24th October 2014 – COI Gazette

Archbishop Kwong comments on Hong Kong protests

Protesters occupying Hong Kong’s Harcourt Road and flyovers on 29th September. (Photo: Citobun)

Protesters occupying Hong Kong’s Harcourt Road and flyovers on 29th September. (Photo: Citobun)

The Anglican Archbishop of Hong Kong, the Most Revd Paul Kwong, last week issued a statement on the current situation in Hong Kong, as he said he had received many inquiries.

He described the past weeks as having been times of “turbulence and unease” in the city, stating that the Occupy Central movement had revealed “the increasing polarisation in our society in terms of ideas about political reform, the widening gap between rich and poor and the position of Hong Kong in China and the world”.

Dr Kwong said that student groups in the Occupy movement were pressing for what they saw as the need for “more democracy” and were challenging the nomination process that had been laid down in the electoral framework for the Chief Executive election in 2017.


 

Editorial

FIGURES IN CHURCH HISTORY – 42 JOHN DONNE (1572-1631)

Poet and churchman John Donne was born into a Roman Catholic family at a time when members of that Church in England were subject to numerous deprivations, including even the death penalty for priests. Probably because he felt unable at the time to take the required oath of allegiance to the Protestant Queen, Elizabeth I, he left Oxford (and, perhaps later, Cambridge as well) without taking his degree. Having travelled widely, he took up the study of law at Travers’ Inn and Lincoln’s Inn. At some stage, he seems to have conformed to the Church of England, having made a careful examination of its claims and those of Rome.

Of an adventurous disposition, Donne joined the Earl of Essex’s privateering expedition against Cadiz and later went on Essex’s and Sir Walter Raleigh’s unsuccessful hunt for Spanish treasure ships in the West Indies. Returning to London, he entered gainful employment as secretary to Sir Thomas Egerton, Lord Keeper of the Great Seal, but lost his job when he made a secret marriage to a relative of Egerton’s second wife. He lived for some years in dependence and great poverty, his wife, Anne, bearing him twelve children, five of whom died.

Having failed to obtain a position in court, Donne overcame scruples about his own unworthiness and was ordained in 1615, being made a royal chaplain and then, in 1621, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, a most prestigious appointment. There he carried out his duties with efficiency and integrity and became famous for his sermons, by which he became known as the foremost preacher of his day.

If Donne’s sermons indicate his mastery of prose writing, he is even more famous for his poetry, almost none of which was published during his lifetime. Highly original in both form and content, these covered a huge range, both sacred and secular, from love poems to hymnody. He was much preoccupied with the thought of death and judgement, his sermon on hell being one of the most terrifying in the English language, but there was another side to his thoughts of the hereafter which is well represented in the beautiful prayer: “Bring us, Lord our God, at our last awakening … ” to be found on page 495 of the Prayer Book.

Some of Donne’s sayings are instantly recognizable, for example: “No man is an island …” and “Seek not for whom the bell tolls …” This editorial is one in a series of occasional reflections on figures in Church history, following a chronological sequence as they appear.


 

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