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Taiwan Church News
3160 Edition
September 17-23, 2012
General Assembly News

PCT bonds with pastors from Chinese churches in Indonesia at pastors & elders retreat in Indonesia

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

Written by Lydia Ma

About 170 pastors and elders from Presbyterian churches in Singapore, Malaysia, Taiwan, Thailand, Indonesia, and Hong Kong took part in the 5th Motivational Camp for Pastors and Elders held at Seruni Hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, from September 4-10, 2012. A total of 45 pastors and elders from the PCT attended this event – a record-breaking number compared to previous years. The fact that all of the participants at this camp were pastors or elders from a local Presbyterian church in their own countries made the camp especially meaningful because participants could easily exchange ideas and share about their experiences in a deeper and more relevant manner.

This motivational camp is a biennial event and it was the Presbyterian church in Malaysia’s turn to organize it this year. However, Indonesia was selected as the location to hold this event this year because of financial considerations and to help pastors from Chinese Presbyterian churches in Indonesia to attend. This camp lasted 7 days and featured various keynote speakers. They all spoke on various theological issues and disciplines. Following these presentations, pastors and elders given a lot of time to discuss common issues in small groups. Participants also visited local Indonesian churches during this retreat.

PCT Evangelism Committee Secretary Tsai Nan-hsin commented that leaders from Presbyterian churches in these countries are realizing that the structural organization of their churches and the way fellowship and worship meetings are being held have slowly departed from the Reformed  tradition. For this reason, more training is necessary and such an opportunity to get together and share experiences might be what’s needed to stay on course and increase the amount of fellowship between Presbyterian churches in Asia.

Tsai reported that pastors from the Chinese churches in Indonesia approached the PCT during this retreat to enquire about sending PCT pastors to Indonesia to serve because local Chinese churches there are in need of pastors. Indonesian Chinese churches also hope to send their youths to Taiwan to study in PCT’s seminaries. They added that Indonesian youths from Chinese descent are usually fluent in Mandarin and Taiwanese. Because of this shared language, Chinese churches in Indonesia hope that the PCT can help out by sharing its resources, especially by sending pastors to Indonesia to help struggling churches.

Tsai said both Presbyterian churches must first become partner churches by signing a partnership agreement. For the time being, the PCT’s short-term goal is to encourage retired pastors to go to Indonesia for missions. Once this has taken place, both churches can move on to long-term goals such as sending Indonesian youths to Taiwan to study in PCT seminaries and send PCT missionaries to Indonesia. Ultimately, exchanges will be handled through the general assemblies of both churches once agreements on mission exchanges have been signed.

One pastor from Changhua Presbytery noted that Taiwan also needs Indonesian churches to send some pastors over to Taiwan because there are many Indonesian people working in Taiwan and many Indonesian women have also married into Taiwanese families in recent years. All of these people now reside permanently in Taiwan and they need to be shepherded as well.

Photo provided by Tsai Nan-hsin

 
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Taiwan Church News
3160 Edition
September 17-23, 2012
Church Ministry News

Kaohsiung Presbytery holds seminar on how to use balloons as props to share the Gospel

Reported by Simon Lin

Written by Lydia Ma

Average folks are not very interested in hearing Christians talk about Jesus and some folks might even find Jesus offensive. However, the use of props to tell a story not only makes people more comfortable, but also makes the story-telling fun and interesting. Knowing this, Kaohsiung Presbytery Education Committee began to partner with Light & Salt Clown School last year and invited a Malaysian missionary, Cheng Nan-mei, also known as “Uncle Button”, to hold a seminar on how to use small puppets as a means to share the Gospel.

A seminar led by Uncle Button was held at a local church on September 16, 2012 and its purpose was to train Sunday School teachers and other church members. Cheng said that using puppets as a means to share the Gospel is a brilliant idea. He also recounted how he convinced some Christians last year to don costumes and perform some tricks. This year, he added balloon animals and magic tricks to his lessons.

Uncle Burton underscored that teaching difficult magic techniques is not the focus of Light & Salt School, because there would be no end to studying new techniques and practicing them if that were the case. He explained that finding ways to teach Christian morals through Bible stories is even more challenging than knowing how to do complex tricks. He then transformed the long balloon he was holding in his hands into a cane and asked his students to think of stories in the Bible that have to do with canes. Some of his students said it reminded them of Moses’ staff, which he used to divide the Red Sea, the staff used by the paraplegic who was healed, etc.

Next, he moved on to turn a black balloon into a black snake, an arrow, and a set of handcuffs to demonstrate the fall of Adam and Eve and the redemption of Christ through the cross. The balloons seemed to come alive in his hands and the stories became very animating because of his facial expressions. One pastor noted that the puppet’s sense of humor had made people smile even as it shared the message of the Gospel with them. There are already two churches in Kaohsiung that have conducted evangelistic performances in schools using puppets and their performances were well received by the schools.

Photo by Simon Lin

 

[3160] WCC and Yushan Seminary co-sponsor indigenous theology seminar ahead of WCC 10th Assembly

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Taiwan Church News
3160 Edition
September 17-23, 2012
General Assembly News

WCC and Yushan Seminary co-sponsor indigenous theology seminar ahead of WCC 10th Assembly

Reported by Lin Yi-ying

Written by Lydia Ma

The World Council of Churches (WCC), the PCT, and Yushan Theological College and Seminary co-hosted a seminar at Yushan Seminary on September 17, 2012 on the theme of indigenous theology in the 21st century. This 3-day seminar was held primarily in preparation of WCC’s 10th assembly, which will take place in October 2013 in Busan, South Korea. Indigenous theology will also be addressed and discussed during the WCC assembly.

Delegates who attended this seminar at Yushan came from various countries such as India, New Zealand, Mexico, Peru, Canada, Finland, Guatemala, Chile, and Philippines. WCC program executive for Just and Inclusive Communities, Rev. Dr. Deenabandhu Manchala, gave a brief introduction on how and why the committee was established in the first place.

Manchala underscored that after the WCC assembly held in Vancouver in 1983, the committee set out to eliminate racial discriminations witnessed within churches and the rest of society, especially prejudices against indigenous peoples, migrant workers, immigrants, Dalits in India, and people with disabilities.

During this seminar, delegates held small group discussions on topics such as “The challenge facing indigenous peoples in India”, “Recent trends in indigenous theology”, “Indigenous theology movements in different countries”, and “How to make indigenous peoples’ voices heard at the WCC 10th assembly”. PCT Associate General Secretary Sing ‘Olam spoke on the present circumstances facing indigenous peoples and how churches could help them.

PCT General Assembly Moderator and Yushan Seminary President Pusin Tali said that indigenous theology consists of helping indigenous peoples live with dignity and hope. It is also about finding connections between Christianity and indigenous culture, language, history, and traditions. He underscored that indigenous peoples in every country need to have a strong Christian theological foundation that is unique to them if they want to change their lives and be empowered and freed.

 


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