Tag Archives: St John’s Cathedral Taipei

A New Priest In the Diocese of Taiwan ~ Congratulations to Rev. Antony F. W. Liang on his Ordination! 梁凡偉會吏按立會長聖職典禮 YES!

On Wednesday May 1, 2019, the Feast of St. Philip and St. James, at 7:00 pm in St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei, Rev. Antony F. W. Liang (梁凡偉) was ordained priest by the Bishop of Taiwan, David J. H. Lai…

Exactly a year ago, on May 1, 2018, Antony was ordained deacon, also in St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei, by Bishop Lai (see that post and photos here). This time, as is the tradition for the ordination of a priest, all the clergy joined Bishop Lai in the laying on of hands…

In the year since his ordination as deacon, we have watched as Antony’s family have settled into the busy life of Taiwan’s capital city, his children have grown taller and stronger, and both have settled into new schools, with the younger one in the cathedral kindergarten. Antony himself has grown and matured into the role of curate at St. John’s Cathedral, helping and learning from our dean, Rev. Philip L. F. Lin; and as always assisted by his lovely wife, Anita. Antony has special responsibility for the English service at the cathedral, which also started in May 2018, and it now has a small but committed congregation, meeting each Sunday at 9:00 am for an hour, followed by coffee time. A great blessing to all of us is that Antony has inherited his father’s eloquent and gracious style of speaking and writing English, and his mother’s friendliness and caring way of making everyone feel at home in her presence! We were especially pleased to meet the family again, his parents, Jerry and Jean from St. James’ Church, Taichung, and his parents-in-law, who had come from Changhua. Jerry read the second lesson in English, and Anita gave a very beautiful speech thanking everyone for coming, and introducing all her family…

At the ordination service, we were also very honoured to welcome Dr. Gareth Jones, principal of Ming Hua Theological College, Hong Kong, where Antony did his theological training – having been kindly invited to study there by Archbishop Paul Kwong. Our 2 seminarians currently at Ming Hua also came home especially for the occasion, plus 3 other HK friends. We also welcomed Warren Wong, chair of Province VIII of the Episcopal Church, visiting from San Francisco. Nearly all our clergy participated in the service, and lots of church friends came from all over Taiwan. This is the official group photo, taken by one of the cathedral congregation…

And all the clergy in the group photo below ~ along with Canon Chancellor Herbert H. P. Ma and Mrs. Ma, plus Dr. Gareth Jones, seated either side of Bishop Lai…

I took a lot of photos, over 600 in total, these are the best ones! Before the service began….

During the first part of the service…

The Holy Communion…

The end of the service…

It is so lovely to see so many students and young adults in our cathedral congregation, led by Philip and Antony. Here they are. We pray that some of them may also receive a call to ordination in the Taiwan Episcopal Church!

The Diocese of Taiwan is indeed blessed to have Antony and his family serving at St. John’s Cathedral. Please do pray for them, and for Antony in his new role as priest.

And yes, as always, thanks be to Almighty God!

Advent Church and St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei 成果發表會 Show Time!

Two weekends of non-stop music, drumming and dancing!

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Yes, two different presentations, a double Show Time.   And it was all wonderful!

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Many of our churches put on an end-of-school-year performance for each of their community groups to do a presentation of what they’ve learned, just before they finish for the summer. These community groups are organized by the church, using church facilities, but with outside teachers or coaches, who may or may not be related to the church.  The idea is to encourage people in the local community and church members to attend the classes together. The students usually pay a small fee, but not always.  Classes cover very diverse topics, for all ages, for the active and inactive, for men and women, happening at all times of the day / evening / weekend.  And of course, all fun!

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The performance time is a great chance for the churches to bring everyone together and get to know each other, and through that, we hope that some more of the local community can join and maybe become part of the church ~ but there’s no pressure.

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Last Saturday was Advent Church’s first ever show time, held in the church centre, and today was the turn of St. John’s Cathedral.

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Some of the highlights are the Taiko Drumming Classes at both churches…

Then there’s Taichi at Advent Church….

Pilates, a new class at St. John’s Cathedral…

Praise Dance…

At Advent Church, there’s the student fellowship music group who welcome all students to come and learn …

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And Advent Church also organizes dancing classes for the neighbouring junior high school children…

We had lots of people in attendance at both church presentations, and we finished either with refreshments (Advent Church) or by taking zhong-zi home for lunch, this being the Dragon Boat Festival weekend (St. John’s Cathedral).  The cathedral also had some games and craft activities arranged for after the presentations, plus a lucky draw.  Both churches also had their clergy present to pray and / or give a short talk and welcome everyone.  Ah, there’s lots going on!

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My English classes run at both churches, here we are at Advent Church, performing a song from Sound of Music…

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At St. John’s Cathedral, we put a lot of effort into creating, rehearsing and performing a drama ~ of a class of ‘children’ who all have some ‘problem’, and each thinks of a great excuse to explain why they are daydreaming in class, haven’t done their homework, worn their uniform, late everyday, took a day off yesterday, their dog is barking outside or they’re falling asleep in the class. Ah, they were great, so creative and very expressive!

This kind of Show-Time presentation is one of the best things about the church in Taiwan ~ they really try hard to integrate their different community service programmes into their main church outreach ministry, and really try hard to find ways of bringing the groups together and sharing a little of the Gospel with them.  My English classes are a mix of church members and those from the local community, and it is often through friendships made in the groups that those from the local community start to come along to the church and maybe from there come to faith.

So, if you’re a church wondering how to connect the dots with your seemingly-unconnected-and-very-different groups of people who use your buildings, then this is one way.  Many of them may well be looking for a chance to showcase what they do, so as to attract more members themselves. A termly Show-Time is one way.  Highly recommended!

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Thanks to all those who worked so hard to make these presentations happen, and of course…  Thanks be to Almighty God!

‘Love and Peace’ Thanksgiving Concerts 愛與和平感恩音樂會: Welcoming the Lawings to Taiwan!

Wonderful visitors, wonderful friends of the Taiwan Episcopal Church ~ these last 10 days we’ve really enjoyed a feast of music welcoming Bill Lawing and his wife, Cynthia from Davidson College, N. Carolina, USA, and Cynthia’s sister, Gloria from Rollins College, Florida  – and some of the younger ones in their family too!

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The Lawings are passionate about their music and just love performing.  And smiling for the cameras.  And talking and meeting everyone.  So natural – yet so experienced, so professional – yet so down to earth, so talented – yet so humble and modest.  Everybody in Taiwan loves them, and from what they said, seems like they love everybody here too!

Here’s Bill, Cynthia and Gloria after their concert last night at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei with Bishop and Mrs. Lily Lai, Professor Herbert Ma and Mrs. Aline Ma, Rev. Philip Lin and Ms. Linda Lin, and Ms. Amy Lin…

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Anyway, on to the music – we had Bill on his trumpet, Cynthia and Gloria on the piano ~ and away we went!  This was their concert finale and my overall favouritest piece, This Little Light of Mine ~ recorded at St. Timothy’s Church…

While they’ve been here, they’ve performed a whole range of music at 2 concerts, 2 church services and 2 kindergartens.  What an honour it was to welcome them and listen to their music and watch them play.

This is a very short excerpt from ‘Go Tell it on the Mountain’….

After a 16-hour non-stop flight from New York last Thursday, May 24, they arrived very early in the morning in Taipei, and after a traditional Taiwan-style breakfast, they went straight into practicing at St. John’s Cathedral.  Their stamina and enthusiasm were amazing.  And not just for music ~ Cynthia’s other great passion in Taiwan is the food.  The more local the better.  Street food expert extraordinaire!  So after practice at the cathedral, off we went straight to their welcome lunch with cathedral clergy and friends.  Ah, it was a busy morning!

Cynthia and Gloria were brought up in Hong Kong, where their family were members of St. Paul’s Church, whose rector was Rev. James T. M. Pong – he was also their close family friend.  He left St. Paul’s in 1971 to become Bishop of Taiwan, and in 1974, to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Taiwan Episcopal Church, Bishop Pong invited Cynthia to come and give a concert tour all round Taiwan.  Those were the days of no a/c, just windows open and fans blowing – and just think, it was high summer!  This is Cynthia and Gloria at the diocesan office outside the room named in memory of Bishop Pong, and his photo.

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One of those concerts that Cynthia gave in 1974 was in Tainan Theological College, where Bishop Lai was then a student, and he remembers attending – and shaking her hand!  Fast forward 37 years to 2011 – and then 2014, and Cynthia was so pleased to be able to come back to Taiwan, along with Bill, offering their musical talents and skills to perform in a series of concerts.  So this is their third trip together and this time, they’ve brought some of their family too.  Ah, how we loved them all!

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Their first concert was at 2:00 pm on Saturday May 26 at St. Timothy’s Church, Kaohsiung, the second a week later, at 7:00 pm on Saturday June 2 at St. John’s Cathedral.  Both concerts were co-sponsored by the Taiwan Episcopal Church and the Christian Tribune 基督教論壇報 – and  were on the theme of ‘Love and Peace’ 愛與和平感恩音樂會, commemorating the 60th anniversary of the 823 Artillery Bombardment, part of the Second Taiwan Strait Crisis, which saw about 480,000 artillery shells dropped on Taiwan’s outlying islands of Kinmen.  It is some of these artillery shells, that, through Bishop Lai’s vision, have been made into artillery shell crosses, symbolizing the transformation of objects of war and hatred into objects of love and peace, hence the ‘P’ in the middle of the crosses.  This is Bishop Lai and Bill holding one of the original artillery shell crosses, and Cynthia holding the piece of marble that she picked up in Taroko Gorge when they visited in 2014, and which Bishop Lai has faithfully watered every day, and is now blooming with small green ferns.  In 2014, Cynthia promised that when it bloomed they would come back to Taiwan to perform again ~ and so here they are!

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The artillery shell crosses were on sale at each concert – here is Gloria and Daniel selling them at the cathedral…

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Bishop Lai and Mr. Luo from Advent Church have composed a hymn, ‘Raise High, the Transformed Artillery Shells Cross’ which we sang at the beginning of each of the concerts.

At St. Timothy’s Church, the first 2 verses were sung as a solo by Ms. Lynn Liu, and accompanied by Cynthia on the organ, then in the final verse by Bill and Gloria too.  This is the hymn, sung in Chinese.

This is Lynn with the Lawings afterwards…. so great!

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St. Timothy’s rector, Rev. Richard J. C. Lee shared Cynthia’s story with us, he also welcomed us all and Mr. Timothy Cheng, Christian Tribune CEO to speak.  Then the concert started, and we all relaxed, and enjoyed the variety of music on offer.  It was beautiful!

I videoed some excerpts of their concert in Kaohsiung.  Ah, I loved it!  A few I’ve put on You Tube.  Two short excerpts are here for you to enjoy ~ though I have to admit, I don’t know what pieces they are excerpts of, but hey, I like ’em.  Listening to music is a bit like enjoying nature, you can appreciate all the flowers and trees around you without needing to know the names of ’em all ~ well, that’s my idea anyway!

The concert at St. Timothy’s Church welcomed all our clergy from southern Taiwan, and many church members, some from every church.  In fact after the concert, each church group came up for photos together with the Lawings.  Everyone was so appreciative, and especially the youth group who’d come all the way from St. Peter’s Church, Chiayi, 2 hours drive north!

And a group photo of everyone at St. Timothy’s Church concert…

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Then off to dinner later that evening, hosted by Rev. Cheng Chen-Chang and the leaders of St. Paul’s Church, it was so so so delicious!  On the right is Mr. Di, who provided so many photos and live broadcasts throughout the concert and service.  Really appreciative of his help!

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On Sunday May 27, Bill and Cynthia also played 4 pieces during the service at St. Paul’s, starting with a prelude on the steps of the church. This is St. Paul’s Church before the service ~ that guy on the bike just happened to appear at the right moment!

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This was the Lawing’s main piece, played after the creed, I think it is also my most favourite of all!

They were also presented with small gifts in appreciation…

And of course, we all had a group photo after the service!

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Then off they went to Taiwan’s southernmost tip, Kenting, with Rev. Richard Lee and his family, and I went back to Taipei.  Seems like they had a great time there – then to Tainan where they played at the kindergartens and had a fun time with Rev. Philip Ho and his wife, Nancy at Grace Church. By Saturday, they were back in Taipei and we went to visit Bishop Lai for tea-drinking, always one of the highlights of their visits to Taiwan!

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And so to St. John’s Cathedral concert, held last night, and a similar programme to the one at St. Timothy’s Church.  So I got to hear them twice, ah, a double blessing!

We finished with presentations – Bishop Lai gave Bill, Cynthia and Gloria a small artillery shell cross each.  Then a group photo, as always!

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Today the Lawings were playing at Good Shepherd Church, and then leaving Taiwan to go on to the next stage of their travels.  For us, we have many wonderful memories of their visit, and especially their music.  It was great to welcome the younger members of their family too, they enjoyed exploring Taiwan.  Hoping they’ll all come back again soon, but in the meantime, we say goodbye with hearts filled with gratitude and love.

Thanks be to Almighty God!

Started Today! English Service @ St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei

A new English service started today at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei!  Holy Eucharist will be held every Sunday from now onwards, from 9:00 -10:00 am, before the Chinese service at 10:30 am.  Today was a new beginning.  After a gap of many years, the English service has restarted.  The dean, Philip L. F. Lin and newly-ordained deacon, Antony F. W. Liang will be leading each service, Philip taking the Holy Communion, and Antony doing the sermon.  Bishop Lai was also there today and Mrs. Lily Lai, also our beloved Canon Chancellor, Professor Herbert Ma and his wife, Mrs. Aline Ma and their daughter.  Plus lots of church members. And some visitors.  I went specially for the occasion, and gathered everyone together for a group photo afterwards – one of many photos as it turned out, but this is the main one.

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The Taiwan Episcopal Church has such a friendly atmosphere towards taking photos that gathering everyone together at the end of the service for a group photo seemed such a natural thing to do.  Everyone was so happy to come to the front and take part.  Imagine doing that in any UK cathedral – Never In A Million Years.  Y’know, I like Taiwan, yes I do!

Please pray for this new service and for the cathedral outreach ministry.  Today was a great start, and it’s hoped to be able to reach out to welcome students from the nearby universities to come along in the future.  Praying for God’s leading, grace and blessing on all.

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!

Advent Word 2017, Day 3 ‘gather’

#AdventWord #gather

‘We gather together because when “two or three are gathered in my name, there am I (Jesus) among them.” GATHER with others to see the Beloved One, the Christ and your neighbor. GATHER unto yourself the sorrows of this world. That will be an act of true joy.’

St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei, 1965…

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.

Welcoming Presiding Bishop Michael Curry 美國聖公會主席主教孔茂功 to Taiwan!

Such a great weekend for us all in Taiwan ~ YES!

Yes, an amazing few days welcoming The Most Rev. Michael B. Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church – and his team from New York.  Here they all are receiving gifts at St. John’s Cathedral….

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The Taiwan Episcopal Church, Diocese of Taiwan is one of the overseas dioceses of the Episcopal Church and the only one in Asia.  Bishop David J. H. Lai of Taiwan and Presiding Bishop Michael Curry were consecrated as bishops in the same year, 2000, so they are classmates in the ‘class’ of 2000, as well as being very good friends.  Before being installed as Presiding Bishop in November 2015, Presiding Bishop Michael was Bishop of N. Carolina, and he was one of the House of Bishops who came to Taiwan in September 2014.  So this is his second visit, but his first as Presiding Bishop ~ and this trip was the last leg of a 2-week visit to Asia, starting in the Philippines, then Hong Kong and China, and finally here to Taiwan.  YES!

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Presiding Bishop Michael’s team was full of our old friends, and some new ones – and all from the Episcopal Church HQ in New York.  Our dearest friend, Canon Peter Ng is retiring this month as Partnership Officer for Asia and the Pacific, and Anglican Relations – he came along with Rev. David Copley, Director of Global Partnerships and Mission Personnel, Ms. Neva Rae Fox, Officer for Public Affairs, Ms. Lynette Wilson, Editor and Reporter for the Episcopal News Service, Ms. Sharon Jones, Executive Coordinator for the Presiding Bishop, and finally the Rev. Canon Chuck Robertson, Canon to the Presiding Bishop for Ministry Beyond The Episcopal Church.  David, Neva and Chuck have all been to Taiwan before, so of course they’re old friends!  Chuck did his Theology PhD at Durham University, UK and he really loves Durham – and I just discovered that while he was there, he used to worship at St. John’s Church, Neville’s Cross ~ one of my wonderful CMS-supporting churches!  Here’s all the team at St. John’s Cathedral receiving gifts again, this time from Canon Chancellor Herbert H. P. Ma….

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Their visit to Taiwan started Thursday evening and coincided with Taiwan’s coldest weather of the winter so far.  Brrrr, it was cold!  A cold front arrived and didn’t let up the whole weekend.  And the rain didn’t stop from Thursday morning until Sunday afternoon, yesterday.  Miserable was the word!   However if Taiwan is going to have a cold front passing through, then what better person to come and cheer us all up, than the Presiding Bishop?! He is so friendly, warm and personable, and on top of all that, he was just so excited to be here that the weather didn’t really seem to matter all that much after all!  It certainly didn’t dampen his spirits in the slightest, and he declared to everyone that he loved his first visit to Taiwan in 2014, but he loved this second visit even more!

The Presiding Bishop and his team were here for the Diocese of Taiwan annual convention (synod), this year hosted by St. John’s Cathedral and our new dean, Rev. Philip L. F. Lin. The opening service on Friday morning was at the cathedral ~ the rain and cold meant that there were even longer traffic jams than usual, and it took us 2½ hours to do what normally is a one-hour drive into central Taipei.  So we only just got there in time, but missed the welcome from the St. John’s Cathedral Kindergarten children greeting the Presiding Bishop on his arrival.  An extra blessing was that as it was St. Matthias’ Day, so all the clergy were in red stoles – always good for photos!  Here’s the clergy and visitors – plus choir in the second photo….

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The Presiding Bishop gave an inspiring and challenging sermon, the first of several talks and sermons of the weekend.  Bishop Lai had invited our good friend, loyal and lifelong Episcopal Church member Tim Pan to translate ~ he came home specially for the occasion from Beijing where he works for Microsoft – which got several mentions from the Presiding Bishop as a result!  Translating for the Presiding Bishop is a great honour but also a huge responsibility, and Tim rose wonderfully to the occasion.  A lot of Episcopal Church and Anglican vocabulary is translated into Chinese that is local even to the Taiwan Episcopal Church, so a lot of specialized knowledge is required ~ plus the Presiding Bishop spoke with such vigour and enthusiasm that trying to keep up with him was a great challenge.  They were a fine team together, Tim translating not just the words but also incorporating Presiding Bishop’s actions and expressions in a very natural way.  A great double act!

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After the blessing, Canon Chancellor Herbert Ma presented a gift of one of his late father’s original paintings to the Presiding Bishop, with copies for all the team, plus a book of his father’s paintings, and Bishop Lai presented him with a cross made from artillery shells, collected on Kinmen.  We hope to produce many such crosses, this is the first.  And Presiding Bishop presented Bishop Lai with a copy of the 2 icons in the Episcopal Church Center Chapel….

And there was just time for Canon Peter Ng to introduce the Presiding Bishop to Mr. Antony Fan-Wei Liang, our seminarian studying in Ming-Hua Theological College, Hong Kong ~ Antony had to leave for Hong Kong on Saturday, so a quick greeting and photo!

On Friday afternoon, while our Advent Church rector Rev. Lennon Y. R. Chang and St. John’s University chaplain, Rev. Wu Hsing-Hsiang and the rest of the clergy and delegates were starting the convention meeting in the Capital Hotel in Taipei, I accompanied Presiding Bishop and his team, plus our new trustee, Prof. Winston Yu, and Tim Pan to visit St. John’s University – where it was even colder and wetter than Taipei.  Coats, hats and scarves all put to good use.  Even the team from New York were cold!  St. John’s University President Peter Herchang Ay welcomed the Presiding Bishop, who gave a very rousing speech to 100+ faculty, staff and students ~ here they all are!

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The Presiding Bishop was speaking on ‘The Meaning and Significance of a Christian University in the 21st Century’ and started with the St. John’s University motto, “Talent serves virtue, Learning serves society” (德以輔才,學以致用).  He moved on to focus on how selfishness is behind so many of the world’s problems today, and exhorted us all to focus instead on God’s love, the love of Jesus, and in whatever we do, whether in science or law or education or whatever, to serve in love – and to change the world to make it a better and more loving place.  Gifts were exchanged and photos taken; yes, a great afternoon!

The report in Chinese on the Focus Taiwan website about the visit is here.

Actually, we had been preparing for Presiding Bishop’s visit for weeks, here’s our chaplain and students in the chaplaincy on Thursday afternoon with the posters, all ready!

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After the speech, we visited Advent Church, and our great friend and church member, Andrew Chang introduced the church, ministry and new church center. Of course, our clergy were at the convention but both our clergy wives were there, plus church members and students…

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Then a delicious dinner in the evening in Tamsui with faculty of St. John’s University, hosted by President Ay.

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On Saturday morning the convention continued in Taipei until lunch time.  I tried to get a photo of everyone in ones and twos, in-between all the discussions and debates – busy busy!  The Presiding Bishop and his team came for the last 20 minutes or so, and the Presiding Bishop gave us some words of encouragement to take away with us, ‘serving in love’ was his theme. Afterwards, the clergy and delegates of each church by turn came up for a photo with the Presiding Bishop – yes, he was very gracious and smiled continually throughout!

On Saturday afternoon, the convention over, we all gathered back at St. John’s Cathedral to listen first to beautiful organ music played by David Puckett from St. James’ Church, Taichung ~ and then for a wonderful, illuminating speech from the Presiding Bishop about the Jesus Movement and how we are all called to take the love of Jesus out to change the world for the better. He said it was summed up by the Diocese of Ohio as: “Love God, love your neighbor and change the world!” The ‘how to do it’ section included 4 things to do – prayer, Bible Study, service and Sabbath rest ~ all very good seeing as Lent is coming.   After the speech, Presiding Bishop kindly presented all our clergy with signed photos of himself – and for nearly everyone else, Episcopal Church lapel badges…

And so to Sunday morning, and the Presiding Bishop’s final official engagement of the trip, preaching at the Sunday service at St. John’s Cathedral, Taipei on this Sunday of the Transfiguration. In his sermon, he said, “God came among us in the person of Jesus of Nazareth to show us the way to change the world ~ to show us the way to transform and transfigure this world, from the nightmare we often make of it, into the dream that God has intended for it ~ from the mess humans make of it, into the miracle that God will make of it.  He came to change the world – and he came to show us how to do it.”

Tim Pan’s lovely wife kindly recorded the sermon and put it on You Tube, it’s well worth taking 24 minutes of your time to look and listen to…. Towards the end, Presiding Bishop comes down from the pulpit and walks around and down the nave, challenging us all to “Go out and change the world, change Taipei, change Taiwan, change this world, change this church ~ help God change this world from the nightmare it is into the dream that God intends!” and finishing with, “May God bless you, may God keep you and may God send you on his way to change this world!”

The service continued with Holy Communion, and at the very end of the service was an amazing organ-piece from Joanna Fu, the cathedral organist, which the Presiding Bishop took out his phone to record, it was beautiful!  Then more gifts and more photos, including a whole-church group photo!

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And then lunch, during which the Sunday School came and sang a song for the Presiding Bishop, and then he gave them a blessing ~ ah, they were just so gorgeous!

Sunday afternoon ~ and the rain stopped!  At last, finally.  So far, this winter has been very dry, and the Taiwan government has been very worried about a water shortage – so this rain has been a real gift.  God sends rain as a blessing, even though it may seem like a nightmare at the time ~ so just as the visit of the Presiding Bishop has transformed a wet and miserable weekend into a time of great blessing for us all, so our whole lives can be transformed from the nightmare that the world often is, and we can become a great blessing to others – and change the world!

A final photo from the visit ~ St. John’s Cathedral presenting the Presiding Bishop and his team with Taiwan scarves at the end of the service yesterday. I got one too, they are so warm, and bright – and oh so necessary in this cold weather!