At the 60th anniversary celebration, the pastors of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong send us out in peace.
ELCA missionary Carolyn Schneider teaches church history at the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong to help prepare leaders not only for the Lutheran Church of Hong Kong but also for churches of the broader region in China and southeastern Asia. To support Carolyn, please see the information at the bottom of this page. To support another of the ELCA’s more than 240 missionaries in the global church, click here.
Dec. 1, 2014
Dear friends and companions in mission,
It is now the first week of Advent and the air is just turning chilly here in Hong Kong. “Chilly” means 13 degrees Celsius (about 55 degrees Fahrenheit). Life in Hong Kong these days goes on with a mix of everyday-ness, protest, and celebration. For me, the everyday-ness means teaching the last two weeks of classes at the seminary before the Christmas break and taking exams myself as a student of Mandarin Chinese (called Putonghua).
For me, the protest means paying attention to the local news so that I am aware of what is happening on the streets of Hong Kong. Police are trying to clear protest sites so that transportation and normal business can resume in those areas, and protesters are considering the best way to ensure that elections in 2017 for Hong Kong’s chief executive are open and democratic. These events are very painful for Hong Kong people because they are a sign of discord in the community rather than harmony. Neither Hong Kong itself not its churches is accustomed to public discord, and so finding ways to talk about the issues is very hard. The churches, seminaries, students and staff are all struggling toward this. Please join them in prayer for a healthy resolution and a good future for Hong Kong.
In the meantime, though, Christians don’t forget to celebrate God’s gifts to them. I have attended two big celebrations in the past two months. First, on Oct. 18-19, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Hong Kong celebrated its 60th anniversary with a big worship service at the Hong Kong Coliseum, with all of its congregations present. It was a joyful time of songs, liturgical dance, and preaching from Bishop Ben Cheung about how the risen Jesus accompanies us as he accompanied his first disciples. The text was Luke 24:13-35, where Jesus walks with his disciples, discussing his death and resurrection from the Scriptures and then revealing himself to them as he breaks bread for supper in Emmaus.
The second celebration was just last week, Nov. 28. Annually, the seminary hosts Founders’ Day to commemorate its anniversary. This was year 101. The seminary began in Hubei, China, in 1913, but war caused it (and thousands of refugees) to move to Hong Kong in 1948, where it had two other homes before the present campus was built in 1992. Included in the present design were the 121 steps that I climb each morning to get to the campus.
The 121 steps are meant to be a reminder of Psalm 121, which we also remembered as we spoke the psalm during our worship last Friday night. It is a good blessing with which to leave you as you go about your daily lives this Advent, perhaps with a mix of protest and celebration. Here is a photo of Psalm 121 from the worship bulletin, in Chinese and English.
P.S. Your support makes a world of difference. Here is how to give:
By check: Make payable to “ELCA Global Church Sponsorship” with “Carolyn Schneider (GCS2016)” in the memo line. Give through your synod office or mail your check to:
ELCA Global Church Sponsorship
ELCA Gift Processing Center
P.O. Box 1809
Merrifield, VA 22116-8009
By credit or debit card: See https://community.elca.org/HongKong or call 800-638-3522 and specify “Carolyn Schneider (GCS2016).”
By automatic monthly bank withdrawal, or to establish a covenant of prayer, communication and support: Contact 800-638-3522, ext. 2657, or firstname.lastname@example.org.