Principal Mark Toulouse's Visit to Hong Kong, Beijing and Seoul

 Mark and Jeffica Toulouse are visiting Asia. Read Mark's updates about what they are doing!


On Friday, November 19, a student from Minzu University in Beijing met us at the hotel and we set out for the Ming Tombs and the Great Wall with a rented car and driver. The Ming Tombs are 50 kilometers northwest of the city. We visited the tombs of the emperor Zhudi (1360-1424) and Empress Xushi. Zhudi was the third emperor of the Ming Dynasty. Ling'en Hall (the Hall of Eminent Favour), one of the oldest surviving structures at the site of the Ming tombs, is made of Nanmu Wood (a rare hard wood from the south of China) and is quite an amazing structure.



We also visited the tomb of the thirteenth emperor, Zhu Yi Jun (known as Emperor Wanli, 1563-1620) and his two empresses. His is the only tomb that is excavated and open to the public.


We left the Ming Tombs and headed for the Great Wall at Badaling, about 70 kilometers north of Beijing. This section of the wall was stated in 770 BC -476 BC, and then largely built, under the direction of Emperor Zhudi, shortly after the Ming Dynasty moved from Nanjing to Beijing with an average altitude of 3,282 feet (1000 meters). Unfortunately, in order to avoid the traffic on the main highway, our driver decided to take a shortcut from the tombs to the wall. We ended up lost on back road in the mountains, as the only automobile among literally thousands of big trucks. It took us over an hour and a half to travel the short distance from the Ming Tombs to the Badaling Great Wall. But it was a very interesting detour! The Great Wall at Badaling, did not disappoint. Pictures, due to a rather hazy afternoon, do not quite do it justice.



We returned to Beijing and had dinner with Professor YOU Bin, Professor of Comparative Scripturally at Minzu, who is interested in sending graduate students to Emmanuel College for advanced degrees.


 On Saturday, Kang Di from Minzu University accompanied us as we visited the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square. Pictured here are the Hall of Central Harmony (constructed originally in 1420, but rebuilt in 1627) and the Nine Dragon Screen Wall constructed by Emperor Qianlong in the mid-1700s, and the Monument to the People's Heroes in Tiananmen Square.




Sunday, we made our way to Seoul. Hyereong Park, a graduate assistant of Yonglae Kim's at Methodist University, picked us up at the airport. Dr. Yonglae Kim is a Professor of Christian Education who spent some of his research leave in Toronto last year. We settled into the hotel on Sunday afternoon and evening. On Monday, we met for lunch with Dr. Yonglae Kim, Dr. Sung-Bae Chang, Dean of International Studies at Methodist Theological University, and Dr. Hoo-Jung Lee, Professor of Historical Theology and had a good conversation about theological education in Seoul and the potential of making new connections between Emmanuel College and Methodists in Korea.


Afterwards, we visited the National Cemetery of Seoul, which offered a very fine view of downtown Seoul from the graveside of President Park Chung-Hee (president from 1963-1979 when he was assassinated by the director of his intelligence services).


I spent Tuesday at Methodist Theological University. In a meeting with President Hong-Ki Kim, we signed an agreement to create possibilities of exchange for faculty and students.



We had lunch with the newly appointed Methodist bishops in Korea.


After lunch, I had an opportunity to address a large gathering of students celebrating worship together during the school's chapel service. Students collected an offering during the Lord's Supper to be sent to North Korea. Christians in the South often send food and money to the North Korean people through Christian connections. Ironically, a half hour later, the North Korean government fired artillery on Yeongpyeong Island (120km, or 75 miles, west of Seoul).



Late Tuesday afternoon, Hyereong Park took Jeffica and me to see "Nanta", a nonverbal performance that integrates Korea's traditional rhythm, Samulnori, with comedy. The theater was located in the well-known Myeong-Dong area of the city.


Wednesday morning, we made our way by taxi to Yonsei University to the College of Theology (and the United Graduate School of Theology) building where we met with Dean Suk Hwan Jeung, Professor of Pastoral Counselling (on the right below), and Associate Dean Hyun Shik Jun, Professor of Systematic Theology and Ecofeminism (on the left below).



At noon, following an introduction including some contemporary Christian music, I preached in the College Chapel for the Wednesday service.



Dr. Dwight N. Hopkins, Professor of Theology in the University of Chicago Divinity School, and Dr. Lewis Ray Rambo, Research Professor of Psychology and Religion at San Francisco Theological Seminary, are both serving as visiting professors at Yonsei during this term and can be seen in the second row of the chapel during the service.



Following chapel, we had lunch together with several faculty (see picture above) from the Graduate School of Theology, including Associate Dean Jun (standing in front of me), Professor Young Gweon You, Pastoral Counselling, and Professor Yang-Ho Lee, Church History (on the right end). Also pictured here, between Professor You and Professor Lee, is Dwight Hopkins. On the left, next to Jeffica, are Professor Rambo and his spouse, Judy. On the very left end is Dr. Jai-Keun Choi, Visiting Professor of Church History at Yonsei, who also happens to be a graduate of Emmanuel College. Yonsei offers many opportunities for both our students and faculty since 30% of all their classes are offered in English. The Dean, Associate Dean, and I will continue conversations about the possibility of some exchange program beginning between Yonsei University's United Graduate School of Theology and Emmanuel College. Late on Wednesday afternoon, I met with Kiho Yi, Associate Professor in the Faculty of Liberal Arts at Hanshin University and Director of the Centre on Peace and Integrity in the University. We had a very interesting conversation about religious groups in both North and South Korea and what role they might play in leading to peace on the Korean peninsula.

Thursday marked the occasion of the Hanshin International Conference on "Theological Education in a Pluralistic World." The invitation I received earlier this year to deliver one of the four plenary addresses at the conference established the original reason for my trip to Hong Kon, Beijing, and Seoul. The other three plenary addresses were delivered by Dr. Sooil Chai, President of Hanshin University, Dr. Choan-Seng (C.S.) Song, Professor at Yu Shan Theological Seminary and Chang Jong Christian University in Taiwan (and formerly of the Pacific School of Religion in California for over twenty years), and Dr. Ferenc Szucs, Faculty of Theology Chair of Systematic and Ecumenical Studies at the Karoli Casper Reformed University in Budapest, Hungary. (An aside, in 1999, Emmanuel graduate Jea Eun oh submitted his doctoral dissertation at Emmanuel College on the "suffering God" in theologies of C.S. Song and Jurgen Moltmann.) We met in the morning at Hanshin University and had lunch together near the campus. After lunch, I was interviewed by She-Won Hwang, a reporter for the Kukmin Daily Newspaper in Seoul about our Muslim Studies program at Emmanuel College. The Kukmin Daily is a newspaper serving largely the Christian community in Seoul, and the paper was quite interested in our new program at Emmanuel.

The international conference began at 2:00pm. My lecture was titled "Pluralistic and Urban: Theological Education and Religious Diversity in Toronto." To my right at the table is President Chai, and at the microphone is the Dean of the Graduate School of Theology at Hanshin University, Dr. Sung-Young Kang, who is also the Professor of Christian Ethics at Hanshin.


Also pictured at the table are Dr. Song and Dr. Szuc. The following picture shows the Hall form the back.



Pictured with me standing in front of the conference banner is the Rev. Dr. In-Sung Chi, graduate of Emmanuel's doctoral program and pastor of YEDARM Presbyterian Church, the largest PROK congregation in Korea.


 While at the conference, I also met the Rev. Dr. Chai Yong Choo, Director of the Institute for Christian Piety and Theology in Korea, and Professor Emeritus at Hanshin University. Dr. Choo spent some time at Emmanuel College in the past and passed along his greetings to Professor Wenh-In Ng.

On Friday morning, Dr. Jeong-Woo Lee, doctoral graduate from Emmanuel a few years ago, picked Jeffica and me up at the hotel and took us to Changdeokgung Palace (Palace of Prospering Virtue), and imperial palace originally constructed on the east side of the capital city in 1405. The palace is especially known for its fulfillment of the Feng Shui principle of "baesanimsu" (being in complete harmony with the environment surrounding it). Jeong-Woo and I are pictured here in front of the gate leading to Injeongjeon Hall (in the background - the Hall of National Treasure where the throne of Changdeokgung is located).



We had lunch on Friday with Jeong-Woo and In-Sung Chi (both Emmanuel graduates) and with Dr. Jaecheon Lee, Director of the Institute of Theological Studies in the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK).


After lunch, In-Sung Chi drove us over to Ewha Woman's University to meet with Dr. Kyung Mi Park, Dean of the Graduate School of Theology, and Director of the Ewha Institute for Women's Theological Studies. During our meeting, she expressed her personal appreciation for the influence of Emmanuel College alums on Christianity in Korea (including, of course, such notables as Nam-Dong Suh, an influential founder of Minjung Theology in Korea who died in 1984, the Rev. Jae Rin Moon who devoted his life to the pro-democracy movement of South Korea, the Rev. Jeong Jun Kim who acted on behalf of social justice and the church participation in Korean society, Dr. Dae Wi Jeong, who served as both professor and principal at Hanshin University, and Woo Jeong Lee, a woman civil rights activist who served as a member of the 14th National Assembly in Korea, as well as numerous other alums who have served either as faculty members over the years at Hanshin, Yonsei, and Ewha, or as pastors in the Presbyterian Church , PROK). We also met Professor Hee-Sung Chang, Professor of Pastoral Counselling at the Ewha Graduate School of Theology and Chair of the Department of Christian Studies. This picture was taken in the Chapel at Ewha Woman's University, where services are held every Sunday morning for the University community. Professor Chang is on the left end next to Dr. Chi. Dean Park is next to me on the right.


From Ewha, I headed to the Sejong Hotel to meet with President Chai and Dean Kang of Hanshin University at 5:00pm, before the president's dinner concluding the International Conference, to sign a memorandum of understanding (MOU) regarding student and faculty exchanges. Here, President Chai and I are seen signing the two copies of the MOU.


Following the dinner, the speakers and organizers of the conference took a final picture together just outside the restaurant at the Sejong Hotel.


From left to right, are Professor Kyung-Chul Park, Professor of the Theology of the Old Testament at Hanshin, Associate Dean Yeong-Mee Lee, who is also the Associate Academic Dean of Hanshin's Graduate School of Theology and the main organizer of the Conference, the Toulouses, the Songs of Thailand, Dr. Ferenc Szucs of Hungary, President Chai, Dean Kang, and the Rev. Dr. Chi.

On Saturday morning, Jeffica and I prepared to leave the hotel for the Incheon International Airport. Hyereong Park, from Methodist Theological Seminary, picked us up at 1:00pm. On the way to the airport, we spent an hour at an art gallery downtown looking at the beautiful exhibit of the calligraphy work of Shin Il Song (on exhibit from November 24-30, 2010). Mr. Song is a Methodist elder at a church in Seoul who has won the top award given by the International Calligraphers Association in Korea. We are pictured here with him in front of his rendition of the Sermon on the Mount (from Matthew) in ancient Chinese characters.


We arrived at the airport around 2:45 pm on Saturday afternoon (12:45am Toronto time). Our plane from Seoul was delayed, departing at around 9:00pm Saturday night (7:00am Toronto time). After a few hours layover in Vancouver, we arrived home in Toronto at 12:30am on Sunday morning, November 28 (2:45 pm on Sunday afternoon in Seoul). This was just about 24 hours after we had arrived at the Seoul airport. Needless to say, we were just a bit jet-lagged. But it was certainly good to be home.


It has been a busy couple of days. We left Hong Kong on Tuesday after seeing some sights of the city on Tuesday. The weather was quite hot in Hong Kong, between 25 and 27 during the day with high humidity. But while trying to see some of the city, there was a pretty strong fog. This made it difficult to see much of Victoria Harbour, and made the view of the Peak in Hong Kong a bit less spectacular than it otherwise might have been. The city remains, however, quite beautiful.

Hong Kong
Hong Kong

There are a number of ways Emmanuel might connect with Hong Kong. We will continue to receive scholars from both Hong Kong and Mainland China who visit Emmanuel College (7 Chinese scholars in the past two years). These scholars are sponsored by the Institute for Sino-Christian Studies. Daniel H. N. Yeong, the director of the ISCS is very interested in sending an occasional Chinese student to do doctoral work in Toronto and in the Toronto School of Theology. Further, we have strong relationships building now with the Divinity School of Chung Chi College of the Chinese University of Hong Kong. LO Lung-Kwong is quite interested in creating the opportunity for both faculty and student exchanges between Emmanuel and Chung Chi College. Further the ISCS would be interested in providing connections for Emmanuel faculty and students to work as visiting scholars at ISCS. And students from Emmanuel College would also be welcomed in the classrooms of the Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong.

Our flight was to leave Hong Kong on Tuesday at 5:00pm. Instead, mechanical problems caused a delay and we did not arrive at our hotel in Beijing until around 11:30pm on Tuesday night. Wednesday morning at 8:30, LI Huwei, who will graduate with his PhD from Peking University in June, picked me up to deliver me for a lecture at the University. LI Huwei is writing a dissertation detailing a sociological analysis of Christianity in China, looking at both house churches and churches affiliated with the China Christian Council. I delivered a lecture at the University, describing the historical and contemporary use of religion in public life in the United States to create both cultural and national identity.

Peking University
Principal Mark Toulouse delivers a lecture at Peking University in Beijing, China

Afterwards, I had lunch with Professor SUN Shangyang and five of his doctoral students, all working in the area of sociology of religion. A feast of Chinese cuisine, with a little Baijiu initiation thrown in - quite a stout drink!

In the afternoon, after lunch, LI Huwei and I headed for Yanjing Theological Seminary, which is about 45 minutes from Peking University and away from the core of the city (located in Qinghe Town in the northern suburbs of the city), representative, said LI Huwei, of the sociological role of Christianity in China. Yanjing is the only Protestant seminary in Beijing (a city of nearly 18 million people). Professor Liu (New Testament) showed LI Huwei and me around the campus. Further, I had a good conversation with the Rev. Dr. GAO Ying, who, since September, now serves as President of Yanjing (formerly serving as the President of Nanjing until this year). Dr. GAO also serves as the Vice-President of the China Christian Council, the recognized Protestant Church in China.

View of the Yanjing Theological Seminary campus from the main road

Beautiful chapel on the Yanjing Theological Seminary in Beijing China

Interior of the chapel at Yanjing Theological Seminary in Beijing, China.

president GAO
Principal Mark Toulouse with Rev. Dr. GAO Ying, President of Yanjing Theological Seminary in Beijing, China.

From the web: "Yanjing Seminary was established in 1986 and is located in Qinghe Town within Beijing's university quarter, Haidian District. It is the only Protestant Christian seminary within the capital, Beijing, and recruits students from 10 provinces and municipalities in the north and northwest of China. Yanjing Seminary campus occupies around 16,000 sq. meters of land and, over the course of 15 years, has trained over 500 church workers for the 10 provinces and municipalities it serves. The seminary has 10 fulltime Chinese faculty and around 10 visiting foreign faculty."

Wednesday morning, Jeffica and I were picked up by Shen Zhaoli, a graduate student from a remote province in China who is in her first year of graduate work at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences (CASS). We arrived at CASS for my 9:30 lecture.

Mark Toulouse's lecture for the faculty and graduate students at the Chinese Academy for Social Sciences in Beijing covered material on religion and public life.

Tang and Zhuo
Professor Dr. ZHUO Xinping, the Director of the Institute of World Religions (which includes departments of Islam, Buddhism, Christianity, Confucianism, Taoism, and other religions), hosted the lecture along with Dr. TANG Ziafeng (both pictured above with Toulouse). Both of these scholars had recently visited Emmanuel College and Toronto.

CASS lunch
Afterward, we all had lunch together at an excellent Szechuan restaurant near the campus, with several of the faculty and graduate students of the Institute of World Religions at CASS.

summer palace
On Thursday, Jeffica and I visited the Summer Palace accompanied by Kang Di, a graduate student from Minzu University, who is working on her master's degree in Christianity, and is hoping to enter a doctoral program in Old Testament at Chinese university of Hong Kong next year.

Today we will spend a day traveling to the Great Wall and Ming Tombs, before being hosted at dinner by Professor YOU Bin, a Professor of Comparative Scriptural Studies at Minzu University in Beijing.

Stay tuned for more updates!


Day One

Jeffica and I arrived in Hong Kong in the late afternoon on Saturday, getting to the hotel around 4:00pm. We had dinner, and walked around Shatin, New Territories, and had a nice dinner before retiring to recover from the jetlag from the 15.5 hour flight to Hong Kong.

Day Two
On Sunday morning, we negotiated two changes on the subway lines to attend church at St. Andrews Church in Kowloon, Hong Kong; it is an English speaking Anglican Congregation.

St. Andrew's Church in Kowloon
St. Andrew's Church in Kowloon, Hong Kong
Day Three
I spent the day at the Institute of Sino-Christian Studies (ISCS), the Divinity School of Chung Chi College, where I met briefly with the Director and the members of the faculty, and had lunch with three faculty members and the director of ISCS. Then I visited the Lutheran Theological Seminary of Hong Kong, where I conducted a 2 hour and thirty minute class (Introduction to Christian Theology) with about twenty-five first year students, hosted by professor Dr. Wai Man Yuen, the Reichelt Professor of Mission spirituality and Theology, and the Director of the Institute for Mission and Intercultural Studies. Tomorrow we are off to Beijing!

chapel tao fong shang christian centre
Mark Toulouse with Dr. GAO Xin, of the ISCS at the chapel on the campus of the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre in Hong Kong, which shares the top of the Tao Fong Shan mountain with the ISCS and the Lutheran Theological Seminary.

chapel tao fong shang christian centre inside
Inside the chapel on the campus of the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre in Hong Kong. 
Roughly translated Tao Fong Shan means "Mountain of the Christ Wind".

From the website of the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre: "Tao Fong Shang Christian Centre was founded in 1930 by the Norwegian missionary Karl Ludvig Reichelt (1877-1952). Reichelt was sent to Hunan Province in China in 1904. There he gradually developed an idea to share the gospel with Buddhists. In 1922, he established Jing Fong Shan in Nanjing. In 1930, due to the chaos of the Chinese civil war, Reichelt moved his work to Shatin, Hong Kong, and asked a Danish architect, Johannes Prip-Moller to design the buildings. On 13 March 1952, Reichelt died and was buried at the Tao Fong Shan cemetery."

Divinity School of Chung Chi College
From Left to Right: Dr. Daniel H. N. Yeong (Director of the ISCS), Mark Toulouse (Principal of Emmanuel College), Professor WANG Wai Ching, Professor LO Lung Kwong (Director of the Divinity School of Chung Chi College), and the Rev. Dr. BRANDER Tobias. The last three are all associated with the Divinity School of Chung Chi College. Picture taken in Hong Kong.

students from Lutheran Theological Seminary
Mark Toulouse pictured with six students form Lutheran Theological Seminary in Hong Kong in front of the chapel there.

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