St. John’s University has been celebrating its 51st birthday this past week. Many congratulations ~ and happy birthday!
This time last year, the SJU 50th birthday was a huge jamboree of events and VIP visitors and all sorts of exciting things going on. This year has been a little less frenetic, but celebratory all the same. A few highlights:
We have a new school bus! This was actually a gift from an alumnus, Mr. Chang, and was presented to the university in a dedication ceremony last week. The bus is beautifully painted – love it!
The bus dedication took place right in front of Advent Church, where there is a line of very special trees which just happen to be blossoming this very week. The tree is Crateva religiosa, 加羅林魚木, “the sacred garlic pear or temple plant, a member of the capers family. The tree is sometimes called the spider tree because the showy flowers bear long, spidery stamens”.
The annual ‘Run for SJU’ 為聖約翰而跑 3.5 km Fun Run took place on Wednesday afternoon and we had great fun. We encouraged our student fellowship group and friends to wear yellow, it stands out in the crowd! This time last year the heavens opened as we got to the sea, half way round the course, but this year it was warm and sunny with a nice breeze. No excuses! So we ran a bit faster and almost enjoyed it. Except for the massive hill that comes up from the beach at the end. Anyway most of us got a T-shirt, me too!
There was the annual SJU Thanksgiving Service on Thursday, but I couldn’t go to that. I was in Taipei. Rode the You Bike there and back from Tamsui. This was the sunset at Shezi Bridge on the way home. I mention this because the focus of the thanksgiving service is in gratitude for the dedication, devotion and service of Bishop James C. L. Wong, the founder of this institution who gave his life and energy to get it established and died soon afterwards. Timing is everything, and we thank God that Bishop Wong was the right man at the right time for SJU. An amazing wow of a sunset and the timing – that I should get to the bridge just at that moment – seems appropriate symbol for a man who is highly respected and greatly admired here at SJU. And of course in thanksgiving for God’s blessing over these 51 years too!
On Saturday, we had our annual SJU celebrations for all students, staff and faculty and with many alumni, visitors and old friends coming back to visit. Bishop Lai was here too, attending the main formal event in Centennial Hall – with performances, speeches and presentations…
The Vietnamese student group were beautifully dressed ~ here they are with Bishop Lai…
Outside on the main campus road, stalls were set up selling all kinds of food and drink, and each class of students and different groups had their own acitvity. There were some fun performances on the stage set up in the middle of the road – the show opened with SJU President Ay hitting the gong!
After leading the singing of the National Anthem and the SJU School Song down in Centennial Hall, the SJU student fellowship continued with their event to celebrate upcoming Mother’s Day – making cards, taking photos and free hugs!
They were very active in recruiting people to participate!
And the Vietnamese students were selling homemade paper flowers – we all bought some. Ah, it was great fun!
And lots of friends and former students came back to visit ~ obligatory photos too!
Today, Sunday, at Advent Church, it was St. John’s University Student Fellowship Sunday, and they were all involved in the worship, doing all the readings, singing, taking up the offerings etc. We then spent the afternoon on the half-yearly spring cleaning of the church and church centre. I was cleaning windows with the student team, and y’know, it was quite fun. The windows look a lot cleaner anyway. But we were too busy for photos ~ I’m sure you’ll agree that an occasional day off from photos is not a bad thing!
It’s been quite a week, thanks be to God. And here’s to the next 51 years of St. John’s University!