Chinese Presbyterian Archives
Early Presbyterian Missions to the Chinese in Canada
“In 1888, at the 14th meeting of the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Canada, at Halifax, an Overture was presented by the Presbytery of Columbia to initiate a mission to work among the Chinese in British Columbia.” (Victoria Chinese Presbyterian Church 90th Anniversary Booklet, p. 11)
St. Andrews Presbyterian Church in Victoria initiated the work with the appointment of Alexander B. Winchester, a former missionary to China, in 1892. C. A. Coleman, who had been working in Canton, China with the Bible Society, was appointed to assist the work of Winchester. Winchester and Coleman opened an evening school for Chinese immigrant. However, the enrollment and the progress were not as satisfactory. Attendance of Sunday evening worship fluctuated greatly.
Winchester felt that his language limitations hindered the growth of the mission. In 1894, he travelled to Canton to learn Cantonese and met Ng Mon Hing, a promising young Christian leader. Winchester brought Ng back to Canada with him as an assistant for the Victoria Mission. Following Ng’s arrival, the attendance of every activity at the mission grew quickly. In 1899, the Presbytery approved the change of status of the Victoria Chinese Presbyterian Mission to Victoria Chinese Presbyterian Church. The initial membership was fourteen.
After the transfer of Ng to Nelson, British Columbia, Lo Cheung and Ma Seung continued the work until the appointment of Leung Moi Fong. A new church building was completed in 1922 and remains in use to the present day.
The Presbyterian Missions to Chinese expanded beyond Victoria to other major cities in Canada. In 1891, the Presbytery of Calgary approved the appointment of Mr. Thomas Paton as missionary to work amongst the Chinese in Calgary. However, it was not until 1901, under the leadership of J. C. Herdman, minister of Knox Presbyterian Church, that substantial work began and still not without opposition. The work was continued on for years with volunteer workers for both English and Chinese classes. In 1903, the Calgary Chinese Mission was formed as an interdenominational mission organization to carry on the Chinese work in Calgary.
In 1895, Coleman was officially transferred to Vancouver, to the Mission situated at Columbia and Pender Streets. The Mission was then moved to 500 East Pender Street, where the work was conducted in conjunction with the Chinese YMCA. Ng Mon Hing joined the work in Vancouver in 1903. Sometimes more than one thousand people attended the service. The Mission moved to the corner of Dunlevy and Pender Streets in 1922. In 1926, the Mission moved once again to East Hastings Street where there was space for a kindergarten, an important ministry of the church up to this day. Chinese school was offered daily by Rev. Louie Fong Yee. A new church building on Keefer Street was brought to fruition in 1930. The first Chinese elder, James Mark, was ordained in 1939. The church continues to grow and expand.
In 1886, the Women’s Foreign Missionary Society began a Sunday School for the Chinese laundrymen in Winnipeg, Manitoba. The Methodist and Presbyterian churches worked together to offer a joint Sunday evening service. A total of eight Chinese Sunday School classes were held and equally shared by the two denominations.
Montreal was the city with the largest Presbyterian mission outside of British Columbia (Wang , p. 706). In 1894, John Thomson was appointed as missionary to the Chinese in Quebec and Ontario. He started a total of fifteen Sunday and evening schools at various Presbyterian churches and a Chinese Sunday evening service in Knox Church, where he was assisted by Chin Non Seng. By 1915, church membership reached two hundred and thirty five people. A Christian boarding house was opened to offer accommodations for young Chinese men so that they would not be tainted by the harmful effect of gambling, opium, and prostitution in Chinatown.
Presbyterian members initially helped with the Chinese Mission work in Toronto under the ministry of the Y.M.C.A. Later on, Cooke’s Presbyterian Church and the Metropolitan Church in Toronto took the initiative to open their own Chinese classes. By 1915, there were a total of 17 Chinese classes held at various Presbyterian churches under the auspices of the Chinese Christian Association. Anti-Asian sentiment in Canada and anti-Christian propaganda from China resulted in a serious decline in attendance during the mid-1920s.
Montreal Chinese Presbyterian Church History http://mtlcpc.org/aboutus Accessed June 26, 2012.
“Historical Sketch of the Presbyterian Mission to the Chinese in Canada.” Presbyterian Church of Canada Archives, Toronto.
90th Anniversary Booklet of Vancouver Chinese Presbyterian Church.
90th Anniversary Booklet of Victoria Chinese Presbyterian Church.
Wang, Jiwu. “Organised Protestant Missions to Chinese Immigrants in Canada, 1885-1923.” Journal of Ecclesiastical History, vol. 54, no. 4 (October 2003): 691-713.
W. M. S. Report, 1938 on “Montreal Chinese Work.” Presbyterian Church of Canada Archives, Toronto.
長老會華人宣教事工一再擴展至域多利以外的其他大城市。一八九一年，卡加利長老會議會委任 Thomas Paton 負責卡加利的華人事工。不過一直等到一九零一年在諾斯長老會賀文牧師 的帶領下，事工才得以具體發展，但遇到不少攔阻。其後數年，因得到參與中英文班義工的協助，宣教事工得以繼續。至一九零三年，卡加利長老會華人事工轉型為一個跨宗派的宣教組織，繼續推廣在卡加利的華人福音事工。
一八九五年，高文先生正式調派至位於哥倫比亞街與片打街交界的溫哥華基址任職人。差會後遷址至片打東街五百號，與華人青年會在事工上合作。伍文慶在一九零三年參與溫哥華事工。溫哥華的佈道聚會深受華人歡迎，出席人數有時過千人之眾。一九二二年，會址再遷至 Dunlevy 街與片打街交界，其後再於一九二六年遷至喜士定東街，該處有足夠空間開設幼稚園。幼稚園乃教會的一項重要事工，一直至今。有Louie Fong Yee 牧師每日在中文學校授課。奇化街新堂於一九三零年建成。第一位華人長老 James Mark 在一九三九年被按立。教會繼續不斷增長擴展。
一八八六年，婦女海外差傳部為曼尼吐巴省溫尼泊的華人洗衣業界開始主日學事工，先由James Thomson 在這事工上服事了十九年，然後由高文先生接手。高文先生上任時，循道公會與長老會已聯合舉辦了主日晚上的崇拜聚會，由循道會提供地方，長老會提供宣教士，一共舉行八班主日學，資源由兩個宗派共同分擔。
滿地可是長老會在卑詩省以外最大的宣教事工。一八九四年，John Thomson 被差派到魁北克及安大略省的華人中作宣教士。他在當地幾個英語長老會開始了一共十五班的主日學與夜校，又在 諾斯 堂與一位華人助手開設了主日晚上的華語崇拜。到一九一五年，會友數目已達二百三十五人。又成立「基督徒奮進會」，為華人青年提供住處，抗衡唐人街的社會惡習，諸如賭博、吸食鴉片、賣淫活動等。
長老會的會友起初協助在男青年會旗下運作的多倫多華人福音事工。其後，Cooke’s 長老會與大多倫多長老會聯手，開辦自己的華語班。至一九一五年，不同的長老會堂會中合共有十七個華語班，全由華人基督徒聯會主辦。。在一九二零年代中期，由於加國內的反亞洲人情緒高漲，及中國反基督教運動帶來的影響，聚會人 數銳減。