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About this commemoration
Paul Sasaki was a bishop of Nippon Sei Ko Kei (a member church of the Anglican Communion), who was persecuted and imprisoned for his support of the independence of his church during the Second World War. Lindel Tsen was the principal leader of Chinese Anglicanism in the middle of the 20th century.
Nippon Sei Ko Kei had been established by missionaries from the Episcopal Church in 1859, with support following from the Church of England and the Anglican Church of Canada. Its founding was a turning point in the development of the Anglican Communion, as it was the ﬁrst church not to be composed primarily of British expatriates. Because of its desire to be a national church devoted to Japan, it found the polity of the Episcopal Church to be an appropriate model. Its ﬁrst bishops were elected in 1923.
Navigating its Christian mission in the Japanese context became more difﬁcult as the Second World War approached and it became clear that Japan would be at war with the West. The Japanese government ordered all Christians into a “united church” regardless of differences in doctrine or polity. Roughly one third of the dioceses of Nippon Sei Ko Kei joined the new church, but Bishop Paul Sasaki, Bishop of Tokyo and later Primate, refused and inspired most of the church to stay together and faithful to their Anglican heritage. Sasaki was tortured and imprisoned for his actions, but after the war his witness was an inspiring rallying point for the rebuilding of the church. Many of the dioceses that had departed during the war returned.
Lindel Tsen was raised by Episcopal Church missionaries and after his ordination worked closely with Canadian missionaries in China. During the Sino-Japanese War he worked to sustain the people of his area and at the end of the war became the leader of the Chinese Anglican Church. Upon his return from the 1948 Lambeth Conference he was put under house arrest by the Communist authorities.
I Almighty God, we offer thanks for the faith and witness of Paul Sasaki, bishop in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, tortured and imprisoned by his government, and Philip Tsen, leader of the Chinese Anglican Church, arrested for his faith. We pray that all Church leaders oppressed by hostile governments may be delivered by thy mercy, and that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may be faithful to the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ; who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
II Almighty God, we thank you for the faith and witness of Paul Sasaki, bishop in the Nippon Sei Ko Kai, tortured and imprisoned by his government, and Philip Tsen, leader of the Chinese Anglican Church, arrested for his faith. We pray that all Church leaders oppressed by hostile governments may be delivered by your mercy, and that by the power of the Holy Spirit we may be faithful to the Gospel of our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.
Lessons: Ezekiel 34:22–31, 1 Thessalonians 2:1–8, and Mark 4:26–32
Preface of All Saints
From Holy, Women, Holy Men: Celebrating the Saints © 2010 by The Church Pension Fund. Used by permission.
Also of interest
Website of Nippon Sei Ko Kei
China’s last Anglican bishop reflects on the future of the church in his country in 2000
We invite your reflections about this commemoration and its suitability for the official calendar and worship of The Episcopal Church. How did this person’s life witness to the Gospel? How does this person inspire us in Christian life today?
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