The Practical Prophet

Bishop Ronald O. Hall of Hong Kong and His Legacies


Moira M. W. Chan-Yeung

ISBN : 978-988-8208-77-7

Religion, Philosophy Sheng Kung Hui: Historical Studies of Anglican Christianity in China

December 2015

268 pages, 6″ x 9″, 26 b&w illus.; 13 tables

  • HK$420.00
No longer available

As the longest serving and the most influential bishop of Hong Kong during one of the most tumultuous periods in China’s history, Bishop R. O. Hall played a crucial role in the reconstruction of the Anglican Church and Hong Kong after the Second World War. Born in England, the bishop committed his life to building bridges: between China and England; between Hong Kong workers and company management; between the government and the Hong Kong people; and, of course, between the Hong Kong people he loved and the Divine he worshipped.

His single-mindedness in pursuing and translating the social theology of F. D. Maurice into practical terms resulted in his enormous contributions to the development of social welfare, low-cost housing, and education in postwar Hong Kong and helped spur its economic and social evolution into a global city.

This book highlights the two major controversies during his episcopacy: the ordination of a woman priest during the war and his visit to China during the “Hundred Flowers Campaign.”

Based on primary archival and private materials, this book shows that Bishop Hall, whole-hearted in pursuit of his goals for Hong Kong through “love-in-action,” was also multifaceted, with longings, questions, and inner contradictions we all share.

Moira M. W. Chan-Yeung is professor emeritus of medicine at the University of British Columbia and honorary professor of medicine at the University of Hong Kong. This biography is her second non-medical scholarly work after her retirement.

“The impact of Bishop Ronald Hall’s ministry was more than his contemporaries could ever have realized or foreseen. He was not only a man of intense personal courage and integrity but someone who was able—as true prophets are—to make their own lives and actions a sign of how the world might be different. It is a great delight to have at last a worthy tribute to his stature.” —Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

“Moira Chan-Yeung’s The Practical Prophet is a welcome addition to recent scholarship. This book explores the extraordinary contributions of Ronald Hall, Anglican bishop of Hong Kong (1932–66), focusing on the post–World War II years, a turbulent time in the history of Hong Kong and China. Anyone interested in the Chinese church or the global Anglican Communion needs to know this story.” —Judith Berling, professor of Chinese and comparative religions, Graduate Theological Union; past president of the American Academy of Religion

“Bishop Ronald Owen Hall of the Anglican Church was a great man in Hong Kong history, a legendary leader who dared and cared, and had, through his love and his work from the 1930s to 1970s, changed the lives of many people in Hong Kong.” —Yuen Sang Leung, professor of history, former head of the Chung Chi College, and dean of the Faculty of Arts, the Chinese University of Hong Kong