21 June 2014

Hmong priest finds 'different vision of Christ' in Episcopal church

In June 2013, Toua Vang became the first Hmong man in the world to be ordained an Episcopal priest, and is now pastor of the only Hmong-majority Episcopal church anywhere. His roots are in Catholicism, but the Episcopal church offered an option for non-celibate priesthood. "I come from the Hmong culture, and men are expected to have a family," he said. Vang, 47, is one of hundreds of Hmong who began attending Holy Apostles Episcopal Church in St. Paul in 2005. The church was about to close, with only about 60 members remaining. Then 700-plus Hmong, making up 78 families who were searching for a new place to worship after leaving the nearby St. Vincent de Paul Catholic Church, found a home at Holy Apostles. They were welcomed and quickly became a part of church leadership.