19 March 2012

Visits to St. Stephen's Chapel in Stanley and Wong Tai Sin Temple

Hello dear ones!

We had BEAUTIFUL weather this weekend, and even though we're back to chilly and rainy for a while it seems like we got a taste of things to come. I'm hoping the sunshine sticks around during my visit to Cheung Chau in April!

This past Sunday I went out to Stanley to visit St. Stephen's College, which contains a lovely little chapel. The priest there, Father Will, had invited me out to visit so I took advantage of the lovely day and rode the bus out. (It's about an hour's bus ride from my apartment in Jordan.)

There was a guest preacher from Australia, Rt. Rev. Tom Frame, who is in town as part of a lecture series currently going on at one of the universities. (Also, I think, for Dean Andrew's consecration which takes place next Sunday.) His sermon was warm and personal, and I felt right at home in the brightly lit chapel. It's much smaller and a bit less formal than the Cathedral; a lot more like my home parish St. Paul's (although St. P's is a bit bigger!).

After the sermon I chatted with a few parishoners, including Dr. Gareth Jones whom I have met a few times before. I really love chatting with him--not only is he the sub dean and lecturer of Christian doctrine at St. John's College but he is also theological consultant for the Archbishop. And--a lover of American history too. I was very surprised the first time we spoke to find out he has been to many places in the South--including Chattanooga and Murfreesboro! Not often you meet someone from England who is really into Civil War battles and such. Anyway, I enjoyed a nice chat with him before he and Father Will took me and Rt. Rev. Frame back into the chapel for a bit of its history.

St. Stephen's Chapel was built in 1950 after WWII. Stanley is the site of a prison and the college was part of the Stanley Internment Camp. There is a stained glass window above the entrance to the church in memorial to those who were interned there during the Japanese occupation. The window behind the altar depicts St. Stephen holding stones with clear glass. The effect was that St. Stephen looked like he was standing among the trees! It's a beautiful chapel and I hope I can get out there again soon.

Today I went with Dr. John LeMond, a Lutheran minister I met at the interfaith group last week, and a group of Norwegians to the Wong Tai Sin Temple. It is beautiful and an interesting religious center, run by Taoists but there are also Buddhist statues and a pavilion for Confucius as well.

Sunday brought sad news for a dear friend: Juvy, one of the volunteers at Bethune House and the Mission, learned that her sister passed away that morning. She had stage 4 cancer and had been very sick and in much pain over the last year. She was quite upset and is heading home to the Philippines to be with her family. Please pray for Juvy and her family as they go through a very difficult and sad time. Meanwhile, I am looking after Kiko the dog while she is gone, so I'm sure we will have many adventures around my neighborhood...

Looking ahead this week, I have some meetings around the New Case Encoding System that I put together, as well as the upcoming events on April 8 (yes, Easter Sunday!) and the next Give Care event. Thursday I am heading up to the Tao Fong Shan Christian Centre for a chat with Dr. Lemond. I am looking forward to it!

I pray you all have a wonderful week and if Lent is bearing down, I implore you to check out Lent Madness, which has been a great learning tool for me lately. I'm enjoying the levity that it is bringing to an otherwise heavy season. (Fasting has been really hard!!)

 Grace and Peace,

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