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July 2023
Issue No. 315

The Anglican Church in Macau – from the current missionary area to the future missionary diocese


Ever since the establishment of the Province of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui in 1998, the Anglican Church in Macau has been administered as a missionary area. As we celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Province, the Macau Missionary Area is also ramping up its effort in preparation for her transformation into a missionary diocese. 

The Macau Missionary Area held a sharing session back in May, reviewing her current situation and looking towards her future. Parishes, schools, and social service units in Macau were invited. Those speaking on the day included the Archbishop Andrew Chan, the Revd Bartholomew Ma, the Revd Simon Fan, the Revd Odette Pun, Principal of the Sheng Kung Hui Choi Kou School (Macau) Mr Eric Chan, Service Director of the SKH Macau Social Services Coordination Office Mr Posso Ip, and the Chair of the Macau Missionary Area Women’s League Ms Cheang Sao Lin.

The Anglican Church in Macau now 

Church ministry 


St Mark’s Church was the first church site established by the Anglican Church in Macau. Its priest-in-charge, the Revd Bartholomew Ma noted that the biggest problem St Mark’s is facing now is the lack of young parishioners. He hopes that he could ‘Keep the current parishioners, and reach out to more outside the church’s walls’. To do so, he divides his time between the regular ministries and meetings, and various new ministries conducted in cooperation with schools and social services. More recently, the parish has started outreach efforts in the Seac Pai Van area, hoping to attract newcomers by tapping into the spiritual needs there.

Youth ministry is something that cannot be neglected if a church were to continue to grow. The chair of Macau Missionary Area’s Youth Ministry Development Team the Revd Odette Pun explained how difficult it can be when it comes to promoting youth ministry in Macau. It is very common to see young parishioners simply leave, and so the Revd Pun has focused on the task of keeping the current young parishioners, before then expanding outwards and cooperating with different schools, social service units, and even other religious organisations. 

The Women’s League of the Macau Missionary Area, which was founded in 2010, had always been active in organising activities and educational opportunities for the women from across different parishes. Its chair, Ms Cheang Sao Lin, expressed her wish that this uniting effort can continue in the future, so that women from different parishes can come together to look after each other, and share their experience in spiritual development – all to provide assistance in the development of various ministries within the missionary area.
Social services


The Service Director, Posso Ip, talked about how the SKH Macau Social Services Coordination Office was established in 1997, and how it was developed and managed under the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Welfare Council. With the Missionary Area’s support, the Coordination Office has already served the faithful in Macau for 25 years.

There are currently 17 service units operating under the Coordination Office, totalling around 200 workers. The main service targets are children, teenagers, families, and staff at casinos. Amongst the 3000 or so cases last year, about 60% involved teenager problems, 20% touched upon family issues, and 15% were about gambling or financial issues. The Office thus puts the support for teenagers’ mental health at the forefront of their service efforts. On top of that, as we now live in the age of the multimedia Internet, the information we receive online, especially from social networks, is something that deeply affects our teenagers in both how they think and how they act. Education on healthy Internet usage is also another focus of the Office’s services. The other services that the Office offer include: life education for families, counselling services for gambling addicts, and other initiatives that involve both the Church and schools.

Education services


Principal Chan noted that there are only four Protestant secondary schools in Macau, and two of them are Anglican. The first was founded in 1919, and re-founded after being received by the Anglican Church in 1967, becoming the Sheng Kung Hui Choi Kou School (Macau). The second is the Macau Anglican College, founded in 2002. Both schools incorporate within them a kindergarten, a primary school, and a secondary school, with a total count of students numbering nearly 3400. Other than providing foundational education for these younger age groups, the Missionary Area has also established the Sheng Kung Hui (Macau) Education Association. The Association is currently holding theological courses jointly with the Ming Hua Theological College, and has also been holding non-foundational courses with the Sheng Kung Hui Choi Kou School (Macau). 


From a Missionary Area to a Missionary Diocese


The Archbishop then looked back at the history of the Anglican Church’s development in Macau. He pointed out how Macau held a unique place in the history of missionaries. Robert Morrison, along with many other missionaries when they came to China, set up their initial base of operations at Macau. With that in mind, the Church should hold Macau as a ‘land of evangelism’. And as the growth of the church is the natural fruit of the labour of Christians’ living witnesses, it is most appropriate that the Macau Missionary Area has to change, now that it has grown over the years.

The Missionary Area began its journey proper towards a Missionary Diocese in 2019. In the 10th Provisional Synod of the Missionary Area, held in October that year, the Standing Committee passed the motion of ‘Seeking support from the Standing Committee of the General Synod in establishing a Macau Missionary Diocese’. In the December of the same year, the Macau Missionary Area wrote to the Archbishop expressing its wish to become a Missionary Diocese. Later still that year, on 10th December, the 8th General Synod’s Standing Committee held its 2nd meeting and discussed this petition from the Macau Missionary Area. They reviewed the recommendation for establishing a preparatory committee for the matter, and approved the establishment of a Macau Missionary Diocese. 

A Preparatory Committee was thus formed for the establishment of a Macau Missionary Diocese. The Committee consists of the Archbishop, primary officers of the Provincial General Synod, and the persons in charge of the parishes, schools, and social services within the Macau Missionary Area. The Preparatory Committee is charged with all matters concerning the establishment of a Macau Missionary Diocese, coordinating the work of various sub-committees and working groups, and regularly reporting the results to the Provincial Standing Committee. The Preparatory Committee is also responsible for suggesting to the Provincial Standing Committee the appropriate timetable for the establishment of a Macau Missionary Diocese, and all other matters as appointed by the Provincial Standing Committee.

The Macau Missionary Area is currently going through the legal process of this transformation under the juridical guidance of the Associacao de ‘Sheng Kung Hui Macau’. At the same time, the Missionary Area is reviewing the Constitution and Canons of the Diocese of Macau. When the Provincial General Synod and the Macau Provisional Synod both have passed the adoption of the proposed Constitution and Canons, the operation of the diocese, parish, and bodies of Macau will commence according to the adopted constitution and canons.


<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 315. Please click here>


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