560 UK Churches Ready to Welcome Hong Kong Wave
British Christians seek to learn from past Windrush mistakes in their nation’s largest planned migration in 50 years.
Last Sunday, a local Chinese church’s multilingual service was broadcast live on BBC Radio 4, the United Kingdom’s most popular radio station, for the first time in history—a gesture of welcome to the hundreds of thousands of Hong Kong residents expected to migrate to the country under a new visa provision.
“This feels like a watershed moment for the Church in the UK,” wrote Mark Nam, an Anglican priest in Bristol. “I never dreamed I would be alive to hear Chinese songs and voices broadcast across the nation for Sunday Worship like this.”
Nam is among hundreds of pastors, ministry leaders, and laypeople who are preparing local churches for what could be the largest planned migration to the country in over half a century.
As of January 31, nearly three million British overseas nationals in Hong Kong are said to be eligible for this new passport program, which will allow them and their families to live and work in the UK and to apply for British citizenship within six years. The UK government expects over 300,000 to register and estimates that at least 130,000 will arrive in 2021 alone.
Political tensions are high in Hong Kong, particularly for pro-democracy activists—including Christians—who have become the target of a crackdown from Chinese authorities in the region. While the government has committed to open the door for everyone who applies, Christian leaders believe the church should be waiting on the doorstep to welcome them.
“It’s in our DNA; it’s in our doctrine,” said Krish Kandiah, a former pastor, missionary, and adoption reform advocate who has rallied local Christians around the Hong Kong Ready initiative. “The welcome is an important …
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March 06, 2021