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October 2018
Issue No. 302
 

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui celebrates 20th Anniversary with Thanksgiving Eucharist

 

The Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui celebrated her 20th Anniversary on 6 October with a Eucharist and thanksgiving banquet. Approximately 3,500 people gathered at the Asia-World Expo to take part. Guests from overseas, including eighteen archbishops and bishops, flew to the city especially for this joyous occasion.

Over three hundred choristers from the Provincial Joint Choir, St Paul’s College Choir, Heep Yun School Choir, and St Mark’s School Choir filled the Eucharist with hymns together with the Joint School Orchestra. Prof Victor Chan, former head of Chung Chi College CUHK, composed the Mass for this celebration. A long-time contributor to the music ministry of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, Prof Chan had written Peace to You, Sisters, Brothers, the province’s 10th Anniversary theme song a decade ago.

A challenge to HKSKH

Archbishop Josiah Atkins Idowu-Fearon, Secretary General of the Anglican Communion was invited to preach during the Eucharist and officiate the kick-off ceremony the 17th Anglican Consultative Council (ACC 17) meeting. True to his calling as an evangelist, his sermon was full of passion and spontaneity.

“What gladdens my heart…is that you have not separated mission from proclamation.” Archbishop Idowu-Fearon said before he started his sermon, “the Church does mission in Hong Kong and Macau, of which social work is part of, because that was what Jesus had done for the people.” The Archbishop hopes that the Church will continue to do more in the future and bring glory to our Lord Jesus Christ.
He also issued a challenge to the province to develop the Missionary Area of Macau into a diocese before she celebrates her 25th Anniversary.

The sermon was a reflection on John 15:11-17, with special emphasis on the words “Abiding in the Lord”. He advised the congregation to make their permanent abode in Christ by following his commandments.

Although English was not a native language of many among the congregation, Archbishop Idowu-Fearon successfully breached the barrier with his energy and enthusiasm. When he broke into a song in the middle of the sermon, the congregation gradually joined their voices with his, demonstrating their solidarity.

Future Developments

The banquet after the Eucharist was a far more relaxed affair. Over 2600 people shared fellowship with one another as delicious dishes were served. At different points in the meal, presenters introduced the history and development of the province through films and humorous chit-chat.

During his address, Archbishop Kwong, Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, highlighted some developments for the province’s future. The list started with a three-hundred-bed hospital to heal the body and spirit of the community. To further theological education, the Church is recruiting highly qualified teachers and seeking to form partnerships with other world class universities and theological colleges to offer joint courses for the clergy and laity. The Church is also planning to build a brand new, fully equipped campus to replace the existing Ming Hua Theological College and establish a monastic community.

For schools, the Church is putting more effort in training school chaplains so one could be stationed in each school in the future.

As for Macau, Archbishop Kwong responded to Archbishop Idowu-Fearon’s challenge to make the Missionary Area of Macau the fourth diocese of the Province. He said that he was already in talks with the Chief Executive of Macau for land upon which to build the cathedral, as well as a new school and a social service centre.

Launching ACC 17

One of the highlights of the evening was the kick-off ceremony of ACC 17 meeting, to be held in Hong Kong between 28 April and 5 May 2019. Through a film, the organizers showed the participants what the ACC is, and at the end of the film were video clips featuring Archbishop Kwong and Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby sharing their excitement about the event.

As Primate of Hong Kong and chair of the ACC, Archbishop Kwong said in the video that it was very significant for Hong Kong to host the ACC next year, because it would allow the people in this province to meet delegates from other parts of the Anglican Communion. Through the meeting, the parishioners in Hong Kong can more fully experience the richness and diversity of the Communion and learn what God has been doing in different parts of the world.

Archbishop Welby said that he was looking forward to being in Hong Kong for the ACC meeting next year. All representatives attending the meeting will have time together for fellowship and prayer. The meeting will be an opportunity to share news of all the good and bad things that are happening around the Communion, and to celebrate the Gospel that they all proclaim.

Archbishop Idowu Fearon once again stepped on stage after the film ended. He told the audience that all members of the Anglican Communion were looking forward to the ACC 17. He also praised the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui for the hospitality extended to him during his stay, and said that he will advise his colleagues to come to Hong Kong next year with high expectations.

He thanked Archbishop Kwong once again for all he has done for the Communion and complimented the beauty of Hong Kong.

After his speech ended, he was joined by Archbishop Kwong and Bishop Andrew Chan, the latter is the chair of the Local Organizing Committee of ACC17, on stage for the launching ceremony. Colors and fireworks exploded across the screen behind the three leaders at the moment they touched the LED ball, signaling the start of a new wave of future projects. People left the meal feeling that they had been nourished in body and spirit.

<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 302. Please click here>