And they’ve brought the sun with them too ~ ah, at last, the weather is great!
The Diocese of Taiwan has had a companion link with the Diocese of Osaka since 2004, and so there’s been regular church group visits to and fro for different occasions. Since their last visit, for our 60th anniversary celebration in April 2014, the Diocese of Osaka has a new bishop, Bishop Andrew Haruhisa Iso. So Bishop Iso has brought a group to Taiwan this week, primarily to attend the opening service and first session of our annual diocesan convention, which starts tomorrow. Sadly our good friend, the Dean of the Osaka Cathedral, Rev. Peter Akira Iwaki couldn’t join the group for health reasons, but we’re really pleased that so many have come, and they’ve also come a few days early to see a little of the diocese – and the beauties of Taiwan – YES!
Their group of 17 includes 6 clergy, and Bishop Iso and Bishop Uno (retired) have both brought their wives, and some of the group have come to Taiwan more than once, so there’s some familiar faces among them! Not only that, but my good friends in York, UK, Rev. Pam Cooper and Evelyn Wroe were CMS-UK mission partners in Osaka for many years and so we have several mutual friends. Pam was the first woman to be ordained priest in the Diocese of Osaka, and now Kiyomi is the second – and the first Japanese – so when I met Kiyomi yesterday for the very first time, well we just had to take a photo of the 2 of us, to say hello to Pam! We are of course delighted to welcome them all, they are all so graceful, charming and happy ~ Bishop Iso and Bishop Uno haven’t stopped smiling since they arrived, wonderful!
So off we went yesterday – me and Shu-Jing from our St John’s University Chaplain’s Office – to meet up with Rev. Joseph Ho and a group from Christ Church, Chungli to welcome the group on their arrival at Taoyuan Int’l Airport. Fortunately Shu-Jing speaks Japanese, and I can take photos, so we’re a good team!
A quick welcome at the airport, and off to a delicious welcome lunch at a Hakka Restaurant in Chungli, hosted by the Diocese of Taiwan. Then to visit Christ Church for singing – with actions of course, then an introduction to the church and photos. The group from Osaka had specially asked to be able to visit Christ Church, it’s our newest church in the diocese, and started from really just one church family 5-6 years ago, and now grown into a small church…..
And a group photo ~ Bishop Iso is holding his beautiful gift from Christ Church, in fact there was one for all the visitors to welcome them all to Taiwan 🙂
And then Shu-Jing and I accompanied the group as far as their hotel in Taipei, and said goodbye. They were preparing for dinner, then a visit for some of them to Bishop Lai’s office for a tea-drinking welcome!
Actually the Osaka group has come with a travel company who’ve organized their visit, and today they’ve been sightseeing in Jiufen and Tamsui, with a quick visit to us at St. John’s University and Advent Church this afternoon. It’s Girls’ Festival in Japan today, and one of the Osaka group has brought her wooden flute, so we had a nice recital while the rest of the group sang along, then it was our turn ~ a welcome from President Chen of St. John’s University, and then Shu-Jing shared about the university, church and chaplaincy ministry and everyone was introduced and gifts were given…
And finally a group photo with some of our students on the steps of Advent Church!
A great visit, a great welcome to Taiwan for all our Osaka friends ~ and we look forward to seeing them all tomorrow at the diocesan convention opening service!