Diocese of Hong Kong IslandDiocese of Hong Kong Island Diocese of Eastern KowloonDiocese of Eastern Kowloon Hong Kong Sheng Kung HuiHong Kong Sheng Kung Hui Diocese of Western KowloonDiocese of Western Kowloon Missionary Area of MacauMissionary Area of Macau
St John's Cathedral

The Revd John Chynchen

In April 2014, following 7 years of full-time ministry as a Chaplain of St John's Cathedral, John Chynchen, on surpassing the mandatory HKSKH retirement age, reverted to the style and position of Honorary Chaplain, which he had held previously from 1989 to 2006.

He was born in London just before the outbreak of the Second World War, schooled in England and, after moving with his mother and her Australian second husband to Melbourne, studied Surveying at RMIT and qualified as a land surveyor in Sydney. In 1963, having joined the first private aerial survey practice in Australia, he was despatched, together with a young family, to Sandakan in British North Borneo, now known to us as the State of Sabah in the enlarged federation of Malaysia. Important work for the UN Labuk Valley Project and Unilever Estates Oil Palm expansion led to him being transferred to Kuala Lumpur as Chief Surveyor of the largest, locally-owned, professional consulting firm of engineers and surveyors in Malaysia and Singapore at that time. In 1967, following a four month introduction to Hong Kong in the previous year, while undertaking a tidal stream study for the new Esso/CLP Tsing Yi power station tanker berth, John launched his own professional practice in Singapore, with a client base that included Shell, Esso and BP.

Perkhidmatan Ukur (Survey Services)/Chynchen Associates was active in Singapore, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Brunei, Philippines, Seychelles and UK for over 40 years, deploying as many as 500 skilled people from many countries. Visible contributions to the landscape and beneath it include MTR in Hong Kong, MRT in Singapore; Raffles Bridge in Singapore, Humber Bridge in UK, Tsing Ma Bridge and Central Harbour Tunnel (1972) in Hong Kong. John was Chairman, Royal Institution of Chartered surveyors (Hong Kong Branch) 1983/4.

John, with two friends, 'went outside the box' and established, in partnership with The Economist, the Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU) in Singapore and Hong Kong in 1968. Large economic feasibility studies and management consultancy assignments were carried out in Southeast Asia, including a transformational study of the SCMP in 1968/9.

As a wolf cub, he attended the hosting Methodist church between the ages of 7 and 10; went to a CofE School and was mildly interested in religion. Honest to God (1963) supplied enlightenment but he procrastinated for many years before he submitted to Confirmation by Bishop Moses Tay in St Andrew's Cathedral, Singapore (1985). In a belated surrender to a persistent imperative, John pursued Old and New Testament studies with the late Revd Dr Erik Kvan from 1986 to 1988 and then embarked upon training for ordination at Salisbury & Wells Theological College. He ran his professional practice via fax and DHL from the Cathedral Close in Salisbury, flew back to Hong Kong for a few days every six weeks, was ordained deacon in 1989 with title as Bishop's Chaplain (Salisbury) and priested in St Peter's Church, Parkstone, Dorset, in 1990. He has continued to serve three successive bishops of Salisbury, in the main from the China Coast!

Since 1989, John has, in both non-stipended and full-time stipended ministry at St John's, played a full part in the development and maintenance of the liturgical life of the Cathedral, while never allowing himself to side-line what he holds to be the 'coalface' of a priest's contribution to both church members and the wider community – pastoral ministry, which includes hospital visits, funeral and memorials, baptisms and marriages/blessings. He continues to provide chaplaincy services to the British and Canadian Consulates-General, the Royal British Legion (Hong Kong) and Hong Kong Ex-servicemen's Association and to prepare and organise civic services for a variety of constituencies among both citizens and residents of the local and international communities in Hong Kong.

He served as President, Royal Society of St George (1984/5) and President, District Board of Benevolence (2002/11), responsible for the charitable and pastoral endeavours of the Hong Kong Freemasons who are affiliated to the United Grand Lodge of England. John is a Freeman of the City of London and a Liveryman of the Painters Stainers Company.