Research on Women and the Church
Although woman believers are by no means a small number, their experiences and contributions are always been neglected. To examine the roles and contributions of lay women in the church and to the society, the Centre has conducted a research project on Catholic Virgins with Professor Kang Zhijie of University of Hubei. Catholic virgins in Guangtong Province, Hong Kong and Macau are interviewed, so as to understand their characteristics, work, religious experiences, reasons to be virgins, contributions to the church and society. This project is sponsored by the South China Program of China Service Research Centre, the Chinese University of Hong Kong. The preliminary report has been presented in a conference in April 2008.
Besides, Professors Angela Wong and Doris Choi of the Gender Study Program, CUHK invited the Centre to participate in an oral history project relating to “Chinese Women and Hong Kong Christianity.” Women Christian leaders are invited to narrate their personal life stories, in order to construct the society, culture and religious life of these Chinese women leaders, and to examine the interaction between themselves and their faith, church, and Chinese culture. Hopefully, elements of constructing their gender identity can be understood. The Centre is mainly responsible to conduct interviews with Catholic women leaders and write their stories.
Based on the preliminary results of these two research projects, a conference on “Celibacy/Marriage: Women and Church Ministry” was held on April 28, 2008 at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, to explore the impact of celibate or marriage life on the service of lay women to the church. Seven papers were presented in the conference and a proceeding of the papers will be published at the end of 2008.