We woke early again today and walked to the Ferry Terminal to take the hour-long ferry to Macau. At Macau, we got onto buses and headed to the Anglican College -- a school that is only 12 years old.
We were met at the school by the Chaplain, Steve Durie, who I had met on my last trip to Macau, and the Principal David Brown. We were escorted to a room where the Principal gave us an overview of Macau and the School. He shared that there are 500,000 people on Macau, mostly refugees from Mainland China. While it is a refuge city it is also a rich city due to there being over 90 massive casinos. It is a very wealthy city. There is no unemployment here as they don't have enough people to do the jobs -- they have to recruit from abroad. Catering and casinos are the major businesses.
The Rev. Michael Poon had the idea to create this school -- he needed a foreigner to run it, and found the current director David Brown -- who saw the ad in London. The school was not even built yet, just barren land -- it was actually built on a massive public grave yard -- the graves were moved to another location. I tried not to think too hard about that while we sat in the room.
When the principal asked the school council what the vision of the school was, the council indicated that it was to be done in a year and have 1,000 students. His idea was that this would be an English School, but would offer Mandarin. He also want small classes with overseas teachers training the locals how to teach. The school started in 2002 with 147 students and 12 teachers. Each class has 2 teachers, one English, one Chinese. The following year they went from 5 classes to 15 and three times the amount of students. After 6 years they have primary and kindergarten sections, and the parents wanted a secondary section. Now there are 1,400 students in 52 classes there are 106 teachers -- half overseas, half native. They have a school doctor, library, IT people primary education students are all paid for by the government.
There are 22 different nationalities of teachers and 32 different nationalities of students. They are linked with the Anglican Church. They charge fees for the grades that are not covered by the Government. There is a chaplain on staff (the Rev. Steve Murie, who is in charge of the Morrison Chapel -- I met him two years ago when I visited Macau). There are 150 people who come to church here at the college every week -- it is held in the hall (Christians make up only 4% of the population of Macau). There are 50 in the youth group!
We then headed over to lunch in a slightly older part of the city. We were treated to a Portuguese lunch which included soup, salad, and small portions of oxtail and chicken stews as well as rice and vegetables. It was delicious! We heard from Steve, the chaplain at the school and the Vicar at the Morrison Chapel who told us the story of the chapel and the start of Protestantism (Anglican) in Macau. He talked about the fact that Macau, as a Portuguese Catholic colony, did not allow non-Catholic churches to be planted there no did they allow non-Catholics to be buried in their graveyards. The East India company, as a British company, allowed services to be held in their printing rooms in Macau. He went on to tell us much of the history of the area, and especially of the Morrison Chapel where Li Tim-Oi served.
The first non-Catholic to be buried in Macau was Mary Morrison -- she was much loved, and their was a petition to allow her to be buried within Macau (if you were non-Catholic and Chinese you were buried in China; if you were non-Catholic and not Chinese, you were buried beneath the fence between Macau and China. When Mary Morrison was allowed to be buried and a graveyard and chapel created (the Morrison chapel), those who were buried at the fence between Macau and China were moved to the new Protestant graveyard. We were all, after Steve's stories, looking forward to visiting the chapel after our trip to the social service agency.
We went literally kitty corner across the street from the restaurant to our next stop, which was the social service agency for youth and families. I had visited here when I came a few years ago.
This agency addresses the needs of youth and families in the neighborhood. The bulk of the programs they offer are free, with 90 percent of their funding coming from the government, and the rest coming from small fees they charge for some projects they offer. There is drop in places for teens to hang out and talk. There are computer facilities, music facilities, counseling, etc. They also offer young family counseling, as well as premarital counseling using Prepare Enrich (which we use for our premarital counseling in the Diocese as well!). It
was great to hear of the programs again, but I was stuck by the young man who addressed us -- turns out he is the same young man who did our tour 2 years ago. His name is Karl. I talked to him afterwards -- he did recognize me and remembered who I was with. I asked him why he stayed. He said he started there right after college (he spent 10 years in the UK -- Nottingham), and has been there now 3 almost 4 years because he wants to give something back to his community. He loves what he does and the people. I am offering here two pictures of Karl -- one (with the glasses and microphone) is from today, the other (with him on the right in the picture -- Kenneth Lau from my blog yesterday is on the left) is from two years ago.....
We then got on the bus and drove until we got within walking distance of the oldest part of the city. We got out of the bus and walked the rest of the way to the Morrison Chapel. It was hot and very humid, but none of us wanted to stop. We arrived at the Chapel and went in -- it is as I remembered it. Even the picture of Li Tim-Oi with others around her still hung in the same spot. I found her chair this time, which I hadn't noticed on my last visit.
We all took time to look around and to pray. It is a very holy place! Some of us also went behind the church and down into the cemetery. That, too, is a very sacred place. We found the tomb of Mary Morrison, who made the chapel and the graveyard possible.
We then walked over to the St. Paul ruins. This is a church that suffered 3 destructions, the last one in 1835 (a large fire). The front ruins remain and there is an excavation of the rest of the site that is set up so you can see down into what once was the floors and lower levels of the church.
What was most humbling, moving, and just pulled prayer out of me was my visit to the crypt. In the crypt the remains of the Martyrs of Japan (and Vietnam) that were brought over from Japan after the war. It was a very fitting end of our time here -- from new life in the Teen center to the honoring of traditions and lives that have gone before us. I leave you with the images from the remains of the Martyrs of Japan.
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