Subject: Addition to BAS
Calendar of Holy Persons – Florence Li Tim Oi
Moved By: Peter Wall from
the Diocese of Niagara
Seconded By: Fred Hiltz
from the Diocese of Nova Scotia and Prince Edward Island
Note: The mover and the seconder must be members of the General Synod and be present in the House when the resolution is before the synod for debate.
BE IT RESOLVED:
That this General Synod authorize the
inclusion of the Rev’d Florence Li Tim Oi in the Canadian Calendar of
Holy Persons in the Book of Alternative Services, as a Memorial on February
26, the date of her death.
EXPLANATORY NOTE/BACKGROUND INFORMATION:
At her birth in 1907 Li Tim-Oi's father called her “Much Beloved”.
When she was baptised as a student Tim-Oi chose the name Florence from ‘The
Lady of the Lamp’. Florence is celebrated world-wide for the witness to
Christ that she lived out as the first female priest in the Anglican Communion.
In 1931 at the ordination of a deaconess, she heard and responded to the call
to ministry. She was made Deacon in 1941, and was given charge of the Anglican
congregation in the Portuguese colony of Macao, thronged with refugees from
wartorn China. When a priest could no longer travel from Japanese-occupied territory
to preside for her at the eucharist, the Bishop of Hong Kong asked her to meet
him in Free China, where on 25 January 1944 he ordained her “a priest
in the Church of God”. To defuse controversy, in 1946 she surrendered
her priest's license, but not her Holy Orders, the knowledge of which carried
her through Maoist persecution. For the next 39 years, she served faithfully
under very difficult circumstances, particularly after the Communists took over
mainland China. In 1983, arrangements were made for her to come to Canada where
she was appointed as an honorary assistant at St. John's Chinese congregation
and St. Matthew's parish in Toronto.
The Anglican Church of Canada had by this time approved the ordination of women
to the priesthood and in 1984, the 40th anniversary of her ordination; Ms. Li
was, with great joy and thanksgiving, reinstated as a priest. This event was
celebrated not only in Canada but also at Westminster Abbey and at Sheffield
in England even though the Church of England had not yet approved the ordination
From that date until her death in 1992, she exercised her priesthood with such
faithfulness and quiet dignity that she won tremendous respect for herself and
increasing support for other women seeking ordination. She was awarded Doctorates
of Divinity by General Theological Seminary, New York, and Trinity College,
The very quality of Ms. Li's ministry in China and in Canada and the grace with
which she exercised her priesthood helped convince many people through the communion
and beyond that the Holy Spirit was certainly working in and through women priests.
Her contribution to the church far exceeded the expectations of those involved
in her ordination in 1944. She died on 26 February 1992.
The Ministry and Worship Working Group of Faith, Worship and Ministry applied
the principles and guidelines for Calendar Revision adopted by the Anglican
Consultative Council in 1993 in discerning the inclusion of Mother Emily Ayckbowm
in the BAS Calendar of Holy Persons.
and Ministry Committee
||(name of committee, diocese, etc.)