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Taiwan Church News
3192 Edition
April 29-May 5, 2013
Editorial

Editorial: A Reflection for Youth Ministry Sunday

Translated by Lydia Ma

Yao Jen-to, a senior staff member of former DPP Chairwoman Tsai Ing-wen, was recently heard saying that Taiwan independence has lost its appeal or marketability in mainstream Taiwanese society. His comment immediately sparked a heated discussion about whether he was right and whether it was appropriate to use the word “marketability” on such a sensitive topic.

Regardless of whether or not Yao had a point, we live in a day and age when statistics and numbers are seen as the most important markers of support for something. This phenomenon has also seeped into Christianity whenever churches consider ministry and evangelism. Many churches tend to conclude that “successful” ministries must be backed by a big “market” for them or a high number of “participants”. This view is especially prevalent when it comes to evaluating youth ministries. We often hear worried church leaders say that the PCT is losing its young members. However, most people who say that younger generations are leaving the PCT in droves have been unable to back their claims with accurate statistics on the number of young people leaving PCT churches and who these people are.

For a time, a lot of people believed that the chief reason why young people were leaving the PCT was because they didn’t understand the Taiwanese language used during Sunday worship services. For this reason, many PCT churches began holding additional Mandarin worship services 15 years ago. The PCT also began designing a number of programs to attract youths. These programs often use the internet, music, and discipleship as tools and means to draw the attention of youths. Examples of popular programs that were designed and carried out successfully include “Daylight Youth Camp”, “I Love Taiwan” mission camp, and the “Ecumenical Youth Exchange Program”. Sadly, despite these successes, the longstanding perception that the PCT is suffering from youth attrition has not faded from people’s memories.

In face of this public perception and various challenges pertaining to youth ministries and youth evangelism, we must ask ourselves whether “marketability” is a suitable benchmark for evaluating Christian ministries. Just as we don’t give up promoting Taiwanese independence just because some people believe it has lost its market, we must in the same manner not give up insisting that youth ministries should be based on values such as contextual evangelism, multi-dimensionality, mutual acceptance, outreach, ecumenism, justice, and peace, rather than some other values that may cause our youth population to swell but produce shallow Christians. A lot of times, our worries are misguided because we get caught up in the sheer number of people other denominations can muster up at special conferences and take this number as an indicator of whether an evangelistic ministry is successful.

In the words of David J. Bosh, a church that grows exponentially in quantity but lacks a burden for society is a church that refuses to deal with the realities of life, but prefers to hide behind a shroud of escapism. As we mark Youth Ministry Sunday, let us re-evaluate and re-envision PCT youth ministries. It is my hope to help our youths build solid Christian foundations that can inspire them to serve their church and their society. I believe that building our youths’ faith based on solid foundations such as the Bible and Christian principles is the only way to ensure that their faith will withstand the test of time.

 
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Taiwan Church News
3192 Edition
April 29-May 5, 2013
Headline News

Future of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant headed toward referendum despite national opposition

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

Written by Lydia Ma

Despite efforts from various organizations over the past few months to convey the people’s opposition to nuclear energy andthe Fourth Nuclear Power Plant, the KMT-dominated national legislature decided on April 26 to send a proposal to hold a national referendum on the fate of the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant for a second and final reading. Because this proposal to hold a national referendum is a non-legislative proposal, it does not require a third reading. If the second reading passes, it is likely that a national referendum will be held before the end of 2013. Ironically, the day this decision was reached coincided with the 27th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster.

In response to the Legislative Yuan’s decision, anti-nuclear groups in Taiwan vowed to hold another protest rally on May 19 to decry the legislature’s refusal to convey the people’s wishes. These groups gathered in front of the Legislative Yuan in the days leading up to April 26 and held lectures, skits, and small protest rallies circling the Legislative Yuan building. They also enacted emergency evacuation exercises in case of a nuclear meltdown and actors deliberately fell down and feigned death. Anti-nuclear groups hoped that their efforts would prompt legislators to remember the Fukushima Plant disaster and to block the passage of this proposal to put the issue to a national referendum.

Anti-nuclear groups argue that a national referendum, which includes an extremely high threshold, is merely a trap and a tool for the KMT to silence anti-nuclear sentiments in the country. Based on existing national regulations pertaining to referenda, for this referendum to turn out in favor of anti-nuclear groups, these groups would need at least 9 million people to come out and vote and 4.5 million if these voters to vote in favor of halting the construction of the nuclear plant. If less than 9 million come out to vote and less than 4.5 vote in favor of halting construction efforts, the Legislative Yuan could take advantage and announce that the public doesn’t feel it is necessary to stop building the Fourth Nuclear Power Plant.

At the end of the day on April 26, the concerns of anti-nuclear groups were ignored when KMT legislator Lee Ching-hua proposed to move the proposal to a second reading. His proposal was quickly passed with a 60/45 vote in the KMT-dominated legislature. Despite some protest from DPP members shortly after the vote, Legislative Yuan President Wang Jin-Pyng announced that the proposal had been moved to a second reading.

Despite their disappointment, anti-nuclear groups are not surprised at this setback and they’re determined to hold another large-scale protest in May. However, one representative voiced disappointment at the KMT’s attempt to confuse and mislead people by the way the referendum question has been worded. This representative also voiced disappointment that the DPP didn’t adequately explain why people should oppose nuclear energy and felt that the DPP appeared resigned at the time this bill was being examined in the legislature.

Anti-nuclear groups ardently protest outside of the Legislative Yuan building.

Photo by Lin YI-ying.

 
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Taiwan Church News
3191 Edition
April 22-28, 2013
Headline News

Church in Taichung become loving neighbor to another church in need of funds for a new annex building

Reported by Chen Wei-chien

Written by Lydia Ma

Tunghai Christian Church hosted a bazaar near Tunghai University despite a rainy day on April 14 as part of its efforts to help Lushang Presbyterian Church in Changhua to raise much-needed funds for an annex building. The bazaar featured a wide array of items such as handmade pencils, hair accessories, bookmarks, hand-painted Bible covers, kimchi, and other hand-made art crafts. In addition to the bazaar, a fundraising lunch was scheduled on that day attended by 150 people. The bazaar and the lunch combined raised a total of NT$130,000 for Lushang Church.

Tunghai Church’s Sunday school Principal Wang Huei-tsun said that the church’s Sunday school holds bazaars every year to help organizations such as Erlin Happy Christian Homes and World Vision Taiwan. The church helped Lushang Church in 2012 and then decided to stay and help out for another year after an extended staff discussion. “It’s because Lushang Church’s children ministries really helps and cares for children who are in need,” said Wang.

Reflecting on the benefits and lessons learned from holding such a fundraiser, she added that her church had learned and matured a lot by organizing such a fundraiser. She underscored that fundraisers such as this one were excellent opportunities to teach children to love others, reach out to people in need, and live out their faith, while encouraging parents to get involved as well.

However, this fundraiser was not a one-time, one-day event. Following this bazaar, Sunday school teachers made piggy banks and gave one to each of their pupils so that they could take it home and use it to further raise money for Lushang Church. The church plans to collect these piggy banks on Thanksgiving this year and donate the proceeds to Lushang Church.

To help Tunghai Church parishioners and Sunday school students become acquainted with this ministry of raising funds to help others, Wang visited Lushang Church 3 times to familiarize herself with the church and then played a DVD about Lushang Church for her church congregation to see so that everyone could get acquainted with the church they were helping and understand its needs. She added that she played a clip about Lushang Church and also invited Lushang Church Sunday school children to perform a song at their church. As an aside, she noted that children who grew up in urban areas were oftentimes unable to empathize with children living in rural villages because there is a gulf of difference between them. Nevertheless, he strongly believes that children need to be taught about the plight of others.

Lushang Church’s pastor, Chen Tse-yin said he was extremely grateful for the financial offering his church has received from Tunghai Church’s Sunday school. He also thanked the church for organizing short-term missions and arranging staff to volunteer and help out at his church’s after-school program by becoming tutors in afterschool programs. All of these things have blessed his church and provided much-needed help.

 


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