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.

教會中的婦女

 

十九世紀末、廿世紀上半期的反華裔移民法律實際上限制了美國華裔社區的發展,使其成為男性勞動者的“單身漢社會”。華人社區中為數甚少的華裔女性,一方面故然是倍受珍重;另一方面卻備受虐待。華埠長老會及其姊妹機構-金美倫堂很早就意識到這種性別偏向,在全國長老教會姊妹們的支持下,盡力在社區中給女性移民提供安全的生存環境。

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。

Laurene Chan

Elder Laurene Chan-pictured here next to the Rev. Calvin Chinn-was Staff Associate at the Presbyterian Church in Chinatown from 1997 to 2000. Bringing with her seven years of experience directing youth ministries at the Presbyterian mission organization Donaldina Cameron House, Chan was responsible for starting an all-church children's ministry at PCC. In 2000, her work in the church at the local and national levels was recognized by an invitation to preach at the 212th General Assembly