Hong Kong 2006
Chapter 18:
Religion and Custom
Traditional Festivals
Muslim Community
Hindu Community
Sikh Community
Jewish Community
Other Faiths
Traditional Chinese Simplified Chinese
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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.

Protestant Community

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.

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