St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei celebrates 60 years! 台灣聖公會聖約翰座堂建堂60週年感恩禮拜!

We celebrated the 60th anniversary of St. John’s Cathedral last night ~ and what a great celebration it was!  Congratulations to all, and thanks be to Almighty God!

And the pièce de résistance, the jewel in the crown of all the celebrations last night must have been the impromptu drum performance by our very esteemed and distinguished Canon Chancellor, Professor Herbert H. P. Ma, who at the grand age of 90 took to the drums with great gusto, and hey presto, had us all charmed and wanting more!

Here is Professor Ma with his family, and in action on the drums!

And it was quite some celebration!

St. John’s Cathedral has been in existence for 60 years and Professor Ma has been here right from the beginning.  He arrived in Taiwan from Shanghai in 1947 at the age of 21 with his parents and family members, and he and his younger sister became part of the original home group that met for services and fellowship in the very early days of the Taiwan Episcopal Church.  Then later they met on Sunday afternoons in the church building that had originally been home to the Japanese NSKK Anglican Church in Taipei but by then was already Zhongshan Presbyterian Church.  And he was involved from the start in the establishment of St. John’s Church, which later became St. John’s Cathedral 60 years ago.

Professor Ma shared much of this information last night at the Thanksgiving Service held to celebrate St. John’s Cathedral 60th Anniversary.  The service finished with a lively and enthusiastic performance of the Lei-Ku drums by the cathedral ladies, then an amazing drum performance from 羅小白 S.white (‘Shiao-Bai’), a very famous street drummer in Taiwan, who happens to have been brought up in St. John’s Cathedral, and uses her drumming as a way to share the Gospel through her ministry at Taipei New Life Church, but she came back specially to drum for us last night.  Her mother sings in the cathedral choir and her father and grandmother were both there too ~ here they all are!


Professor Ma was sitting right in the front and right next to Shiao-Bai as she performed, and he loved every minute ~ which is why, when offered the chance to have a go himself on the drums, he jumped at the chance and gave us a sterling performance, making his public debut as Taiwan’s newest drumming sensation!  Rev. Elizabeth Wei said it must have been the power of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost!

Professor Ma, Mrs. Aline Ma and 2 of their daughters were there in the front row, and they assure us there’s plenty more musical skills waiting to be shared by their father, including Chinese opera.  Who knows what the St. John’s Cathedral 70th anniversary might bring?!

Here are our 2 drumming sensations along with Mrs. Ma!


Professor Ma was probably the longest-serving church member there last night, but we were also honoured to have our newest church family there too.  A lovely smiling family of 4, the Cheng family were baptized that very morning – Pentecost Sunday – in Christ Church, Chungli, and the 4 of them, the parents and their 2 young sons were with us to celebrate. Those little lads were as good as gold!  Some might say a formal 2-hour service is some sort of baptism of fire for small children, but then the Spirit does move in mysterious ways, especially at Pentecost!  Here they are ~ with Li-Chin, one of the Christ Church members on the left, all smiling away!


And so we gathered at 4:00pm yesterday, just as the heavens opened – but not with tongues of fire – rather thunder and lightning and heavy rain.  But by the middle of the sermon, the rain had stopped and the sun had almost come out….

We had clergy and church members from all our nearby churches around the Taipei area and further afield, including Rev. Charles C. T. Chen and his wife, MaryJo who’d come from Taichung and Rev. Samuel Ying-Chiu Lin, former dean of St. John’s Cathedral, who came from Yilan.  Some church members had come from Kaohsiung and Hualien.  The furthest traveled clergy must have been Rev. Cheng Chen-Chang 鄭成章牧師 who had come straight to Taipei after his morning service at St. Mark’s Church, Pingtung, the farthest south of all our churches.

All our clergy – and the church – in red for Pentecost and celebration!


Bishop Lai led the service, preached and celebrated Holy Communion ~ and smiled for many photos!  So did everybody, and it’s nearly impossible to choose the best from the 600+ photos that I took last night!  Rev. Elizabeth Wei, currently in charge of the cathedral, assisted by her husband, Rev. Peter Chen, retired priest Rev. Michael Liou, organist Joanna Fu, plus the choir and lots of very hard-working church members made sure everything ran smoothly.  It was all amazing.  And after the service, drumming performances and group photos, we had dinner boxes, dessert (dou-hua) and birthday cake.  Yummy yummy!

A wonderful occasion with wonderful people!  A few photos to follow ~ do check out the most amazing dress worn by our very vivacious and lovely senior warden at St. John’s Cathedral, Ms. Marjorie Kuo. The dress is purple and covered in large lips ~ when I asked her about their significance, she talked about ‘kissing God’ ~ ah yes, sharing the Gospel, Marjorie-style!

And do check out these 2 performances last night by Shiao-Bai ~ I was so close I could hardly hear the background music that she was playing along to, but you’ll see why she’s so popular and such a joyful witness in her outreach ministry!

And so to the grand finale of Canon Chancellor Herbert Ma and his debut on the world stage, ever youthful and ever ready to try something new at the age of 90!

And here we all are – a whole church photo, taken by St. John’s Cathedral….


Congratulations to St. John’s Cathedral and to all in the Taiwan Episcopal Church, and thanks be to Almighty God for his abundant blessings!

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