PCT Begins Receiving Mainland China Immigrants in Taiwan

Taiwan has begun efforts to reach residents of Mainland China origins, in the light of the growing interest of immigrants from Mainland for church services, according to a report released by a PCT-aff
( [email protected] ) Mar 31, 2006 04:11 PM EST

A church associated with the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT) has begun efforts to reach residents of Mainland China origins, according to a report released by a PCT-affiliated news service.

Leaders with the Ne-li Presbyterian Church, near an urban development zone in the city of Chungli found that many recent immigrants from the Mainland were interested with attending church services in Mandarin.

Mainland Chinese living in the area have been known to ask if the church offered Mandarin services, said Ne-li’s senior pastor, Rev. Wei Chien-shyang, in the report that was made available for on World Faith News (WFN), a Christian ecumenical news portal.

According to a government census, Mainland Chinese immigrants make up 14 percent of Taiwan’s total population, while other studies bring the number closer to 10 percent. In many cases, "waishengren" Chinese – descended from refugees who fleeing Communist-controlled China in 1949 – tend not to associate themselves with the new arrivals.

Min and Hakka speaking "Benshengren" , or natives residing in Taiwan for generations, distinguish themselves entirely, believing that "daluren" (Mainland Chinese) are different in cultural identity and lower in socioeconomic status.

Wei, nonetheless, believes that God transcends all political differences and affiliations that are existent in his parish. The Taiwan-born pastor admits that though he has sympathies for Taiwan- independence, he hopes to overcome these sentiments when uniting in faith with Mainland Chinese.

"Because the church had already transformed itself into a cell-group model, the style of our fellowship life changed," Wei was quoted to say. Wei explained that decision to start special Mandarin language worship arose from the steady rise in membership of Christian brothers and sisters from Mainland China. He added that politics play no role in the relationship of his flock, and that none should feel excluded.

"In church meetings, we avoid mention of anything political, and focus only on the Bible," explained Wei. "Through faith we can…accept each other."