China, Hong Kong: Ching Chee Lee

I live by four main principles: give up not, refuse not, fear not and have hope – I may be disappointed, but I never give up hope.

— Ching Chee Lee

Born in Hong Kong in 1932, Pastor Lee Ching Chee has devoted herself to the duties of the Church and education. She has rewritten the history of the ministry, which was once monopolized by male pastors. A female leader in the Church, Pastor Lee was officially ordained pastor in the 1960s when the Church was very conservative. Pastor Lee has paved the way for female ministry, and has proved that both sexes should enjoy an equal opportunity to serve in the ministry. She has been noted for her peaceful and cooperative approach.

Pastor Lee Ching Chee is the first female pastor in the history of ministry in Hong Kong, which was once monopolized by men. She was ordained pastor in the 1960s when the Church was very conservative, and paved the road for female ministry in the Church. Subsequently, the Church began to recognize the status of women and the principle of sexual equality in leadership. In the 1980s and 1990s, different denominations of the Church started to change their tradition of ministry and female pastors were ordained. Pastor Lee played both the role of a pastor in the Church and an educator in school. Refusing to be confined by narrow-minded ideas and old-fashioned education methods, she abolished religious education examinations, and abandoned the use of outdated textbooks and directive teaching methods. Instead, she organized discussion-oriented curricula for religious education, and added the sharing of experience from teachers in morning prayers in addition to religious messages. She taught religious education in a different manner, sharing with students their changes brought by religion so that the knowledge and learning they acquired would be relevant to reality and their life. Between 1977 and 1981, Pastor Lee worked in England as secretary for mission education in the Council for World Mission. She visited many countries including many that were unstable politically, and where people were socially and economically impoverished. She was once in Northeast India when there was curfew after midnight. She visited Belfast in Northern Ireland in times of fierce guerrilla warfare. She listened to complaints from discontented workers in mines 2,600 feet below ground level in Wales. Despite the difficulties she was successful in her mission of enhancing understanding and establishing cooperation between the Council for World Mission and Third World churches.

Retired pastor