China and Taiwan Church Leaders to Meet for a Forum in November

Aug 11, 2009 04:58 AM EDT

The National Council of Churches Taiwan (NCCT) confirmed its decision during a board meeting on August 3rd for Chinese church leaders to visit Taiwan from November 13~19 in an attempt to boost dialogue between Taiwanese and Chinese church leaders and display Taiwan’s religious diversity and freedoms for all to see.

The NCCT invited National Committee of the Three-Self Patriotic Movement of the Protestant Churches in China, China Christian Council, and leaders from other church organizations in China to visit Taiwan and attend the “Christian Church and Society Development Forum” slated for November 13~14.

As a member of NCCT, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) also welcomed Chinese church leaders to visit PCT headquarters and urged them to be unafraid of government intimidation or demonization, lest it should prevent them from visiting, said PCT General Secretary Andrew Chang.

According to reports, a forum had been planned for Christian churches from both countries as early as 2007, but changes in leadership among Chinese church organizations had delayed it from taking place until former NCCT Chairman and Taiwan Methodist Church Bishop Enoch C.H. Kuey visited Shanghai last year and confirmed the theme and dates of the forum. The forum will be hosted by Taiwan Methodist Church in partnership with NCCT.

Visiting delegates from China will include church leaders from Shanghai, Jiangsu, Tianjin, and more. On Taiwan’s side, delegates participating in the forum will include leaders from PCT, Episcopal Church Taiwan, Taiwan Lutheran Church, Taiwan Theological College and Seminary, Tainan Theological College and Seminary, World Vision, and Garden of Hope Foundation.

The forum’s theme will be city churches and the spiritual needs of contemporary society and topics of discussion will include a Christian analysis on social services, theological education, changes in modern society, how the church should reach out to seniors, church organizations and their outreach ministries, church history, and equipping the laity.

Besides attending the forum, Chinese church leaders will visit house churches in Taipei, Mackay Memorial Hospital, Taiwan Seminary, Garden of Hope Foundation, Good TV Christian broadcasting corporation, World Vision Taiwan, and other evangelical organizations. They will also visit famous tourist attractions in Taiwan, including Sun Moon Lake, Tamsui harbor, National Palace Museum, and more.

“Having this Christian forum take place in Taiwan is better than having it take place in China,” said Andrew Chang. He thinks it’s a good thing for church leaders in China to come to Taiwan and witness the development and progress of churches here and he hopes they can also visit the PCT General Assembly headquarter offices when they come.

According to Chang, the PCT’s longstanding efforts in promoting social justice and peace in Taiwan should serve as a model for Chinese church leaders and encourage them to stand up against government oppression in China. He said the PCT is looking forward to the visit of Chinese church leaders.

Article is reported by Lin Yi-ying and written by Lydia Ma

[Source: Taiwan Church News]