點閱次數:132 上一則 |
發布日期:2014/9/10
蘇格蘭長老教會婦女大會 - 鄭明敏


作者/鄭明敏

A Journey of Wonder from Taiwan to Scotland

by Nancy Lin

Twinning between Woman's Ministry, Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and Church of Scotland Guild

Date of Visit: September 1st to 9th, 2014

Location of Visit: Edinburgh, Scotland

Written by: Nancy Ming-Min Lin

In 2012, Presbyterian Church in Taiwan(PCT) celebrated its 90th anniversary for Woman's Ministry. Church of Scotland as PCT's long-term partner church was invited to join this significant celebration. Kay Keith, the National Convener of Church of Scotland Guild in 2014, at the time was among the two delegates being sent. From this connection and for the purpose of mutual enhancement PCT was privileged to be invited to the Guild Annual Meeting 2014. When Kay came to visit in 2012 I was not able to meet her then. I was out of the country for a WCC Central Committee meeting taken place at Crete. Despite that, the PCT Woman's Ministry (National) Committee dedicated me this life-time opportunity to visit and to learn from Church of Scotland Guild.

I arrived Edinburgh airport on Sep. 1, 2014. It was a tiresome 22 hour long journey and I was surprised and very grateful to find a group of Guild national leaders welcoming us at the airport. We, three ecumenical guests, were so well taken care of from that moment on. Guild members even took turns to stay overnight with us in the Holiday Inn Express. Such thoughtful arrangement prompted many interesting and informative conversations with different people every day on breakfast table.

The programmed activities during my visit include:

- Visiting Church of Scotland headquarter twice

- Visiting Charis House and Morlich House

- Visiting "Heart of Art" project in Glasgow

- Visiting a "Wevolution" project based in St. Paul's Church Provanmill

- Visiting Caddar Parish Church, a historical church building

- Excursions in Edinburgh, Glasgow and Falkirk

- Attending and giving greeting in Guild Annual Meeting 2014

- Attending Sunday worship in Dalgety Parish Church

- Visiting St. Adrian's Church at West Wemyss where Guild members said farewell to us

- Attending World Mission Conveners Conference and sharing PCT's ministry in small groups

Just coming from a newly, rapidly and highly developed country simply walking on the street of Edinburgh was an amazing experience for me. I felt myself walking in the midst of history. Most of the surrounding buildings are over one or two hundred years old. In Taiwan, they would be registered as historical buildings and would be preserved for protection. Yet, I sensed local people in Edinburgh take them completely for granted.

Two separate visits to Church of Scotland headquarter on different days were both well organized. In the first visit, along with Guild national leaders we were honored to meet with the Moderator of 2014-2015, Rt. Rev. John P. Chalmers. We learnt from him the history of Church of Scotland and its struggle for unity. We also visited Guild's office for the first time. I must confess that I was quite curious about Iain Whyte before this visit. After all, in my context, it is hard to imagine a man holding a similar position in PCT. Iain's briefing on Guild's update programme and overall operation has deepen our understanding about this organization. Structure wise, Guild is quite similar to PCT woman's organization. There are woman fellowship groups under almost all PCT local congregations just like what CoS calls Guild branches. But the organization of Guild is completely independent in all levels, local, regional or national. While PCT woman's national/decision making body called Woman's Ministry Committee is just one of many functional committees under PCT's General Assembly body. In the second visit to CoS HQ, we were privileged to meet all staffs available in World Mission Division. I discovered that this department knows little about Taiwan and I was glad to have a first-hand opportunity to share some burning issues in our church and society.

Attending Guild Annual Meeting 2014 was an eye-opening experience. It was exciting seeing hundreds of women and men pouring into Caird Hall in Dundee. I was surprised to learn that every year there would be around 2000 participants coming from all over to the annual meeting. While speakers in PCT woman's national gatherings would address on how to live in abundant life or would focus on woman's gender awareness awakening, Guild speakers were challenging members their Christian responsibilities to serve others. I was most privileged to greet in this annual meeting on behalves of three ecumenical guests.

We have visited a few projects supported by the Guild. It seems Guild takes seriously caring for the elderly one of its important missions. Both "Heart for Art" and Morlich House provide quality care for the elderly in special needs. In a few local churches we also joined community tea/coffee or luncheon organized by local guild members. Obviously, most of people coming are senior citizens in the communities.

Attending Sunday worship on the 7th of September at Dalgety Parish Church was an experience of both enriching and refreshing. For the first time, I saw a playing mat placed in front of the congregation with toddlers playing on it during the service. Rev. Christine Sime facilitated an interactive service that members including us the overseas guests were invited to use a few words to describe church we came from. This vivid and well-attended Church of Scotland changed my stereotype about European main stream churches as old, traditional and rapidly declining.

In World Mission Conveners Conference I shared the importance of evangelism in Taiwan's context and demonstrated "Praise Dance" as an effective approach for spreading Gospel to non-believers. Participants were extremely interested in this method which combines biblical scriptures as lyrics, contemporary melody and physical exercises as a way of telling God's love and salvation. There are truly many things we could learn from each other.

PCT takes a strong position in supporting "People's Self-Determination for Taiwan". Therefore, PCT's leaders were eager to learn from the process of referendum for independence of Scotland. I appreciate very much a visit with the Moderator of the CoS. I learnt that CoS not only took neutral position but also prepared ahead of time for a reconciliation process beginning with a worship the day after referendum. Taiwan has a much complicated historical background and is in a very challenging political context. It is already an independent political entity in many ways and in many years. But the international community would not recognize this existing fact. Taiwan as a nation with 23 million population cannot be named and cannot be said. Furthermore, it is excluded from United Nations. Taiwan suffers from its geographical military-lock location on the Pacific Ocean. It becomes a pawn in the power struggle between the U.S. and China. Therefore, PCT as a church deeply rooted in Taiwan would never give up its strong position for People's Self Determination. The challenge we are facing is how to balance between justice, reconciliation and peace. This we could definitely learn from the CoS.

Finally, I want to express my deep gratitude to the Division of World Mission and to the Guild for your warm hospitality. This visitation was both fruitful and meaningful. I have written an article in traditional Chinese titled "Learning about Church of Scotland Guild" published on Taiwan Church News, a PCT weekly newspapers, on Nov. 12, 2014. (Please visit http://www.tcnn.org.tw/news-detail.php?nid=8258) On January 9, 2015 I will have an opportunity to share about this enriching visitation in a national PCT woman's leadership training workshop.


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