TUESDAY THE TWENTY-FOURTH OF JANUARY, 2017
* THE ORDINATION OF FLORENCE LI TIM-OI *
Lord, we are a living part of your eternal plan, a means by which your kingdom will be revealed in all its glory. Make your intention for our lives clear to us, foster our vocation, appoint us to our task and support us as we carry out our work no matter what obstacles others may put in our way. Amen.
PSALM THIRTY-ONE ( abridged )
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
In you, O Lord, have I taken refuge;
let me never be put to shame;
deliver me in your righteousness.
Incline your ear to me;
make haste to deliver me.
Be my strong rock, a fortress to save me,
for you are my rock and my stronghold;
guide me, and lead me for your name’s sake.
Take me out of the net
that they have laid secretly for me,
for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit,
for you have redeemed me, O Lord God of truth.
Have mercy on me, Lord, for I am in trouble;
my eye is consumed with sorrow,
my soul and my body also.
For my life is wasted with grief,
and my years with sighing;
my strength fails me because of my affliction,
and my bones are consumed.
I have become a reproach to all my enemies
and even to my neighbours,
an object of dread to my acquaintances;
when they see me in the street they flee from me.
I am forgotten like one that is dead, out of mind;
I have become like a broken vessel.
For I have heard the whispering of the crowd;
fear is on every side;
they scheme together against me,
and plot to take my life.
But my trust is in you, O Lord.
I have said, “You are my God.
My times are in your hand;
deliver me from the hand of my enemies,
and from those who persecute me.
Make your face to shine upon your servant,
and save me for your mercy’s sake.”
How abundant is your goodness, O Lord,
which you have laid up for those who fear you;
which you have prepared in the sight of all
for those who put their trust in you.
You hide them in the shelter of your presence
from those who slander them;
you keep them safe in your refuge from the strife of tongues.
Blessed be the Lord!
For he has shown me his steadfast love
when I was as a city besieged.
I had said in my alarm,
“I have been cut off from the sight of your eyes.”
Nevertheless, you heard the voice of my prayer
when I cried out to you.
Love the Lord, all you his servants;
for the Lord protects the faithful,
but repays to the full the proud.
Be strong and let your heart take courage,
all you who wait in hope for the Lord.
Glory to the Father and to the Son
and to the Holy Spirit;
as it was in the beginning is now
and shall be for ever. Amen.
Into your hands I commend my spirit.
Lord Jesus Christ,
when scorn and shame besiege us
and hope is veiled in grief,
hold us in your wounded hands
and make your face shine on us again,
for you are our lord and God. Amen.
MEDITATION by Tim Madsen
Ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi (by Tim)
Today Saint Laika’s remembers the ordination of Florence Li Tim-Oi, the first woman priest in the Anglican Communion. Florence was born in Hong Kong in 1907. As a student, she was baptised and later studied at Union Theological College in Canton, China. She became a professional church worker, serving first in Kowloon, and later in Macao.
In May, 1941 she was ordained as a deaconess. Some months later Japanese invaders took over Hong Kong, and priests were no longer able to travel to Macao to celebrate the sacraments. Even so, Florence continued to minister to the people of Macao. Bishop Ronald Hall of Hong Kong decided that Florence should be ordained as priest, so that a sacramental ministry might resume in Macao. On the twenty-fifth of January, the feast of Saint Paul’s Conversion, Bishop Hall ordained her to the priesthood.
When World War II came to an end, Florence Li Tim-Oi’s ordination was the subject of much controversy. She made the personal decision not to exercise her priesthood until it was acknowledged by the wider Anglican Communion. Undeterred, she continued to minister with great faithfulness, and in 1947 was appointed rector of St. Barnabas Church in Hepu, where, on Bishop Hall’s instructions, she was still to be called priest.
When the Communists came to power in China in 1949, Florence undertook theological studies in Beijing to further understand the implications of the Three-Self Movement (self-rule, self-support, and self- propagation) which now determined the life of the churches. She then moved to Guangzhou to teach and to serve at the Cathedral of Our Saviour. Florence suffered greatly for Christ and the church. For sixteen years, from 1958 onwards, during the Cultural Revolution, all churches were closed. Florence was forced to work first on a farm and then in a factory. Accused of counter revolutionary activity, she was required to undergo political re-education. Finally, in 1974, she was allowed to retire from her work in the factory.
In 1979 the churches reopened, and Florence resumed her public ministry. Then, two years later, she was allowed to visit family members living in Canada. While there, to her great joy, she was licensed as a priest in the Diocese of Montreal and later in the Diocese of Toronto, where she finally settled, until her death on the twenty-sixth of February, 1992.
Scripture. In the seventh chapter of “Hebrews,” at verses twelve and thirteen, we read:
“For when there is a change in the priesthood, there is necessarily a change in the law as well. Now the one of whom these things are spoken belonged to another tribe, from which no one has ever served at the altar.”
… for peace in the world.
… for Christians living in China in particular those who are persecuted for their faith and those whose worship of God is hindered by the authorities.
… for female priests in particular those whose own denomination does not recognise their ministry.
… for those campaigning for the ordination of women within churches that do not presently allow female priests.
… that the ministry of ordained women and women in church leadership roles may renew the Church and make it kinder.
… for the people of Estonia who are celebrating their independence from Russia today.
… for those affected by adverse weather conditions, in particular those who have died, been injured or made homeless due to severe weather in the US South. DETAILS
… for those who have died and for those who mourn their passing.
… for those who are unwell and for those caring for them.
… for those, both close to us and far off, who we hold in our personal prayers.
… for ourselves.
THE LORD’S PRAYER
Our Father, who art in heaven,
hallowed be thy name;
thy kingdom come;
thy will be done;
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread.
And forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us.
And lead us not into temptation;
but deliver us from evil.
For thine is the kingdom,
the power and the glory,
for ever and ever. Amen.
From “Raindrops of My Life” by Florence Li Tim-Oi:
In 1946, I received a letter from Bishop Hall’s secretary (also a lawyer), asking me to come to Hong Kong. At the meeting, I was quickly told that Bishop Hall had broken church canon law to ordain me as a priest, and hence had been denounced by the Archbishop of Canterbury. Either Bishop Hall must resign as bishop or I must give up the title of priest.
When first told of this problem I was quite perturbed. I gave serious thought as to whether I should step down or stay on. Through a moment of deep meditation in which I prayed for God’s guidance, and the constant working of the Holy Spirit, I suddenly saw the light. I realised that I should see my personal prestige as worthless for I was merely a small servant of the Lord.
I voluntarily and whole-heartedly supported Bishop Hall in upholding his holy office as bishop. He was a man of deep spirituality. Not only was he influential in the Chinese Church, but his international contributions were also large. I was willing to give up my title as priest, but I knew that having been ordained, I had to follow the order throughout my life. This is my philosophy of life. No one can take away the peace that comes from completing one’s responsibilities to history and fulfilling God’s will.
Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much-beloved daughter, to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in the Anglican Communion: By the grace of your Spirit inspire us to follow her example, serving your people with patience and happiness all our days, and witnessing in every circumstance to our saviour Jesus Christ, who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen.
May the Lord bless us, protect us from all evil and bring us to everlasting life. Amen.
NOW LIGHT A CANDLE
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