Saturday, June 07, 2008

Update on Alleged Corruption

Regular readers of this blog may remember how, when I was on holiday last summer, one of our teachers was arrested, accused of corruption. More specifically that she was allegedly taking bribes to secure places at the School. The teacher concerned has left the School, but we heard yesterday that she is now, 10 months later, being charged. I have to be careful what I say for obvious reasons, but below is the Press Release issued by the relevant authority. (For the original details see under the label Corruption).

Ex-teacher charged for allegedly deceiving $700,000 from parents over admission applications (06.06.08)

The ICAC has charged a former primary school teacher for allegedly deceiving over $700,000 from parents in relation to their applications for admission to the school.

Ms X, 37, former senior teacher of Diocesan Preparatory School, faces six counts of fraud and two of attempted fraud.

The defendant will appear in Kowloon City Magistracy at 9:30 am next Wednesday (June 11) for mention.

The case arose from a corruption complaint. Subsequent ICAC enquiries revealed the above alleged offences.

The six fraud charges allege that the defendant had falsely represented to four parents that they could show their sincerity to the school in relation to their applications for admission of their sons to the school; and that the school would refund the payments to them irrespective of the outcome of their applications.

It is alleged that the defendant, with intent to defraud, had induced the parents to give her a total of $630,000.

The remaining two charges allege that the defendant, with intent to defraud, had attempted to induce one of the above parents and another parent to give her a total of over $70,000 for the same reason.

The alleged offences were said to have taken place between July 13 and 20, 2007.

The management of the school concerned had rendered full assistance to the ICAC during its investigation.

The defendant has been released on ICAC bail, pending her court appearance next Wednesday.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Going Green

June is here and with it very heavy rain. The good news is that it has done the trees the world of good. The trees around the Church were looking rather sad, but they are now a luscious green. We are fortunate in this district of Hong Kong to have quite a few trees around and about.

Green, of course, is also the liturgical colour for the next few months and yesterday at Christ Church we dedicated a new green Chasuble. We use vestments in our worship here. While they attract less controversy than they used to, I know that some Christians are uneasy about using them. The neighbouring Anglican Church, for example, doesn't always bother with any form of clerical dress in services.

I remember when I was first ordained, some ordinands objected to wearing even a stole for the ordination service seeing it as symbolic of a Catholic approach to priesthood. I didn't feel particularly strongly either way, but equally, I didn't really give the matter much thought. However, when I found myself in a situation where vestments were the norm, I did find myself thinking more seriously about their use and came to the conclusion that there was in fact quite a lot to be said for them.

Not only do they provide a link with the past, (vestments, after all, have been worn in church services for many hundreds of years), they also provide colour and physical beauty. Such colour and beauty can enhance a liturgical service. The argument against them, of course, is that they imply that the wearer is somehow separated from the rest of the worshippers. They also suggest that something special is happening at Communion. I certainly don't feel separated from the congregation when I wear them, but I most certainly do think something special is happening!

I think there is room in the Church for diversity of practice. There are plenty of Churches that do not use vestments for people to go to if they that offended by their use. However, for those of us who value liturgy, they are an additional way of engaging all our senses in worship. Vestments also provide a way to celebrate the artistic gifts and talents of those who make them.

All this means, of course, that there is no place for worn-out and badly kept vestments. God deserves the best of us in our worship whether we wear vestments or not. Hence yesterday's new chasuble!

And, I am pleased to say, we have more on order.