Rev. Dr. Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang 張員榮牧師 elected as next Bishop of Taiwan ~ Congratulations and Thanks be to God!

Update on Tuesday August 6: the official report on the Episcopal News Service announcing these results is now published here

After many months of prayer and preparation, today was THE big day, when Bishop David J. H. Lai gathered the Diocese of Taiwan clergy and laity representatives at St. James’ Church, Taichung to elect the next Bishop of Taiwan. Thanks be to God that Rev. Dr. Lennon Y. R. Chang 張員榮牧師 was elected on the second ballot ~ many congratulations! Above is the photo of the bishop and bishop-elect with their wives, and below is Bishop-elect Lennon and his wife, Hannah posing in their formal photo!

The day started with a Holy Communion service at 10:00 am, led by Bishop David J. H. Lai. Most of us had had very early starts, for us in the far N. W. of Taiwan at Advent Church, we set off at 6:00 am in a small bus and fortunately got to St. James, Taichung without any trouble well before 9:00 am. We are grateful for the prayers of friends around the world for good weather and safe travels. This month, after all, is actually the height of the typhoon season, so we are glad that our schedule for today was not disrupted by bad weather. Here we are arriving at St. James ready for the big day!

Just so you know, Bishop David J. H. Lai 賴榮信主教 is the 5th diocesan bishop of Taiwan, he was consecrated on November 25, 2000 as coadjutor, and then installed as diocesan bishop in 2001 on the retirement of Bishop John C. T. Chien 簡啟聰主教. Bishop Lai retires in March 2020, so today we have elected our 6th diocesan bishop to be Bishop Lai’s successor.

We are grateful to all 3 nominees who stood for election, Rev. Lennon Y. R. Chang 張員榮牧師, Rev. Lily L. L. Chang 張玲玲牧師 and Rev. Joseph M. L. Wu 吳明龍牧師.

For most of our clergy it was their first bishop election. For Mr. Yang, our diocesan secretary, it was his second, and we were glad that he was here today to lead the way. He was on hand to check everyone in, helped by diocesan staff, clergy and and his daughter …

First was the Holy Communion Service…

Then the election was held immediately after the service, on the 7th floor of the St. James’ Education Building, with the observers watching from the balcony above, and an overflow group watching it all by video link on the 6th floor.

The rules are that all clergy and elected lay delegates are allowed to vote, and the person elected must receive over 50% from both the house of clergy and house of laity on the same ballot. Of our 18 clergy, 17 voted, and we had 36 lay delegates, all of whom voted. Ballot 1 results as follows…

After the first ballot, the candidate with the lowest number in both the house of clergy and house of laity did not then proceed onto ballot 2. In the second ballot, there was a clear result ~ and when it became clear, the whole room erupted in applause! Ballot 2 results as follows….

Lennon gave a short acceptance speech in which he thanked all the clergy and lay delegates for their support…

And then we had photos, of course! Group photos and individual ones. And we were so pleased to welcome Rev. Canon Bruce Woodcock, representing the Episcopal Church, and here he is!

And other friends and church groups…

A bit of background: Rev. Lennon Y. R. Chang, 張員榮牧師, 64, is the rector of Advent Church on the campus of St. John’s University, Taipei, where the church serves as both the university chapel and as a parish church. Among many projects and ministries over the years, Lennon has also raised huge amounts of money to install the most beautiful stained glass artwork in the Advent Church ceiling, and to build the Advent Church Centre. He is also very involved in leading short-term mission trips within Taiwan and overseas, most recently in a mission program working together with our companion diocese of Osaka. Later this month he will lead an 8-day mission trip with about 20 mostly young people from Osaka and Taiwan to the Diocese of West Malaysia. Do pray for them!

Lennon is married to Hannah, they have 2 adult daughters and 2 young grandchildren. He was born and brought up in Taipei in a military family, with parents from a Baptist background who moved to Taiwan from Mainland China in 1949. As a student at St. John’s and St. Mary’s Institute of Technology SJSMIT (predecessor of St. John’s University SJU) Lennon was baptized aged 15 in 1970 by Rev. Charles C. T. Chen in Advent Church, and then confirmed in 1971 by Bishop James Pong. Hannah is a former kindergarten teacher, she grew up in Keelung, where she and her older sister, Rev. Elizabeth F. J. Wei, were members of Trinity Church. Elizabeth and her husband, Rev. Peter D. P. Chen were both there today at the election as observers, they have retired to Tamsui, and now worship each week at Advent Church. Lennon studied theology through the diocesan Trinity Hall Theological Program, and was ordained deacon on December 21, 1995 and ordained priest on January 25, 1999. Lennon has devoted virtually his whole life and ministry to St. John’s University, first as a student, then in succession as Associate Professor of Mathematics (he has a PhD in Algebra), SJU chaplain and now as full-time rector of Advent Church.

So, please do pray for Lennon and his family, for Advent Church and St. John’s University, and for Bishop Lai and the Diocese of Taiwan. We give thanks to Almighty God for his many blessings and for the smooth election process today. A lot of the hard work and responsibility rests with Mr. Richard B. S. Hu, chair of the diocesan Standing Committee. Today’s result still needs to receive consent from the bishops and standing committees of the Episcopal Church; but provisionally the date of consecration, ordination and installation is set as February 22, 2020.

All clergy and laity representatives at today’s bishop election

Much respected and well-loved by all in the Taiwan Episcopal Church, the Rev. Dr. Peyton G. Craighill (who sadly died on June 4, 2019 at the age of 89) served in Taiwan for many years along with his wife Mary, based at Tainan Theological College from 1961-1978, and then in their retirement, they came back for 2 years to serve at St. James’ Church, Taichung. In June 2012, Peyton came to Taiwan to lead workshops on Member Mission, his last visit to the country and people he loved so much. At the end of his visit then, he shared with me how he thought that the next bishop of Taiwan would be Rev. Lennon Chang – Peyton thought Lennon to be eminently suitable to be bishop. Sadly Peyton is no longer here to see today’s election result, but we know he would be thanking God!

Bishop Dick Chang sadly died 2 years ago, but during his time as Bishop of Hawaii, he and his wife Dee were good friends and wonderful supporters of us all in Taiwan, and Dee continues to support us today. Bishop Dick would be pleased that another Bishop Chang has been elected in the Episcopal Church!

Lennon is 64 years old and in the diocesan public forum meetings leading up to this election, he emphasized that, if elected, he has a clearly defined 7-year plan to embark upon immediately, as his time as bishop would be limited (mandatory retirement age of bishops in the Episcopal Church is 72). He assured everyone that he is prepared to work very hard to respond to God’s calling. His inspiration and role model is Bishop James C. L. Wong (Bishop of Taiwan 1965-70 and founder of SJSMIT / SJU) whose motto was always, “Transforming Lives Through the Life of Christ.” Bishop Wong was 65 at his consecration, and achieved so much in those 5 years. Lennon hopes to do the same – certainly his determination and dedication are legendary – and we pray for God’s blessing upon his ministry, his health and his family. Thank you!

All clergy, laity, observers, volunteers, diocesan staff and visitors at today’s bishop election!

The official report announcing these election results is published here on the Episcopal News Service website. The report in Chinese on the Christian Tribune website is here. Thanks to Rev. Antony F. W. Liang for some of the photos used above, to St. James’ Church for hosting the election and lunch, and to you all for your support, prayers and concern for us ~ and thanks be again to Almighty God!

12 thoughts on “Rev. Dr. Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang 張員榮牧師 elected as next Bishop of Taiwan ~ Congratulations and Thanks be to God!”

  1. Congratulations to the Anglican Church in Taiwan. Thanks very much for the account of the election, Catherine!

    Victor

    Sent from my iPhone

    >

  2. Many thanks for full report of your important day in the Diocese of Taiwan. When you retire from CMS I expect BBC would take you on as their correspondent for Taiwan ! Love, John & Sal, Bexhill.

    Sent from Mail for Windows 10

  3. Thank you Catherine for such a detailed report. Lennon was one of our students when I served as Vice President of Sinpu 1972_76. We are so proud of him. If health permits hope to be invited and could attend his consecration. May God grant him grace. Congratulations to the Diocese of Taiwan for a successful election of Bishop.
    Canon Edmund Der

  4. Catherine – thank you so much for keeping the wider Church informed of the life and work of The Episcopal Church in Taiwan. I do not know personally the new Bishop, but please do convey my very best wishes to him and his family. I know quite well all his four predecessors and some of their clergy and people, and had served together in various ways and capacities when I was with the British Council of Churches and CMS. Hence the Diocese has been very much in my thoughts and prayers then and now in my retirement.
    Indeed many years have passed, wherever may be we have now found ourselves in a world of many changes and new challenges, and clearly Asia has attracted much attention. Am I right in my observation from a distance though, like other Churches in the region and together with them, the Diocese is called to be a strong witness to our Lord’s love for Asia, its peoples and countries, and that His wish is for justice, reconciliation and peace to prevail. A time for rejoicing and thanksgiving in the Diocese, but no doubt as the new Bishop seems to have said already – the Diocese with the new leadership, its clergy and people will continue with new vigour and new resolve to be His witnesses not only in Taiwan but also beyond. May God give you all that discernment, wisdom and strength to respond to His calling.
    Remembering you all always,

    1. Thank you Peter for your comment and your support. Yes, you are correct in your observations, and please do continue to keep the Taiwan Episcopal Church in your prayers as we move forward.

    2. To Rev.Dr.Peter Leung, so thrilled to hear from you. Many years ago you were sick and had to retire. I officially retired in 1999, but was recalled to serve five times. Now I am still serving part time at St James Cathedral, Toronto. We will be in UK from August 21 to 30, hope to contact with you. Will be seeing Rev. Paul Laubon August 28 afternoon. My email address is ebdersheherd@gmail.com.
      Canon Edmund Der

  5. To Edmund
    Very nice to hear you again and thanks to Catherine for using this site to reconnect relationships. I regard myself as truly retired and leave all the conflicts, divisions etc to the younger ones! But I must extend my best wishes to a new chapter in the Diocese of Taiwan which has always remained in my prayers since the day Bishop Wong moved from Sabah to Taiwan. I was on loan from Singapore to Sabah for over two years, so I knew he was a wonderful servant of the Lord. Do you use Whatsapp which is my preference for communication? Thanks Catherine.

  6. Greetings Margarat – looking forward to meet you and Edmund soon.
    To Catherine – you had typhoon and then earthquake, right?! Trusting you all in the Diocese are ok.

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