Tag Archives: St James’ Church Taichung

Congratulations to Antony F. W. Liang 梁凡偉 on his Ordination as Deacon! 梁凡偉傳道按立會吏聖職聖禮

What a great and joyful day for all in the Taiwan Episcopal Church ~ for Bishop David J. H. Lai ordaining a new deacon ~ and for Antony Fan-Wei Liang and his family, in particular!  Many congratulations to everyone, and thanks be to God!

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This all happened last night, May 1, 2018, at a special ordination service at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei ~ YES!

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Antony and his parents are long-time members of St. James’ Church, Taichung ~ in fact, I’ve known him since he was a teenager.   Antony’s much-loved father is Jerry Liang, lay leader for many years of St. James’ English service.  I go there once a month to do the sermon and I know that whenever Jerry is there, the service proceeds oh so smoothly – but if Jerry is not there for any reason, everyone is noticeably less relaxed and anything can – and often does – happen!  Antony’s very lovely mother, Jean helps too, she is the world’s most amazing singer and oozes elegance, refinement and style.  Both parents are very committed Christians, the first in their respective families, and both are also retired teachers, devoted parents to Antony, and very energetic and supportive grandparents to Antony’s 2 young sons.   Ah, we all love ’em so much!  This is Antony and his family last night with Bishop Lai….

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So, some years ago, when Antony married his beautiful wife, Anita, the wedding too was at St. James’ Church.  And then the 2 boys came along ~ but in-between times, Antony responded to a call to enter full-time ministry.  For his theological college training, he had the unique opportunity, kindly offered to the diocese by Archbishop Paul Kwong of Hong Kong – and supported by Bishop Lai – to train at Ming Hua Theological College, Hong Kong.  He was there 3 years, while his wife and family stayed in Taiwan, living with Jerry and Jean, who rose to the occasion wonderfully, and provided the family with lots of love and support, as well as a warm and caring home.  Antony finished at Ming Hua last summer, and his graduation in February this year was attended by former and current rectors of St. James, Rev. Charles C. T. Chen and Rev. Lily L. L. Chang, as well as Jerry Liang.

Since then the family have been serving at St. Andrew’s Mission, Jieding, Kaohsiung, and most recently involved at St. Paul’s Church, Kaohsiung at weekends.

Now, though, starting May 1, Antony has been assigned to St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei, to be in charge of a new English service, starting this Sunday – and every Sunday – at 9:00 am.  Many years ago the cathedral had an English service, but in recent years it had stopped.  Now it is being restarted, and Antony is taking up the challenge – along, of course, with the dean, Philip L. F. Lin.

But first to Antony’s ordination last night…

And we welcomed church members and friends from all over Taiwan ~ and an extra blessing was to welcome so many of Antony’s fellow students, faculty, clergy and friends from Hong Kong, and specially Dr. Gareth Jones, principal of Ming Hua, who also represented Archbishop Paul Kwong.   Here he is with Antony… (notice the candle light that looks like it’s on the top of Antony’s head!)

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I counted about 20 visitors in the Hong Kong (and friends) group photo ~ wonderful!

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A coachload also came from St. James’ Church, Taichung – and they sang “I the Lord of Sea and Sky” during the service.  Loved it!  This is their group photo…

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And then we also had all our clergy in attendance, plus many church members, particularly from our churches in northern Taiwan.   These are groups photos from St. Paul’s Church, Kaohsiung, Christ Church, Chungli, and St. Stephen’s Church, Keelung…

And this was the main group photo ~ kindly taken by one of our diocesan staff…

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All our happy clergy…

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Y’know, yesterday, May 1 was not just a special holy day, the Feast of St. Philip and St. James, it was also Labour Day – so quite a few people had a day off work.  In Taiwan the day off is limited to those who qualify for Labour Insurance, which does not include teachers in universities and schools, so the schools were open and students were in classes.  But our church kindergarten teachers and staff do qualify for Labour Insurance, so the kindergartens were closed.  The good thing was that many could therefore come to the ordination, including some of the teachers from St. James’ Kindergarten and Leading Star Kindergarten.  The bad thing was that everyone with a day off was out at restaurants, enjoying the beach, relaxing, and the roads were all full of cars.  Students were trying to get home, and as it was also a full moon festival, so there were temple celebrations and processions all over.  And in Taipei City there were Labour Day marches.  Ah, crowds everywhere!   Praise God we all got to St. John’s Cathedral more or less on time!

The service started at 7:00 pm, led by Bishop Lai, who also preached.  Lessons were read by Samuel Chen, senior warden at St. James – in Chinese, and by Jerry Liang in English. The service was full of meaning, and very moving….

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By tradition, Antony’s wife also gave a short speech after the actual ordination part of the service, she was wonderful – she thanked everyone on behalf of the family, and the whole family were introduced.  Dr. Gareth Jones also gave a short speech.  We had photos galore – and lots of meeting up with old friends!  So, this is the album…

A big thank you to Bishop Lai and all the clergy, staff and church members of St. John’s Cathedral for all their organization – and attention to detail, and the refreshments too.  This is the cathedral group photo, with our beloved Canon Chancellor, Professor Herbert Ma and Mrs. Aline Ma in the front..

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We give thanks to Almighty God for his many blessings to the Taiwan Episcopal Church, and for Antony’s ordination.  Please do pray for Antony and his family as they settle into life at St. John’s Cathedral and of course, as they start the new English service this coming Sunday!

Praying for World Peace….

Where to start with world peace?!

A few weeks ago at St. James’ Church Youth Group in Taichung, we had the challenge of praying for the world.  Challenge accepted!  We prayed for the 16 countries officially listed as being located on the Tropic of Cancer, of which Taiwan is one (see that post here).  This past Saturday was part 2, this time with a focus on world peace.

We prayed for countries where war is a current reality.   Wikipedia’s List of ongoing armed conflicts is very extensive, so we focused on 16 of the worst-affected countries.  Not all are ‘at war’ in the traditional sense – the list includes the Mexico Drug War, as it has one of the highest number of causalities in recent years.  And of course, just because a country is not officially listed as being ‘at war’, does not mean that it is at peace.  Nor does it mean that a country is not involved in wars elsewhere.

Each of us was responsible for praying for one country at war.  More specifically, using paper people, each of us made our paper people into a family of 4, covering 3 generations, and researched how the people in ‘our’ family could be affected by the war.  Then we prayed and sang and committed all families in war-torn countries to God.

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Partly inspired by the Gospel reading for yesterday when Jesus appeared to his disciples after the resurrection (Luke 24), saying, “Peace be with you” ~ and that “repentance and forgiveness of sins is to be proclaimed in his name to all nations, beginning from Jerusalem.”

Repentance and forgiveness.  We need a bit more of that in the world.  A lot more, in fact.  And in countries affected by war, it’s a particularly big challenge.  So, pray on!

Praying for the World…

But where to start?!  It’s quite a task to take on ‘praying for the world’ ~ so on Saturday night at the St. James’ Church Youth Group in Taichung, we started with, well, where else to start, but, of course, Taiwan!  And we prayed around the Tropic of Cancer for all 16 officially-listed countries, one of which is Taiwan.  Interestingly, many of those countries are very arid and dry ~ the Tropic of Cancer actually passes right through the middle of the Sahara Desert.  And the highest mountain on the Tropic of Cancer is …… (drum roll here)… Yushan in Taiwan!

Anyway, each person took a paper out of a box, with the name of one of those 16 countries on it.  We re-ordered the circle so everyone was sitting in order of their country’s location on the Tropic of Cancer.  Then we spent a very quiet 15 minutes absorbed in our cellphones finding out info to share about that country and using that info to write our own prayer ~ and so we prayed around the circle, each country lit by a candle…  I had the Bahamas, and y’know it’s quite some country, and I knew nowt much about it beforehand!

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Partly inspired by the Chiayi Lantern Festival, which also takes the Tropic of Cancer as a theme with all the 16 countries listed and their locations…. and partly related to today’s Gospel reading which includes John 3:16: “For God so loved THE WORLD that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life.”  Hey, that’s good news for us and for the whole world!

So pray on, and pray for the world!

CMS LINK LETTER # 74!

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!

Advent Word 2017, Day 8 ‘prepare’

#AdventWord #prepare

‘PREPARE for what? How do you PREPARE for the Word of God to come and “take our flesh and grow as a child in Mary’s womb?” PREPARE and “grow as a child.”’

Today we celebrate Rev. Charles C. T. Chen 陳金地牧師 82nd birthday ~ Happy Birthday Charles! He and MaryJo are not in Taiwan to celebrate, instead they are in Italy with Bishop David J. H. Lai and the group from the National Council of Churches of Taiwan (NCCT) visiting many people and places, including the Vatican and Pope Francis (check the report here).

This photo is Charles and MaryJo’s engagement photo, taken in 1958, as they PREPARE(d) for their marriage.  Wow, almost 60 years ago!

And what’s the connection with the ‘Visit to the Taiwan Episcopal Church 台灣聖公會 of Bishop John A. Pinckney from Taiwan’s Companion Diocese, the Episcopal Diocese of Upper S. Carolina (EDUSC), October 1965?’

Fast forward to 1996, and St. James’ Episcopal Church, Taichung became a parish, with Rev. Charles C. T. Chen as rector. In 1998, a letter from Bishop Manuel Lumpias of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines (EDCP) to then Bishop of Taiwan, John C. T. Chien described how Igorot Christians in EDCP were meeting for worship under mango trees because they had no church buildings of their own. Inspired by memories of the generous US$ 30,000 donation in 1971 from Christ Church, Greenville, EDUSC, to build St. James’ Church, Charles responded in faith and love, inspiring church members and friends to donate money sufficient to build a church in EDCP. That first church, Christ the King, Sandeline in Nueva Ecija, soon inspired a second, then a third, and eventually over 12 years, a total of 12 churches were built to the glory of God.

As Charles said at the time, “In Taiwan, we had nothing and we were so poor. Now we have everything, so it is time for us to help others. Just as Christ Church, Greenville, EDUSC gave so willingly to us in our early days, so we want to express our thanks by sharing our wealth with others.”  Thanks Be To God!

Advent Word 2017, Day 4 ‘simplify’

#AdventWord #simplify

‘SIMPLIFY: travel lightly. Cast off the things and thoughts which are dark and heavy. Put on the “armor of light.” Clean out the closets of your mind and of your house. SIMPLIFY and share the best of your mortal life.’

Visit to the Taiwan Episcopal Church 台灣聖公會 of Bishop John A. Pinckney from Taiwan’s companion diocese, the Episcopal Diocese of Upper S. Carolina (EDUSC), October 1965.

St. James’ Episcopal Church, Taichung 台灣聖公會聖雅各堂 at that time met in this rented building. Later, in 1968, a plot of land was acquired, and in 1971, a donation of US$ 30,000 from Christ Church, Greenville, EDUSC, and an equal amount raised from St. James’ Church members provided the funds needed to build a new church, consecrated in April 1971. Now it is a bustling, busy and beautiful place of worship and outreach, under the leadership of Rev. Lily Chang, rector. Thanks be to God!

聖雅各愛心園遊會 St. James’ Preschool, Taichung, Charity Bazaar 2017!

And what an amazing event it always is!  After weeks and weeks of preparation, it all came together on the day, and Saturday was THE day, YES!

Always held on the Saturday morning of the weekend before Mother’s Day, and always held in aid of charity, and always fun!  (This is last year’s report here – that was an amazing event too). This year’s event seemed even busier – and maybe even more fun! Well, all except for the poor pig who was on the spit soon after 6:00 am ~ but hey, it was delicious!

This year’s 2 charities are the after-school classes and ministry of St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church, Keelung, and 安德啟智中心 St. Andrew’s (Anders) Training Center, Fuli, Hualien. The latter is run by R. C. priest, Fr. Yves Moal 劉一峰神父, who came to Taiwan from France in 1966 at the age of 25, and has been ever since.  Fr. Moal’s project is to build a nursing home for elderly physically and mentally challenged people – he has also been in the News (see here) recently for being one of the first foreigners in Taiwan to receive a Taiwanese passport while keeping his original nationality. Many congratulations!  He is trying to raise NT$ 80 million, but has started building in faith, and hopes to finish by the end of the year.  Fr. Moal’s representative, Bo-Jun 練柏均 came to the bazaar on Saturday ~ here he is presenting Bishop Lai with a certificate of thanks….

St. Stephen’s Church also sent along our good friend and former St. James’ teacher, Huang-Min and a group from their after-school program.  Yes, I just LOVE St. Stephen’s Church!  Rev. Julia Shu-Hua Lin and her team work so hard to help the children and local community.  The children played and sang to us…

There were hundreds of things going on all morning – so it was difficult to know what to see next!  We started with performances from the preschool children, then a prayer from Rev. Lily Chang and a short talk from Bishop Lai, and then each of the VIP visitors hit the big gong and put their donation in the box.  Then everything started in earnest – there were performances all morning from different groups of children, teenagers and adults. Rev. Philip Lin, dean of St. John’s Cathedral and former rector of St. James, also came with his wife, Linda and family. Linda is still active in running the community service program that she started when they were at St. James, but most significantly, their son, Daniel is a great yo-yo expert and performed for us, along with his coach, Harry who is No. 6 yo-yo performer in the world.  Yes, #6 in the whole world!  A great performance from them both!

Another highlight were the Taekwondo Team.  Amazing.  I could have watched them for hours!

And yet another highlight was watching Yasmin and her group acting out their version of the The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  Every time I come to St. James, she’s doing something different – The 3 Little Pigs or Little Red Riding Hood, but this was extra special.  The caterpillar’s face was oh so expressive and the kids (and parents) were just so involved, and everyone was so happy when she emerged as a butterfly!

Dozens of local companies and businesses gave of their time and energy to help us raise money, everything from ‘Happy Hair’ haircuts to coffee to sausages (sold by our good friend, Feng-Mei’s brother-in-law and his daughter, who’d come from Taoyuan for the occasion) to children’s paintings.  All in aid of a really great cause.  And all organized by Shin-Chia, Teacher Ruby who has spent months planning everything and did such a great job. Helped of course by Principal Susan, Language Institute director Yu-Mei, all the teachers, children, parents and the local community, and supported by Preschool Supervisor Luanne, her husband and senior warden Samuel, Rev. Lily Chang and all at St. James’ Church, Rev. Sam Cheng, plus of course Bishop Lai and Mrs. Lily Lai.  Here’s Ruby on the morning of the event!

And finally I must mention Li-Mei, Teacher Vicky, who with one of the other teachers were the MCs for the event – Li-Mei comes from Hualien, and it turns out that her mother comes from the exact same village where Fr. Moal is building the nursing home.  She reminded me that she had taken me to that village a few years ago to visit her grandparents. Yes, I remember, ah, we had such a great day!  Here we are on Saturday…..

So a big thank you to all of St. James who worked so hard to make everything go so smoothly ~ and thank you to Bishop Lai and all the visitors who came especially for the event. There were at least 5 groups of us who came from northern Taiwan, including Teacher Tiger and her husband. Plus lots of former teachers who left many years ago, they came back with their families – wow, it was so good to see them again!

Thanks be to God for a really great day, fine weather and lots of energy and fun!

PS: updated May 22 ~ and the grand total raised is NT$ 457,000 (US$ 15,000 or £ 11,600) …. wonderful!