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Taiwan Church News

3298 Edition

May 11 - 17, 2015

Headline News

 

 

Taiwan Church Press Promotes Fair Trade To Love Our Earth And Pursue Economic Justice

 

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsaun

 

 

On May 8, one day before the World Fair Trade Day(every second Saturday of May), Taiwan Church Press, the historically centenary publishing house, and Okogreen Company Ltd(since 2007), the first FLO(Fairtrade International)-certified company in Taiwan, held a joint press conference filled with coffee aroma pledging to launch a fair and just cooperation to be friendly to the growers and the customers. In the meantime, through the actions committed to fair trade, Christians were urged to love the only earth we have and pursue the economic justice.

 

 

Rev. Fang Lang-ting, President of Taiwan Church Press, expressed Taiwan Church Press had been engaged in bringing the lively words to the readers for over one century and half; now, the readers were encouraged to transform these lively words into concrete actions. "As more and more people are used to drinking coffee, we can help a poor farmer in third-world countries if we change our preferred coffee into an FLO-certified one," said Rev. Fang.

 

 

Mr Hsu Wen-yen, founder of Okogreen, remarked that the concept of fair trade was initiated from European churches. "Up to date, still many European churches cherish such ideas of fair trade and support them in actions", said Mr Hsu, "Since we are member of World Trade Organization(WTO) and we continue to consume coffee, let us stand up for fair trade in action!"

 

 

Rev. Lin Wei-lien, Secretaray of PCT Church And Society Committee, reminded that the impacts of fair trade concept could be tantamount to the famous "Butterfly Effects" - a minor movement in each person could result into a huge change. He expected to work with Okogreen in the future, for example helping Urban Rural Missionary(URM) educate the marginalized producers bargaining with their purchasing corporations. "Church should pay more concerns to the suffered", said Rev. Lin.


 

Mr Chen Jon-yen, Director of City Affairs Bureau of Tainan City Government, gave his affirmation about TCP's faithful engagement in fair trade promotion through selling green coffee. Especially, when more and more world-renown coffee brands penetrating into Taiwan market, he reminded the public be wary about the ecological and agricultural crisis behind these phenomenon.

 

 

Lu Wei-yin, Tainan City Council Representative, praised the cooperation of TCP and Okogreen Company Ltd as "A Marriage of Consciousness", because TCP not only introduced modern civilization into Taiwan but carried on caring about Taiwan's democratic process and the marginalized people.

 

 

Rev. Hwang Su-wen, Moderator of Tainan Presbytery, and Rev. Chen Yu-jay, member of Church and Society Committee of Tainan Presbytery were also invited to attend to witness this significant ceremony. From this moment on, Okogreen coffee in Tainan bookstore of TCP was available. As to other TCP branches, Okogreen coffee will be open in months later. TCP was also authorized to sell Okogreen coffee within PCT.

 

 

To care for the victims of recent Nepal earthquake, the marginalized and the social welfare groups, 10 dollars of each cup of Okogreen coffee consumed in TCP bookstores would be donated for the related parties concerned.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3297 Edition

May 5 - 10, 2015

Church Ministry

 

 

Protesting Overwork, Taiwan Labour Front Asks 40 Hours Per Week

 

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 

"Open wide the protective umbrella for Taiwan's 3.4 millions workers!", chanted by dozens of protesting workers led by Taiwan Labour Front(TLF), who raised up bright yellow umbrellas and aligned themselves to form the number“40”in the middle of Jinan Road outside the Legislature Yuan on April 30.

 

 

Sun Yo-lian, Secretary-General of TLF, said that the hazardous overwork of Taiwanese workers had reached 2,124 hours per year. Such an alarming figure was ranked the third highest in current global records, only surpassed by South Korea and Mexico. TLF asked an immediate law amendment, stipulating 40 work hours per week in the Labor Standards Act, to protect Taiwan workers.

 

 

Since 2001, when 49% Taiwan employee in private sectors, including police and firemen, were applied a legal capping hours at 84 hours per two weeks, most employees in public sectors(personnel in government, army and school) had already been given 40 hours per week. This is why even police officers and firemen joined this TLF protesting assembly, asking to cap working hours at 40-hours per week.

 

p.s. :

 

According to an up-dated local news, a law amendment capping weekly work hours at 40 was passed on May 15. The amendment of article 30 of Labor Standards Act got the approval of lawmakers across party lines, who confirmed it as "A victory for workers!"

 

The amended law stipulates that a worker is not to work more than eight hours a day. Starting from 2016, Taiwan workers will be under no obligation to work for more than 40 hours per week or eight hours per day. This amendment is deemed as the legal basis for workers to get two days off per week.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3297 Edition

May 5 - 10, 2015

Church Ministry

 

 

Fr. Anselm Grün Launched His Taiwan Itinerant Lectures On Spirituality For The Aged

 

 

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

 

 

An itinerant lectures around Taiwan, concerning for the aged about building an integrated life and caring for their pain & sorrows, was launched around Taiwan by famous spiritual master - Fr. Anselm Grün - from April 24 to May 4. This event was organized by Chinese Christian Evangelistic Association, Chinese Christian Relief Association and South & North Publishing Company. Many subjects were talked about and even practiced within the lectures, including: how to build an integrated life, suffering and healing, sorrow and the palliative care, how to understand dream from a Christian perspective, how to enter into a spiritual life and etc.

 

 

In a lecture, delivered in Taipei's McKay Memorial Hospital on May 2nd, the audience were advised to practice embrace themselves meditating the biblical verse, "Today's trouble is enough for today"(Matt 6:34), when Fr. Grün talked about controlling self-emotions and urges the audience to commit to an integrated life - body, mind and spirit - to God. He also instruct the audience to raise hands blessing and forgiving the people who always hurt them. "Only put it down, then we can be free from those bitterness occupied in our mind!", said Grün.

 

 

Fr. Grün, who had been awarded the Germany's most honored "Cross of the Order of Merit" in 2007, served as cellarer of the Abbey Munsterschwarzach from 1977 to October 2013. He was in charge of the economic management of the Abbey, with its total of 20 companies and 300 staffs. Many high ranking managers in renown Germany enterprises, like Benz, BMW, PUMA and etc, were attracted to his spiritual and meditation lectures.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

Fr. Anselm Grün, through his translator(right), delivered the spiritual messages on an integrated Christian life at 2015 Taiwan itinerant lectures.

 

The audience practiced embracing themselves and meditated Matt 6:34 to self-control their own emotions.

 

Photos by Lin Yi-ying


 
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Taiwan Church News

3297 Edition

May 4 - 10, 2015

Church Ministry

 

 

A Seminar Of Gender Justice And Restorative Justice Attracts Dozens Of Pastors And Elders To Attend

 

Reported by Simon Lin

 

In order to update local church's understanding of current legal procedures dealing the cases of sexual abuse or harassment, a seminar of gender justice and restorative justice, organized by PCT Gender Justice Committee, was held at the Presbyterian Bible College in Hsin-chu on April 27 & 28. About 50 pastors and elders came to attend this seminar.

 

 

Lawyer Su Jia-hon, Chairman of Glory Law Firm and a renown TV and radio guest, was invited to explain two major prevention act of sexual abuse: «Sexual Assault Crime Prevention Act » and « Sexual Harassment Prevention Act ».

 

 

Rev. Tan Yu-fan, a pastor of Taipei Presbytery, expressed that she was very appreciated to learn so such important knowledge and skills from this seminar. "I did not have any idea about these laws in the past, now I know how to explain the spirit of these laws to the church members and how to handle it once happened!", said Rev. Tan.

 

 

In fact, some practical procedures in flow charts, application formats and public statements prohibiting sexual abuse/harassment, specially written for local churches by PCT Gender Justice Committee, were included in the manual for the seminar members.


 

Ms Wang Ling-shiu, Director of Kaohsiung Care Center of the Handicapped, was invited to share her thoughts about restorative justice. Contrasting the idea of retributive justice, a thought born after industrial revolution to punish the accused yet the victims were usually neglected, restorative justice emphasized healing wounds, restoring relationship and giving the accused an opportunity to dialogue and compensate. Except helping the accused to make up for the sake of his/her responsibility, restorative justice could facilitate the accused to return the society again.

 

 

Rev. Tsai Chung-rong, a pastor of Taipei presbytery, affirmed the constructive characteristics of restorative justice suitable to solve many problems in daily lives. Especially, the purpose of restorative justice is not focused on verdict, but keep the related parties in a conciliatory relationship. In such event, this will be a good timing for Christians to engage and witness God's good news!

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

About 50 pastors and elders attended the seminar about gender justice and restorative justice, organized by PCT Gender Justice Committee, held at the Presbyterian Bible College in Hsin-chu on April 27 & 28, 2015.

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3297 Edition

May 4 - 10, 2015

Church Ministry

 

 

When Church Bumps Into Politics, Ecumenically Inclusive And Diverse Is The Way Out

 

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 

A theological forum, entitled as "When Church Bumps Into Politics", was organized by The Public Faith Unit Of April Youth and held at the 5th floor of Campus Evangelical Fellowship Bookstore on May 3rd. Prof Cheng Yang-en, Professor of Church History of Taiwan Theological Seminary and College, was invited to deliver his thoughts about "Public Religion And Citizen Society"; Prof Chin Ken-pa, Philosophy Professor of Fu Jen Catholic University, shared his studies about the "Political Spectrum of Taiwan Churches".

 

 

Regarding the ecumenism, Professor Cheng Yang-en, also a Central Committee member of World Council of Churches(WCC), remarked that ecumenism was indeed an uneasy way from the very beginning. But, being ecumenically inclusive and diverse is the way enabling different faiths to confess the same baptism (by Holy Father, Holy Son and Holy Spirit). He lamented that there was no dialogue between some unions of local congregations and the global ecumenical church body.

 

 

As to the recent hottly debated LGBT issue in Taiwan church, Cheng expressed that WCC had already solved this problem with a resolution to accept them. Now, the remaining problem is whether LGBT Christians could be ordaind as clergy? "[But] we reject them, and even use religious language to hurt them. So, I think current LGBT contention is far beyond an ecumenism issue!" said Cheng.

 

 

Prof Chin reminded the audience that the historical seperationism within church had to be borne in mind, when the ecumensim is mentioned. He raised two examples, the booming of the Local Churches and China Evangelical Seminary, to explain why they were the products of seperationism. Chin concluded:"If ecumenism is seen from diversity, then the church would become better as they all strive to find their own ways to survive."

 

 

Chin also gave his thoughts about few discussion of LGBT issue within Taiwan's semianry: it manifest the truth that local church leaders are real power brokers to steer the direction of the church, not seminary. And it is the awkward situation for today's seminary education, as nobody needs bother to heed what they say.

 

 

Talking about the future of Taiwan churches, Chin predicted a booming social gospel movement is very likely, though continuously kept harassed by the conservative fundamentalists. This is also coupled with the social-political milieu spreading among China, Hong Kong and Taiwan: China's civil rights movement, Hong Kong's umbrella revolution and Taiwan's Sun Flower March. Chin said: "If the church wish to grow, she has to accommodate the liberal social gospel; otherwise, only stagnation awaits!".

 

 

Prof Cheng responded that it is a critical question: whether church could contribute something to society or keep being marginalized? Cheng urged the Asian Christians to accept their minority status in their society. Not minority without power or influence, but minority to show the deep strength without boasting slogans. "If we would reflect and dialogue with our society, the minority could still make a big difference!", said Cheng.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 

On May 3rd, in a theological forum, entitled as "When Church Bumped Into Politics", Prof Cheng Yang-en and Prof Chin Ken-pa shared their thoughts.

 

Photo by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3297 Edition

May 5 - 10, 2015

Headline News

 

 

Let's Bear The Fruit Of The Spirit Together in Pentecost

 

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

 

A special assembly entitled as "A Pentecost Message From Rev. McCall With A Taizé Worship", joint-sponsored by Taiwan Church Press, Department of Mass Communication of both Taipei and Chi-hsin Presbytery, was held at Suan-lien Presbyterian Church in the morning on May 2nd. Rev. John McCall is a missionary sent by PC(USA) in Taiwan and a theological teacher at Taiwan Theological Seminary and College.

 

 

Mentioned about the Holy Spirit, Rev. McCall stressed that every Christian denomination was actually the product of the biblical-rooted Pentecostal movement. As to the saying that only those speaking tongues, translating tongues or healing illness were qualified as the signs of pentecostal movement, he criticized such thoughts from some churches or Christians were without biblical foundations. He did not deny speaking tongues or healing illness as gifts from God. "But, if these gifts were not borne in love, then they were not the fruit of the Spirit!", said McCall.

 

 

"The different gifts endowed to us are due to the free riding of the Holy Spirit. Never a gift is more important than the othe" said McCall. Reminding the audience about the unnecessary tension due to gifts within the Corinthian Church, McCall explained why the apostle Paul raised the importance of love to solve the disputes within the Corinthian Church. "Though Paul's advise of love to Corinthian Church - famous Chapetr 13 of 1 Corinthians - are mostly applied in the wedding service, the initial purpose of Paul is to address the problems of dispute and chaos due to the competition of gifts", said McCall.

 

 

McCall pointed out the gift of speaking tongues is really one of the methods to glorify God, but it is not the whole story of the Pentecostal movement. "Every Christian has the same goal, i.e. to make the church grow. So, if the Holy Spirit give you any gift, that is endowed to glorify God", said McCall.

 

 

Is the state of being filled with the Holy Spirit same as speaking in tongues, falling flat or seeing golden powder? Regarding this question, McCall said these strange phenomenon were not the legitimate biblical definitions of the state of being filled with the Holy Spirit. He emphasized the Holy Spirit is freely run like a wind; different Christians had different gifts. According to Paul's letter to the Galatians, Christains were advised to bear the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness ans self-control. So, we have to think by ourselves of which fruit we are short.

 

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

 


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