After six months of being in Hong Kong, I thought it was as good a time as any to write my second blog post.
This past Sunday (February 19th), Bishop Curry was in Hong Kong, so Adrienne and I, along with our friend Wil (a fellow YASCer who was visiting us from his placement at the Asian Rural Institute in Japan), were able to see him and his Episcopal entourage (which included David Copley – Director of Global Partnerships and Mission Personnel, aka our boss within the Episcopal Church, Neva Rae Fox – Officer of Public Affairs for TEC, the Reverend Canon Chuck Robertson who is the Canon to Bishop Curry for Ministry Beyond TEC, and Sharon Jones who is the Executive Assistant to the Presiding Bishop). Bishop Curry preached at St. John’s Cathedral Sunday morning in his passionate, animated fashion, much to my liking, which was a nice change from the normal sermon the cathedral’s congregation is used to. It was received very well, so well, in fact, the whole congregation clapped for him at the end of his sermon. I was informed later by a woman who’s gone to St. John’s most of her life that it was the first time she’s seen applause after a sermon in that cathedral. It really made me glad that they enjoyed it. I wasn’t sure how they would react to his style of preaching since it’s so different than what they’re used to here in Hong Kong, but they loved it.
After the service we were able to talk for a short while and have a coffee with Bishop Curry and his E.E. ( E.E. stands for Episcopal entourage. I’ve just come up with that name, by the way. You read it here first) during the cathedral’s coffee hour before they had to run off to lunch with Archbishop Paul and a few other priests from the cathedral. After coffee I walked up to the hospital to visit a few seafarers who were staying there. The walk, although uphill, is rather nice because it can go right through the Hong Kong zoo if you take a short detour. Later that afternoon we took Bishop Curry and his E.E. out on the Mission to Seafarers’ boat to give him a tour of Hong Kong’s harbor and to talk about the mission. This boat visit was a little unexpected, but Catherine was wise enough to arrange it. It was nice to have a chance to talk with Bishop Curry, David, and the others and tell them about our different placements and our time abroad.
I was also able to show them a little bit of my daily routine on the boat, because earlier that day, a seafarer had called me requesting SIM cards for his ship. The mission’s boat had been out of commission for the previous three weeks, due to its annual inspection, so my visits had been limited to the ships alongside the port in the shipping terminals during that time. The ship, Ibn Al Abbar, makes regular visits to Hong Kong, about every week and a half to two weeks. It’s a smaller ship, so the seafarers onboard very rarely have a chance to go ashore because they’re never in a port long enough to make the trip, which is the case for many small ships like this. So, for the past three weeks the boat hadn’t been going out on visits, they hadn’t been in touch with the families/friends/girlfriends/outside world because we weren’t able to provide them with SIM cards. It just so happened they were in Hong Kong the same day Bishop Curry and the E.E. were out with us on the boat, so I was able to convince Stephen to let me make a quick visit while out on our harbor tour. It was also lucky for the crew because Sundays are usually the only day the boat does not make visits in the anchorage. I was able to go on the ship and sell quite a few SIM cards, make a quick visit with the crew, and David was able to get some pictures of me in action. After my quick visit we continued our tour around the harbor. We ended it at the Star Ferry Pier on the island side of Hong Kong with a selfie with me, Adrienne, Wil, and Bishop Curry.
Bishop Curry’s visit was great. It was a treat for me to see him preach in Hong Kong. If you haven’t seen him preach before, I highly recommend finding a sermon or two of his on YouTube. There’s quite a few there. It was also a great surprise to be able to take him and his entourage out on the boat. It gave us time to visit with him on his very busy Asia tour, and it gave me a chance to show what I do on a daily basis to a group of people who were responsible, either directly or indirectly, for sending me here to Hong Kong. The visit also reminded me of how far along I’ve come from the first time I met Bishop Curry, Neva, and Chuck in New York at 815, at orientation back in July, and when I first met David at Holy Cross monastery during our discernment weekend, which was almost exactly a year ago last February. It was definitely a rejuvenating weekend.