#NewRevs2022 - Yin-An Chen

Yin-An is to be ordained a deacon on 29 September and will serve his curacy at Oswestry St Oswald and Rhydycroesau.

Yin-An grew up in Taipei (Taiwan), where most of his family live. Prior to moving to the UK, he was active in the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan. For ten years, he did ministry for university students and young people. He also taught anthropology and missiology in seminaries. He still lectures in the diocese.

In 2014, Yin-An came to England to do research degrees in theology at Durham. He then moved to Canterbury to continue his research in liberation theologies, French philosophy, and queer politics (his monograph based on his research project will be published in late 2022). At the same time, he began exploring his vocation to ordained ministry in the Diocese of Canterbury. His vocational journey at first led him to London, beginning with St George's Church Southwark, where he worked closely with homeless people and shelter projects. In 2018-19 he spent a year working as a pastoral assistant, becoming immersed in the various ministries of this vibrant London parish, working especially with families and children, assisting clergy with pastoral visits and liturgy, and practising inclusive theology as the core of his theology and ministry. 

Yin-An commenced his training for the Priesthood at Westcott House, Cambridge in 2019. The curriculum was interrupted by the arrival of Covid-19 in early 2020 and much study had to be done in online groups. Nevertheless, Yin-An found that the lockdowns afforded him opportunities to reflect on his identity as a ‘priest theologian’, combining academic theology and practical ministries. He also re-discovered his passion for theological education. In this time, he was appointed an adjunct lecturer of Anglicanism, Theology, and Culture in the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan (he does this work mostly online). Yin-An took a gap year between the end of his training at Westcott House and his ordination in the Lichfield Diocese, gaining valuable experience of rural ministry in the benefice of Fulbourn and the Wilbrahams (near Cambridge).

Yin-An’s vocational journey towards ordination has perhaps been an unconventional one. But he feels that his unique journey has gifted him precious opportunities to develop his theology from the perspective of anthropologist, theologian, academic and church minister both in England and the American Episcopal Church in Taiwan. He believes that individuals are called from very different life-backgrounds and orientations to serve God’s people in many different ways, using a wide-range of God-bestowed gifts. In his view, there is a significant misconception that those preparing for ministry must be extraordinary people who have had the extraordinary experience of hearing God’s clear voice calling them to serve. Instead, through Holy Baptism, all of us with the help of our parents and godparents have made the commitment to serve God and our neighbours. Rather than make us more ‘divine’, doing a ministry makes us more ‘human’ and is a process of gradual recognition of how much we desire and rely on God’s love and grace to live with and serve one another. People discern their desire and reflect on their experiences carefully while exploring what God is calling them to do. This is very like the experience of Jesus’ disciples on the road to Emmaus: when do we recognise the presence of Jesus? And what makes our hearts burn?

Page last updated: Wednesday 7th September 2022 2:04 PM
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