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Publish Date: 02 January 2021
 

The Rt Revd Matthias Der enthroned as Bishop of Hong Kong Island

(© 教聲/ ECHO)

The Rt Revd Matthias Der was enthroned in St John’s Cathedral as the third Bishop of Hong Kong Island at 10:30 a.m., 2 January 2021 (Saturday, the Feast of SS Basil the Great and Gregory of Nazianzus). In his sermon, he appealed to Christians to pray for a stop to the COVID-19 pandemic, and for the infected, the deceased, the quarantined, and all health workers.

The enthronement service took place as a morning prayer. Bishop Der knocked on the door of St John’s Cathedral with his pastoral staff and was welcomed into the cathedral. He then petitioned the Acting Dean; Canon, chaplain and lay representatives of the Cathedral; General Secretary of the Synod; clergy and lay representatives of the diocese for his enthronement. After that, Bishop Der presented the Letter of Consecration to the Clergy and Lay Representatives of the Diocese and promised that he would faithfully observe the laws and customs of the Cathedral Church of St John the Evangelist and that he would teach and maintain the faith of Lord Jesus Christ and the doctrine and discipline of His Church as accepted and acknowledged in the Diocese of Hong Kong Island. Bishop Der also declared that he assented to the Constitution and Canons of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, and agreed to govern the diocese according to the Constitution and Canons with truth, justice, and charity, not lording it over God’s heritage, but showing himself in all things an example to the flock.

After listening to the liturgy of the word, the Acting Dean together with clergy and lay representatives of the diocese led Bishop Der to the cathedra to receive the pastoral staff and be enthroned.

In his sermon, Bishop Der mentioned that citizens of Hong Kong had undergone a time of great worries and fear, disappointment and frustration and many people wonder what their future held. This is particularly true for our young people. At this time, we are also seeing the drastic economic downturn, which has affected the livelihoods of many and the number of people who suffered from signs of depression has gone up.

“When the trust between people has shattered and suspicion has become the first reaction we have for others. What does a service today mean in a time like this?” Bishop Der asked the congregation.

He then explained that the enthronement service was not just about the Bishop but about everybody. The diocese of Hong Kong Island and its new bishop make a covenant to each other to serve the kingdom of God. He is working in mysterious ways in the midst of this troubling time. He is walking with the people.

Bishop Der said, “We are here to tell the world that Jesus is the way, the truth, and the life for all people. Through him alone, we have our meaningful future. Today, we recommit ourselves to our Lord and to each other in serving his kingdom.”

Bishop Der said that although so much around the world has changed and are still changing, Jesus Christ, his truth and his love remain unchanged. As a result, a Christian’s identity and ethos cannot be defined by what is happening around them, whether that is the pandemic or uncertainty in our personal lives or the future of Hong Kong because they are defined by the value of God’s kingdom.

“Only then, we can make sense of our mission here and now.” Bishop Der stressed.

Bishop Der also said that one of the effects of COVID of the past year is that it has highlighted how unpredictable life and the world around us can be, full of sufferings, despair and brokenness. People are in great need of the love of God and the faith in Christ. God desires more people to know Him, his love and salvation. The first reading, a lesson from the book of Isaiah teaches Christians that God is the good shepherd, who knows the needs of his people and is eager to bring that hope and good news to the world.

Referring to verses from the first reading, Bishop Der said, “Lift up your voice with strength, do not fear and say ‘Here is your God…He tends his flock like a shepherd, he gathers the lambs in his arms and carries them close to his heart, and gently lead them’.”

This is the mission of the church today, to tell the world, to tell people in Hong Kong, that God the shepherd cares for them and leads them. It is in him, not human leaders or any kind of systems, that we can find true meanings and purpose in life. Paul’s teaching to Timothy tells us how we may do that with boldness and wisdom.

Bishop Der stressed that although the path ahead may be full of obstacles and that the mission of God is difficult, he remained optimistic because when darkness gets darker, the light of Christ grows brighter. He committed himself before God in serving his kingdom and his people.

Children represent the future of the world. God sent them to bring hope to the world and so the Church’s mission is closely related to them. After dismissal, Bishop Der lighted the candles in the hands of two children and walked out of the cathedral with them.

At the door of the cathedral, he gave his blessing to the city of Hong Kong and the Diocese of Hong Kong Island by saying: “God bless this City and the Diocese of Hong Kong Island, and all who live and work here. May God in Jesus Christ visit you with mercy, surround you with love, and fill your hearts with courage, strength and peace; and the blessing of God almighty, the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, be upon you, and remain with you always. ” 

 

(© 教聲/ ECHO)

(© 教聲/ ECHO)

(© 教聲/ ECHO)

 

(© 教聲/ ECHO)

(© 教聲/ ECHO)

 

 

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