Feast of the Ordination of Florence Li Tom-Oi (January 24)   Leave a comment

florence-li-tom-oi

Above:  Icon of Florence Li Tim-Oi

Image Source = Link

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FLORENCE LI TIM-OI (MAY 5, 1907-FEBRUARY 26, 1992)

First Female Priest in the Anglican Communion

Ordained on January 25, 1944

All civil rights issues are inherently theological and contingent upon the reality that all people bear the image of God.  Among these civil rights issues is the equality of men and women in the Church.  This remains a controversial argument, unfortunately.

Florence Li Tim-Oi was a pioneer in the continuing struggle for the equality of women in the Church.

Tim-Oi (“Much Beloved”) born in Hong Kong on May 5, 1907, chose the baptized name Florence, after Florence Nightingale.  She became a deaconess in 1931, studied theology for four years in Canton, and, on the Feast of the Ascension, 1941, became a deacon.  She served a parish in Macao.  Wartime circumstances meant that a priest could not come to the Portuguese colony regularly, so Bishop Ronald Owen Hall (in office 1932-1951) of the Anglican Diocese of Victoria (spanning Hong Kong and South China) licensed her to preside at the Holy Eucharist.  Finally, on January 25, 1944, in the village of Shui Hing, Hall ordained our saint a priest.  She was already functioning as one, he reasoned.  Due to the controversy regarding her priestly ordination Tim-Oi surrendered her license (yet not her Holy Orders) in 1946.  From 1947 to 1949 she served as the Rector of St. Barnabas Church, Hepui; Bishop Hall ordered that people refer to her as a priest.

In 1949 the People’s Republic of China supplanted the Republic of China on the mainland.  Tim-Oi continued her theological studies.  She also served and taught at the Cathedral of Our Savior, Guangzhou.  Then, in 1958, the People’s Republic closed all the churches.  Our saint had to work on a farm then in a factory.  She was able to resume her public ministry in 1979.

Tim-Oi, while visiting relatives in Canada in 1981, had an opportunity to exercise her priestly office in that country.  The Anglican Diocese of Montreal licensed her; the Diocese of Ontario followed suit two years later.  She died at Toronto on February 26, 1992.  She was 84 years old.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

NOVEMBER 24, 2016 COMMON ERA

THANKSGIVING DAY (U.S.A.)

THE FEAST OF WILLIAM COOKE AND BENJAMIN WEBB, ANGLICAN PRIESTS AND TRANSLATORS OF HYMNS

THE FEAST OF SAINTS ANDREW DUNG-LAC AND PETER THI, ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIESTS AND MARTYRS IN VIETNAM

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Gracious God, we thank you for calling Florence Li Tim-Oi, much beloved daughter,

to be the first woman to exercise the office of a priest in our Communion:

By the grace of your Spirit, inspire us to follow her example,

serving your people with patience and happiness all our days,

and witnessing in every circumstance to our Savior Jesus Christ,

who lives and reigns with you and the same Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.  Amen.

Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29

Psalm 99 or 27:1-9

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

John 4:31-38

A Great Cloud of Witnesses:  A Calendar of Commemorations (2016)

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