Installation of the third Anglican Archbishop in the Province of Southeast Asia in Singapore was celebrated by top Chinese Christian leaders.
On Sunday Feb. 5, some 1,600 attendants from all around the world gathered at St Andrew’s Cathedral in the heart of the city of Singapore to join the installation ceremony of the new Archbishop, Dr John Chew, according to Anglican Communion New Service (ACNS). They were local government leaders, heads of other denominations such as the Methodist Bishop Solomon, heads of Anglican agencies, Christian organizations and individual Christians.
Three key leaders from the government-sanctioned church in China- Ye Xiaowen, Director General, State Administration for Religious Affairs, Presbyter Ji Jianhong, Chairman of the Three Self Patriotic Movement of Protestant Churches of China and Revvd Cao Shengjie, President of the China Christian Council- were among the guests.
"His good relationship with politicians and church leaders in China has been cultivated through the years. Consistently, he has come across as an intellectual with deep, mature insights and long-term vision for the Church and society. And as a person, he is warm, sincere, humble, trustworthy and committed to the Christian faith," an anonymous bishop was quoted as saying by ACNS.
China and many Southeast Asian countries have close relationships because of the migration of Chinese down to the South in the 20th century. In Singapore, 76.8 percent of the population is Chinese.
Chew has also received great testimonies from Anglican leaders worldwide. Bishop Solomon from the Methodist Church noted, "John Chew plays an important role in the Anglican Communion. He is able to contribute the Asian voice and perspective. So the issues in the Anglican Communion are of interest to all."
The Province of Southeast Asia was first started 10 years ago with the Bishop of Singapore then, Rt Revd Dr Moses Tay, as the first Primate. The province is characterized by a very special combination of different ethnicities and cultures. In the midst globalization, secularism and extremists threats, yet the Province- consisting of the Dioceses of Kuching, Sabah, Singapore and West Malaysia- has grown tremendously, according to ACNS.
Bishop of Lichfield, the Rt Revd Jonathan Gledhill, the Archbishop of Canterbury’s representative said, "There are lots of healthy signs of community despite the differences. The Dioceses of Singapore and Malaysia are wonderful examples of how different ethnicities and religions can come together and the Anglo-Saxon world can learn so much from them."
The gathering of such a diverse group of leaders from so many nations has also showed the mission and prophetic role of this Province, which many in events of these past few days have termed as "small but influential," ACNS noted.