A very special day at Advent Church today ~ the wedding of our rector’s daughter! YES! Hsing-Chieh 張興潔 is the younger daughter of our rector, Rev. Lennon Chang Yuan-Rung 張員榮牧師 and his wife Hannah 魏芬然, and today Hsing-Chieh married Mr. Wang Bo-Yuan 王柏元. Actually we always call Hsing-Chieh by her nickname Tien-tien 甜甜 (meaning sweet, apparently because of her love for sweet things!) and their English names are Joy and Johnny. They were senior high school classmates, and have known each other for over 10 years ~ so today was THE day!
Joy and Johnny are not your average ordinary couple. Johnny works on a film production team, and Joy studied Russian, lived in Russia, and now works in a company that involves a lot of contact with Russia. But even more special is their love of all things classic, unconventional, quirky (as in ‘unusual in an attractive and interesting way’) and lovably quaint. They had their wedding photos taken in the local street market, outside the hardware stall, surrounded by buckets and brooms, and at the local old-style hairdressers. Stunning! Those are the framed photos here, behind the signatures of everyone who came to the wedding…..
Today is Armed Forces Day in Taiwan with a big event in Taipei City, and it’s also an auspicious day in the Chinese calendar. There were at least 3 other weddings happening in our local area, plus a huge funeral across the road, and today is a work day at St. John’s University as we welcome the new intake of students and their parents for a visit. It’s all happening! But the day started with an almighty thunderstorm at 3:30 am this morning which jolted us all awake! The rain stopped later, but started again just as the bride and groom arrived in our senior warden’s bright red car, which they’d borrowed for their arrival – ah, it’s beautiful!
The bride’s mother, Hannah is the younger sister of Rev. Elizabeth Wei 魏斐然牧師, who, with her husband, Rev. Peter Chen 陳德沛牧師 have just retired from St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei. So, today Rev. Peter Chen led the service, and Rev. Elizabeth Wei preached. They themselves are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year so Elizabeth shared some very great words of wisdom with the young couple and the congregation, and Bishop Lai gave the blessing at the end. Here they all are!
The groom’s mother comes from a family who originated from the Guangdong area of Mainland China, and then moved to northern Myanmar. Like many of her classmates, she later moved to Taiwan to study, then married and stayed here in Taiwan. Her classmates were all here today, and posed for a photo! The groom’s mother is on the far left, and the one on the far right is dressed beautifully in Myanmar traditional dress.
One of the groom’s relatives is 陳有海神父 Rev. Wilfred Yu-Hai Chan, a Jesuit priest who also shared some words of wisdom during the service. He recounted a little of his and his family’s history – how he came from China to Myanmar and then Taiwan, but first he received a scholarship to study engineering in London, then became a priest, having gone to an R.C. school and been converted there, and later served as a priest for many years in Hong Kong – his mother tongue is Cantonese. Here is Fr. Chan on the left, in the first photo taken immediately after the wedding blessing from Bishop Lai….
We had a wonderful service, with an anthem from our Advent Church Choir, and our organist was the bride’s older sister, Hua-Hua, who is expecting her second child in a few months. There was an open invitation given to anyone to come to the wedding, and the church was full, all 180 seats! Our student fellowship group all looked very smart, and were wonderful in preparing the church yesterday, and being on hand today for everything. We also welcomed Dr. Peter Herchang Ai, new president of St. John’s University, who came with his wife and some of the SJU faculty and staff, plus Rev. Michael Liu and his family from St. John’s Cathedral, and church members from Trinity Church, Keelung – here they are with Rev. Elizabeth Wei….
And the amazing thing is that the rain cleared up, and by the time the service was over and we were enjoying the reception in the Advent Church Centre, the sun was out and there was even a bit of blue sky!
An amazing day! Many congratulations to the Chang and Wang families, and especially the newly-married couple, Joy and Johnny, may God bless their new life together!