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St John's Cathedral

Our Link with Diocese of Toungoo


Over the past year, St John’s Cathedral and the Anglican Diocese of Toungoo, Myanmar have formed a partnership for mutual learning and support through exchanging visits and prayers for each other.

In February 2016, a delegation led by The Very Revd Matthias C. Der, Dean of St John's Cathedral, went on a fact finding trip to Toungoo. In October, St John's welcomed four guests from Toungoo. Included in the group were The Rt Revd John Wilme, the Diocesan Bishop, The Very Revd Canon Yo Shia, Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, Toungoo, the Revd Jimmy Aung Khaing Nyunt, Principal of St Peter’s Bible College and Miss Elizabeth Ei Hnin Phyu, delegate of the Anglican Young People’s Association.

This year, to further strengthen the bond between the two communities, our parishioner Debbie McGowan has offered herself as a volunteer teacher in Toungoo for 8 weeks starting from late January. The Cathedral is greatly encouraged by this forthcoming mission trip.

Debbie has been financing her own expenses but is asking for donations for educational materials and for the building programme of the Diocese of Toungoo.  


Weekly Prayer for Diocese of Toungoo:  

We pray for for Bishop John Wilme, his priests and people. We pray for the evangelistic and mission work conducted throughout the Diocese.

Pray also, for Debbie McGowan as she concludes her trip to teach English in the Diocese of Toungoo. May God bless her and all whom she teaches. 

Updates on Debbie’s trip (15th Jan 2018):  

Debbie went on the trip to Myanmar for voluntary English teaching, not long after being blessed by the Dean.

“I’m feeling very relaxed and pretty excited about my trip. I know what to expect this time and so many friends, new and existing, to meet again,” Debbie said.

Debbie arrived in Yangon safely on 12th Jan. She was warmly welcomed by Bishop John Wilme and his wife Elizabeth, and she was invited to have supper with them in the Yangon Diocesan Office. The next day, they drove to Toungoo, which took about five hours. After the urban sprawl of Yangon, it’s very rural.

On Sunday morning, Debbie attended the service at St John’s the Baptist Church, and she read the intersessions (the service is in English every three weeks). Everything was great: The singing was great. The flowers were amazing. The only “downside” was that the service started at 7.30 am.

Debbie has settled down quite well in Toungoo, and she will give her first pre-school lesson on Monday. Good luck Debbie!

  Debbie's ready to go

 English service at St John's the Baptist Church


The altar and the flowers  


Breakfast and lunch  


Updates on Debbie’s trip (8th Jan 2018):

Debbie McGowan will return to the Diocese of Toungoo in Myanmar for another teaching mission, which shows our love and support to the people in Toungoo. Debbie's trip will start on 12th Jan, and she will come back to Hong Kong on 18th Feb. Dean Matthias commissioned Debbie at the 9.00 am service on 7th Jan. Please pray for her safe travel and ministry there.

Please also remember the ministry of the Diocese of Toungoo at this time. Bishop John Wilme will retire later this year, after 25 years as diocesan bishop. A new bishop will be elected and inaugurated in Jan 2019.  


Updates on Debbie’s trip (27th Mar 2017):  

What a fabulous Myanmar trip! It was Debbie’s last lesson in Toungoo on 25th Mar. In her last week of teaching, she paid a site visit to where the new youth hostel will be built.

The new youth hostel will be located at Leik Tho, two-hour drive from Toungoo. The Diocese of Toungoo is converting the dilapidated priest's house into the hostel, since it is easier for regulations and planning approval.

‘As the funds are here, they are totally confident it will be finished by mid-May with 20 children, ages 11 to 14, moving in ready for the start of high school at the beginning of June. Their prospects without education is grim ..... Turning hopes into reality, thanks to you!’ Debbie said.


Debbie paid a site visit and she was helping out at the site!

Returning back to St John the Baptist’s Church and St Paul’s Cathedral, Debbie has been showered with praise, blessings, gifts and flowers by her students, co-workers, congregation members and local friends in farewell parties. 


Saying goodbye to the pre-school children and the teachers...


Showered with flowers and gifts

In the last few days before her departure, Debbie also presented gifts together with certificates to her students. She said, ‘Thanks to my lovely St John's Cathedral Choir friends, who generously donated lipsticks, make-up palates, packs of playing cards (none of the students here had ever seen a pack of cards before I introduced them), chopsticks and bookmarks. Thanks also to Rita!’


Her students love these gifts.

After further exploring Yangon for several days, Debbie will be flying home, coming back to Hong Kong and join the Cathedral congregation again very soon.

Myanmar Drop-in (25th Jan 2017):

Groups of people interested in our link with the Diocese of Toungoo and Debbie’s trip were warmly welcomed at the Harold Smyth Room. With Debbie sharing her vision and devotion, attendees got to know more about Toungoo, her trip and ways to support.




More information on Debbie's Trip: