Tag Archives: Advent Church

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 15 👼🌟⛄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day15: This is Dr. Huang Hung-Pin 黃宏斌校長, President of St. John’s University (SJU), Taipei since August 1, 2020. Previous to this position, he served as professor in the National Taiwan University (NTU) Department of Bioenvironmental Systems Engineering, Taipei. President Huang was here at SJU today to open the SJU Christmas Charity Bazaar, run by the SJU Chaplaincy, helped by members of Advent Church and SJU ~ and it went really well!

There are many challenges facing SJU; the priorities are to stabilize the financial situation, increase student enrollment and improve academic standards, so President Huang really has his work cut out for the next few years. He’s very very busy and needs great wisdom, good health and lots of energy. Please pray for him!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 14 🎄🎁👼

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day14: This is Jing-Huei 靜慧 (left) and Jin-Luan 金鑾 (right), who keep Advent Church running smoothly from morning to night! Both have their birthdays this week, and we celebrated today ~ thanks to Jin-Luan for sharing her yummy chocolate birthday cake with us all. Happy Birthday to these 2 Lovely Ladies! 🥳🎂🎈

Jing-Huei works for Advent Church in charge of the office, while Jin-Luan works for St. John’s University (SJU) in charge of Advent Church cleaning, which is mostly done very early in the morning before 8:00am. She’s always leaving just as we’re arriving, off to clean other parts of the SJU campus, part of a small team who do a wonderful job, working long hours in all kinds of terrible weather ~ but always cheerful! Please pray for them both, for their health and strength, their families and their work in Advent Church. We value them both so much! 🥳

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 12 ❄️🎄🕯️

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day12: This is Huei-Ling 惠苓 (left) and Shu-Jing 淑靖 (right) who are the best of friends and for the first time ever, they were both serving together at this morning’s Advent Church service. They both work for the Bishop of Taiwan, Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang, Huei-Ling in the diocesan office in Taipei, Shu-Jing in St. John’s University (SJU), where Bishop Chang is the chair of the board. Until this year, Shu-Jing was on the staff of the SJU Chaplaincy, she’s also a qualified Japanese teacher, skills put to good use in our companion diocesan partnership with Osaka. And they both came with me to India at Chinese New Year 2017 ~ we had a such a great time together!

Their birthdays are both in March, one year apart. They both became Christians at university, the first (and so far only) one in their families ~ Huei-Ling was a student here at SJU and baptized in Advent Church, while Shu-Jing moved here looking for a quiet place to write her MA Thesis, and so joined Advent Church; she and her husband Jian-Chiang were married here in 2018. They ask for your prayers for their work, as they’re both extremely busy, often running from one place to another – there’s always so much to do!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 11 🌟🕯️❄️

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day11: This is Hong-Chi 鴻琦 and his wife, Jin-Zhu 錦珠, much-loved members of Advent Church who run a Japanese Ramen Noodle Restaurant 味滿食堂 in the Carrefour Supermarket Complex in Tamsui. Their faith is very much part of their lives – see the cross on the back wall of the restaurant? And of course, the food is delicious and the service always first-class!

Like many restaurant owners locally, they’ve been badly hit this year by the pandemic, forced to close completely during Taiwan’s Level 3 Restrictions from May to August, then open for takeaway only, then fully open, but then closed again for a week with local restrictions. They’re now back to being fully open, and customers have returned, but it’s not easy running a business with so much uncertainty, and staff are proving hard to recruit. Weekends are particularly busy, and as a result, they have not yet been able to come back to attend Advent Church Sunday services. We miss them! Please pray for them, their family and the restaurant. And if you’re in the area, do go ~ their ramen noodles are so ‘oishii’ ~ very yummy!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 9 ⛄🎅🎄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day9: This is Shiao-Chien 澤倩 with the regular members of our Advent Church Community English Class, meeting today for our ‘Happy Ending’ Christmas Gathering, along with their families and friends. 🥳 Although I plan the classes, Shiao-Chien is our real leader ~ she’s also the one who gave me this Advent Calendar, it’s a rare find in Taiwan! 🥳 Spot the 3 members of the Tan family standing at the back, they kindly hosted the party, and we also visited their 7 beautiful mini horses 🐴 who live together with a flock of very noisy geese!

Our classes last for 10 weeks per semester, meeting on Thursday afternoons, and the group has a nice mix of Christians and non-Christians ~ the atmosphere is light and fun! We’ve all become friends over the months and years, and welcome new members to join at any time. In each class, we have 45 minutes for a Bible Story – so far we’ve done all Jesus’ parables, now we’re working through the miracles, one by one. Then for the next 45 minutes, we go around the world, country by country, sharing about the food, culture, festivals, music, art, dance etc of each one, this semester covering Oman, Mexico, Spain, Brazil, Japan, Morocco, S. Africa, Malaysia & Germany. 🌏🌍🌎 We’ve all learned a lot and tried some delicious food, especially from Oman, Spain and Mexico! Thanks to Shiao-Chien and all the group ~ and please pray for them all!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 8 🎁🎄⛄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day8: This is Tze-Wi 芷薇, our colleague at St. John’s University (SJU) Chaplaincy, Taipei; she and Yi-Ting 依婷 are both sponsored by the Taiwan Episcopal Church. Both are very talented & creative, and have put their skills to good use designing the Advent Church section of the diocesan website, it’s much admired by all our other churches! Together they organize all the many chaplaincy activities, and there’s always lots to do; coming up next is the SJU & Advent Church Christmas Bazaar, this year in aid of SOS Children Village in Chungli. Life is busy, busy, busy!

Tze-Wi is from Pahang, Malaysia and graduated 2 years ago from SJU in Creative Design. Her classmate & boyfriend, Jin-Ching brought her along to the SJU Student Fellowship, later she made a faith commitment and was baptized just after graduation. Now her younger sister is also a student at SJU too, in her second year of Multimedia Design. In all the busyness of Advent and Christmas, please pray for Tze-Wi, her family, boyfriend and all in the SJU Chaplaincy!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 7 🌟🕯️🎁

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day7: This is the Rev. Charles C. T. Chen 陳金地牧師 and his second son, Christopher 陳智湧教務長, Dean of Academic Affairs here at St. John’s University. We had a cake today to celebrate Charles’ 86th birthday on December 10, while Christopher celebrated his 60th birthday last month. Happy Birthday and many congratulations to them both! 🎉🥳 🎂

When I first arrived in Taiwan in January 1999, it was the two of them who met me at the airport ~ Charles was then rector of St. James’ Church, Taichung, much supported by his wife MaryJo, and just starting what would become a huge fundraising project over many years building a total of 12 churches in the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines. Christopher was then on holiday from his PhD studies at the University of Essex, UK, while his wife, Linda was the kindergarten principal at St. James. We have all worked very closely together for many years ~ ah, such a wonderful family!

In his retirement, Charles is still extremely active, full of energy, vision and ideas, hence his being invited to join the new diocesan Property Management Committee – and that’s why he’s here today at Advent Church, as the group visits each church in turn to assess the buildings and discuss plans for future ministry. The committee is out visiting churches every Tuesday, trying to complete them all before the end of the year. Charles and Christopher ask for prayer for good health for themselves and all the Chen family, including MaryJo, who’s also 86. Charles says he hopes to still be in good health and full of energy to celebrate his 90th birthday ~ he’s looking forward to the celebrations already!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 4 👼⛪🔔

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day4: This is Chuan-You 全佑, the youngest member of our Advent Church PCC / Vestry Committee and also in charge of the Advent Church Sunday School. He works in Taipei as a software engineer, and became a Christian through the student fellowship at St. John’s University, of which he was later elected to serve as chair for a year. Like many of our student fellowship, he is the first and so far only Christian in his family. Today he and his team are running a Board Games outreach event for 40+ local children in the Advent Church Centre, and he has plenty more Sunday School activities coming up for Christmas. The children all love him, and he’s a great team leader. Please do pray for him and all his team!

This kind of Advent Calendar project would be very difficult to do in western countries because of government regulations and cultural concerns about privacy, but please know that Taiwan has a different situation and culture. Obviously, I am not sharing anything that is confidential or potentially embarrassing, and I also check with each person that the post is OK. So far, all the people I’ve featured have been delighted to participate and have given their full support. They say how honoured they are to be included, and how moved they are to see your likes and comments on Facebook and Instagram ~ so please write something there if you can. Thank you all for your understanding ~ and support!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 3 ⛪🎄⭐🐾

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day3: This is Rev. Hsing-Hsiang Wu 吳興祥牧師, chaplain at St. John’s University (SJU) and rector of Advent Church on the SJU campus. Aged 37, he’s the youngest priest in the Taiwan Episcopal Church, and is blessed with a very lovely wife, Yu-Ru.

Sadly, both of them have kidney disease, his inherited from his mother (who’s already been on dialysis for over 10 years), while Yu-Ru’s started as a child, with no family connection. They both try their best to follow their doctor’s advice, eating healthily with sufficient exercise and rest, but they have to be very careful not to overdo it, and especially so at this time of year ~ we have so many activities planned for Advent and Christmas! Please pray for them both, and also their much-loved dog, Nana, who provides lots of entertainment for us all! 🐾🦴🐾

Congratulations to 鄭喻璘 Yu-Lin and 王三源 San-Yuan on their Wedding Day!

A beautiful day for a beautiful couple! Such a special event, a wedding at Advent Church for 2 very special people, and the sun shone all day to mark the occasion. For us, this was THE wedding of the year, and a pandemic year at that. We give thanks to God that despite the uncertainties of the pandemic, everything went so well.

The wedding service was conducted by our rector, Rev. Hsing-Hsiang Wu, with Bishop Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang preaching and giving the marriage blessing. As both the bride and groom’s families are Christians, so we also had Holy Communion, celebrated by Bishop Chang. His sermon was particularly moving; he talked about Yu-Lin as if she were his own daughter, having known her since she was a child, and encouraged her all the way through. He made Yu-Lin’s parents stand up as he introduced them to their new son, and the same for San-Yuan’s mother, as he introduced her to her new daughter. There was hardly a dry eye in the church!

Yu-Lin is in her first year as a Taiwan diocesan seminarian, after a year of being a diocesan intern, which involved 6 months at Good Shepherd Church, Taipei and then 6 months at St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi. For the last few months, she has been living at the diocesan office in Taipei, with her weekend placement being at Christ Church, Chungli, Taoyuan. San-Yuan is a sound engineer, long based in Tainan, but a few months ago he moved up to Taipei, and has been attending the morning prayer services with Yu-Lin at the diocesan office, also taking part in some of the seminarian training sessions led by Bishop Chang. A great start to their future church ministry together!

Yu-Lin was our much-loved colleague here at Advent Church and St. John’s University (SJU) for many years, always keeping us on our toes. Life was never boring! She is very friendly, outgoing, extremely creative, multi-talented and highly-skilled in all things technical and practical – from fixing computers to driving her father’s minibus up and down the country. Yu-Lin’s father has long been professor of Electrical Engineering here at SJU and is now also Dean of General Affairs, which means he is in overall charge of the SJU campus and the maintenance of all buildings and equipment. He spends his weekends at SJU instructing courses that lead to license qualifications in everything from plumbing to driving fork-lift trucks, he told me once he has 23 different license qualifications! In between times he is to be found scurrying around the campus, checking the generators, the AC units, driving the workers in his forklift truck to trim some trees or installing lighting to make the campus brighter. Always busy, and in his holidays, he climbs mountains, and takes the family on holidays to interesting places. It was very moving for him, in the pre-wedding event on Saturday, when he and Yu-Lin’s mother placed the veil over their daughter’s head ~ he really struggled to hold back the tears.

Yu-Lin’s mother is the principal of the kindergarten at Jinshan RC Church, having taking over from her older sister. Yu-Lin’s mother has 3 sisters, and all but one of them are in Advent Church, all very lively and very lovely! The older one has now moved to St. Timothy’s Church, Kaohsiung to join her daughter, Si-Yun and husband, Rev. Richard R. C. Lee, who is the rector. Si-Yun came to the wedding this weekend, acting as ‘matchmaker’ – it’s an important role in making sure everything goes to plan! This is Si-Yun, Yu-Lin’s mother and older brother ….

So, with Yu-Lin and her extended family being members of Advent Church, Tamsui, and with San-Yuan’s family home being in Tainan, it was arranged that the wedding service would take place at Advent Church on Saturday October 2 at 1:30 pm, with the official wedding reception being held in Tainan next Saturday, October 9.

Taiwan is currently under Level 2 Pandemic Restrictions, which means facemasks are compulsory and indoor events are limited to 80 people. Because Advent Church is part of St. John’s University, so we are also allowed to use our Advent Church Centre as an overflow for a further 80 people, but because of the distancing rules, we would not be allowed to host any kind of formal reception with food. So after the wedding everyone went home with a box of delicious finger food to enjoy instead.

Yu-Lin’s family

A few months ago, Yu-Lin and San-Yuan announced their wedding event on Facebook with a sign-up form for those who wished to attend, but stressing that the event would also be livestreamed, so feel free to attend online instead of in-person. This is the video…

Then a few weeks ago we had a Covid cluster outbreak in Greater Taipei, and suddenly New Taipei City (which includes St. John’s University) went into enhanced Level 2 Restrictions, and events were suddenly restricted to 50 people. Some of us uninvited ourselves, but it was worrying week, not knowing what was going to happen! Then, as the pandemic situation improved, so restrictions were relaxed and it became 80 again. Relief all round!

San-Yuan’s family

Yu-Lin and San-Yuan first met through the Taiwan branch of ANM 萬國敬拜與讚美 ‘All Nations Worship & Praise Ministries’, which started in South Korea in 1987, and sends out mission teams around the world to reach Chinese-speaking people with the Gospel. Yu-Lin studied at university in Tainan, and in 2008, she and San-Yuan vaguely knew of each other through both studying on the ANM training program in Tainan. Then in 2018, they both attended 3-month ANM “Intercultural Community Mission Training” programs in Germany that overlapped by about 6 weeks. That was the start of their relationship. Yu-Lin then spent a further year in Germany with ANM, returning to Taiwan in May 2020 to join the Diocese of Taiwan internship program. Many of the people at the wedding on Saturday were connected with ANM….

ANM friends

This is an abridged version of Yu-Lin’s testimony that she wrote for our diocesan Friendship Magazine in May 2021:

“Not long after I was born, in 1988, my parents discovered I had an abnormal condition, which led them to embark on a day of running around different hospitals with me, unable to find a doctor willing to take the risk of operating on me. My mother was anxious and overwhelmed, and she prayed, “Dear Heavenly Father, if you heal my daughter, and find a doctor willing to operate on her, I will dedicate her to you…” Thanks be to God, He heard that prayer, and I was baptized in Advent Church at 7 months old, and at the age of 13, I was confirmed.

Advent Church choir

Although I grew up in the church, I didn’t really know anything about faith, and the word “Christian” was such a special label to me as if I was meant to prove: Why can’t Christians do bad things? So in adolescence I became very rebellious, stealing my parents’ money, running away from home, self-harming, bullying others.

Wedding Certificate

But God’s work is wonderful. In 2006, when I turned 18, a friend invited me to a special gathering of ‘All Nations Worship & Praise School’ (ANM). It was a 4-day event, but at the start I was unable to concentrate and ran away from the gathering until the third day, when my heart really calmed down and I found myself longing to meet the Lord who loved me. That day I met Jesus! My first feeling was being filled with the Holy Spirit, and I will never forget being touched and forgiven deeply by God’s love. He said, “My child, I don’t remember your past,” and in the presence of the Holy Spirit, I was completely set free. Later, the leader announced, “If you are willing to give your life to the Lord, come up to the stage.” I walked onto the stage with a grateful heart and in tears.

So I started to participate in the ANM training every Saturday until now, and that gathering became a turning point in my life. I experienced God’s love and forgiveness firsthand, and found myself changing my character, habits and values, including redefining what I saw as a ‘successful life’. In 2010, God led me to Advent Church as an education officer, and in 2012 I joined St. John’s University Chaplaincy (under the then chaplain, Rev. Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang) as a student fellowship counsellor and administrator, including in 2015, taking part in a memorable short-term mission trip to Myanmar.”

SJU Student Fellowship

ANM have the policy that dating couples only make their relationship public when they announce their engagement, and so it is that San-Yuan is known to many of us but has largely kept a low profile until recently. He tells me that while Yu-Lin was assigned to St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi earlier this year, he was confirmed into the Episcopal Church, and he is committed to moving with Yu-Lin around Taiwan depending on where she is assigned by Bishop Chang and the diocesan office. Hopefully he can find a suitable job wherever he finds himself based. San-Yuan is certainly very accommodating and committed! So far in the Taiwan Episcopal Church, as far as I know, he is the first newly-married husband to follow this path. We have several women clergy and seminarians, but all are either single or became seminarians later in life, once their children were grown.

At the wedding, we were delighted to welcome Sheerah and her husband, Yu-Wei. We first met Sheerah some years ago, when she came with a team from the Diocese of West Malaysia to Advent Church to lead some training for our children’s summer camps, a program called Kid’s Games. So she got to know many of our students and church members, including Yu-Lin. Since then, she has relocated to Taiwan, married to Yu-Wei. They have 2 children, Ethan who turned 2 on Saturday, and Eva, aged 4 months. Bishop Chang invites them to attend our monthly birthday lunches at the diocesan office, so they have got to know us all even better. Like San-Yuan, Yu-Wei is also a sound engineer, and he was invited to help with the sound system for the wedding. So with Yu-Wei busy, we all offered to help out with entertaining Ethan and Eva, who proved a big hit with everyone, and appear in lots and lots of photos. As it was Ethan’s birthday that day, it seemed an added bonus!

Before the service…..

The wedding service ……

After the service, the throwing of the bride’s bouquet…

And group photos…..

Please do pray for Yu-Lin and San-Yuan as they begin their married life together. The road ahead is long and challenging, especially during the next few years of training, but we pray for God’s grace to sustain them. Congratulations to them both and their families, and thanks be to Almighty God!