The Christian community — comprising mainly Protestants and Roman Catholics
— numbers about 660 000 people (including 100 300 Filipino Catholics). The
Protestant, Orthodox and Roman Catholic churches maintain a spirit of fellowship
with the Hong Kong Christian Council, the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong
and Southeast Asia (based in Hong Kong) and the Roman Catholic Diocese. They get
together on special occasions.
The Protestant movement in Hong Kong began in 1841 and has a current
membership of 320 000 followers. The Protestant community is composed of more
than 50 denominations within 1 400 congregations. Most of the major international
denominations and former mission agencies have ecclesial branches in Hong Kong,
such as the Adventist, Anglican, Baptist, Christian and Missionary Alliance,
Evangelical Free, Lutheran, Methodist, Pentecostal, and Salvation Army. There are also
many indigenous denominations such as The Church of Christ in China (representing
Presbyterian and Congregational traditions), the True Jesus Church and the Local
Church (commonly known as the Little Flock) in Hong Kong. A large number of their
members are young people.
The Protestant community runs three post-secondary institutions: the Chung Chi
College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong, Hong Kong Baptist University and
Lingnan University. It also runs more than 630 schools (273 kindergarten, 206 primary
schools and 160 secondary schools) and 116 nurseries. In addition, it operates more
than 30 theological seminaries/Bible schools, 30 Christian publishing houses and 70
Christian bookstores. There are two Christian weekly newspapers, the Christian Times
and Christian Weekly, which present news and comment from a Christian
perspective, half a dozen Christian media agencies which broadcast Christian TV
programmes regularly and four weekly Christian radio programmes on Radio
Television Hong Kong (RTHK).
More than 250 para-church agencies and different Christian action groups
attend to the needs of the Protestant community, respond to some issues that affect
Hong Kong society and support emergency relief and development projects in
Mainland China and developing countries.
The Protestant community runs seven hospitals and 18 clinics. Sixty social
welfare organisations provide a wide range of services at more than 250 community
(family/youth) service centres, 75 day care centres, 17 children's homes, 35 homes for
the elderly, more than 100 centres for the elderly, 47 training centres for the mentally
handicapped and disabled, 25 drug rehabilitation centres, and chaplaincy services for
prisons, hospitals and the airport. There are also 15 campsites. The YMCA and YWCA
manage five international hotel-style guesthouses.
Two ecumenical bodies, the Hong Kong Christian Council and the Hong Kong
Chinese Christian Church Union, facilitate cooperative work among the Protestant
churches in Hong Kong. The Chinese Christian Church Union was established in 1915
and has a current membership of more than 300 congregations. The Hong Kong
Christian Council was formed in 1954 and is a member of the World Council of
Churches. Its core members — major denominations, ecumenical service agencies
and the Orthodox Metropolitanate of Hong Kong and Southeast Asia — are
committed to building a closer relationship among all churches in Hong Kong, the
Mainland and overseas. The Council also encourages local Christians to play an active
part in the development of Hong Kong society. It seeks to serve the wider community
through its affiliated organisations such as the Hong Kong Christian Service, Hong
Kong Christian Industrial Committee, United Christian Medical Service, Christian
Family Service Centre, and Alice Ho Miu Ling Nethersole Hospital.
Roman Catholic Community
The Roman Catholic Church in Hong Kong was established as a mission
prefecture in 1841; became a vicariate apostolic in 1874; and a diocese in 1946.
There are about 243 000 Catholics in Hong Kong served by 289 priests, 72 brothers
and 508 sisters. There are 52 parishes, comprising 41 churches, 34 chapels and 27
halls for religious services conducted in Cantonese; three-fifths of the parishes also
provide services in English and, in some cases, Tagalog, the Filipino language. The
diocese has its own administrative structure while maintaining close links with the
Pope and other Catholic communities around the world with which it shares the
same creed, scripture, liturgy and organisation.
Along with its apostolic work, one of the prime concerns of the diocese is the
well-being of the community as a whole. The diocese has 309 Catholic schools and
kindergartens catering to about 250 000 pupils. The schools are assisted by the
Catholic Education Office. Medical and social services are provided to at least six
hospitals, 14 clinics, 38 social and family service centres, 18 hostels, 13 homes for the
aged, 20 rehabilitation service centres and many self-help clubs and associations.
Caritas is the official social welfare arm of the Catholic Diocese of Hong Kong. These
services are offered to everyone and, indeed, 95 per cent of those who have
benefited from them are not Catholics.
The diocese publishes two weekly newspapers — Kung Kao Po and the Sunday
Examiner. It also produces cultural and educational programmes for broadcast on TV
and for incorporation in DVDs for distribution. Other media activities are generally
coordinated by the Hong Kong Catholic Social Communications Office.