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Seminar on Chinanization of Christianity Commences in Hong Kong
2023-05-31 Source: this site

From May 18 to 19, 2023, the Seminar on the Chinanization of Christianity, jointly organized by CCC&TSPM and Hong Kong Christian Council, was successfully held at the YMCA Salibury Hotel. Led by Rev. Xu Xiaohong, Chairperson of National TSPM, and Rev. Wu Wei, President of CCC, a 24-person delegation of CCC&TSPM (also including five from academia) attended the seminar in Hong Kong. There were more than 120 participants who came from major Christian denominations, seminaries and social service institutions in Hong Kong.

On the morning of May 18, Rev. Wong Ka-fai, Chairperson of the Hong Kong Christian Council and General Secretary of the Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China, and Rev. Wu Wei respectively addressed the opening ceremony. Rev. Wu Wei pointed out that the Chinanization of Christianity has historical continuity and epitomizes the advancement of the era. This is manifested in the need that the Chinanization shall adapt to the changing Chinese society and seek the welfare of the nation and people as a witness of light and salt; that the Chinanization shall voluntarily take root in the Chinese culture, integrate with excellent traditional Chinese culture and strive to develop a spiritual temperament of the Chinese nation; that the Chinanization shall endeavor to run the church well and express the faith with Chinese features, gradually establishing a Christian theological system with distinct Chinese characteristics.

In his speech, Rev. Wong Ka-fai said that the Chinanization of Christianity explores the dialogue between Christian faith and culture and real life. It aims to address the challenge of establishing a foothold for Christianity in China, making it truly become a part of the country. The Church in Hong Kong pays great attention and significance to the discussions and researches on the Chinanization of Christianity. This seminar provides a platform for the churches in Hong Kong to deepen their understanding of the Chinanization of Christianity.

The Most Rev. Andrew Chan, Archbishop of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Kui and the Hong Kong member of National Committee of CPPCC, offered the benediction prayer for the seminar.

The seminar started with keynote speeches given by Dr. Milton Wan Wai-yiu, the emeritus  professor of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, who has a thorough knowledge of both Eastern and Western cultures, and Rev. Xu Xiaohong, an expert on Chinese Christianity in the past and now. They respectively shared their insights on “Chinanization of Christianity” and “Epochal Significance of Chinanization of Christianity”.

Dr. Milton Wan Wai-yiu said the nation is tackling challenges from modernization and globalization. As an effort for theological construction, “Chinanization” must not only to adapt to the need of the times and the challenges of current situation, but also to explore the theme of “ultimate concern” that has enduring value; and it needs to take excellent traditional Chinese culture as a vehicle to become the blessing of contemporary people.

Tracing back to its source, Rev. Xu Xiaohong noted that the Chinanization of Christianity is the requirement and choice for the independent development of Christianity in China. He emphasized that the Chinanization is not to change Christian faith, but rather to highlight the Christianity with Chinese features. Rev. Xu also pointed out that the future path of the Chinanization of Christianity lies in Chinanizing theological thinking, as well as running the church well, honoring God and benefiting the people in the context of a socialist society. Moverover, this will be a reference for the ecumenical churches, especially the churches in the Third World.

After keynote speeches, another 14 pastors and scholars from both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong had in-depth discussions and exchanges on “missional pastoral care”, “theological education” and “ecclesiastical history”. The topics for the seminar ranged from broad macro-analysis to the research on pioneers in the history of Chinese Christianity; from pastoral practice of Chinese Christianity and case studies of theological education, to the theoretical discussions about comparative religious studies. Professor Xu Yihua from Fudan University gave a summary speech. He concluded that this was a high-end, comprehensive, knowledge-based, innovative and inclusive seminar, which was a good start for the churches in the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong to work together and discuss on the Chinanization of Christianity in a continuous, comprehensive and profound manner.

In his closing speech, Rev. Shan Weixiang, Vice President and General Secretary of CCC, quoted a poem composed by Guanxiu (a Tang Dynasty monk poet) to describe the excellence of the seminar. He mentioned that the sharing of speakers shone with wisdom, which revealed the reflections and explorations of the contextual development of Christian churches as well as the sincere heart of loving the country, loving the church and loving the land beneath our feet. Chinanization of Christianity is a significant ministry that requires unrelenting efforts. Based on the principle of “one country, two systems”, this event that gathered people from both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong to discuss the topic of Chinanization together, is of profound importance and will definitely go down in history.

Rev. Chan Tak Cheong, Chairperson of the Hong Kong Chinese Christian Churches Union, also delivered a closing remark. He expected more high-quality, wide-ranging exchanges and discussions at various levels in the future, so that Hong Kong churches can play its unique role in promoting the Chinanization of Christianity and bring benefits to the construction of churches in Hong Kong.

Mr. Gu Mengfei, Secretary General of National TSPM and the host of the closing ceremony, described this jointly-held seminar on the Chinanization of Christianity by CCC&TSPM and churches in Hong Kong as unprecedented in both form and scale. He appreciated the coordination of the Liaison Office of the Central People’s Government in the Hong Kong S.A.R. and the support from churches, church organizations and institutions in Hong Kong. He added that the seminar allowed attendees to further experience how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ. Through discussing, communicating and sharing, we can enhance the fellowship between the churches in both the Chinese mainland and Hong Kong, deepen our friendship and jointly explore and contemplate how to grow our churches healthily in accordance with the principle of “one country, two systems”. This is of vital importance.

The one and a half day seminar concluded with a benediction prayer given by Rev. Xu Xiaohong.

Translated and edited by Bei Feng.