by Gushiken Atsushi, pastor
Yomitan Church, Okinawa District
The sixth meeting of the Commission on Mission during the 2013-14 General Assembly period took place in Taipei, Taiwan, Oct. 6-8. On the first day we visited two churches, the first being Suang-Lien Church, which celebrated its 100th anniversary just last year. The head pastor, Rev. Chen Wen Chin, and several church elders told us about the history of the church and its ministry. After that, we went to Tai-An Church in Taipei, which began its ministry in a section of older apartment buildings 55 years ago.
In May, Tai-An Church had just dedicated its fourth sanctuary building, which is part of a large building with four floors underground and eight floors above ground. Rev. Lo Lien Sheng, the head pastor, described to us the church’s mission outreach, especially focusing on its mission work in Malawi, Africa. We were overwhelmed by the scale of the work this one church was able to do.
On the second day, we visited the Mackay Memorial Hospital in the northern part of Taiwan, which had been founded by Dr. George Mackay of the Presbyterian Church in Canada. This hospital has been a pioneer in the medical infrastructure of Taiwan and continues to lead the way. We followed that with a visit to the headquarters of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, where General Secretary Lin Fang Chung gave us an overview of the PCT. The PCT will be celebrating its 150th anniversary in 2015 and for the past few years has been implementing a training program for the laity entitled “Each One Reach One, Doubling Our Numbers.” We concluded the second day with a visit to Tamsui, where Dr. Mackay first began his work. There we visited Tam-Kang High School (part of a mission school from kindergarten through high school), Aletheia University, and Tamsui Church.
On the final day, we went to Taiwan Theological Seminary and first met with professors of missiology. We then held our own meeting in a room there, where we heard reports and discussed the agenda items that are being carried over into the next general assembly period. Concerning this, Chairperson Harita Makoto made the following comment: “One of the issues that this committee deals with is the mission strategy of the Kyodan. In an age of globalization, we need to pay attention to the changes in society and continue our research into how best to build a structure to deal with that.” The following seven areas are ones we have dealt with in this commission that will be handed over to the new Commission on Mission of the upcoming general assembly period: the strengthening of ties with both the Japan Christian Social Work League and the Japan Association of Christian Nursery Schools; the continuation of the subcommittee considering issues surrounding disabilities; the establishment of a counseling center for pastors and their families; the issues surrounding church-related kindergartens and nurseries in the context of evangelism; research into mission preparedness in an age of globalization; the holding of a mission strategy conference; and beginning to deal with mission strategies. At the end of our meeting, we expressed our gratitude to our translator, Tsai In Tsu. (Tr. TB)