The community of Hong Kong has gone through great shocks in the past year. The anti-extradition movement has continued for more than half a year starting from June 2019. On top of that, the COVID-19 epidemic began to spread around the world in late December of the same year. These have tremendously caused the Hong Kong’s society, families, tertiary education, and the physical and mental condition of individuals to undergo dramatic changes. How can we walk with college students in this time of changes in Hong Kong? The Inter-College Team has developed the theme of “Community in Cross – Shared Suffering, Shared Burden and Shared Path” as their annual ministry theme 2020-21. We hope to put the Way of the Cross of Jesus Christ as our centre, through our various ministries, to listen to the young people and discern their holistic needs and walk with them in the Way of the Cross.
During the anti-extradition movement in last year, the students experienced anger, disappointment and frustration. They were even filled with a sense of powerlessness that had nowhere to speak. Besides, in the epidemic that continues to this day, both the education model and fellowship gatherings are forced to change, from physical gatherings to online teaching or gatherings, where the experience is the alienation of relationships and the loneliness of being isolated at home.
Our young people bear the needs to be listened to, to relate to others and more fundamentally, and to be called by the Cross. These basic needs are calling us to respond…
We may not be able to give an answer to the mixed feelings, anxieties and doubts experienced by young people in the social agitation, since we are also in it. If Christ’s incarnation is the Lord’s response to human suffering, we would like to learn from his example; we walk into the younger generation, suffering with them in the turmoil of the times, listening to their feelings, and providing them the warmth of peers in the middle of loneliness.
We are convinced that the reality of walking together is suffering together. Only in the same suffering can we listen to each other sincerely. Also, only in this way can we carry the shared burdens—Take up of the Cross, Respond to the Calling. The cross was regarded as a symbol of failure in the Roman Empire, but the Lord made it a sign of salvation that he identified himself with us in suffering for sin and defeated death. The Lord made a call to people on the cross. To sinners, the call of the cross seemed to be heavy. However, it was this weight that transformed it into redemption—it was an affirmation and invitation. What is the way out of social crisis? We, like youngsters and even everyone in this city, have no answer. But there is one thing we know, that the calling of taking up the cross is still being sent to us, and we can only seize this calling and let this calling be our rod and staff, and walk with the young people in this time.
Under the theme of 2020-21, we will have three aspects of ministries which work together and respond to the needs of the campus. Firstly, it is our universal ministry, such as Inter-College Spiritual Revival Conference, ‘Being with Being’ listening movement, and establishment of cross-gospel-anti-epidemic group, Bible Camp, College Christian Daily etc. We hope to outreach to the students widely and share the theme vision with them. Secondly, it is our deepening ministry. Based on the universal ministry, we have in-depth contact with the lives of students and listen to them. We will have different trainings and group works, including fellowship leader training, Bible study group, life coaching group, appreciation of paintings and Bible reading group, and our key ministry in summer, “Integral Mission Summer Plan.” Finally, we will also have an “Associate Staff Scheme” which recruits, trains and supports graduates to participate in the ministry of the College Department on a voluntary basis.
Even though the coming year may still be difficult, may we share the suffering, share the burden, and share the path, and become a community in Cross that respond to the calling.