New archbishop elected for the Indian Ocean


New archbishop elected for the Indian Ocean


George Conger

The Bishop of the Seychelles, the Rt. Rev. James Wong Yin Song, has been elected Archbishop of the Church of the Province of the Indian Ocean, in succession to Archbishop Ian Ernest. At its Provincial Synod held at St Andrew's Church in Quatre-Bornes, Mauritius on 26 August 2017.

Archbishop Wong was selected by the 24 delegates -- three from each diocese in the province --  from amongst four candidates for the office -- with the three other candidates serving dioceses in Madagascar.

Archbishop Wong (57) is a native of the island of Rodrigues and was granted Seychellois citizenship in 2015.  He was ordained priest in 1983 by Bishop French Chang-Him of the Seychelles and served in three parishes in the Diocese of Mauritius, St James in Port Louis, the North in Pamplemousses and St Thomas in Beau Bassin, before he was appointed Archdeacon of Mauritius. In April 2009 he was elected fourth Bishop of the Seychelles. Before his episcopal election, he was active in ecumenical affairs, serving as General Secretary of the Fellowship of Christian Churches of Mauritius and Chairman of Scripture Union Mauritius. He will assume office at the close of synod on 27 Aug 2017.

Archbishop Wong is married to Doreen and has a daughter and a son. In the Province of the Indian Ocean, the primate is chosen from among serving diocesan bishops, and keeps his diocesan post will serving as archbishop. The election is for a fixed term, renewable by election or until he reaches the age of retirement.

Speaking to The Weekend after his election, the new archbishop said he was “pleased with the trust that has been placed in me. My priority will be to work for the improvement of the structure of the Province.”

Outgoing Archbishop Ian Ernest, who remains Bishop of Mauritius, told Weekend that in his address to the synod, the new archbishop said: “he will advocate the continuity and unity of the Province. I am pleased with his election.”

On 27 Aug 2017 the President of the Seychelles, Danny Faure, congratulated the new archbishop.

“On behalf of Government and the People of Seychelles I wish to convey my heartiest and warm congratulations to you on your election as the Archbishop of the Indian Ocean. Seychelles is proud and we pray that God strengthens your pastoral zeal and fills you with courage and wisdom as you continue to dedicate your life service to the church in your new responsibilities.”