The Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT) is one of our closest and significant relationships. For more detail on the PCT see their website: http://english.pct.org.tw/
The relationship between the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and the Presbyterian Church in Aotearoa-New Zealand (PCANZ) began in the early 1980s with the signing of a partnership agreement between the two churches. The PCANZ was then invited to send a doctor and minister to Taiwan to work with the PCT’s Hakka Evangelism Centre. The Hakka are an ethnically Chinese group of around 2.5 million people on the island, who have their own language and culture. The Rev Stuart and Dr Alison Vogel went to Taiwan to work with the Centre.
Since then there have been many reciprocal visits, including to Assemblies, of ministers and youth exchanges. Taiwan and New Zealand have significant common concerns. Environmental issues and the place of the minority indigenous peoples in each society and our two churches are common areas in which we share insights. Recently ministers and members of the PCT’s indigeneous tribal Presbyteries have visited Aotearoa and been welcomed at the Church’s Marae at Ohope Beach.
Global Mission, the Asian Council and the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan are working together and looking to the future together.
In August and September 2012 six young people from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan visited youth groups and churches in New Zealand on a visit organised by the Asian Council.
The PCT’s National Youth Department hold an “I love Taiwan” programme in July each year, and we will be looking to send young people to that in 2013. The intention of these visits is that the emerging leaders of the PCT and PCANZ should come to know each other, understand the situations in which they carry out mission and ministry, pray and support each other and in the future work together to resolve the issues that face the Asia/Pacific region. We are working with the PCANZ’s Youth Department to create a bright future.
The PCT has always maintained a strong emphasis on bringing together creative evangelism, social ministries (especially in medicine and education) practical service and on social advocacy. These have been features of the partnership between our churches.
The PCANZ has consistently supported the PCT’s desire that the international political isolation of Taiwan be ended. The PCANZ General Assembly has over the years endorsed the PCT’s campaign to enter the United Nation and World Health Organisation.
Both New Zealand and Taiwan are on active earthquake fault lines. A common bond is that of suffering from the tragedies caused by earthquakes. Taiwan suffered from a devastating earthquake in 1999 to which the PCANZ offered prayer and assistance. The PCT responded very generously to the earthquake in Christchurch in 2011.
The PCT and PCANZ are members of the Council for World Mission and the Christian Conference of Asia. Currently the two churches are jointly working on a project that will take place in co-operation with the Presbyterian Church of Vanuatu.
The Northern Presbytery has a partnership relationship with the Presbytery of Taichung in the middle of Taiwan. A group of young people from the Auckland Taiwanese Presbyterian Church are going to Taichung in December 2012 to share in mission programmes among youth in the Presbytery area. Next year we intend to build on that with a visit to Taichung by young people from across the Presbytery. They will teach English as well as engage in outreach and service activities. A group will be invited to come from Taichung to help with ministry to young people in inner-city Auckland and throughout the Northern region area.
The relationships that we have with PCT provide many exciting opportunities and challenges and are immensely rewarding. We look for new ways to interact. This is personally challenging; perhaps there is someone in the PCANZ who has the vision and determination to learn Chinese and the Taiwanese vernacular as spoken on Taiwan and to take this relationship forward?