Rev Dr Stephen Lee
On Friday, June 27, the Devon Road campus was filled with an air of excited expectancy: it was time for this year’s graduates to take a group photo with the full faculty of the school. As the 37th Graduation Exercises of CGST and the annual Board meeting would be held the next day, the school senior management team took this opportunity to meet with the chairs and representatives of the Hong Kong Board of Directors, the US, Canadian, and Australian Boards for a joint meeting on Overseas Development.
The vision of CGST first came in 1966, when four Chinese divinity students of Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia: Jonathan Chao, Che-Bin Tan, Samuel Kau, and Wilson Chow, met together to pray. Our President Emeritus Wilson Chow was only 23 at that time and a first year Bachelor of Divinity student. According to Deacon Carson Mok, the CGST North American Board was registered in the late sixties in the State of Delaware on the east coast, beginning to raise funds for launching seminary in Asia. As most of the directors were residing in Philadelphia and Washington, they met at a half-way service stop on the inter-state highway. When the meeting finished, each of them had to drive for an hour home. When asked where the school and who the principal would be, the directors frankly admitted that they did not know yet.
The Australian Board was established in 1977, and consisted of the Regional Councils in Sydney and Melbourne in the early days. In the early eighties, when the Chairman of the Central Board, Dr. S. Y. King retired to Vancouver, the Canadian Board was established in 1986, and the East Canadian and West Canadian Regional Councils were set up in Toronto and Vancouver respectively. The North American Board was renamed the US Board in the same year, and Regional Councils were set up in cities like Seattle, San Francisco, San Jose, Los Angeles, Houston, Chicago, Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington DC.
CGST has worked jointly with local Chinese churches in 17 cities across the US, Canada and Australia for the “Word of Life” Bible Study Ministry. This year we have 35 locations for classes and up to 6,125 persons registered for the Bible study classes. Each student has not only enthusiastically attended the 8-lesson courses, actively participated in discussion groups, but have also generously donated towards the daily operation and ministry of the school. This has greatly encouraged the board and regional committee members. After the many decades of the hard work put in by the overseas board of directors, it is now a good time to recruit potential leaders from the voluntary worker teams of the WOL classes. This will enable CGST to pass on to the next generation the vision which it has first received from the Lord.
In September next year, we will be celebrating the 40th anniversary of the school in thanksgiving. The overseas board of directors intend to organise real-time broadcast of the celebration in Hong Kong, and to render their full support for the school in raising additional funds necessary for the development over the next 10 years. The Lord has moved the hearts of many in Christ in both Hong Kong and overseas over all these years. They have walked together with the CGST teachers and students in prayers, donations, consultations, strategic development and many other areas. All of them are indispensable stalwarts of the global CGST family.
With your tall examples of selfless giving and devotion, we are all encouraged to surrender all on the altar for Christ our Lord.