Monday, November 12, 2007

A Pleasant Surprise

Sunday was a very special day for me, and I hadn't realized beforehand how special it was going to be.

In the afternoon, the Anglican Church here in Hong Kong had a service to dedicate the new buildings at the Provincial Theological College. This was a major project and a wonderful achievement. A project born out of vision and optimism. Qualities that you do not always associate with the Church!

Our theological college is known as Ming Hua and is served by very committed staff, all of whom give their services freely, without reward. You will know that I think theological training is the key to our future as a Church - wherever we live in the world.

I had hoped, I have to admit, when I first arrived in Hong Kong, 7 years ago, that I might be able to contribute something myself at Ming Hua. It never happened. I do not like pushy people and don't want to be one myself so I just let it go. To cut a long story short: after a chance conversation, at another service a few weeks ago, the Dean of the College, the Very Revd Ian Lam, asked me if I would be willing to tutor at the College in the areas of Christian Ethics and Philosophy of Religion. The question came as something of a surprise.

Readers of this blog will know my answer. 20 years ago, I lectured in Christian Ethics and the Philosophy of Religion at Bedford (follow the label, Personal Journey). They were exciting seminars, not because of anything to do with me, but because of the enthusiasm of the students.

After all, sex and suffering are a powerful combination!

Two of the main themes of these subjects.

Anyway, what moved me on Sunday was that the Dean had included me on the list of the Faculty of Ming Hua College, even though, as of yet, I haven't given a lecture or held a seminar. He probably does not know how much this gesture means to me. I just hope I don't let him down.

The service itself was conducted by our Archbishop, the Most Reverend Paul Kwong. Our Archbishop has just been awarded his doctorate (a real one, that he has earned) and is gracing (!) us by celebrating and preaching at our birthday celebration on the occasion of the Feast of Christ the King. I happen to know he is extremely busy this particular weekend, but he has never waivered in his commitment to come.

I hope the Church in Hong Kong appreciate how blessed they are to have an Archbishop who manages to combine a deep spiritual devotion with wisdom and learning. It's almost like being Anglican again!

I am not always positive about the way the Church behaves, but let credit be given where credit is due and especially to our Archbishop, who has a real vision for the Church in Hong Kong. May God give us more leaders like him!

Please pray for Archbishop Paul! It is not an easy task that faces him in the years ahead.

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