PCT General Assembly Highlights Issues of Aging
The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan’s General Assembly was convened April 17– 20 at Chang–Jung Girls’ High School in Tainan, and I attended along with Executive Secretary Kato Makoto of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries. Incidentally, the high school where the assembly met is Taiwan’s first women’s educational facility and the school where, under Japanese supervision before World War II, Rev. Uemura Tamaki and Rev. Bansho Tetsuo served as principals. The school has also had a deep relationship with Japan, and following the opening worship service at the general assembly, a representative from both the Reformed Church in America and the Kyodan were requested to give greetings on behalf of the many overseas guests.
About 600 people attended as representatives from presbyteries and other organizations. Elections were held to select a new moderator, vice-moderator, and secretary, with various other sessions interspersed between, including an address on the differences between regulations in the society at large and church regulations, with time given to express gratitude for deceased pastors and those who had served for a long time. So rather than being a place of tense debate, the atmosphere was that of a peaceful church meeting from beginning to end.
At this assembly, a Mission Agreement was concluded with the Korean Evangelical Church (EKC) and The Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Formosa in Brazil. Following a polite affirmation of the terms of agreement, and with gratitude, an Agreement Signing Service was held.
The key issue at this assembly was ministry to elderly persons — namely, how Christians, the church, and society should serve an aging generation at the physical, mental, and spiritual levels. Highlighted was the motto of “being thoughtful of elderly people, with unsparing love.” The committee made scrupulous preparations, beginning with physical exercises and including presentations on what churches in each area are doing to deal with the issue of aging and on the changes in body and mind that accompany aging. Also provided was rich consultation on the stance of those living closely with elderly persons and on ways of dealing with them. And with regards to its mission to the younger generation, PCT is also zealously undertaking a new program entitled "Youth Shall See Visions" to adopt new words from the Bible for daily life.
What is being required of the church now and what the church can concretely do was clarified, and participants were able to see the various aspects of the struggle.
The PCT, as a church, has also historically advocated the protection of indigenous people’s civil rights, and at this assembly participants also experienced its stance of valuing prayers being made in various dialects. So we learned many things. (Tr. RT)—Akiyama Toru, general secretary
PCT総会報告 台湾キリスト長老会（Presbyterian Church in Taiwan） 総会が4月17日 （火）～20（金）台南(Tainan)の 長榮女子高級中學(Chang-Jung Girls’ High School)で 開かれ、世界宣教の加藤幹事と ともに参加した。ちなみに会場となった高校は台湾で最初の女子教育機関であり、戦前日本の統治下では植村環(Uemura Tamaki)牧師や番匠鉄雄(Bansho Tetsuo)牧師が校長を務めた学校で、日本とも関係が深く、総会では開会礼拝に続き多くの海外ゲストよりアメ リカ改革教会(Reformed Church in America)と日 本キリスト教団(Kyodan)からの表敬の挨拶が求められた。
総会参加者は各中会(presbytery)からの代議員他総勢で600人ほど、議長、副議長、書記などの選挙が行われたほか、会期が長いせいか、間に 一般社会の法と教会の法との違いに関す講演があったり、召天された牧師や長く働かれた方々への感謝の時が設けられたり、ぎすぎすした 議論の場というよりは、穏やかな教会の会議の雰囲気で終始していた。今総会では韓国福音教会The Korean Evangelical Church（EKC） とブラジル台湾長老教会The Presbytery of the Presbyterian Church of Formosa in Brazil)との宣教協約Mission Agreement)が結ばれ、丁寧に協約条項を確認した後、感謝の うちに協約締結礼拝(Agreement Signing Service)が 行われた。また、今総会の重要課題は、高齢者へのミニストリーで、身体的・精神的・霊的なレべルで高齢時代を生きるキリスト者、教 会、社会がどのように働くかについてで、「高齢者を共に思いやり、惜しまぬ愛を」の標語を高く掲げ、委員会で周到に準備されたプログ ラムに沿って、会場での健康体操に始まり、各地方教会のこの問題との取り組みの紹介や、高齢に伴う心身の変化や、それに寄り添って生 きる者の姿勢や対応の仕方など充実した協議が行われた。また、若い世代への宣教として、「少年新眼光」(Youth shall See Visions)と称する新しい聖書の言葉を日常 の生活に生かすプログラムを取り入れることにも熱心に取り組んでいる。今教会に何が求められ、教会は具体的に何ができるかを明らかに して取り組んでいる姿を見ることができた。