Randy Murray
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Tucked away on a residential street in the lower level of one of the most desirable neighbourhoods (Arbutus Ridge) in the lower mainland is the church building that houses The Christian Community of St. Chad’s. On the evening of Tuesday, February 4, following nearly 24 hours of heavy, wet, west coast snowfall, clergy and lay gathered in the St. Chad’s sanctuary for a Celebration of a New Ministry Eucharist that would see the induction of the parish’s new rector, the Reverend Bill Mok. Archbishop Melissa Skelton was present to induct the new rector and to preside at the Eucharist. The Executive Archdeacon, the Venerable Douglas Fenton officiated during the Covenant in Ministry. Rector of the nearby parish of St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale, the Reverend Lindsay Hills was the preacher and both the regional archdeacon, the Venerable Stephanie Shepard and the regional dean, the Reverend Christine Rowe were present to welcome their new colleague.

Worship at St. Chad’s is offered in English, Cantonese and Mandarin. There are three Sunday services, 9:30am, Eucharist in Mandarin; 11am, Eucharist in English; 2pm, Eucharist in Cantonese. For significant services like this Celebration of a New Ministry the bulletin is printed in English and Chinese and several of the liturgical components were offered in Mandarin as well as English.

Parish Secretary, Andrew Ng who has served at St. Chad’s for many years does an excellent job with Order of Service preparation and publication.  The second page of the February 4 Order of Service bulletin contained a very good explanation of a Celebration of a New Ministry:

"The installation of a new leader of ministry is a significant moment in the life of a community of faith. The new priest, whether priest, deacon, or lay person, has been chosen to teach and proclaim God’s word, to lead in prayer and worship, and to guide in living according to the Gospel – in short, to equip the people to live out their baptismal ministry as God’s royal priesthood.

The local community has a particular reference to specific people and concerns. The celebration marks a new phase in a ministry of many years, and therefore, acknowledges the work which has gone on before.

The local community does not stand in isolation, but is linked to the ministry of the whole church. Together, the local community and newly appointed rector, with the archbishop and the whole church, continue the ministry of the people of God."

With the celebration of the Lunar New Year recently observed just over a week before this induction, the theme of the welcoming of the Year of the Rat was very much in evidence, Rev. Hills began her sermon saying,

“ It seems appropriate to say first and foremost, ‘Happy New Year’, as the grey and gloom of a wet, and today, very snowy Vancouver has been cloaked in a field of red and gold punctuated by firecrackers, dancing, and paper lanterns…..there is no denying that something wonderful and exciting is going on, even for those whom like myself approach the festivities as an eager learner hopeful to be able to better understand the cultural traditions of my friends and neighbours.”

And, during the ‘Welcome to the Deanery”, Dean of Point Grey and Associate Priest (assistant to the rector) at St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale, the Reverend Christine Rowe presented Reverend Mok with a mesh bag of chocolate coins covered in gold foil. Archdeacon of Granville and Priest-in-Charge of St. Martin’s, North Vancouver, the Venerable Stephanie Shepard presented the new rector with a gift box containing a number of items associated with the tradition. During her words of welcome to Rev. Mok she said that the gifts were in celebration of two “New Years’”, the Year of the Rat and the metaphorical new year of a new ministry and a new chapter in the life, mission and ministry of St. Chad’s.

During the liturgy, younger members of the parish under the guidance of outgoing rector, the Reverend Paulina Lee took responsibility for key elements of worship: reading the Scriptures in both English and Mandarin; presenting the Symbols of Ministry; leading the intercession; leading the singing and greeting the congregation as they arrived for worship. Rev. Lee has now completed her almost 18 years of servant-leadership at St. Chad’s (she was rector of the parish for 14 of those years) and has begun her well-deserved retirement.

It is somewhat unusual for such a long incumbency to not be followed by an interim, however, the opportunity to appoint the Reverend Bill Mok who had signaled that he would be willing to leave his ministry in the Toronto area to be closer to family in Vancouver,  was one that Archbishop Skelton did not want to miss. He is an excellent choice to continue the wonderful work done by Rev. Paulina Lee and the Christian Community of St. Chad’s.

In her sermon, Rev. Hills focused on the Gospel for the day, Mark 5:21-43 and continued her examination of the text through the seasonal lens of lunar new year. To close out her homily she shared her hopes for the people of St. Chad’s:

"I was grateful for the opportunity to have tea with Fr. Bill last week, in anticipation for this great celebration, and I know I was reassured by what I felt was our shared sense of hope and call for God’s church. An eagerness to share the Good News in a way that heals and offers wholeness to our broken world and to the pieces of us that are broken or in need of Jesus’ healing touch….that WE being so transformed by our experience in community, in prayer, in common worship, in study….become disciples that don’t simply exist, but disciples that like Jairus daughter, get up, arise, and walk about – dance about…when invited by Jesus.

All of these stories offer a new way of being, of living, of existing, transformed by God’s faithfulness.

This is not only the beginning of a new year!

It is a new season in Fr. Bills call as a priest in God’s church, and in particular his appointment to serve with and alongside you as you continue to grow into the new ways Christ is calling you to get up!

It is a new and exciting time in the life of St. Chads!

 My prayer for you this day is that you have the hopeful humility of Jairus, the boldness of the hemorrhaging woman, and the cleverness and perseverance of Rat as you continue to be transformed by God’s faithfulness in the weeks, months and years ahead."

(A video and the text of Rev. Hills' homily are linked here)

Please keep the Reverend Bill Mok and the Christian Community of St. Chad’s in your prayers as they move into the next phase of their shared ministry.

ABOUT THE REVEREND BILL MOK

The Reverend Bill Mok was born in mainland China. He moved to Canada when he was seventeen.  After completing high school in Vancouver, he studied electrical engineering at McMaster University in Hamilton, ON.  Bill became a Christian during his first year at McMaster. For seven years following his graduation he worked as a software engineer for various high-tech firms in both Canada and US.  In 2005, he pursued full time study at Toronto’s Tyndale Seminary, one of the largest and most diverse seminaries in Canada, where he pursued a Master of Divinity in Pastoral and Chinese Ministry.  For two years after his graduation from seminary Bill ministered as a community church pastor and in 2010, went to serve as lay pastor at St Christopher's, Toronto. In 2013, Bill was appointed senior lay pastor at St Elizabeth's, Mississauga.  The Rev. Bill Mok was ordained a deacon in June 2015 and priested in Nov 2015; at the same time, he was appointed incumbent of the parish.  He concluded his ministry at St Elizabeth’s in December 2019, and began his ministry at St Chad’s in Feb 2020.  Reverend Mok’s passion is to make disciples for Christ.  The Rev. Bill Mok and his wife, Jenny have two children.

IMAGES

  • Following the Covenant in Ministry, Archbishop Skelton leads the applause of welcome for the new Rector of St. Chad's, the Reverend Bill Mok.
  • After the Deacon of the Word and Table for the Eucharist, the Reverend Katherine Yeo had proclaimed the Gospel, Mark 5: 21-43 in English, Eva read the text in Mandarin. 
  • The preacher, Rector of St. Mary's, Kerrisdale, the Reverend Lindsay Hills. Rev. Hills took the Gospel for her text and also included the evening's theme of referencing the recent celebrations of the Lunar New Year, January 25
  • Rev. Mok signs the Oath in the presence of Executive Archdeacon, the Venerable Douglas Fenton. 
  • Pouring the water into the Font.
  • During the ‘Welcome to the Deanery”, Dean of Point Grey and Associate Priest (assistant to the rector) at St. Mary’s, Kerrisdale, the Reverend Christine Rowe presented Reverend Mok with a mesh bag of chocolate coins covered in gold foil.
  • Archdeacon of Granville and Priest-in-Charge of St. Martin’s, North Vancouver, the Venerable Stephanie Shepard presented the new rector with a gift box containing a number of items associated with the tradition.
  • During the exchange of "the peace" the rector, preacher and archbishop share handshakes and smiles.
  • Exchange of "the peace."
  • Eucharistic Prayer.

(Please follow this link for more photos with cutlines in a photo album at Anglican Conversation, the Facebook page of the Diocese of New Westminster.)