TAIWAN- The Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT) and the Church of Christian in Japan (CCJ) have recently entered a historical partnership in missions, reinforcing the ecumenical movement in East Asia.
During the 51st General Assembly of PCT on April 19, a thanksgiving ceremony was held as the partnership agreement was signed by the top delegates from both Taiwan and Japan. General Secretary of PCT Rev. Andrew Chang and General Assembly Committee Director represented PCT whereas Rev. Kasuya Suzuki and Rev. Fumikio Tabe from CCJ are presented.
The partnership declares both churches’ conviction to unite as one in Christ in order to reveal the love of Christ, righteousness, peace and salvation. They also pledge to cooperate with the World Alliance of Reformed Churches (WARC). The partnership will open opportunities for both churches to exchange resources, to hold conferences and to pray for each other so that the congregation in both countries can be strengthened.
"We are very grateful for the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan at this moment when we are going to enter a partnership in missions. Even though our Church has made a lot of mistakes in the past, PCT has been trying its best to help us," stated CCJ.
In a statement, CCJ has confessed and repented for how they have persecuted the Taiwanese Christians during Japan’s colonization. CCJ has once sent mission teams from Japan to evangelize Taiwan during the colonization, but they have only focused on Japanese living in Taiwan as a political strategy to reinforce its control over Taiwanese. They have never sought to cooperate together with any Taiwanese churches to support Taiwan’s missions as well.
Even in the Christian schools set up by the churches in Taiwan, Japanese government has abolished all worship services and bible classes. Students are forced to worship in Japanese temple and to speak Japanese only.
CCJ apologized for not taking up the responsibility to re-establish the Taiwanese churches and churches in neighboring countries, but has only focused on Japanese churches, during the post-war period.
CCJ admitted that it has so many weaknesses. It further expressed its hope to become a church that will serve and pray for Asia and the world, fulfilling the will of God.
Meanwhile, Taiwan Presbyterians have celebrated its years of courageous local mission efforts in face of political and economical challenges.
In his address to the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, WARC’s general secretary Setri Nyomi noted that the church and its leadership have a long tradition of acting out of faith on public challenges.
General Secretary of PCT Rev. Andrew Chang, who is also a member of the WARC Executive Committee, has emphasized that the church has made holistic mission a priority for the next several years, with young people being given a key role.
The Taiwan Church is challenged to tackle the issue of neo-liberal economic globalization. According to the Accra Confession endorsed on the 24th General Council of the Alliance held in Accra, Ghana in 2004, it declared that working to create a more just economy is essential to the integrity of the Christian faith.
"Can the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan be party to this? Can this be done as an act of faith in solidarity with victims of economic injustice in this country as well as in countries in other parts of Asia, Africa, the Caribbean, Eastern Europe, Latin America and the Pacific?"
"As Presbyterian and Reformed people we believe that God is sovereign over all life. Therefore, any sphere of life which seems to be contradicting God’s sovereignty needs to be challenged. We are called to serve God and not mammon.
"Our commitment to applying faith in this manner is first and foremost a theological action, not a social one. It comes from the conviction that God is sovereign over all and therefore we who are called by God’s name pray for and put ourselves in God’s hands for use towards a world which recognizes God’s sovereignty," Nyomi said.