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The Gospel is Not For Sale

The Story of Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee

By Raymond W. M. Fung

Original HK$118  Now HK$94.4


The Gospel is Not For Sale

The Story of Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee

By Raymond W. M. Fung

Original HK$118  Now HK$94.4

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The Church and

The Labour Movement

Joseph Kaung

The Role of Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee

From the second half of the twentieth century, with the colonial context, the church reviewed the mission and meanings of existence. The theology of “mission of God” (missio Dei) was raised. This concept illustrates that the church is not the Lord and God is the Lord. A church is not existing for itself. Instead, a church presents in the world as the mission of God, serve the people and care about the needs of people. The mission of God gets beyond a term for preaching. It leads the church to take actions to practice the mission of God in the world.


Hong Kong 1967 riots reflected the problem in Hong Kong societal structure that the rights of working-class were ignored. The Christian ecumenical body, Hong Kong Christian Council (HKCC), set up Christian Industrial Committee and it became Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee (HKCIC) in 1968 for the concern about ignored labour right issues. The close communication with churches and religious organisations in Asia and worldwide made HKCC an organisation with broad perspectives and focused on the political, social and cultural factors influencing religion. As a church organisation, Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee cared about the workers who ignored by the society and churches. At that time, workers didn’t have paid leave. Even female workers could not enjoy maternity leave. “Labour rights received hardly any legal protection at that time.” Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee staffs collected complains and experience from basic workers for the evaluation and suggestion in the committee. They went through a trial and error process for a better labour right condition in Hong Kong.

From the collaboration with workers, HKCIC noticed many social unfairnesses in Hong Kong and revealed that the problems could not be solved with remedy and relief only. Social justice is a must.


The Feature of Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee


As a component of church, HKCIC needs to care about the life of workers in Hong Kong instead of simply taking them into churches. The workers have not built up a belief in an established church. Also, the system and activity modes of a church don’t suit the living habits of workers. The workers may not have a holiday on Sundays. They don’t know how to pray, read the Bible and sing hymns. HKCIC served the people by working tightly with them inside their group. The action of taking the gospel and the “good news” out of the church’s walls learned from Jesus Christ. “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.”


The outreaching evangelical model that focus on the target of ministry and stand with the workers showed a different pattern of Christian belief from the inside-church activity. This ministry serves the people in need, make people have blessing and experience a flourishing life. The witness is not for one’s power or reach the target number of persons with determination. The witness in Hong Kong Christian Industrial Committee is to do what we should do based on our belief: fight for social justice and dignity for the workers and the disadvantaged group. We neither hide nor vaunt our identity as a Christian. People observe our witness, and they might decide to join our labour church. We neither “hard sell” nor “for sale” the gospel, as determination is the work of Holy Spirit and one’s own will.

The ministry of HKCIC includes organising the workers, mediating the labour disputes, promoting the labour education, contacting the labour unions, assisting the family members of workers injured or died from work, raising community and labour church. The routines then develop into the participation of public affairs: working-class rights like paid leave and maternity leave, and the rights related to the grassroots like bus and public utilities price increase, and legislation. The change of focus from concerning society to political participation was pushed by social needs. Also, it is consistent with the social agendas of Christian belief.

The Missiological Contribution


Do we have Hong Kong missiology and theology?

Rev. Canon Alan Chor Choi CHAN analysed local mission experience and recommended the ideas concluded by Raymond Wai Man FUNG based on the story of HKCIC: avoid being limited by the false dichotomy of spiritual and worldly life; view the structural sin by the theology of “sinned-against”; unite the poor and the oppressed to fight against the evil forces; face the personal corrupted tendency; repentance is a process that turns the sense of inferiority into self-respect; the good news is not belief in Jesus Christ but following Jesus Christ. Rev. Canon Alan Chor Choi CHAN thinks the mentioned ideas provided a new perspective of missiology because of the broad applicability. Also, these ideas balanced the conventional opposition between personal sin and structural sin, and therefore, promoted the cooperation with the outsiders.


HKCIC stand by the grassroots workers to fight for social justice. The work of HKCIC is not only benefiting the disadvantaged group but also witnessing our belief. It is localised missiology that glorifying churches in Hong Kong and promote the international reputation of Hong Kong churches.


In Hong Kong, churches and labour movement seemed irrelevant, but HKCIC built up a bridge between the two groups like what Jesus Christ did, “for he is our peace, who made both one, and brake down the middle wall of partition” (Ephesians 2:14) . The action of HKCIC helps both groups to grow, refresh and have a broader view of the world.

The Future


In 21st century, new labour right issues increased: problems related to outsourcing, the impact from global economy, decreasing bargaining power of the working-class, conflicts between shoemakers in Spain and Wenzhou and the economic structural reformation problems for the white-collar. The labour right problems are even more serious in the aspect of both significance and difficulty.


Churches and labour movements seemed unmatched but have been united by the work of HKCIC. At this very time point, churches and HKCIC need more efforts to rediscover and reinvent the relationship between the Christian and the working-class.

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Thank you for your support and prayer!

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