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Chan Sing Kai (1854-1952)
Chan Sing Kai, a photo provided for the 50th anniversary of the Chinese United Church in Victoria, 1935. (Photo courtesy of the First Metropolitan United Church Archives).
Born in Guangzhou in 1854, Chan Sing Kai came to Vancouver in 1888 and helped developed that city’s first Chinese Methodist Church, situated at 186 W. Pender. Chan Sing Kai was the first ordained Christian minister of Chinese heritage in Canada. His brother, Chan Yu Tan, was to follow him to Canada eight years later.
Chan Sing Kai’s father was a scholar and Christian missionary in Guangzhou who helped translated the bible into Chinese. He had worked with George Piercy, an English Wesleyan missionary who arrived in China in 1851. The Chan family established the first Wesleyan mission school for Hong Kong Chinese. Chan Sing Kai’s father was a scholar in China and helped translate the bible into Chinese.
After arriving in Vancouver, Chan Sing Kai served the Vancouver church for three years before moving to the New Westminster church, and from there, to Victoria where he took up ministerial duties at the Methodist church on Fisgard Street.
The 1901 census records indicate the family included Sing Kai, his wife ‘Kate’ and five children living in the Chinese Methodist Church at 16 Fisgard Street. Shortly afterwards, Chan Sing Kai and his family moved to California for health reasons where he continued working with the Methodist Episcopal Church in Los Angeles.
By John Price
Chinese United Church. A Hundred Years of Christian Chinese Work in British Columbia, 1859-1959. Vancouver. United Church of Canada, 1959.
S.S. Osterhout. Orientals in Canada. Toronto: Board of Home Missions, United Church of Canada, 1929.
Jiwu Wang. ‘His Dominion’ and the ‘Yellow Peril’. Waterloo. Wilfrid Laurier University Press, 2006.
The Times-Colonist article “Chan brothers spread Gospel,” 3 August, 2008 at http://www.canada.com/victoriatimescolonist/story.html?id=3eb779f2-f294-...