Flourishing church is desperate for more space to continue its work

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 08 May, 2012, 12:00am


Candy Tam's letter ('Church does not practise what it preaches with development plans', May 2) is inaccurate and makes unreasonable accusations. Let us be clear that the Methodist Church Hong Kong is not a holding company concerned with profit but a Christian community focused on people.

Since the first Methodist Church in Wan Chai opened in 1893, now called the Methodist International Church (MIC), Methodists have sought to serve this creative, vibrant community.

What Ms Tam overlooks is that Methodists established the significant Home for Soldiers and Sailors, now the Wesley Hotel, which is not being enlarged, but renovated.

Later began the Chinese Methodist Church in Wan Chai, which she notes was redeveloped almost 20 years ago.

Presently this flourishing congregation is desperate for more space for its work. Of course, as good stewards, we have to ensure that any development far in the future is not ruled out.

No mention is made of the significant work of the Methodist Centre, adjoining the Wesley Hotel, which employs more than 280 people, mostly social workers, supporting early years education, family counselling, youth programmes, addiction prevention and work with vulnerable elderly people especially those who are the 'hidden elderly'.

MIC is presently bursting at the seams with eight international congregations supported in and from this ageing and crowded building.

Since the early 1980s, there has been significant work among Filipino migrant workers, giving a secure space for hospitality, skills development, Bible study and worship.

It is true that MIC is seeking to redevelop and discussions with the relevant government departments are under way.

We are delighted to work with senior members of the Methodist Church Hong Kong, deliberately and carefully moving towards the relevant permissions to proceed.

Methodists have much experience of boldly sharing faith, engaging in the community and speaking prophetically, and we will continue to do so in Hong Kong. We have a duty of care to be good stewards of our present resources and visionary for our future life.

As a Methodist community in Wan Chai, we wish to work with all those who have a concern for this vibrant and creative part of Hong Kong. We value all dialogue with those similarly concerned.

Reverend Canon G. Howard Mellor, superintendent and senior minister, Methodist International Church Wan Chai