Hong Kong’s Last English Bishop
The Life and Times of John Gilbert Hindley Baker
ISBN : 978-988-8528-71-4
Sheng Kung Hui: Historical Studies of Anglican Christianity in China
212 pages, 6″ x 9″, 31 b&w illus.
In Hong Kong’s Last English Bishop, Philip L. Wickeri explores the life and times of John Gilbert Hindley Baker, who served as Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Hong Kong and Macao from 1966 to 1981. Baker lived through exciting times, as a missionary in wartime and revolutionary China, as a priest in America during the early years of the Cold War, and as a mission leader in the Church of England when churches in many parts of the world were becoming independent, before returning to Hong Kong where he was elected bishop. He was a faithful correspondent and a prolific writer throughout his life, offering a personal commentary on the churches and the societies in which he lived. Wickeri has made extensive use of Baker’s writings and other archival materials to provide a vivid picture of his life and work. Bishop Baker was instrumental in working for reconciliation after the 1967 riots, expanding the work of the diocese, and engaging Hong Kong with the wider world. In 1971, he opened a new era in the Anglican Communion by legally ordaining the first women priests. This book is indispensable for understanding the development of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui (Anglican Church) at a time when the growth of Hong Kong as a vibrant modern city was at its peak.
“In this wide-ranging and well-informed book, Philip Wickeri succeeds in telling the story of Gilbert Baker against the backdrop of the huge changes affecting China and Hong Kong through some of the most turbulent years of the twentieth century. At once insightful and sensitive it will be required reading for those seeking to understand the complex move from colonial to post-colonial forms of Anglican mission.” —Mark D. Chapman, University of Oxford
“Wickeri masterfully reconstructs the life and times of a central participant in not only Chinese Anglicanism but also Hong Kong’s transformation into a modern metropolis. On China and social change, Bishop Gilbert Baker held nuanced views, many of which remain eminently relevant for our contemporary moment.” —Brian Tsui, Hong Kong Polytechnic University