Hong Kong Priest Visits Southern Ohio

Diocesan Press Service. May 28, 1975 [75201]

BEXLEY, Ohio -- "It is high time that women should contribute to the understanding of faith from their own experience as women," the Rev. Jane Hwang, an Anglican priest from Hong Kong, said in a sermon preached at St. Alban's Church, Bexley, Sunday, May 18.

The Hong Kong priest, one of three women ordained to the priesthood in the worldwide Anglican Communion, said, "If humanity is to be fully represented before God in the priesthood, it is logical to suppose that the ministry which is not limited to people of one tribe or race should not be limited to one sex. "

Miss Hwang, in the Episcopal Diocese of Southern Ohio to attend its Centennial Convention May 8-10, spoke at St. Alban's; Christ Church, Cincinnati and Christ Church, Dayton.

She had commented several times during her visit that she was unable to respond to the ordination of women issue as faced by the Episcopal Church in the United States because she is unfamiliar with the situation in this country.

While she limited herself to discussing her ministry in Hong Kong and the effect of ordained women in the church there, she did say in her sermon, "I understand that there has been much discussion on the question of the ordination of women in this part of the world. The chief argument against the issue is that Jesus himself was a male and all his disciples were men. "

She mentioned Pauline epistles teaching that women should be quiet in church. "I personally feel that these arguments are not based on firm grounds," she declared. "Jesus was a male but even more than that, He is the representation of humanity. Jesus Himself raised the status of women by the way he related to them and talked to them. In many ways, He could be termed a true ' feminist '. "

Pastor Hwang reminded her listeners that the church is a growing organism. "Her ministry should be developed in response to the demands of the changing social pattern." "The tragic fact of discrimination against women," she said, "is that one half of humanity is not able to develop its potential fully and that women are not able to live out their lives as human beings made in the Image of God. "

Pastor Hwang serves Holy Trinity parish in Hong Kong and is a principal of an affiliated primary school with 750 pupils and a kindergarten of 400. Her parish has 2,000 families.

Miss Hwang arrived in the United States on May 2, and on May 4, at the Church of the Epiphany in Washington, D. C., became the first "regularly" ordained woman to celebrate the Holy Eucharist in the Episcopal Church in the United States.

She originally was to preach at the Church of the Epiphany, but at the invitation of the Rt. Rev. William F. Creighton, bishop of Washington, celebrated the Eucharist. The Diocese of Washington is presently embroiled in a controversial church court case in which one of its clergy, the Rev. William Wendt, is charged with allowing one of the women " irregularly " ordained last summer to celebrate in his church.

Miss Hwang was the guest of the bishop and Convention while in the Diocese of Southern Ohio.

Her invitation to St. Alban's in Columbus was altogether fitting because the Rev. John J. Morrett, the church's rector, is a member of the Mutual Responsibility and Interdependence Committee of the diocese which sponsors the present partner relationship between the Diocese of Southern Ohio and Hong Kong. Mr. Morrett has visited Hong Kong and was a guest of that diocese's bishop, the Rt. Rev. Gilbert Baker, Miss Hwang and the other priests of the diocese while there.

William Moyer, chairman of the MRI Committee, is a member of the Bexley church as well.

Her first celebration of the Eucharist in Southern Ohio was in Christ Church, Cincinnati, where she celebrated the early service on May 11. She also visited, celebrated and preached at Christ Church, Dayton, Sunday evening, May 18.

After leaving the Diocese of Southern Ohio she was to visit three cities in Canada and was then to celebrate the Holy Eucharist at All Saints Church, Pasadena, California, before returning to Hong Kong June 18.

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