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22 May 2016 | Vicar Writes

The Consecration Bible and Pectoral Cross of Bishop Chiu Ban It

By Terry Wong
On 1st of November 1966, on All Saints’ Day, Bishop Joshua Chiu Ban It was consecrated in St Andrew’s Cathedral. He was the first Asian Bishop of Singapore and Malaya, as the Diocese was then called. 

Bishop Chiu believed that the study of Scripture would have to be the most important facet of church life and in 1967, he proposed a three-year programme which developed into the “Know Your Scriptures” campaign. His early years of episcopacy were challenging, especially after the British left Singapore, and along with that, established privileges and availability of resources. 

At a low point of his tenure, Bishop Chiu encountered a new work of the Holy Spirit while attending a Conference in Bangkok in 1972. A book by an American Episcopal priest, Dennis Bennett (Nine O’clock in the Morning), was lent to him.  He read it with scepticism but before he went to sleep, he prayed to the Lord to ask whether whatever happened to Dennis could also happen to him. When he awoke, he found himself filled with joy and began praising God in English, Chinese, Malay and finally, in unaccustomed syllables. He found himself speaking in  tongues! 

He discovered a new life and vibrancy in liturgical  Scripture and prayer and found a new excitement in his ministry as Bishop. Later, he invited Revd Edgar Webb to hold healing meetings in the Cathedral. The meetings were packed. 

From there, the move of the Spirit in the Diocese began to grow, along with similar experiences of revival in other parts of the Body of Christ. The Cathedral became a centre  of revival and there were many meetings held where the Bible was taught and people prayed for. In July 1974, a Friday prayer meeting was started which quickly grew from 15 to 150 attending regularly. 

Undoubtedly, Bishop Chiu’s ministry has left an indelible mark in the life of the Cathedral and Diocese which is still being felt today. We are indebted to the Lord for this dear servant for his simplicity of faith, purity of devotion and humility of heart. Bishop Chiu has since retired and is currently living in England. 

On the 14th of May 2016, through his niece, Ang Su-Lin, Bishop Chiu Ban It presented his Consecration Bible and Pectoral Cross to the Cathedral. These were received by our Dean and Vicar. The Bible was given to him at his consecration as Bishop. The pectoral cross is only worn by bishops and this was a gift from St Augustine’s College in Cambridge, where he had served as a fellow before his appointment. These two items will be displayed at the Welcome Centre  and will become an important part of our historical exhibits. 

The Consecration Bible and Pectoral Cross are  reminders to the Cathedral of our rich spiritual inheritance through the person and ministry of Bishop Chiu. 

Note: Some information in this article was  gleaned  from Diffusing The Light, authored by Joseph Thambiah.

 

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