Bishop R.O. Hall and History of the Association
Bishop Ronald Owen Hall (‘Ho Ming Wah’ in Chinese, 1895-1975) was the Bishop of Hong Kong and Macau from 1932-1966. His Christian faith was broad and inclusive, with particular concern for the wellbeing of individuals and society through justice and compassionate welfare, with access to education for all.
After the Second World War, Bishop Hall played a prominent part in the recovery of Hong Kong. He was instrumental in establishing kindergartens and primary and secondary schools, and also established schemes to provide school meals, housing associations, night shelters, accessible health clinics and orphanages. The impact of his post-war work can still be felt today in Hong Kong, where his sympathetic work amongst the Chinese poor and sick led to him being called ‘Ho Ming Wah’ which means ‘Hall who understands the Chinese’.
In 1964, whilst on home leave in the United Kingdom, Bishop Hall became aware of many people from Hong Kong New Territories living and working here. Many lived together, often working in the catering trade, and did not understand English, thus leaving them socially disadvantaged and vulnerable to exploitation. After returning to Hong Kong he sent Revd. Shui Ying Lee to London to lead the Chinese Congregation at St Martin-in-the-Fields, thus establishing a church-based initiative with the intention of helping and supporting the Chinese community here.
In 1977, Revd. Lee and the Chinese Congregation began raising funds with the intention of setting up a Chinese community centre. In 1984, an organisation named Bishop Ho Ming Wah Association in honour of Bishop Hall was formed to manage the proposed centre, which formally opened on 11 November 1987.