Discovering Touching Story While Visiting Chinese Presbyterian Church in Canada

Chinese Presbyterian Church in Canada
1/2Chinese Presbyterian Church in Canada (photo: Provided by Lin Xing)
Victoria Cheung
2/2Victoria Cheung(photo: Provided by Lin Xing)
By CCD contributor: Lin XingSeptember 5th, 2019

Last month we paid a visit to the oldest Chinese church in Canada, Chinese Presbyterian Church, in Victoria on Vancouver Island, in the Canadian province of British Columbia. 

We attended a Sunday service that started at eleven in the morning. Rev. Vincent Tan presided over the service in both Cantonese and English. After the service, we talked in the basement with the pastor, his wife, and other believers. 

The wife of Rev. Tan showed us many precious church photos from its dedication in 1892 until the present. On July 13, 2017, it held a historical photo exhibition to mark Canada's 150th and the church's 125th anniversaries. 

What touched me the most as a doctor was the story of a medical missionary named Victoria Cheung. 

Born in Victoria, Canada, in 1897, Cheung graduated from the medical department of the University of Toronto and obtained a master's degree in medicine. She was the first Chinese graduate of the university and the first Chinese Canadian doctor. 

In November 1923, Cheung, whose family was originally from a town in Jiangmen, Guangdong province, was sent by the Presbyterian Church in America to work in Renji Hospital in Jiangmen as the hospital's first female Chinese doctor. 

Renji Hospital or Marion Barclay Hospital as it was also known, was founded by the Presbyterian Church of Canada in 1912 and was located on Jianmen Bei Street. Cheung was appointed the hospital's first Chinese president who gave her forty years of her medical career to her hometown. 

The hospital is now called Jiangmen Central Hospital and has become a third-class first-grade comprehensive hospital that offers medical services, research, teaching, preventative health care, and rehabilitation. 

When the hospital celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2012, Cheung's birthplace of Victoria was moved by her story and proclaimed December 8, 2012 "Victoria Cheung Day". A three-meter tall bronze statue was erected in the hospital to commemorate her contributions.  

- Translated by Karen Luo

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