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Taiwan Church News
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Taiwan Church News

3250 Edition

June 9 - June 15, 2014

Editorial

 

Editorial: Koinonia! Yes, If You Want To

 

Looking back into Taiwan's missionary history, the name of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan does not exist from the very beginning inside the pioneering missionaries' mind. It appeared after 40 years of evangelical works at the 2nd Taiwan Church Assembly in 1913. And within the whole PCT history, there were three joint efforts seeking the unity between South and North Assemblies: first was the Taiwan Assembly, which were organized in 1912 by the missionaries; second was the General Assembly, established in 1943 and driven by political force under the Japanese ruling; third was the up-to-date General Assembly, re-uniting both South and North assemblies in 1951. There were respective historical backgrounds and reasons behind each unity in the modern history of PCT. But, the questions are: why PCT needs three waves of unity movement to become what she is now? what is the vision behind these efforts?

 

The reason, why the first Taiwan Church Assembly could be set up by the pioneering missionaries across different mission society, is due to an urgent demand for a closer cooperation relationship in evangelical ministries. Otherwise, different mission societies could still develop their own ministries in their own ways, without worrying about the issue of unity as frequent  interactions and contacts were already there. Rev. Shoki Coe, who is a young pastor just returned from England, speaking at the Youth Convention in 1947: "We should act like the omelet....You have to break the outer egg cover, smash and blend into one, then you can cook a wonderful omelet." This explains the importance of the unity between churches and facilitate the establishment of PCT General Assembly. Up to now, we are still trying to learn the unity task of "break, smash and blend into one" in our daily lives.

 

"To break, smash and blend into one" means a brand new process to let down one's own subjective point of view, listen to the other and work out a new idea or action. In terms of familiar phrase, you can name it as a "common imagined community"; or in the ecclesiastical language, you can name it as a "koinonia". Within this new perspective, koinonia, be it the Taiwan Assembly set up by the pioneering missionaries or current PCT General Assembly, all PCT members need become a common community: share, cry and witness together. No more stick to our idiosyncratic characteristics of our local congregations, presbytery or even our denomination, we have to break and smash kinds of parochial self-made limitation and blend into one koinonia. From a holistic Taiwan perspective, we can start to see our mission and role within our community and tribe.

 

Let us remind each other that we are in the koinonia under the name of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan. We are an intimate group of fellowship. We need to help each other, understand and forgive each other, pray for each other and care for each other. This is koinonia! And it is exactly: Yes, if you want... to break, smash and blend into our local congregation, presbytery and General Assembly!

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3250 Edition

June 9 - June 15, 2014

Church Ministry News

 

A Report Of "The Death Penalty in Taiwan" Is Published, Urging Taiwan Government To Fulfill Her Legal Obligation To Global Society

 

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

 

On June 5th, the Death Penalty in Taiwan: A Report on Taiwan's Legal Obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights was published at Taipei, in association with the London-based Death Penalty Project (DPP) and Taiwan Alliance to End the Death Penalty (TAEDP). Mr Saul Lehrfreund, Co-Executive Director of DPP, comes to Taipei specially for this to speaks about the significance of this report.

 

This present report is the third death penalty report published by the DPP in Asia (the reports on the death penalty in Japan and Malaysia were published in 2013), which demonstrates that the international community attached great importance to the human rights situation in Asia and Taiwan.

 

A press conference on “The Death Penalty in Taiwan” was held at 10:00 AM on June 5th at the National Taiwan University Alumni Club, which was moderated by the Executive Director of TAEDP, Lin Hsin-yi, Saul Lehrfreund, the Co-Executive Director of the DPP, and Chang Wen-chen, Professor of the College of Law, National Taiwan University (NTU), which presented the findings of this report. Other participants included legislator Yu Mei-nu, Kao Jung-chi, the Executive Director of Judicial Reform Foundation, and Chris Wood, Director of British Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan.

 

Saul Lehrfreund talks it straight about Taiwan's failure to live up with her voluntary joint into two international human right treaties:International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR) and Internation Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights(ICESCR), as the strict procedures on the juriprudence and execution of death penalty have to be established and complied accoding to these two treaties. Yet, evidencing from 26 prisoners in death row had been executed since 2010, Taiwan is felt to drift away from the international trend, even from her own claimed standard.

 

Chris Wood remarks that the policy of British government is to end death penalty, because this capital punishment degrades human dignity and cannot stop the crimes effectively. Moreover, if there is any misjudgment upon the jury of death penalty, the damages will be irrevocably tragic. Therefore, British government is disappointed to see the rising executions of death penalty in Taiwan since 2010.

 

At the very beginning of this historical verdict on Taiwan's rising executions of death penalty, the major purpose is specified: “In a sentence, the present report suggests that Taiwan is failing to comply with its obligations under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR). The greatest mistake that a criminal justice system can make is the wrongful execution of an innocent person."


Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Saul Lehrfreund, Co-Executive Director of London-based Death Penalty Project, talks straight on the press conference that Taiwan government's rising executions of death row prisoners since 2010 do not live up with her legal promise and obligation to global society.

 

Photo by Lin Yi-ying

 
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Taiwan Church News

3250 Edition

June 9  - June 15, 2014

Headline News

 

Pentecost At Pingtung, Church Prays For City Transformation On Global Day Of Prayer

 

Reported by Simon Lin

 

Since 2005, when Taiwan churches started to join the movement of Global Day of Prayer, which is an evangelical movement originated from South African, many Pentecostal prayer assembly across denominations and ethnics were held annually. This year, 2014, over 1,000 Christians attend the Pentecost prayer assembly in Pingtung, including the PCT presbyteries of Pingtung, Rukai and Paiwan, Methodists Church and Life of Bread Church. All churches are encouraged to be united in evangelicalism and pray for the government for recent eruption of series of corruption cases.

 

Rev. Wang Da-chin, Methodist pastor of Lower Pingtung, warns Christians to transform church first before talking about transforming city. He reminds the audience about the Old Testament story on the Israelite worship of Bali, a god of abundance, criticizing the temptations into which modern churches are so easy to be trapped: fame, money, personal well-being, family happiness and business prosperity. "Could we transform the world, if these secular values are our faith? Or, we have been transformed by the world.", exclaimed Wang. On the issues of denominational fragmentation, Wang lamented: God want us to be in unity, yet we would prefer to distance our selves with kinds of barriers and theologies.

 

Rev. Su Song-rong, PCT Moderator of Pingtung presbytery, remarks that Taiwan people are too easily attracted by short term profits to overlook the justice from God. And that is why we build the most expensive Wu-Yang high way in the globe, in terms of its unit cost per kilometers: NTD 2.2 billions; the most dangerous and also expensive nuclear power plant at Gong-liao. In order to function like salt to prevent corruption, Su plead for God's forgiveness on Taiwan and ask Christians to help church "act justly and in love of mercy". He also urge church to speak out for the oppressed and the marginalized, bring care, love and healing to those who fall in the sadness and low self-esteem.

 

Rev. Takanaw, General Secretary of Paiwan presbytery, lead the audience to repent for the idol worship and value orientation toward money. He plead God to enlighten Taiwan, lead Christians to live after Christ, and liberate our public servants free from the greed bondage, as reverence for God bring bring down the glory of life.

 

"Covenant in salt" is the most characteristic activity of Pentecost Prayer Assembly in 2014. Church representatives from 33 town and villages across Pingtung county pour 8 colors of salt into the bucket, symbolizing God's blessing to us will never fail and the evil can never prevail. In the meantime, the assembly refresh their covenants with God in these salts, swearing oath to act as salt and light proclaiming the good news to the end of the world!

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Cross denominational and ethnic Christians in Pingtung area gather on Global Day of Prayer to commemorate the Pentecost and pray in unity for the expansion of the gospel.

 

Photo by Simon Lin

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3249 Edition

June 2 - June 8, 2014

Headline News

 

PCT Shakes Up For 150th Anniversary Of Evangelical Missionary In Taiwan

 

Reported by Fan Lang-ting, Simon Lin and Chen Yi-hsuan

 

As the date to PCT's 150th anniversary, set on 15th April 2015, is only about 10 months time to countdown, the whole PCT is now shaking up to engage in the preparation within 5 areas to make sure the related thanksgiving services and daily programs during that celebration festivals. Three preparation meetings in the areas of Hua-lien, Kaohsiung and Tai-tung have been held in the end of May. Taipei and Tai-chung areas are soon to summon their meetings.

 

Rev. Tsai Nan-shin, representative of PCT Preparation Committee, reminds that the very important spirit of PCT's 150th anniversary and celebration resides in three principles: proclaim the gospel, become the loyal servant and care about Taiwan society.

 

Rev. Qaivang of Bunun Presbyter proposed to add PCT's anti-nuclear stance into the celebration programs, because Tai-tung area has been continually forced to accept her fate as the site of nuclear waste. And this is not acceptable, Taiwan government and people has to pay their attention on the issue of environmental concern.

 

In addition, during the celebration of 150th anniversary, about 5,000 to 6,000 PCT members will take part in the thanksgiving service in Hua-lien area. About 3,000 members will attend the thanksgiving service in Tai-tung area. And there will also about 15,000 members to attend the celebration service held in the famous Kaohsiung Arena, together with ecumenical church partners, according to Kaohsiung presbyter's preparation committee.

 

Many historical missionary tour are also scheduled in package to commemorate and honor the pioneering missionaries, like Rev. Hsu Nan-mein in Hua-lien Harbour and Rev. Hugh Ritchie in Tai-tung district. Also, many sites of integral community-church development, like Lin-Zhe-Nei Presbyterian Church in Jia-yi or Tektung Presbyterian Church in Chang-hua, are scheduled to be the touring hot spots to witness PCT's mission in Taiwan.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

Pastors and church representatives, attending preparation meeting for PCT's 150th anniversary of mission, propose to reiterate an anti-nuclear stance in the strip syndication of the celebration in order to wake up people's environmental consciousness to care our land.

 

Photo by Chen Yi-hsuan

 
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Taiwan Church News

3248 Edition

May 26 - June 1, 2014

Headline News

 

Caring Local Elders In Dementia And Disabilities, PCT Peng-hu Missionary Center Is Launched

 

Reported by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

Anticipated by the public in Peng-hu county, which is an off island district among Taiwan Strait, the PCT Peng-hu Missionary Center is officially opened on May 23rd. Rev. Lo Ren-quei, PCT Moderator of General Assembly, delivers his messages at the thanksgiving service and opening ceremony. He points out that the charity of Christian faith has to be manifested via action, and we Christians should grasp and utilize kinds of opportunity in ordinary life to serve our neighbors. The opening of this Peng-hu Missionary Center, with a Day-Care Center for the elders affiliated, is exactly to realize the mission what the Bible taught us.

 

This newly built Peng-hu Missionary Center is now located in Magong city. Initially, this Center was established in 2007 at Jiangmei Village of Baisha Township by PCT Shalom Foundation, which is dedicated to serve the family of pastors and the marginalized bottom class, offering day-care service to the local elders with disabilities or dementia. As such day-care service gains more and more affirmation and demands from Peng-hu government and the civil society, a brand new Missionary Center with multiple functions like spiritual retreat, worship and evangelism is therefore designed to build up.

 

Rev. Lee Zeh-lin, Moderator of Kaohsiung Presbytery, recounted many missionaries who have long term served in this far and distant off island for decades. He especially honored the American Missionary, Ms. Marjorie Ingeleiv Bly, who have received the renown Medical Service Award in Taiwan, for her decades long love and medical service to Peng-hu people. "As so many seeds fall in this off island place, we can have such a wonderful Peng-hu", said Rev. Lee.

 

Rev. Ker Cheng-fon, who is the pastor of Baisha Presbyterian Church and also the Director of PCT Peng-hu Office of Shalom Foundation, expressed his great thanks and deep appreciation for many help and financial support from many sisters and brothers. Especially, God brings them so much favor and blessings to turn a deserted place into a beautiful 4-floors complex to serve many local elders. As the total expenditure of this new missionary service is 30 millions NT dollars, compared to up to date donation from all parties with only 3.73 million, Rev. Ker urged more local congregations could help to offer and support on the financial. Or you can call 886-07-322 0669 ext. 405 or 406.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe

 

PCT General Assembly officials, Moderator Rev. Lo Ren-quei(center, clapping hands) and General Secretary Rev. Lyim Hung-tiong(5th from left), attend the opening of the PCT Missionary Center with many other guests on May 23rd, 2014.

 

Photo by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

Local elders with dementia and disabilities are cared in newly opened PCT Peng-hu Missionary Center.

 

Photo by Chen Yi-hsuan

 

 
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Taiwan Church News

3247 Edition

May 19 - May 25, 2014

Headline News

 

Youth Occupy Politics: I Am 18, I Want To Campaign For An Office!

 

Reported by Chiu Kuo-rong

 

On May 9th, a group of young men launch a movement in slogan of "Youth Occupy Politics", proposing to lower the current minimum age - 18 years old - in order to revive Taiwan's democracy and restore the justice between generations.

 

Elder Yeh Dah-hwa, who comes from Peaceful Island Presbyterian Church and also the General Secretary of Taiwan Alliance of Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare, complained that Taiwan youth is gravely discriminated and unfairly treated without a balance of rights and obligations under current constitution: Taiwan youth is stipulated to be eligible to cast their vote in 20 and campaign for office in 23, yet they have to pay tax from 16 once start to be employed and take full responsibility on criminal cases or in military service from 18.

 

Lawyer Lai Chon-chiang, who served as a legal adviser during the March Sunflower Student Movement, pointed out the administration and congress put much more resources to pension bills than youth unemployment or poverty. The issue of justice between generations is further deteriorated by the imbalance of government's shrinking tax base against her lavishing expenditure. And the solution for such unjust generation structure can only come from lowering down the minimum age of being eligible to cast vote and run office.

 

The movement of "Youth Occupy Politics" plans to register their candidates in this September. It is estimated that there will be at least 22 youth candidates across Taiwan island, as each county or city will be one youth candidate recommended. The movement leaders pledge to campaign through the coming "9 in 1" Taiwan election at the end of year, even if they are rejected by the Central Election Committee in legal terms or administration restriction. "Youth Occupy Politics" prepares to file this case of youth political rights in administration court, even applying for constitutional interpretation or appealing for constitutional amendment via congress.

 

Translated by Peter Wolfe


 

A group of youth launch a movement, with cardboard showing their will to campaign in home town, proposing to lower the current minimum age - 18 years old - in order to restore the justice between generations.

 

Photo supplied by Taiwan Alliance of Advancement of Youth Rights and Welfare

 


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