Tag Archives: Faith

In Memoriam: Canon Chancellor Professor Herbert H. P. Ma 馬漢寶 1926-2022 and Mrs. Aline Y. L. Ma 馬蕭亞麟 1930-2022

Canon Chancellor Professor Herbert Ma passed away on December 20, 2022, and his Memorial Service was held on Saturday, February 11, 2023, at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei.  He was preceded in death by his beloved wife, Mrs. Aline Ma, who died on June 18, 2022.

Professor Ma was a well-known figure in Taiwan, having taught law at National Taiwan University (NTU) for 52 years and at Soochow University for over 40 years, served as a Grand Justice of the Constitutional Court for 12 years and as a member of the Examination Yuan for 10 years.  He was also visiting professor at many overseas universities, including Beijing, Washington (Seattle), Columbia (New York City), UBC (Vancouver), Paris, Hong Kong and Vienna, and spent a year as a Fulbright Scholar at Harvard, all adding to his professional skills and reputation.     

At 9:00 am on Saturday, a Memorial Ceremony was held at St. John’s Cathedral. Just before the event started, the Very Rev. Philip L. F. Lin, Dean of St. John’s Cathedral brought the family together for prayer…

The ceremony was attended by many of Professor Ma’s former colleagues and representatives from different government departments and universities. A Presidential Citation was read out from the President of Taiwan, Tsai Ing-Wen. The flower arrangements at the main entrance to the cathedral were sent by President Tsai and vice-president of Taiwan, Lai Ching-Te. Flower arrangments lined the walls of the cathedral as well as the entrance, each from a different institution or individual known to Professor Ma.

On behalf of the national government, Dr. Weng Yueh-sheng 翁岳生, President of the Judicial Yuan 1999-2007, presented the national flag to Professor Ma’s son, Mason, in honor of Professor Ma’s great service to the country.  The national flag would normally be placed on the coffin, but as Professor Ma was cremated, so the flag was presented to the family. 

Former President of Taiwan (2008-2016) and former student of Professor Ma, Ma Ying-Jeou 馬英九, gave a short speech sharing his memories and showing his appreciation.  The ceremony then continued as names were read out, and different groups paid their respects by bowing 3 times towards Professor Ma’s urn in front of the altar. The ceremony ended when everyone had had their turn to pay their respects.

Outside his professional life, Professor Ma played a major role in the development of the Taiwan Episcopal Church from its very earliest days until today, and his role was marked and appreciated by all those who attended his Memorial Service, starting at 11:00 am.  The video of the service is here…

Professor Ma was the first chancellor of the Diocese of Taiwan, charged with the responsibility of overseeing legal affairs in the diocese.  For over 15 years he also served as Chair of the Diocesan Standing Committee, and on many occasions as a diocesan delegate to the General Convention in the USA.   To many church members, Professor Herbert Ma’s name became synonymous with the Taiwan Episcopal Church itself; the two were so closely associated for so long.

St. John’s Cathedral was full for the Memorial Service, with about 220 people in attendance, including nearly all the Taiwan Episcopal Church clergy, who had spent the previous 2 days on retreat together. Those who could not fit into the cathedral watched the live stream from the cathedral meeting rooms. The music was led by the cathedral choir, including a wonderful solo from Mr. Yang, who worked alongside Professor Ma as diocesan secretary for many years. Bishop Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang gave the sermon, followed by tributes, including a very moving one from Bishop David J. H. Lai. Bishop Lai worked closely with Professor Ma as his diocesan chancellor throughout his time as Bishop of Taiwan from 2001-2020. Bishop Lai shared that a few days after Professor Ma’s death, he had a very special dream in which he saw an angel leading Professor Ma by the hand into the gates of heaven.  Bishop Lai recalled how in September 2015, a few months before Professor Ma’s 90th birthday, he formally appointed Professor Ma as ‘Canon Chancellor’ of the Diocese of Taiwan in recognition for his sixty years of faithful service to the Taiwan Episcopal Church. 

Professor and Mrs. Ma with Bishop Lai

There was also a tribute from a former student, and a lovely one from Professor Ma’s daughter Vera, who shared some wonderful memories of her beloved father.  Vera had also shared a moving tribute at her mother’s memorial service in August. This was followed by a video presentation showing photos of Professor Ma’s life with commentary from Professor Ma’s eldest daughter Gabrielle. Professor Ma’s love of music included a video of him in his retirement playing his favourite hymn on the piano, ‘What a Friend we have in Jesus’, which we then all sang together.  The final hymn was ‘Thine be the Glory’.  After the final hymn, everyone was invited to take some orchid flowers and line up along the nave to lay them around Professor Ma’s urn and bow towards the family.  Everyone was given a Memorial Book to take home, in which many had shared their written tributes and photos of Professor Ma.   

Professor Ma’s ID card states that he was born on November 27, 1926, although this is the date according to the lunar calendar, which was the one commonly used at the time; on other official data (such as Wikipedia), his birth date is registered according to the western calendar as December 31, 1926.  Every year on his lunar birthday, Mrs. Ma would make a birthday cake for her husband. The date Professor Ma died, December 20, 2022 was actually his birthday according to the lunar calendar, and his family smile at the thought that Mrs. Ma would have a cake ready to welcome him into heaven! 

Professor Ma as a child

Professor Ma was born in Hankou City 漢口, in the Hubei Province 湖北省 of China, one of the 5 main cities in China at the time, into a family with a long history of serving the country in the legal field.  The Qing Dynasty was the last imperial dynasty of China, ruling from 1644 to 1912, and during that time, the county magistrate held judicial, administrative and political power.  Both Professor Ma’s grandfathers held this position, his paternal grandfather in Henan Province 河南省, and his maternal grandfather in Jiangsu Province 江蘇省.  In 1911, the final year of the Qing Dynasty, Professor Ma’s father, Ma Shou-Hwa 馬壽華 (1893-1977) graduated from the Henan Law and Political Academy (one of 5 modern Chinese Law Schools at the time), and in 1912 he became one of the very first judges of the newly-formed Republic of China, serving among other posts as Prosecutor General in Hankou, where Professor Ma was born.   He was also well-known for his great talent as a calligrapher and painter, especially portraying bamboo.  His beautiful works of art are in the National Palace Museum collections in both Taipei and Beijing, also in the Taipei National Historical Museum, as well as in pride of place in the Ma family home.   

Professor Ma’s father, Ma Shou-Hwa

Professor Ma’s mother came from a very large extended family, surnamed Wang.  Born in the same year as her husband, they married at age 18 and spent the rest of their lives together; they even died in the same year, only 8 months apart.   It is interesting that history has repeated itself, and Professor and Mrs. Ma both died in the same year, 2022, only six months apart.  Professor Ma’s mother was well-loved, with a very kind and caring personality, eager to help the poor and disadvantaged, and later helped to bring many of her family and relatives out of Communist China in the 1940’s to Taiwan.  While Professor Ma’s father worked in Hankou, Nanjing and Shanghai, his mother settled with their children in the former French Concession area of Shanghai, which was an English-speaking community.  While schooling was heavily in Chinese Classics, Professor Ma had years of private tutoring in the English language.  Being bilingual was a great asset to Professor Ma throughout his professional, academic and church life, and a great help to the Taiwan Episcopal Church in its development.  

Professor Ma as a child

The young Professor Ma studied in the Department of Law at Fudan University, Shanghai, but the 1930’s and 40’s were a period of great turmoil due to the war with Japan and then the Chinese Civil War.  In 1947 the Ma family (his parents, older sister with her husband and children, Professor Ma and his younger sister) came to Taiwan following Wei Tao-Ming 魏道明, the first civilian Governor of Taiwan Province (1947–1949).   Professor Ma’s father first served as a commissioner of the Taiwan Provincial Government and later as Chief Justice of the Administrative Court after the Central Government moved to Taiwan.  Professor Ma was in his third year of Fudan University and managed to transfer to National Taiwan University Department of Law, from where he graduated in 1950 with the best score in his class. He was therefore retained on the law faculty of the university immediately on graduation, thus laying a firm foundation for his distinguished academic career that followed. 

The Ma family, Prof. Ma (second right, back row), his parents (front), 2 sisters & brother-in-law

Professor Ma’s father was a classical Confucian scholar and placed great emphasis on the Chinese tradition of ancestor worship.  Apart from Professor Ma’s brother-in-law, who had been baptized in China, the family’s first direct contact with Christianity came through neighbors in Taipei who had also arrived from China and were members of the Episcopal Church.  The neighbors met at home for worship.   The family worship services were led by a pastor from the China Inland Mission, Yang Yong-Jing 楊詠經.  Professor Ma and his younger sister attended the services, and both were later baptized by Pastor Yang. 

Professor Ma’s graduation from NTU 1950

The family worship services continued, eventually outgrowing the home, and permission was given by the Presbyterian Church for the Episcopal Church members to use one of the original Japanese Anglican churches in Taipei for services on Sunday afternoons.  Gradually the Episcopal Church began to expand and develop, buildings went up, and church structures put in place.  Taiwan was placed under the jurisdiction of the Diocese of Hawaii, first under Bishop Harry S. Kennedy (1953-60) and then Bishop Charles P. Gilson (1961-64). With Bishop Gilson, Professor Ma wrote the Constitution and Canons of the Taiwan Episcopal Church, Bishop Gilson in English and Professor Ma in Chinese.  Professor Ma became Vice-Chancellor (under the Diocesan Chancellor of Hawaii) and later Diocesan Chancellor of Taiwan, a position he held until his death. In recent years Ms. Amy Chin was appointed as Vice-Chancellor to help Professor Ma with this ministry.

Professor and Mrs. Ma with Bishop and Mrs. Chang, back row: Ms. Amy Chin and her husband, Mr. Gary Tseng

In 1955, Professor Ma met the lady who was to become his wife, Mrs. Aline Ma, Siao Ya-Lin 馬蕭亞麟.  Mrs. Ma was born in Shanghai, China in 1930, but her mother died when she was very small.  Her father (a banker) feared for the safety of his only child due to the war with Japan, so at the tender age of 7, he sent her with relatives to Germany.  But it was a case of out of the frying pan and into the fire; she found herself in a country also preparing for war.  The relatives were based in Berlin, studying at Berlin University; and the young Mrs. Ma went to live with a Prussian general’s family in Brandenburg City, where she always said she learned ‘order, discipline and punctuality’!  The Prussian family had Chinese connections in Beijing dating from before the Boxer Rebellion, but could not speak Chinese, and on arrival, Mrs. Ma had no German language.  All alone in a strange land aged only 7, it is amazing that she not only survived but thrived in the circumstances.  By the time her father visited her a year later, her German was fluent, but unfortunately she had forgotten all her Chinese, and only remembers sadly being completely unable to communicate with her father.   In fact that was to be the last time she ever saw her father again, as war and civil war intervened and they remained apart for the rest of his life.  He later remarried and had 3 more children, all of whom Mrs. Ma got to know in later life. 

Mrs. Aline Ma aged 8 with her father

The young Mrs. Ma spent the whole of the Second World War in Brandenburg City, suffering along with the German people, but in 1945 she and her relatives escaped the Russian occupation and fled to Switzerland where she was sent to boarding schools.  After graduation, she had no resident permit to continue living in Europe, and so in 1955, unable to return to China, she travelled to Taiwan alone.   Initially staying with relatives in Taipei, and later living on her own, her major disadvantage was that although she could speak German, French and English, she could not speak Chinese, which made it difficult for her to find a job.  German was her first language.   After having changed jobs many times as a typist for English, finally she found a job as secretary to the President of Academica Sinica, Chu Chia-hua 朱家驊, who had studied in Germany, and needed a secretary who could speak and write German.  It was, in fact, her inability to communicate in Chinese that brought Professor and Mrs. Ma together, but they could communicate perfectly with each other in English.  Their fathers had known each other in Shanghai, and the young couple met for the first time at a wedding reception hosted by mutual friends.

Wedding Day 1957

Professor and Mrs. Ma were married in 1957 in St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei.  After their marriage, the Ma family continued to live together, 3 generations under one roof.  Their 4 children were born between 1959-64, Gabrielle 佑敏, Mason 佑聖, Vera 佑真 and Beatrice 佑遠.  All the children were baptized at St. John’s Cathedral.

The Ma children

Although Professor and Mrs. Ma and the children were active in the cathedral, his parents were not.  For his father, the major obstacle continued to be ancestor worship, and yet Professor Ma himself felt no conflict.  At an ecumenical conference on this subject, he discussed with the participants how the Christian faith and Chinese tradition could be reconciled.  He also published articles on this subject, and later instigated the Ancestor Memorial Liturgy for the Taiwan Episcopal Church. In the articles, he wrote that our ancestors are human beings, and when they die, they are still human beings, not gods.  There is only one Almighty God, and we need to separate our ancestors from the divine.  We can still pay our respects to our ancestors without regarding them as gods.  After much thought, Professor Ma’s father accepted his explanation, and henceforth adopted an attitude of respect rather than worship of his ancestors.  Having resolved this issue, his parents were now ready to be baptized and became Christians.

The Ma children at the Memorial Service

Mrs. Ma taught German, first at the German Cultural Center and then for 30 years at National Taiwan University, she also took care of 4 children and her parents-in-law, and supported her extremely busy husband.  Mrs. Ma had come from a non-Christian family and was baptized after her marriage.  For several years she led the cathedral E.C.W. (Episcopal Church Women) group, and later the diocesan E.C.W, and in 1977 she attended the E.C.W. Triennial Meeting at the General Convention in Philadelphia as representative of Taiwan.  Several times she also accompanied her husband to attend the General Convention in the U.S.A. 

In retirement, Professor and Mrs. Ma led a quieter life, though that was a relative term, with many visitors and phone calls from people seeking their wise counsel.  Some came to hear the story of Mrs. Ma’s extraordinary early life, which has now been published in German and Chinese.  They both continued to be very involved in the life of the church, and at every major church event, Mrs. Ma would be at her husband’s side, smiling and caring for everyone who came to greet them. Throughout their 65 years of marriage, Mrs. Ma was a tower of strength and support for her husband, and Professor Ma always acknowledged how blessed he was to be married to such a great woman.  

Professor and Mrs. Ma at the ordination service for Rev. Tsai Ching-Yi and Rev. Wu Hsing-Hsiang

During the pandemic, Professor and Mrs. Ma largely remained in the safety of their home, participating in church services and events online.  The most recent major church event they attended in person was the consecration of Bishop Lennon Yuan-Rung Chang as Bishop of Taiwan, on February 22, 2020 in St. John’s Cathedral.  At the end of the service, Presiding Bishop Michael Curry paid tribute to Professor Ma, presenting him with a letter of thanksgiving in recognition of his ministry, constancy, wisdom and faithfulness over the past 65 years to the Taiwan Episcopal Church.  Standing beside Professor Ma, as always, was his beloved wife, Mrs. Ma, smiling and content. 

Presentation by Presiding Bishop Michael Curry

As we give thanks to Almighty God for the amazing life and witness of our beloved Canon Chancellor, Professor Herbert Ma, I personally will always remember him for his wise and gracious presence at church events and on visits to his home. Always calm and thoughtful in conversation, his deep knowledge and wide experience brought light and clarity into every discussion, especially in matters related to the Taiwan Episcopal Church and its history, law, international relations and culture.

The Ma family at the Memorial Service

Professor Ma played a very profound role in public life, but at home, together with Mrs. Ma and the family, the atmosphere was less serious, and their home was warm, cosy and hospitable. On my visits there, it was always a joy to see Professor Ma relaxed and happy, sharing memories and photos of past travels and family history. Visitors were many and varied, from all walks of life.  From the highest to the lowest all were warmly welcomed; regardless of background all were treated with the same respect and dignity.

I count it a great privilege to have known both Professor and Mrs. Ma, to have benefitted from their wisdom and counsel, and to have been welcomed into their home and shared meals and fellowship with them and their family. They will be greatly missed.  May they rest in peace and rise in glory.

N. B. In 2014, Professor and Mrs. Ma kindly agreed to share their life stories with me for an article published in the diocesan Friendship Magazine. Many of the details above are taken from that article, and a special tribute to Mrs. Ma on her death in June 2022 was published here.

Advent Word 2022, Day 29 ‘Emmanuel’ 以馬內利

#AdventWord #Emmanuel #以馬內利

‘Emmanuel—God is with us. Really? Is this true?

During these last few years political uprisings, poverty, harsh climate change, COVID-19, and endless hate crimes have taken a toll on almost everyone.

Nonetheless, God is with us. And we as Christians can reassure the rest of the world of this in one simple way: In our actions.

We may be called to act in different ways, but for me, I will wave the pride flag in support of the LGBT community and stand against gun violence, unapologetically proclaim Black Lives Matter, raise awareness of the refugee crisis, and water the sunflowers of Ukraine.

So, yes, Emmanuel-God is with us. And he always will be.’

Minda Cox

‘Madonna and Child’, Alfredo Roldán 1999

Lady Chapel, St. Bartholomew the Great, Smithfield, London EC1

At the end of Advent Word 2022, may I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Advent Word 2022, Day 28 ‘Birth’ 誕生

#AdventWord #Birth #誕生

‘Talking about the #birth of my children, I mostly shared “positive” feelings—hope, excitement, anticipation, joy. Only with close friends and family did I share my fear, anxiety, and uncertainty. In this week’s gospel, we see Joseph wrestle with these same feelings. With only the comfort of an angel’s promise and faith in an unseen God, Joseph answers the call to become Christ’s foster father. Joseph and Mary will celebrate birth at the foot of the manger soon, but for now we wait with them in disquiet. Are we prepared for Christ’s arrival? What do we fear?’ (Lindsay Barrett-Adler)

New Birth Commemoration of John & Charles Wesley, Aldersgate Street, London

Advent Word 2022, Day 27 ‘Restore’ 恢復

#AdventWord #Restore #恢復

‘Restore is a spiritual reality perfect for Advent. God comes to restore us—every moment of our life. In Advent, we are reminded that Jesus restores us by being God with us, God for us, and God in us. Without shaming or blaming us, Advent invites us to the important task of paying attention to the ways in which God seeks to restore us. Advent reminds us that God comes to us and to our world. Advent reminds us that we need to come to God to be restored spiritually, psychologically, culturally, politically. May we deepen our desire to be restored in God. Will you let God restore you?’ (Rev. Dr. Mark Francisco Bozzuti-Jones)

Leadenhall Market area, City of London: restoration, renewal, revitalization at every turn

Advent Word 2022, Day 26 ‘Choose’ 選擇

#AdventWord #Choose #選擇

‘I lived with this word for several days. I began to see the freedom and the responsibility of being able to choose. I can turn away from evil and turn toward good. Turn away from large evils—violence, war —and small evils—hatred, unkind thoughts. Turn toward good, keeping a soft heart for the whole globe. God walks with me. God thunders, “Choose the good!” God pleads, “Choose the good.” God whispers, “Choose the good.” God stands with the poor, the suffering, the hungry, those in pain and weeps, “Choose the good.” With God’s help, I can choose.’ (Ann Case)

Stanfords, Covent Garden, London

‘Stanfords is a specialist bookshop of maps and travel books in London, established in 1853 by Edward Stanford. Its collection of maps, globes, and maritime charts is considered the world’s largest.’

Choose. Choose what kind of world you want. Choose the good.

Advent Word 2022, Day 25 ‘Obedience’ 順服

#AdventWord #Obedience #順服

‘As the eldest child of an eldest child, I find that obedience has always been at the forefront of my life. Over the years, I have enjoyed its sweet freedom. This word might be fraught for some, but for me, it’s a measure of love, devotion, and commitment. It’s doing something that someone asks of you, not because of obligation but out of love. We are called as Christians to be obedient to God. The command can seem heavy, but in it, there is freedom to be who we are as God’s children. God’s expectations of our lives, our love, and our passions give us boundaries that provide a safe and constant place to be formed, nurtured, and cherished.’ (The Ven. Jeffrey Queen)

London Eye & Palace of Westminster

‘Obedience keeps the rules. Love knows when to break them’. (Anthony de Mello)

Advent Word 2022, Day 24 ‘Hear’ 聽

#AdventWord #Hear #聽

‘We are surrounded by loud noises and voices, by ringtones and notifications. How many of these are merely “a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal” (1 Corinthians 13:1)? What messages do we choose to hear?

Luke’s story of Advent is marked by some remarkable voices: Zacharias and Mary see and hear angels. Elizabeth hears two poems of praise and prophecy—one from her cousin Mary and one from her husband Zacharias. Later in the story, shepherds hear angels sing.

Whose voices are you hoping to hear this Advent? How can you create the quiet in which they can be heard?’ (Hugo Olaiz)

The National Windrush Monument, Waterloo Station, London

‘… Unveiled in June 2022 , the bronze sculpture by Basil Watson memorialises the British West Indian immigrants who came to the United Kingdom on board HMT Empire Windrush in 1948, who subsequently became known as the Windrush generation. The inscription accompanying the monument lists the members of the Windrush Committee who commissioned the sculpture and a poem “You Called..and we came” written by Professor Laura Serrant OBE, Queen’s Nurse’….

‘Human values needed to truly lead change…and add value.

Remember… you called.

Remember… you called

YOU. Called.

Remember, it was us, who came.’

Advent Word 2022, Day 23 ‘Sign’ 記號

#AdventWord #Sign #記號

‘When I worked at a library, I helped design and update the wayfinding signs around the building. That job taught me that a thoughtful sign is an act of welcome. The best signs point the way for longtime community members and new visitors alike. Signs can show you how to find what you need before you ask. They may even show you something you didn’t know you needed.

God’s signs are rarely so color-coded and clear. But if we pay attention, they still point us to a kingdom coming near—a kingdom where our needs are met in God’s abundant love.’ (Margaret Ellsworth)

‘Mind the Gap’: London Underground’s iconic sign, in use since 1968.

‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Emmanuel’. Isaiah 7:14

‘This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger’. Luke 2:12.

Emmanuel, ‘God with us’, the birth of the Christ child: God bridging the gap between us and Him.

Advent Word 2022, Day 22 ‘Purify’ 潔淨

#AdventWord #Purify #潔淨

‘“Purify our conscience almighty God, by your daily visitation….”.

So begins the collect for the Fourth Sunday of Advent 2022. We are exhorted to open up space in our hearts, minds, and souls for God’s grace, that we may find the strength and courage to become cleansed crystal clear in God’s sight. How can we manage to do this? Through self-control, prayer, repentance, wholehearted devotion to the ways of Jesus in our daily lives. In return, God sees our potential, continually renewing us with the living water of the Spirit, continually freeing us from guilt and shame. In the imitation of the purity of Mary and Jesus, we are purified so we can nurture our gifts to grow in the Christian life.’ (Elizabeth T. Massey)

Newly-opened & redeveloped Battersea Power Station, Nine Elms, London – containing shops, offices (incl. new Apple campus) and apartments. Opened October 2022.

‘From the 1930s to 1980s, Battersea Power Station was a working coal-fired Power Station. At its peak, it was producing a fifth of London’s power, supplying electricity to some of London’s most recognisable landmarks, such as the Houses of Parliament and Buckingham Palace’.

London was once famous for its smog, the ‘pea-soupers’ of the 50s and 60s. The Great Smog of Dec. 1952 is thought to be the worst air pollution event in UK history and led to several changes in practices and regulations, including the Clean Air Act 1956. Increased concerns about public health, air quality and pollution resulted in the eventual closure and decommissioning of Battersea Power Station.

Purify /ˈpjʊərɪfʌɪ/ verb: remove contaminants from.

Advent Word 2022, Day 21 ‘Majesty’ 威嚴

#AdventWord #Majesty #威嚴

‘Redwood forests. Hummingbird in flight. Keeping vigil at the bedside. The lion and the lamb. Snow-capped mountains. The path cleared. Queen Anne’s lace. The servant of the Lord. Pounding water on the shore. The blind see. The deaf hear. The path leveled. Hands are strengthened. A butterfly lighting. The crocus blooms. Water in the desert. The people singing. Knees are made firm. The hungry are fed. Justice for the oppressed. The proud are scattered. The lowly are lifted up. The farmer reaps. The prophet appears. The messenger is sent. The kin-dom of heaven. Majesty.’ (The Rev. Sharon Core)

‘Power’ by Morag Myerscough at the new Battersea Power Station redevelopment, Nine Elms, Battersea, London

‘A landmark installation for Battersea Power Station, that standouts from the surrounding urban architecture, a celebration of times gone by and to mark the beginning of a new era.’