Yes, the good news is that the Taiwan Episcopal Church has a new dean of St. John’s Cathedral! The service of installation for the Very Rev. Philip L. F. Lin 林立峯牧師 was held last night, Friday October 28, the Feast of St. Simon and St. Jude, and led by Bishop David J. H. Lai. Here’s Bishop Lai and Philip, all smiles!
Bishop Lai said in his sermon that this is his first installation service for a new dean since he became Bishop of Taiwan 16 years ago, so it was very special indeed. The previous dean, the Very Rev. Samuel Y. C. Lin (same surname, but no relation to Philip) retired in the summer of 2014, and the Rev. Elizabeth W. J. Wei (ably assisted by her husband, Rev. Peter D. P. Chen and retired priest, Rev. Michael T. H. Liu) has been bravely holding the fort since then, until a new dean could be appointed. Elizabeth and Peter are currently visiting their family in the USA so they couldn’t be there last night, yes we missed them!
Rev. Philip L. F. Lin began his association with the Episcopal Church as a member of the student fellowship at St. John’s University, Tamsui (at that time known as St. John’s and St. Mary’s Institute of Technology), where he also met his wife, Linda. He did his theological training at Fu-Jen R. C. University, Taipei and started his ministry first at St. John’s Cathedral, then St. Paul’s Church, Kaohsiung, then for many years at St. James’ Church, Taichung, and more recently about 18 months or so at Good Shepherd Church, Taipei. From April to July this year, he visited the Episcopal Diocese of New York for a time of learning and international experience, a great preparation for his new ministry.
His delightful and very talented wife, Linda is also very involved in the church and especially in the community outreach; their 2 sons, Daniel and Caleb are aged 10 and 7 – they feature a lot in my photos below, such a lovely family. We thank God that Daniel has just come to the end of a long 4 years of treatment for a kind of childhood leukemia; along the way he has become a star on the yoyo, and performs anywhere anytime for anyone! Philip’s mother and their relatives were all there last night ~ here they are!
Clergy, church members and friends gathered from far and wide, and 3 of the Faculty of Theology at Fu-Jen R. C. University, Philip’s former professors (including Fr. Louis Gendron, president of the Faculty of Theology – who offered his congratulations in a short speech at the end of the service), were also there. Apart from St. John’s Cathedral members, the largest group by far was from St. James’ Church, Taichung, a good 2 hours drive away, although not all of them in the St. James’ photo below actually live in Taichung! Y’know in the Taiwan Episcopal Church, it’s like a big family ~ so lots of people consider themselves to be part of more than one of the churches!
There were also many from Good Shepherd Church!
Plus our 2 churches in Keelung ~ Trinity and St. Stephen’s ….
And some from the far south of Taiwan…
Oh yes, and the choir and church members from St. John’s Cathedral…
The lovely cathedral ladies were assuring me days before that the service would be ‘very formal’ and, yes, that their husbands would definitely be in suits and ties ~ and so they were! But it was also a very joyful service, especially during the ‘Peace’ which was so celebratory that Bishop Lai encouraged everyone to celebrate like that every week! The readings had been chosen by Rev. Philip Lin himself, Joshua 1: 7-9, Romans 12: 1-18 and for the Gospel reading he had chosen John 15: 9-16. And the choir sang ‘Here I am, Lord’ during the service. I love that song!
During the service, the cathedral members presented different items to Philip, all symbolizing the work and ministry of the new dean ~ a Bible to symbolize Philip’s preaching and evangelism, water to symbolize his ministry of baptism, olive oil to symbolize healing, the large church key to symbolize opening the doors of the church to welcome everyone in, a Book of Common Prayer, a copy of the Constitution and Canons, and finally bread and wine to symbolize his ministry of celebrating the Eucharist. And a few more I may have missed. They’re all here!
Yes, altogether a wonderful installation service!
Then a special photo of all the clergy….
And finally a big group photo of everyone….
So, please do pray for our newly-installed dean, the Very Rev. Philip L. F. Lin as he starts his new ministry at St. John’s Cathedral, for his wife and family and all the church members, kindergarten staff and children, and all in the local community ~ there’s many challenges ahead for him as dean, and he’s also the rector ~ but in the meantime, we thank God for His abundant blessings and for the great joyfulness of the Installation Service!