Yes, the first Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Taiwan to celebrate their 60th anniversary, and yesterday was the day!
All Saints Church, Gangshan (Kangshan) in Kaohsiung was officially established in 1955, only a year after the official establishment of the Taiwan Episcopal Church ~ and we had a whole year of celebrations last year for that great milestone! Gangshan has a large air force base, and some of the air force families coming from Mainland China after 1949 were Episcopalians who wanted to worship in Mandarin Chinese, and so started family worship and fellowship groups ~ which gradually led to the establishment of All Saints Church….
The present church is not the original building, just as the air force families’ accommodation is not the original military village ~ Gangshan is constantly changing, and these days the air force families all live in new high-rise apartments near the church!
Yesterday over 100 people from all over the Diocese of Taiwan gathered at 10:00am for a very special and moving Thanksgiving Service, led by Bishop Lai ~ here we all are!
This photo is taken from 台灣聖公會岡山諸聖堂 All Saints’ Episcopal Church Facebook page – click on the link for more photos!
As a gift, we were all given a USB Memory Stick full of old photos of the church and church activities – what a treasure trove! The first whole-church photo on the USB is this one, not clear when it was taken, but you can kind of guess the era!
And so to the service yesterday ~ and we were honoured to have some former clergy and family members also in attendance, most notably Rev. Stephen Hu 胡國華(left), who was in charge at All Saints for 17 years ~ and although he’s now 82, looks half his age – with lots of energy! Must be the Gangshan air ~ or the famous Gangshan mutton dishes, or maybe just the happy All Saints Church atmosphere!
The present rector is Rev. Leo Tzeng Wen-Bin ~ he and his family were at St. James’ Church, Taichung for several years while I was there, in fact his daughter Anna was born at that time, and she’s now 10 or maybe even 11!
So a great gathering of old friends and new – from as far afield as Taipei – and even Hualien on the east coast!
All this was followed by an amazing banquet in a restaurant in Gangshan ~ the food was incredible! 10 tables, at least 10 courses, and we were all so full! And it all ended with Rev. Leo Tzeng and his senior warden, Mr. Yang, visiting each table to thank everyone, followed later by Bishop and Mrs. Lily Lai.
A wonderful celebration of All Saints’ 60th Anniversary ~ congratulations to all, and of course, special thanks to Almighty God!
And did you notice the baby in the photos? Bless her, she stayed awake for the whole service, and by the end was even smiling ~ isn’t she just gorgeous?!