Women in the Church
Anti-Chinese immigration laws in the late-19th century and the first half of the 20th century effectively limited the Chinese community in the United States to a “bachelor society” of male laborers, and the few Chinese women in the country were paradoxically both valued and victimized. The Presbyterian Church in Chinatown and its partner-in-mission Donaldina Cameron House were sensitized to the politics of gender during these early days and, with the support of women at churches across the country, sought to provide a safe space for immigrant women in the local community.
Ever since that initial period, women have played crucial leadership roles in shaping the church. On the one hand, they have guided the church as elders, deacons, teachers, and committee and fellowship chairpersons, and on the other hand, they have sustained the church community by performing “invisible” work essential to the everyday function of the church. Such early organizing efforts as the Golden Circle Club have evolved into today’s Women’s Fellowships among the English-speaking and Mandarin-speaking congregants and the Ling Sung Fellowship among the Cantonese-speaking congregants. These organizations at the local-church level are, in turn, connected to Presbyterian Women, the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)’s women’s organization at the national level.
在教會逐漸發展的初期，婦女就擔當了不容忽視的領袖角色。一方面，她們以長老、執事、教師和委員會及團契領導者的身份帶領教會。另一方面，她們以“不易覺察的”基層工作支持教會、幫助她發揮其日常功能。昔日Golden Circle Club 演化成今天英文堂及國語堂的婦女團契和靈生團契(亦即粵語堂的婦女團契)。教會的這些基層婦女組織也與長老會全國大會的婦女組織保持密切的聯繫。