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April 2021
Issue No. 308

The Most Revd Andrew Chan installed as Archbishop and Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui

Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui held an Installation Service of Archbishop and Primate at 4:00 p.m. on 3 January 2021 at St John''s Cathedral for the Most Revd Andrew Chan, bishop of Western Kowloon, who was elected the archbishop in October 2020.

Because of the COVID-19 pandemic and the government’s ban on social gathering, the service was attended in person only by people involved in the liturgy. Faithful from around the world were invited to watch the broadcast online on ECHO’s and St John’s Cathedral’s Youtube channels.

During the installation, Archbishop Chan agreed to serve God and the Church as an archbishop and a primate. He also agreed, by the mercy of God the Father and the power of the Holy Spirit, to carry out all the constitutional and ministerial responsibilities of the archiepiscopal office to the best of his ability and, in the love of Christ, seek to lead his flock by godly and prayerful example.

When presenting the primatial cross to Archbishop Chan, Archbishop Paul Kwong said, “Andrew, receive this cross which is the symbol of your authority as Archbishop and Primate and Chief Pastor of the Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, and lead us in witness to the world that genuine authority and true joy come only through walking the way of the cross with Christ, our Lord and Saviour.”

The Rt Revd Timothy Kwok, bishop of Eastern Kowloon; the Rt Revd Matthias Der, bishop of Hong Kong Island; and the clergy and lay representatives of the dioceses and the Missionary Area of Macau then greeted Archbishop Chan as their archbishop and primate. After that, Archbishop Kwong, Bishop Kwok, and Bishop Der presented the new archbishop and primate to the congregation. In fanfare and tolling bells, Archbishop Chan took his place in the primatial chair, officially becoming the Archbishop and Primate of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui.

As primate of the province, Archbishop Chan is to be a powerful voice for the Gospel and is going to speak on behalf of Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui as an ambassador of Christ to the community, to other provinces of the Anglican Communion, to followers of different Christian denominations, and to people of other faiths. He will also preside over the province in its decision making in the General Synod and its Standing Committee. Another one of his responsibilities is to chair the deliberations in the House of Bishops.

In his sermon, Archbishop Chan said that facing a new stage in the pandemic, with both the economy and politics around the world still deteriorating, many people were heard saying that their New Year resolutions were “world peace, an end to the pandemic, a rebound in the economy, and health and happiness for all.”

This common vision is an ideal deep within people’s hearts and is similar to what Isaiah prophesised, “The wolf shall live with the lamb, the leopard shall lie down with the kid, the calf and the lion and the fatling together, and a little child shall lead them. … The nursing child shall play over the hole of the asp.” This is the vision of a kingdom of love, kindness, happiness, and health, in which there is no from hatred, struggle, sadness, and sickness.

The gap between ideals and reality

Archbishop Chan lamented that this shared vision of humanity is inevitably marred by their shared sins, and their lofty ideals has also become disconnected from cruel reality. Humans should not assume that they can improve this world by their power alone. With the evils that taint them – selfishness, injustice, oppression, cruelty, and many others – the most they could do is to advocate for laws, democratic systems, and procedural justice that they deem fair by their own ideals and political environment. But such fairness differs from country to country, nation to nation, and person to person.

The just laws, democratic systems, and procedural justice that people seek today are all necessary but far from enough, Archbishop Chan said. What they need is something that transcends human definition and explanation, which is the Kingdom of Heaven – the new heaven and the new earth ruled by God that the incarnate Jesus Christ spent his whole life to proclaim.

Archbishop Chan pointed out that the Kingdom of Heaven dwells not purely in spirit, and not only in people’s hearts, but is this-worldly and bears on daily life and even human history. Jesus can change the world and humankind’s history not because of his overwhelming authority, wealth, or military strength, but because of his self-sacrifice and self-abasement. He has laid down everything, coming not as a prince but as a lowly carpenter’s son, so that he may serve the lowly and the weak.

By letting Christ made flesh into their hearts, people can experience his grace and truth, and thereby a change of heart. Should their hearts be stubborn and refuse change, all outward appearances can only remain as a superficial form, and no amount of reorganisation, reform, or rectification in human society will be enough. Each person’s nature must be guided one by one, just as each person’s heart must be touched one by one.

Archbishop Chan said, “As humanity walks into a chaotic age of ever more deforming hearts, different forms of violence may indeed seem more efficient than grace and truth, but the effects they bring are temporary and superficial. The seeds of hatred they bury in their wake shall surely lead to greater destruction still. None but grace and truth can help people return to the right track, and beget ‘freedom, justice, equality, and love’ on earth.”

Archbishop Chan said that Christians believe that the Kingdom of Heaven was already founded by the coming of Christ, but it is far from complete. Therefore, just as they hope for the best in this world, they should also be prepared to face a world full of flaws. Despite humanity''s weakness, we can still live out the face of God that is imprinted in us by the help of Christ''s grace and truth, like the prayer of St Francis: “Where there is hatred, let me bring love. Where there is injury, pardon. Where there is doubt, faith. Where there is despair, hope. Where there is darkness, light. Where there is sadness, joy.”

Archbishop Chan stressed that Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui is a church rooted in Hong Kong and Macau, and encouraged parishioners to start from the two cities, to embody mutual understanding and consideration, mutual trust, and mutual love so that the church''s mission of pastoral care, evangelism, education, and social service ministries shall bear witness in the communities of Hong Kong and Macau to the grace and truth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Since the clergy and faithful from the Missionary Area of Macau were unable to travel to Hong Kong, they gathered at St Mark’s Church to watch the broadcast of the service. Clergy and lay representatives of Macau joined their counterparts in Hong Kong when they greeted Archbishop Chan simultaneously as their archbishop and primate, and promised that they would pray for God’s abundant grace on Archbishop Chan.

(© 教聲/ ECHO) 


(© 教聲/ ECHO) 

<The above article was published in "Echo" Issue No. 308. Please click here>


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