its own Five-year Plan, with nurturing and evangelical work as its two main objectives. At the completion of the Five-year Plan, the Diocese has continued to intensity its efforts to achieve these objectives. In November 2007, a Gospel Rally Musical, â€œSparkling Blessingsâ€ was held with over 400 parishioners and clergy of different talents participating. They planned and worked with a concerted effort to produce the musical play which aimed at spreading the gospel through different ways. Today, the Diocese of Hong Kong Island continues to explore its mission programmes in pastoral care, mentorship, website mission and evangelistic strategy in order to cultivate more talents and strengthen the understanding of the problems facing the Anglican Communion, so that all its work may glorify God and benefit people.