Two characteristics are distinctive to the Divinity School of Chung Chi College: first, she is a pan-denominational collaboration aiming at training various kinds of minister; second, as a constitutive part of a university, she is an academic unit. These two characteristics naturally give the basic form of her mission: an endeavor to integrate theological theories with ministerial practice. In view of all these, the 1981 Theological Education Consultation Meeting decided to establish a “Pastoral Center”, emphasizing a close cooperation between the Divinity School of Chung Chi College and churches. In 1983, the Theological Council endorsed this idea. Under the auspices of The Hong Kong Council of the Church of Christ in China, the “Pastoral Programme” wasexperimentally set up in 1984. Our thanks go to God for the achievements that the Pastoral Programme has made during the years. The “Pastoral Programme” is now an essential and integral part of the School. In July 1998, the Theological Council resolved to create a post with the title “Practical Education Co-ordinator”. In order to enhance students' ability to integrate theory and practice, it was decided that the post be filled by a candidate who, on the one hand, had obtained a doctorate in theology, and on the other hand, has had experience in teaching. The setting up of this post has been very smooth with the support of CWM/Nethersole Fund and Chan King Yee Family Fund. The further development of the “Pastoral Programme”, however, could only be possible with the full support of the Christian community. Besides, thanks also go to the CWM/Nethersole Fund, in particular for their support to the project entitled “Mission Enhancement Project”, which began in 2000. A project executive who has attained a higher degree in theology as well as received training in Journalism and Communication has been employed to plan and execute the concerned programmes and activities. This project will set up a Christian “think-tank” dedicated to enhance the local churches to carry out their mission more effectively in a society with increasingly complicated issues and new challenges.
Since 2006, because of the rapid expansion of the Pastoral Program, we added an additional Associate Director of Pastoral Program to help with the coordination and restructuring of our programs and also strengthening the relationships with local churches. We also started a new “Young Pastor Support Network” program in 2007, to provide young pastors with continuing spiritual formation, direction and training.
Programmes and Activities
From the very beginning, the Pastoral Programme has been adopting a multi-dimensional approach to realize her mission. The programmes and activities she organizes can be categorized into several strategies:
Nurturing the To-Be-Ministers
- Upgrading the qualities of Field Education.
- Cooperating with non-local Christian Communities in the provision of fieldwork Placements.
- Closely cooperating with bodies providing Clinical Pastoral Education.
- Teaching pastoral subjects.
- Conducting researches in the area of pastoral studies.
Meeting the Educational Needs of Local Ministers
- Providing tailor-made refresher courses and talks to local ministers.
- Admitting qualified local ministers into our part-time degree programmes.
- Organizing contextually relevant seminars for church workers.
- Creating and exploring other educational opportunities for church ministers.
Organizing Retreat Camp for Local Ministers
Organizing retreat camps for local ministers every year to help them to reflect on their own ministries and life, and encouraging them to share their experiences among themselves.
Implementing “Mission Enhancement Project”
This project serves Hong Kong churches by developing a network of experts, scholars, and experienced pastors, pooling together the most current information about the situation of Hong Kong, and integrating social analysis and theological reflection, so as to enhance the ability of ministers and lay leaders in the understanding of these issues and reflecting upon them theologically. It thereby raises the competence of the churches in responding to complicated social issues, so that the Hong Kong churches may carry out their missions more relevantly and effectively. The project publishes an online bulletin which analyzes social issues that churches are concerned with and provides various perspectives for reference. Moreover, this project conducts researches on the situation of Christianity and society. It also offers courses and organizes seminars.
“Young Pastor Support Network” Program
This program provides young pastors with continuing spiritual direction and concrete support, instructions and training, including the following goals:
- Building a pastoral support and resource sharing network
- Providing continuing education opportunities for pastors
- Providing continuing spiritual formation and direction
The Program includes the following services:
- Group or individual counseling to help young pastors in personal and pastoral issues
- Group meeting for pastors every month. Provide for pastors personality tests such as T-JTA, MBTI, Love Languages, Learning Styles and Reflective-Dialogue to help them assess their personality, gifts and ministries
- Discounts at joining Pastoral Courses and buying publications of our school
- Applying pastor library card for CUHK library
Annual Pastoral Conference
In accordance with the development of pastoral ministry in Hong Kong, pastoral conferences are organized to explore of issues arising from pastoral ministry. Since 2007, this conference has been held annually, and conference papers have been published.
Promoting Theological Studies
- Divinity School of Chung Chi College has been coorganizing a few religious quarterly courses with the School of Continuing Studies of the Chinese University since 1974. In 1986, a one-year Certificate Course in Theology was launched. Since 2006, this programme has been upgraded into “Diploma Programme in Theology”. From 2015, these programmes have further been revised to “Certificate Programme in Christian Studies” and “Diploma Programme in Christian Studies”. For further details, please refer to the School of Continuing and Professional Studies, The Chinese University of Hong Kong.
- Organising the Chuen King Memorial Lectures. This lectureship funding has been donated by the late Mr. Bing-lai Wong, a reputable Christian businessman of Hong Kong to commemorate his father, Mr. Chuen-king Wong. The following lists the lecturers invited: In 1996, Prof. A.J. Malherbe of Yale University and Prof. C.K. Barrett of Durham University; in 1997 Prof. Kosuke Koyama, a famous Japanese theologian of New York Union Theological Seminary. In 1999 16 local scholars were invited to lecture on the theme “Reading, Studying and Interpreting the Bible”, the focus was on the diversity in methods of Bible interpretation. In February 2000, Prof. Gerd Theissen of Heidelberg University; in January 2001, Prof. Jack M. Sasson of the Vanderbilt University; in October 2001, Prof. Morna Hooker of the Cambridge University; in March 2003, Prof. James Dunn of the Durham University; in March and September 2004, Prof. Choon Leong Seow of Princeton Theological Seminary and another world renowned Old Testament scholar, Prof. James Barr, respectively; in January 2005, Prof. Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza from Harvard Divinity School; in February 2006, Prof. Howard Marshall of University of Aberdeen; in March and September 2007, Emeritus Professor David. J. A. Clines of of University of Sheffield and Prof. David Ussishkin, Professor Emeritus of Archaeology; in February 2009, Prof. Michael Stone of Professor Emeritus of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and in March 2010, Prof. James. H. Charlesworth, George L. Collard Professor of New Testament Language at Princeton Seminary, October 2010, Prof. Richard Bauckham, Professor Emeritus, St Mary's College, University of St Andrews, Scotland; in October 2011, Prof. Richard B Hays, Dean and the George Washington lvey Professor of New Testament at Duke Divinity School, the United States; in October 2012, Prof. Harold W. Attridge, Sterling Professor of Divinity and former Dean at Yale Divinity School, the United States; in March 2014, Prof. John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School, the United States; in February 2016, Prof. Timothy H. LIM, Professor of Hebrew Bible and Second Temple Judaism, Second Temple JudaismSchool of Divinity, University of Edinburgh, Scotland.
- Organizing Pommerenke Lectures which investigate, in particular, the relationship between Christianity and Chinese cultures. This lectureship is set up in memory of the Rev. Pommerenke who donated a site at Tao Fung Shan to the Chung Chi College. The site was given to him by the Rev. Dr. J. Stewart Kunkle who was a former principal of Union Theological Seminary, Lingnam University, Canton. The following lists the lecturers invited for the Pommerenke Lectureship: in 1998 Prof. Wing-hung Lam and Prof. Wai-yiu Wan; in 2003, Prof. Xinping Zhuo; in 2004, Prof. Vincent Shen and in 2008, Prof. Bernard Luk.
- Publishing the Tolo Theological Series, the Chuen King Series, the Pommerenke Series, the Good Shepherd Series and other theological monographs.
- Collaborating with Christian organizations in the provision of Christian education.
Future Plans for Development
We will continue our effort to actualize our departmental mission of “promoting theory-practice integration” in order to serve God and the local churches. In order to face the new challenges, the new trends in theological studies, and the changing ministerial context, we decide to focus our effort on the followings:
A New Organizing Framework
The new framework is constituted by the integration of three concepts: providing quality education to our students, conducting research for knowledge development, and using our expertise to serve the Christian community.
General Theological Education
To offer more external degrees, such as Professional Doctorate in Practical Theology programme which is offered by Cambridge Theological Federation and Anglia Ruskin University since 2011. Attempts will also be made to meet the needs of local Chinese churches by sponsoring advanced diploma courses to address contemporary theological questions.
Refresher Courses for Local Ministers
Refresher courses will be organized to systematically enhance the ministerial competence of the local ministers in the following aspects: general church management, legal issues relevant to church management, pastoral counseling and workplace ministry.
Full-time church workers may apply for permission to attend regular university courses in Theology as “in-service training”. Enquiries should be addressed to the Director of Divinity School of Chung Chi College.
Relevant and specific religious/theological subjects and studies which cover in various areas of ministry are offered according to interest and need. E.g.:
- Approaches to Theology
- Studies on Books of the Bible
- Hong Kong/Chinese Church History
- Christian Education
- Chinese Religions/Christianity and Chinese Cultures
- Pastoral Counseling
- Literature and the Art of Writing
- Music Ministry
- Counseling Practicum, etc.
Refresher Courses tailor-made for Local Ministers
Two to three short courses are held each season for pastors and church workers to enhance their competency and quality for serving the churches in this fast-changing society.