* Amazingly the fundraising target has been met! Please click on the "updates" tab for the latest developments and additional stretch goals.
A project to create a unique stole that reflects God's desire for reconciliation.
This October, I will be ordained in the Church of England. As part of my ordination, I am required to wear a stole. A stole is a liturgical garment worn around the neck, with two ends hanging down parallel to one another in the front. It is generally considered the unique symbol of ordained ministry and will accompany me for the rest of my life.
I have become aware that there are very few Chinese priests in the Church of England. In fact, it appears that I might be one of the very first British-Born-Chinese (“BBC”) priests in the Anglican Church, almost certainly the first one who is a 3rd generation BBC.
This is why I have commissioned Juliet Hemingray Designs to produce a uniquely Chinese/Western stole, based upon a concept that my wife Kayi and I came up with and that my friend Colse Leung of ColseCreative has helped design. This is what I am crowdfunding for.
The idea behind the design is that through Jesus Christ, the hope of true reconciliation is made possible (Col 1:20). This is symbolized by the bringing together of ‘East’ 東 and ‘West’ 西.
The East and West motif also reflects the realization that God is calling me to embrace all aspects of myself, which includes the colour of my skin and Chinese heritage. Growing-up in the U.K. I suffered racial abuse and learnt to repress my identity to fit in. As I prepare for ordination, I sense that God is healing my past hurts, dealing with my present fears and redeeming my experiences for the future.
I hope that this stole will remind people that God's love—spanning East to West—is for them, no matter what their culture or background is. That despite our differences, we are still one in Christ. Of course, this type of reconciliation requires sacrifice. That price has been met on the cross, but we are still required to seek repentance and to address the historical wrongs and abuses that are sadly, still present in the Church and society. Justice and reconciliation go hand-in-hand. My stole will convey this message wherever I go.
Where You Come In
A stole is often presented to ordinands as a gift. My father, Tony Nam, was planning on paying for the production of my stole. Sadly, as some of you may know, my dad passed away recently and this is no longer possible.
The reason I am crowdfunding is not necessarily to meet the cost, although that would be wonderful. I am crowdfunding because what this stole represents is so much bigger than myself. Many friends and family have supported, encouraged and prayed for me as I have trained. This journey has not been my own and I want the creation of this stole and my ordination to represent that.
It is my hope that friends, family and anyone else who believes in this project will each give a small amount, rather than any one person giving a large financial sum. When I wear this stole at my ordination ceremony, I want to be reminded that I am not entering ministry alone—I am part of a larger body and bigger story—and that only by working together are we able to reflect the love and unity that is possible through Jesus Christ. I hope you will consider partnering with me in this endeavour.
In terms of costing, the reason this stole costs £500 is that it is completely tailor-made. Regular stoles usually cost anywhere between £150 - £300. The extra expense is due to a special machine that is required to stitch the intricate pattern.
Should there be any extra funds, I plan on creating a list of the names of all the people who contribute to the stole. I hope to have this list mounted in a frame and displayed in my home, so that whenever people visit and see it, I am able to share the story of my stole and more importantly, what it represents and who it points to. The cost of this would probably be an additional £200.