Written by: Clara Chiu (Head of Partnership Development)
In the process of promoting overseas poverty alleviation and development work and fulfilling Integral Mission, CEDAR’s staff are often inspired by the testimonies of lives being transformed. We hope that in our home of Hong Kong, we can also work with local churches to practice Integral Mission and experience the grace of the Lord.
Since last November, CEDAR Fund has commenced an eight-month programme, ‘CEDAR Course’, to promote Integral Mission locally. Through the programme, we hope local churches are given support and the resources to serve the community in greater depth.
Pastors and church leaders who enrolled on the programme to gain some knowledge about ‘Integral Mission: church fulfilment and mobilisation’, ‘SALT visit approach’, ‘Emotionally-focused therapy’ and ‘Understanding and supporting children with special educational needs (SEN) and their families’. On top of that, we also provided grants to participating churches to carry out community service projects. Three of the participating churches (Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong Kau Yan Church (Fanling), Christ’s Vineyard and Tsing Lam Alliance Church) applied for the funding. In order to help churches design projects, our programme officer shared with them the project design skills and guided them to complete the proposal. Our goal is to help participants obtain sufficient support in terms of concept learning, practical operation and funding.
24 June marked the final session of the programme, which could be considered a ‘graduation ceremony’. I was grateful to be a part of it and to hear participants share what they learned. Each participant expressed gratitude to the Lord and acknowledged witnessing God’s grace and work manifested through the church’s community service efforts.
The pastors and staff of Tsung Tsin Mission of Hong Kong Kau Yan Church (Fanling) recognised the needs of the community. Despite having limited experience serving SEN children and their parents, they were willing to mobilise church fellows to serve needy families. Preacher Assistant Ms Connie Fung shared that after attending the talk on SEN and the Mothers’ Day party in the church, a mother sent her a thank-you message for having a great time with her daughter at the party. Ms Fung said that this mother experienced a lot of pressure in taking care of her family, and it was a rare opportunity to have fun and a relaxing time at the party. Fung felt very thankful that when this mother was at a low ebb, the church staff was there and became a support to her.
Ms Fung was moved by the mother’s grateful message. She expressed that receiving positive feedback serves as encouragement and motivation for her as a servant in the church, especially during challenging times of service. Besides, with these opportunities to serve the community, the passion of the church fellows has been rekindled.
Ms Winnie Loo, Chief Preacher of the church, accepted our interview and shared her experiences and insights gained from ‘CEDAR Course’.
With deep gratitude to the Lord’s guidance, CEDAR has been carrying out various poverty alleviation projects overseas and promoting poverty education locally. Two years ago, we were able to resume our ministry in Hong Kong, supporting the community projects of local churches and organisations. Through ‘CEDAR Course’, we are further expanding our ministry in Hong Kong. In its inception, approximately 20 pastors and church leaders from six churches and institutions participated in the programme. Among them, three churches applied for funding to run community development projects, and CEDAR allocated HK$132,000 for these initiatives. We adhere to the working principle of ‘From Church, Through Church’ to work hand in hand with the churches and provide resources to assist them in promoting Integral Mission and serving the community.
If your church or faith group is willing to step into the community and serve those in need, we warmly welcome you to contact us. May we be salt and light in society, witnessing the love of our Lord.