John was the pastor of Tao Fong Shan the Lutheran church complex where we attended services in Hong Kong for six years. Tao Fong Shan was founded in 1929 by Norwegian missionaries. Tao Fong Shan translated means Mountain of the Christ Wind. The name of the church building on the Tao Fong Shan campus was Christ Temple.
Now John is leading services in a small church in Fort Mead Florida. It was founded in 1886 by immigrants from England, Scotland, Wales, Ireland and Canada. The name of the church is Christ Church Episcopal. The front of our church in Hong Kong looked like this. The altar table had been rescued from a Christian Centre in Nanjing during the 1930s Civil War in China. John does a ‘pastoral pose’ for the camera at the front of his church in Florida. Note the Christ the King emblems on the altar cloths. Do you see the octagonal windows on either side of the front door of Christ Temple in Tao Fong Shan? The church in Florida features an octogonal window as well. This was the bell on our church in Hong Kong. You had to hit it with a mallet to make it ring. Members of the congregation took turns doing this each Sunday. This is the bell tower on the church in Florida. The bell was cast in New York in 1891. It is the only church bell in the community of Fort Meade. Russell the hospitable man who opened the church for us showed us the bell rope in the small room off the sanctuary. Dave is checking out the hymn books in the church in Florida. Here is our family singing a hymn in our Hong Kong church on Christmas Eve in 2004. Christ Temple has a second entrance that you reach through a lovely courtyard and a rounded doorway. The Tao Fong Shan complex in Hong Kong was designed by missionary Karl Reichelt and Danish architect Johannes Prip-Moeller who wanted to create a place where the Taoist priests, Tibetan lamas and Buddhist monks who came there to study would feel right at home. Christ Church in Fort Meade Florida has a second entrance as well at the side of the church. It was designed by architect Rev. J.H. Weddel in a Carpenter Gothic style which was familiar in Florida. The architect also wanted however to maintain the essentials of the Anglican tradition as found in English churches.
We felt fortunate to attend Christ Temple in Hong Kong served by our friend John who was a caring and compassionate pastor as well as a thought provoking and interesting speaker. I am sure his parishoners in Florida at Christ Church Episcopal feel equally blessed.