Date: 20 December, 2013 Issue No. 002

An Occasional Newsletter from the General Secretary,
Rev. Lyim Hong-Tiong

Thanksgiving for what has been and Advent expectations

WCC 10th Assembly, Busan

It was a joy and privilege to meet many of our partners in Busan.  I give thanks to God for giving us an opportunity to participate in the WCC Assembly, to share in fellowship and give expression to the unity that we have in Jesus Christ.  This unity is evident in the issues that we shared and discussed with one another during the tea time and the meals that we enjoyed together.  I cherish these rare occasions when the people of God gather to manifest our common commitment to justice and peace.

We are beginning to follow up on the bilateral issues that we discussed with you.  I pray for God’s continued leading as we plan the programmes with various churches.  In journeying together, may we glorify the Lord’s Name seeking to extend God’s reign on earth.  

Tri-Partite Cooperation with Korea and Japan

At the WCC Assembly, we collaborated closely with churches from Japan and Korea to bring the issue of nuclear energy and its danger to the attention of the ecumenical movement.  We have been very much enriched by this significant joint activity in the Madang workshops and we are particularly gratified that the Public Issues committee agreed to issue a statement about this present and clear danger.  Though time limitation prevented the Assembly from taking action on this statement we are confident that the Central Committee will give its official approval at its meeting next July.  We thank our partner churches in Japan and Korea for working closely with us.  We pray our efforts will make a constructive contribution to the increasing attention given to the nuclear energy by the international community.  Let’s look forward to a nuclear-free world!

Economic Injustice:  Service Trade Pact with China

As for recent developments in Taiwan, I would like to draw your attention to a proposal by our government to increase service and trade between Taiwan and China.  Many of you may be puzzled as to why we oppose such a proposal.  After all, increased trade and exchange in the service industry must be a good thing for any nation!  But we strongly oppose the proposal in our Executive Yuan because it is inherently economically unjust.  Disturbingly so, the proposed agreement would enable China to open local banks, local businesses such as family restaurants, laundry shops, small service shops and so on in our towns and villages.  The Taiwan economy and employment sector cannot afford such an uncontrolled influx of competition and saturation of small businesses in our towns and small villages which struggle to survive.  Our own merchants in urban and rural areas are already suffering from loss of income due to lack of growth.

PCT 150th Anniversary (1865-2015)

The preparations for the 150th Anniversary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan are well under way.  We will share our plans more concretely in the next issue of my newsletter for the immediate you may wish to note these dates in your diary:

  • 150th Celebration Worship and Main Ceremony on Easter Sunday, 5 April 2015
  • Annual General Assembly Meeting, 7-10 April 2015

Nelson Mandela

The recent days the eyes of the world have been very much focused on South Africa. With these few words I would like to invite you to honor the memory of President Nelson Mandela, a great democratic champion in modern time.  He set a supreme example for us by making a personal sacrifice in the struggle against injustice, against a system that demonized God’s children and imago Dei.  When he was President, he forgave his former foes and showed them an alternate world of acceptance and compassion.  We give thanks to God for the precious gift and life of Nelson Mandela who demonstrated so profoundly to us all that Another World IS possible.  May the Lord comfort his family and nation who mourn him.

During this Advent Season, a time for hope and prayerful expectation, I pray that the God of truth and goodness will lead us into a life of justice and peace.
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