Taiwanese minister Minted

Nick Gilbert
Read Taiwanese minister Minted

The first person of a Chinese background to be ordained a presbyter in the Illawarra region, Mr Hung-En “Tallis” Tien, says he hopes this show of support by the Diocese will help his local ministry to Chinese-background people.

“Among Chinese people, particularly those away from mainland China in places like Hong Kong, they often have different ideas of deacons and presbyters than people in Sydney,” says Mr Tien, who leads the Chinese congregation at Minto Anglican Church.

“Sometimes, being a deacon, you are not seen as a ‘full’ minister – especially by the older generation. They don’t have a concept of a full diaconate. So it helps in ministry because it shows I have been accepted
by the Diocese and the bishop, and that opens up relationships and ministry more clearly.”

Mr Tien, who was born in Taiwan but has lived in Sydney for many years, previously served as an assistant minister at St Paul’s, Chatswood. Before taking up a part-time role at Minto in 2013, he also lectured at the Chinese Theological College Australia in Burwood, a position he still juggles with current ministry commitments.

“When I joined the college, my heart for ministry didn’t really change,” Mr Tien says. “One of the main reasons I joined the college was to train local ministers, so I was looking for part-time ministry to be involved in at the same time.

“Chris [Hanger, rector of Minto] got in touch with me and said they only had a part-time position for me but I thought that was perfect. I could teach and be in ministry at the same time! I hadn’t ever considered Minto before Chris talked to me but the Lord, it seems, has led me here, and I enjoy the work that is being done.”

While there aren’t many Chinese ministries in the area, the Minto Chinese congregation has met in various forms since 1994.

Mr Tien is a native Mandarin speaker and preaches in Mandarin, but services often end up being partly in Cantonese thanks to the involvement of lay people running the services, many of whom are from countries with Cantonese-speaking communities. Roughly 40 to 50 people attend these Chinese services, with increasing lay involvement.
“My philosophy in ministry is to train the people in the congregation to serve,” Mr Tien says. “I have been with these people for about three years now, and the fruit we see is not because people are moving into the area and filling the church that way. It’s because the people are being equipped, and because they are motivated and blessed by God to serve and reach out to newcomers. We are actively reaching out.”

Photo: From right, front row: the Rev Chris Hanger, the Rev Tallis Tien, and Bishop the Rt Rev Peter Hayward at the ordination, along with Minto members, friends and family.