Hong Kong’s well-protected, deep harbor attracted the English as an ideal location for shipping and distribution. As a result of the first Opium War (1839-42), the Chinese government ceded Hong Kong to the British as part of the Treaty of Nanking. The shipping industry of Victorian England developed Hong Kong into an essential distribution point for Asian and Pacific goods and materials. The urban area of Hong Kong developed around its docks and bay. In 1898, a lease was signed with China allowing Britain to use Hong Kong until 1997 when its rule was returned to China and it became a Special Administrative Region. Hong Kong boasts one of the highest population densities in the world and in some areas of the city is roughly twice that of Manhattan. In this dense, crowded, and always hectic city, Mary Wai-Yi Tse is an associate professor at Alliance Bible Seminary.
Mary has three brothers and three sisters and she was born in Hong Kong to parents who are currently over eighty years of age. She became a Christian during her second year of studies at the University of Toronto, Canada. After a few years, she felt called by the Lord to enter full-time Christian service directing her efforts to the Chinese by means of service in the publishing industry. For a year following the completion of her university education, Mary worked as a staff member in the internal audit department of the Ontario Hospital Association in Toronto. The complexity of the Chinese language led her to Taiwan for a year’s training in Chinese writing skills. In 1979, she went to Westminster to earn her MAR in Biblical Studies and then returned to Hong Kong to work as a scriptwriter for Far East Broadcasting Company for six years. Returning to Westminster for further study, she earned her ThM in Old Testament Studies having written her thesis on “The Three Furnishings in the Holy Place of the Tabernacle.” Mary returned to Hong Kong, first to work as an editor for the China Graduate School of Theology and then taught at the Alliance Bible Seminary for three years. But once again, Mary trekked back to Philadelphia. Her final enrollment at Westminster earned her the PhD in Old Testament hermeneutics in 1998, having written her dissertation “The Concept of God in the Book of Ecclesiastes,” which no doubt was a significant portion of her commentary on Ecclesiastes written in Chinese and published in 2005. Mary taught at a Bible college for two years before becoming a professor at Alliance Bible Seminary where she continues to serve today. Most recently, she contributed to the Alliance Bible Seminary faculty publication From Loss to Gain (2006). Mary is a member of Emmanuel Chinese Church in Hong Kong.
Dr. Tse’s fondness for Westminster Seminary becomes obvious when one considers that she earned three degrees on three separate occasions. Following her move from Toronto to Philadelphia for her first degree, she moved from Hong Kong to Philadelphia two times for further study so that she could teach the Bible to Chinese Christians. She comments that her “training at Westminster Seminary has surely laid a good and solid foundation for my ministry in the past, the present, and the future.” Alliance Bible Seminary’s most recent graduates plan on serving mostly in Hong Kong, though there are some who are interested in ministry in greater China as well.