Tag Archives: Baptisms

Easter Joy! ❤️🐣🌼

Easter Greetings to you all, if a little late! Christ is risen, alleluia!

Out today, lily down at the beach below St. John’s University!

Lent has felt extra-long this year, particularly because of the tragic war in Ukraine – now on its 54th day, but also the pandemic – with lockdowns in China and Hong Kong. Purple is always the colour associated with Lent, symbolizing repentance, royalty, shedding of blood. This is our local purple wisteria, always in flower at the beginning of April…

Here at Advent Church, we celebrated Palm Sunday, commemorating Jesus entering Jerusalem on a donkey as people lined the streets waving palm branches, shouting Hosanna, welcoming him as king. It was last Sunday, April 10 ….

We had a procession waving palm branches going from Advent Church around St. John’s University (SJU) main entrance…

During Holy Week, SJU students had their mid-term exams, so we rearranged some of our usual Holy Week activities. On Maundy Thursday we remembered Jesus celebrating Passover and sharing the Last Supper with his disciples, also washing their feet ~ so we had foot-washing, Holy Communion and then the stripping of the altar, ready for Good Friday ….

On Good Friday, we remembered Jesus’ crucifixion with midday prayers around the cross …

On Easter Eve, I was at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei for the Easter Vigil, when we lit the Easter fire and celebrated the resurrection of Jesus. It’s a traditional and very meaningful time for baptisms, with the symbolism of new life, new creation. I was invited by my good friend, Sheerah to witness the baptism of baby Eva and her husband, Yu-Wei’s confirmation. Big brother Ethan kept us all entertained! There was one other child baptized and nine confirmed. Congratulations to them all ~ and thanks be to God!

Baptisms and Confirmations at St. John’s Cathedral, Easter Vigil

On Easter Day at the cathedral, after the English service, we had a rare treat of hot cross buns, kindly baked by one of the congregation, so delicious!

Meanwhile, here at Advent Church, our 3 Easter baptisms were held during the service on Easter Day. One was Mei-Chin, who came to study here from Malaysia some 8 years ago, among the first group of Malaysian students at SJU. She also took part in one of our short-term mission trips to Myanmar some years ago. Finally, she has made the great decision to be baptized, ah we are all so pleased! New life in Christ ~ thanks be to God!

Our Easter celebrations take place in the midst of a big rise in Covid cases in Taiwan. Today, Monday April 18, we have 1,390 new domestic COVID-19 cases, a new record high. Every day for the last 4 days we have seen a new ‘record high’ ~ but so far, the growth has not been exponential, it’s going up by about 100-200 a day. Today’s figures: New Taipei City (that’s us!): 500, Taipei City: 270, Taoyuan: 187, Keelung: 115, Yilan County: 68. That’s all the north of Taiwan. Taiwan also reported 90 new imported cases today, 63 of them travelers who tested positive on arrival in Taiwan. The number of confirmed COVID-19 deaths remains at 854.

From New Bloom: “Taiwan is experiencing its second major COVID-19 outbreak. The first outbreak began last year in May, after more than a year in which Taiwan was largely COVID-free. However, Taiwan is currently transitioning away from the COVID-zero approach it maintained for most of the pandemic to date. This is partly to reconnect with the international world, for the sake of the economy, but also is carried out noting how efforts to maintain COVID-zero approaches indefinitely in China and Hong Kong have led to explosive spikes in COVID-19 cases recently.”

“It was never an issue of maintaining COVID-zero forever, but what proves concerning for Taiwan is that first dose vaccination peaked just past 80%, with elderly individuals remaining hesitant to get vaccinated. In March, only 75.5% of individuals above 75 had one dose of vaccination, 69.9% had two doses, and 50.1% had received booster shots….. The Tsai administration has spoken of a “new Taiwan model” to transition back to normalcy. The CECC has also sought to emphasize that its goals are no longer “COVID-zero” but “zero COVID” for serious cases, with priority on avoiding overburdening Taiwan’s hospital system. As such, home quarantine rules have loosened to allow for home quarantine for light and mild cases under 65.”

Most of our church events for Holy Week and Easter went on as planned, though with fewer people due to this sudden surge, but future events are less certain. The good news is that despite 25% of over-75’s being unvaccinated (and many confined to their homes for that very reason), very few people in the active population aged between 12-75 are unvaccinated. With cases increasing relatively slowly, the government is encouraging everyone to continue on as normal, with facemasks and distancing. Many people are quite relaxed about the situation – but schools are not. They are very worried about rising infections leading to more cancelled classes and postponed activities, and are making plans for all eventualities. Here at SJU, this should have been our 55th anniversary celebration week of events, but most have been cancelled or postponed ~ better safe than sorry. Fortunately, many events are just moving online rather than being cancelled altogether. The good news is that tomorrow we can go to visit our local junior high school to distribute Easter eggs (actually hard-boiled salted duck eggs) to the children and teachers, sharing the joy of Easter with our neighbours. We’re making the most of every opportunity to share our Easter joy!

Thank you for all your Easter greetings, cards and messages. Please continue to keep us in your prayers, as we pray for you too.

St. John’s Cathedral Easter flowers

Easter Joy! ❤️🐣 🌼 Thanks be to God!

My Advent Calendar 2021: Day 24 🌟🕯️🎄

#MyAdventCalendar2021 #Day24: This is the very lovely Cai-Pei 采沛, just arriving now at St. John’s University (SJU), and all ready for her baptism during tonight’s Christmas Eve service ~ and she gets the largest Teddy Bear chocolate in the Advent Calendar! Ah, she’s so happy! She comes every Sunday to Advent Church from her home in Taoyuan, having graduated last year from SJU in Creative Design, a classmate and good friend of Yi-Ting who works on our SJU Chaplaincy staff and the one who originally invited her to join the student fellowship. They also did their senior project together on the theme of Advent Church, designing and making a wonderful welcome video, cards and a book, all now featured on the Advent Church website.

Like Jia-Wei, who is also being baptized tonight, Cai-Pei is the first (and so far only) Christian in her family. She says she’s still waiting for the right moment to tell her family of her decision. Like many of our recently-graduated students, she’s finding it difficult to find a permanent job in her chosen field, design. Please do pray for her and her family, her search for a job, and her new-found Christian faith. Thanks be to God, and to you all for your prayers ~ and joyful greetings to you all this Christmas Eve! 🕯️🕯️

Advent Word 2020, Day 12 ‘Baptize’

#AdventWord #Baptize 

Much like John the Baptist, it seems as if we are currently living in the wilderness waiting and preparing ourselves to be faithfully transformed by Jesus. And although this transformation may be filled with uncertainty and fear, John is calling us to trust, to turn back to the source of life and forgiveness, to renew our commitment to strive for justice and peace. As we journey into this new season out of the wilderness, let us receive Christ’s love and grace in our hearts and strengthen the bonds we share with each other through our baptism.  

Sleeping peacefully after his baptism a few minutes earlier, this is Bishop Lennon Y. R. Chang’s youngest grandchild receiving a blessing at the Holy Communion on Sunday January 12, 2020.  He was the last person to be baptized in Advent Church by his grandfather as rector – just before his grandfather’s consecration as bishop in February.  Pray for Bishop Chang’s family and all clergy families at this time, especially those who may feel that the ‘wilderness’ has become a permanent feature of their lives.  


Hot off the press comes my CMS Link Letter, No. 74.  Just in time for Chinese New Year – YES!  And just in time for this coming weekend, mentioned in the letter.  Just click on this link below, it’s in pdf format:

Catherine Lee 74

The letter was actually written on January 24, 2018, and published by CMS (Church Mission Society) today.   Thanks to CMS for getting it out in time.

And thank you all for your ongoing support!

Baptism Day @ Advent Church!

Baby Jacob, Chinese name: 牧霖 Mu-Lin, was baptized today at Advent Church, on his first outing to the church since his birth 2 months ago ~ and he slept the whole time he was with us!


His father and mother are so delightful ~ praying for this lovely family and the grandparents who were there too ~ they speak Chinese, Taiwanese, English and Tagalog between them, so hopefully baby Jacob will grow up to be multi-lingual!

Merry Christmas 2016 @ St. John’s University and Advent Church!

St. John’s University and Advent Church is THE place to be for Christmas, and especially when Christmas falls on a weekend ~ last week we had a whole week of Christmas activities in the university and local community, and now we’ve just had a whole weekend of activities in the church.  It’s all non-stop action ~ and it’s back to work and classes tomorrow as usual!

We really kind of moved from Advent into Christmas starting on Thursday December 22 in the afternoon when we did our final walkabout around St. John’s University, lighting all the candles on the Advent Wreaths in each office, singing a verse of Silent Night, distributing Christmas cake and wishing everyone a Merry Christmas.   Here we are at the office of our SJU President Peter Herchang Ay – wishing him a Merry Christmas!


Then on Thursday evening, a huge number of our student fellowship group and lots of their friends dressed up in suitable Christmas attire and off we went around the university campus wishing everyone a Merry Christmas, and singing and praying for the students in each dormitory.   We chose Thursday night as many of our students go home for the weekends, so Thursday was the night!   Despite gloriously hot and sunny weather all the rest of the week, Thursday was the day it rained ~ but we still had a great time!

Our first port of call was to Ms. Lu, our church member, former church cleaner and next-door neighbour to the campus ~ she invited us in and we had a great welcome!  Then off to visit the 5 dormitories ~ and by 8:30 pm we were back at Advent Church to collect up our church members who were just finishing their drum class, and off we went to the university home of SJU President Ay, who welcomed us so warmly ~ we lit the candles on the Advent Wreath, sang some carols and enjoyed delicious tang-yuan, customary fare at the midwinter solstice. The tang-yuan was made by one of the lovely ladies who works in the university, and turns out to be one of my neighbours here, hence the photo of the 2 of us below!

Oh yes, and a special photo of President Ay with all the Malaysians in our student fellowship, eating tang-yuan together….


And a group photo of us all at President Ay’s home….


Back home at 10:00 pm and up early on Friday to get to Advent Church by 7:30 am where we gathered for our Christmas visit to our neighboring junior-high school branch, where the school principal, head of the parents association, the school branch supervisor and our good friend, Jasmine, and all the children and staff were waiting for us.  We started in the ninth grade class, the oldest children, who that day were taking important exams ~ so we sang and wished them Merry Christmas and distributed sweets…. then off to the school coffee bar for lighting the Advent Wreath candles and singing Silent Night.  Then at 9:00 am, our student team put on a performance of our Christmas Show, 超級好朋友 Supermaster and his Superfriends, for all the children in 7th and 8th grades….

Ah, such a friendly school, such caring teachers and staff, and great kids ~ such a fun morning!

For 4 days this past week, Mrs. Grace Chien, our good friend living nearby in Shuanglien Elderly Center, has had her lovely daughter and 2 grandchildren visiting from Canada, and they’ve been staying in my house ~ so on Friday lunchtime, our church members and old friends of the Chien family (also former president of our school, in the days when it was known as St. John’s and St. Mary’s Institute of Technology), Andrew Chang and his wife Charlotte, along with our rector, Rev. Lennon Chang and his wife Hannah, kindly hosted us all to a very yummy lunch just up the road in Sanzhi…


And what is amazing is it turned out that the parents of the lady who owns the restaurant are my next-door neighbours…. ah, it’s a small world!

On Friday evening, I hosted an Advent Church gathering and also invited our community English class to my house for a short Advent service to light the Advent Wreath, sing and pray together, followed by a few refreshments.  I was very honored that Tan Mama and Tan Baba both came, with their son and daughter-in-law, who had kindly made the world’s most delicious Tiramisu for us, it was fantastic!   Sadly no photo of it cos it was all gone in record time!

And so to Saturday, Christmas Eve, yesterday ~ and at 2:00 pm we had our Advent Church Christmas Party for local children….


We had some games and songs, and then a performance of our Christmas Show, 超級好朋友 Supermaster and his Superfriends…. this acting team was mostly our church members, including our chaplain, Rev. Wu and his wife ~ for many it was their first and only performance, so of course it was brill!

In case you’re wondering, I got a new shirt from the Tan family, and wore it on Christmas Eve, all green and red stripes, see above!

Our Christmas Eve service was held last night at 7:30 pm, starting out with only candles ~ beautiful!  The service included 3 baptisms ~ a former student, now living in Singapore but who came home especially for her baptism, a graduate student who is in our fellowship group and is extremely popular (as you’ll see from the photos below!) – so lots of former students also came back for the service, and a gorgeous baby – the baby is the 6-week old grandson of our rector, Rev. Lennon Y. R. Chang.   This time, I took the photos of the baptisms from outside the church.  Tan Mama and Tan Baba were there too, dressed appropriately in red and green….

And so to Christmas Day morning, today, a beautifully sunny and warm day, and we were back at Advent Church for our Christmas Day service at 10:00 am, and because it’s near to St. John’s Day, we also used today as St. John’s University Student Fellowship Sunday, and all the readings, prayers, songs etc were led by our students, and offerings went to our chaplaincy student ministry.  The student fellowship group have worked so hard these last few weeks and really cooperated well together, today too!  Today is also the 90th birthday of our church member, Mr. Chang, whose son had ordered a huge cake for us all to enjoy! Oh yes, and Tan Mama and Tan Baba were here again, with their son, all in red and green and looking as wide awake as ever!

At 2:00 pm this afternoon, we had a special Christmas Concert in Advent Church, led by Mrs. Wang, our church member, music teacher here at the university and choir leader of a variety of excellent choirs in the area.  We were honored to welcome President Peter Ay and his wife, and Jasmine Yu and the parents association chair from our junior high school next door. There were also some very very VIP musical guests from Japan, who raised the roof with their voices ~ they were incredible!

So that was our Christmas Weekend ~ an amazing Christmas as always, and so good that Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were on a weekend, so everyone could come to church, and we could even have a concert on Christmas Day afternoon.  When Christmas falls in the week, we still have a Christmas Eve service, but with work and school that day and the next, many people find it difficult to come.  So this year we’ve had time to really appreciate the real meaning of Christmas, and enjoy all the celebrations, thanks be to God!

Jesus, our saviour, light of the world, is born.  Emmanuel, God is with us!

Christmas Eve @ Advent Church!

The highlight of Christmas Eve at St. John’s University every year is our Christmas Eve Service in Advent Church, well-attended by students, church members, local people and visitors ~ YES!

Last night the service started at 7:30pm, and we also had 2 baptisms  ~ a gorgeous 2-month-old baby, son of our lovely church members; and one of our SJU Student Fellowship students in his 4th and final year, who was supported by all the Student Fellowship.  We started the service in darkness, then with candles ~ BEAUTIFUL!  And we finished the service with rice porridge and birthday cake!

Thanking God for all our Christmas celebrations, for the newly-baptized, and for all those who were able to come to the service.  Earlier in the day we had been on our 4th and final Advent Walkabout around the SJU campus lighting all the candles on the Advent wreath in each office and singing ‘Silent Night’.  We’d also had a Student Fellowship Christmas Party – a non-stop day!

We thank God for all those in Taiwan who’ve heard the good news of Christmas in the last few weeks.  We uphold in prayer those who want to respond, but opposition from their families makes it difficult for them to do so ~ may the light of Christ shine in their lives and be a witness in their homes and families this Christmas!

Comings and Goings….

Been away in the UK for 7 months and so much has happened in my absence.  Out in the big bad world, as usual more has changed in 7 months in Taiwan than in the UK over the whole previous 3½ years that I’d been away ha ha!  In Taiwan, new buildings, new businesses, new roads, new Metro Stations, new everything keeps appearing – but in the case of people, some have left and can never be replaced!

Quite a few staff here at St. John’s University retired while I was away, including Mrs. Chao from our chaplaincy office – after 43 years!  Yesterday she came back to visit us – and was warmly welcomed ~ the students sang ‘Sing Hosanna’ and presented a farewell card, and of course we all posed for a photo!


Ah, some you lose and some you gain ~ and these 2 beautiful babies are 2 of the 3 babies born recently to our church members at Advent Church, these 2 were born only 3 weeks apart, one boy, one girl. They were both in church last Sunday and posed very nicely for me! Both have similar names, one is 恩嘉 ‘En-jia’, and the other 恩音 ‘En-yin’, and the 恩’En’ character they have in common means ‘grace’.  One of them is our rector’s first grandchild, and all 3 are preparing to be baptized this coming Sunday at Advent Church ~ Pentecost is coming!


Please pray for them, their parents and the baptism celebrations this Pentecost Sunday!