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St. Matthew Church in Abbotsford welcomes new priest

The Rev. James Hwang came to Canada in 2022 from South Korea
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Bishop John Stephens, presiding at the communion, is assisted by the new parish priest, The Rev. James Hwang on Tuesday, May 7. (Photo by Paul Stabell)

The members of St. Matthew Church in Abbotsford have celebrated the arrival of their new priest, The Rev. James Hwang.

The service of induction and new ministry took place on May 7.

Hwang came to Canada two years ago from South Korea. He studied chemistry and then theology in Seoul.

He pursued the discipline of the Franciscan Religious Order and further studied at Washington Theological Union and Loyola University Chicago, where he achieved a master of arts in pastoral counselling.

Hwang was an assistant pastor at Seryu Parish in Suwon, Korea in 2018 before coming to Canada in 2022.

Bishop John Stephens of the Anglican Diocese of New Westminster received Hwang and appointed him to the St. John Shaughnassy Church as a curate.

In 2023, the members of St. Matthew Church began an in-depth study to clarify the goals and mission of the parish.

The previous priest, The Rev. Allen Doerksen, had moved to Victoria earlier that year. The work of identifying a leader took place in 2024, with Hwang seen as the person best suited to the position of rector.

Bishop Stephens installed Hwang as rector at the special service of induction on May 7, which was attended by visiting clergy and people from the diocese, especially from Vancouver.

The preacher, The Rev. Allan Carson, said the new priest and the people of St. Matthew were launching on a new beginning. He emphasized that God will always care for and support the parish family as it serves Abbotsford and beyond.

Hwang shared that he will lead the parish to be a symbol of hope and joy to the world around them and for St. Matthew to be a place for people from every generation and walk of life.

St. Matthew Parish has been serving Abbotsford since before 1900 when the first church building was dedicated. Since then, the Anglican Church of Canada branch has been a presence in the Fraser Valley.

Sunday worship service is at 11 a.m. every week at 2010 Guildford Drive. Visit abbotsfordanglican.ca for more information.