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3143 Edition
May 21-27, 2012
Headline News

PCT’s sit-in protest movement against price hikes begins on May 21 across Taiwan

Reported by Chen YI-hsuan, Lin Yi-ying

Written by Lydia Ma

PCT’s month-long sit-in protest movement against price hikes began simultaneously in 12 cities across Taiwan on May 21, 2012, one day after President Ma began his second term as President of Taiwan. PCT pastors and members in Taipei, Hsinchu, Miaoli, Taichung, Changhua, Chiayi, Tainan, Kaohsiung, Taitung, Pingtung, Hualien, and Ilan came out to support this activitiy.

During an public press conference held a few day earlier on Ketagalan Boulevard, PCT leaders including General Secretary Andrew Chang, Church and Society Committee Secretary Huang Che-yen, General Assembly Moderator Pusin Tali, and Associate General Secretary Lyim Hong-tiong urged the Ma administration to freeze the price of electricity and fuel, ban imports of beef containing ractopamine, and amend the Referendum Act.

Commenting on this movement, Lyim pointed out that churches could not ignore people’s suffering and continue gathering inside church buildings and greeting one another with “Peace!” when the people did not have peace. For this reason, the church has decided to follow the example of the Israelites by crying out to God. When the Israelites were oppressed as slaves in Egypt, they cried out to God for deliverance. In the same manner, the PCT is now crying out: “Lord, save us! Taiwanese are suffering deeply!”

On Monday, May 21, several pastors wearing their clergy attire gathered at the front of the kindergarten run by East Gate Barclay Memorial Church in Tainan, located just across from the church on Dongmen Road, a busy road in Tainan. By 9:00 a.m., pastors and members were ready and seated under various tents singing hymns and praying for Taiwan. Outside these tents hung a big banner with PCT’s plea, “Lord, save us! Taiwanese are suffering deeply!” Other banners listing the 3 demands made by the PCT to President Ma were also posted. The sight of these banners and the sound of hymns drew the attention of many motorists and passersby, who slowed down to observe the sit-in protest.

“Ma Ying-jeou should repent! He is not an emperor, he is a servant of the people!” said Tainan Presbytery’s Church and Society Committee Secretary Sung Hsin-hsi. He led the people in prayer for President Ma and asked that God would give Ma wisdom and insight so that he would see his own weaknesses and empathize with the people’s suffering.

Commenting on this sit-in protest, Tainan Presbytery’s Moderator Wang Tsan-sheng remarked that PCT’s goal is to model Jesus because God drew near to people’s suffering through the incarnation. Furthermore, the church is called to lead suffering people “out of Egypt” and oppression when the government is neither just nor righteous.

Wang then referred to the fall of the Berlin Wall and said that the prayers and actions of many Christians played a crucial role in this historic event. In the same manner, the PCT must rely on God’s strength to accomplish everything that seems impossible.

About a dozen seminarians from Tainan Theological College and Seminary also took part in this event. Their advisor Rev. Lin Wen-che told Taiwan Church News that clergy members must get out of their comfort zones or church buildings and support the people in advancing social justice. One student also commented that this sit-in protest was an opportunity to speak out for what is righteous and thus constituted a normal and reasonable activity.

The sit-in protest in Tainan will take place every day from now until June 20, from 3:00 p.m. until 7:00 p.m. Similar sit-in protests are being held in various parts of Taiwan during the same period. For example, the sit-in in Pingtung City was attended by 40 members from Pingtung, Paiwan, and Rukai presbyteries.

For updates on this anti-price hike movement, visit PCT’s website at http://english.pct.org.tw/

 
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3142 Edition
May 14-20, 2012
Church Ministry News

Indigenous church designs Sunday afternoon program for children to  boost family time

Reported by Chen Wei-chien

Written by Lydia Ma

In the front courtyard Sinapalan Presbyterian Church on a Sunday afternoon, a bunch of kids accompanied by their parents sit and listen to a story. After the story ends, they move on to the next activity, which is making some crafts. Finally, they help clean up the church by doing some light chores before heading home. This simple afternoon program was recently designed by Central Bunun Presbytery in an effort to encourage parents and children to spend time together by reading books.

The first leg of the program, which ends in May, is run by Taiwan Fund for Children and Families and involves reading and doing crafts. Nearly 40 children and 10 parents attend this program regularly, in addition to 10 church volunteers who serve as staff members. The children’s age range from 5 to 12 years of age and the staff are mainly church youths or Sunday School teachers. The rest of this program, which a second leg set to begin in June, will be run by the church.

This afternoon program typically begins at 3:00 p.m. A teacher will first read aloud a story and then the children and the parents will play a game together. The game will be related to the story or it will be related to a church festival. However, what makes this program unique is that children are required to do some light chores to help clean up the church’s environment before they head home.

According to Sinapalan Church’s pastor Fafa Manqoqo, youths and adults usually play volleyball after church services on Sunday afternoons in the plaza in front of the church, but children don’t have any activities planned for that time. This new program’s goal is to draw parents’ attention to the importance of reading in the lives of their children.

“This activity is very helpful in nurturing the relationship between parents and kids,” said Fafa Manqoqo, adding that many young mothers in his Bunun indigenous community look forward to it. He underscored that it is important to help parents get involved in every stage of their children’s development because many parents are so busy making money that they neglect their children. The church’s goal is to change the parents’ perspectives on child-rearing and lead them to realize that educating children is not the responsibility of schools alone, for parents are oftentimes the most influential educators.

When interviewed about the future direction of this program, Fafa Manqoqo said that since the church will be responsible for the rest of the program, he felt that church staff needed some professional training on reading discussion techniques. For this reason, he enlisted the help of Taiwan Fund for Children and Families, which has a branch in Nantou, and asked the organization’s help in training church staff. As the rest of the program will be managed by the church, stories may include more Christian themes in the future.

Fafa Manqoqo also hopes that indigenous culture and indigenous languages will gradually be included into this reading program because most of the stories they have read are in Chinese. Not only does he hope to use Bunun ethnic stories to teach the children, he also hopes to use books introducing the cultures of other indigenous groups.

Fafa Manqoqo remarked that one unexpected yet pleasant outcome of this program is that children became less prone to litter. He explained that the original intent behind assigning some light cleaning tasks at the end of the day was to teach children to be responsible for the tasks assigned to them and teach them that keeping the church environment clean is the responsibility of every member. But once the children began to clean the church on a weekly basis, Fafa Manqoqo noticed that the children also learned not to litter in church and consequently, the church’s environment became noticeably cleaner.

 
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3142 Edition
May 14-20, 2012
General Assembly News

Training for CEOs of PCT-owned organizations stresses faithfulness, obedience, and stewardship

Reported by Sam Lee

Written by Lydia Ma

PCT General Assembly held a seminar for all of its newly appointed CEOs on May 8, 2012. These CEOs will soon be board members at various PCT-affiliated business and educational organizations. The speakers at this seminar were PCT General Secretary Andrew Chang, Associate General Secretary Kho Sing-doh, and Church Law Committee Chairman Lee Sheng-hsiung.

Chang spoke on “Becoming a faithful steward”, Lee spoke on “An entrusted job”, and Kho spoke on “getting to know PCT organizations”. All 3 speakers addressed these issues from various perspectives so as to help appointed CEOs to have a clear picture of what is expected of them. Special emphasis was placed on being faithful stewards and remembering that these positions are appointed and carry term limits. Ultimately, all of these organizations belong to God, who has given his people an opportunity to be stewards.

The speakers also remarked that there were previous instances of CEOs forgetting that they were merely managers of these institutions and not owners. As result, some CEOs began managing the organizations they were appointed as board members in a selfish manner. In the end, one of these cases resulted in a lawsuit lasting more than 3 years and to the detriment of the whole PCT.

There are currently 29 business organizations owned by the PCT and managed by appointed CEOs. These appointments are guided by PCT church laws governing its business and educational organizations. According to Article 13 of PCT regulations, all appointed CEOs must attend training conducted by the General Assembly before they are given their official letters of appointment. Furthermore, they must swear to abide by all PCT regulations and unconditionally accept all fellow board members appointed by the General Assembly.

Lee Sheng-hsiung likened these appointed board members to “heaven’s civil servants” whose responsibility is even more reverent because they are handling matters concerning God’s kingdom. Therefore, these board members must constantly remind themselves to “trust and rely in God, not men” and obey the teachings of the Bible, the PCT’s statement of faith and PCT regulations.

As a professional lawyer, Lee said that all PCT regulations have their basis in biblical teachings. Though these regulations may be different from the laws of the land, they are not contradictory. Hence, if there are different stances between church laws and Taiwanese laws, CEOs must first give attention to church laws and apply them. Lee hoped that such a guideline would clear any confusion amongst CEOs on whether to use church regulations or regulations governing public enterprises as guides.

“Christian organizations shouldn’t merely depend on written regulations – they should also use Christian principles as foundation,” said Associate General Secretary Ko Sing-doh. He hoped that all leaders in PCT presbyteries, organizations and churches would realize that they were “partnering with a God who is also working” and thus make it their mission to glorify God. Only by clinging to this vision will they begin to experience joy and satisfaction when serving in these institutions.

 


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