Anglo-Saxons move over for the multicultural minister

Madeleine Collins

New Sydney Anglican priest the Rev Hooi Wan Cheng was in the minority amongst his Anglo-Saxon friends at St Andrew's Cathedral on Saturday but he hopes the next 10 years will change all that.

Mr Cheng, 45, joined 16 other men ordained at St Andrew's Cathedral, St Luke's, Liverpool and St John's, Parramatta.

He is one of only two with a Chinese heritage and as such is keen to see an increase in Chinese Christians entering the ministry in the next 10 years.

"I'd definitely like to see more," he says.

"This is a big city and Australia has moved very close to China. There are a lot of opportunities to reach out to Mandarin speakers. I'm also encouraging Anglo-Saxon churches to have a passion for this ministry."

Mr Cheng is the Northern Region's first ever full-time Mandarin pastor and is in his second year in charge of a Chinese congregation at St Peter's, Hornsby.

He also runs Bible studies for international students at various Sydney university campuses.

He says he is personally challenged by the large mission field of international students and Chinese migrants flooding into Sydney - a vision in line with Archbishop Peter Jensen's call to Synod to evangelise Sydney's multicultural population.

In 2005 several new initiatives have begun.

The Asian Australian Bible Church, a congregation at the University of NSW, recently joined St Mark's, Malabar.

Minister of the Asian church the Rev Andrew Moore was also ordained on Saturday and will become rector of St Mark's.

St Andrew's Cathedral has started a Bible fellowship group that is aimed at the inner city's large Asian student population.

And for the first time in more than five decades, CMS will work in China from 2006 in community development, English teaching and agriculture.

Alongside Hooi Wan Cheng, the 16 other new priests are serving in parishes across Sydney, Wollongong and Adelaide. 

Next year the number of ministers being ordained will be the largest in the history of the Diocese.

For photos from the weekend’s ordination at St Andrews’ Cathedral from Ramon Williams/Worldwide Photos visit Viewfinder…