By Nancy Eng MacNeill
An island of 7 million people, Hong Kong reminds me of being in San Francisco. The streets are busy and wind ascending hills among tall skyscrapers. Entering Hong Kong you can sense the vibrancy of the city with Cantonese, Mandarin, and English spoken everywhere. The city is very friendly; transportation around Hong Kong is simple and accessible to the newcomer. A port city, Hong Kong has the unique identity as a place of export, often exporting goods from China. Over 70% of Hong Kong is green space, with well planned and maintained trails and parks.
Christian churches provide a hub for communities, especially those churches connected with primary and secondary schools. Children and youth often spend extended hours at the church to study after school and before they return home. Throughout Asia, the church has risen to meet needs of the community in providing good quality education, medical assistance and social services often with subsidies from the government. The church plays a vital role for all the people (regardless of religious affiliation) of Hong Kong.
Throughout this trip with the Moderator, we have heard the anxiety of the economic tsunami. The impact in Hong Kong s already hitting hard, the church is suffering from many of the same market effects as in the United States. Poverty, domestic violence, basic human rights were only a few of the issues facing the church. Our conversations also focused on moving the church into electronic communities and advancing in technology, again a similar story. Such a dramatic pairing: Poverty and Technology. They pose the challenge of how the church in Asia and in the US will remain solvent enough to meet the overwhelming and increasing needs and pangs of hunger and sustain an institution that wants to move and expand in communicating to its members and ecumenically throughout the globe.
The picture shows the Presbyterian travelers with the Rev. Po Kam-cheong of the Hong Kong Christian Council.