(PNS) Greetings from Taipei, where the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan is celebrating its 150th birthday. Large gatherings of us have worshipped, sang, and danced together. From all over the country thousands of people have traveled to join in celebrations of the legacy as well as the promise for this body of Christ.
What have I learned? So much! Let me mention two things.
One is that the church’s tolerance for people who believe differently from them is great, and they feel that the love of Christ that binds them together is greater than any social or theological difference that they may have.
The second is profound gratitude to the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) for our many years of work with them where we helped build churches, schools, hospitals, and other places to care for God’s children. It is humbling to be the recipient of the outpouring of love they have for the PC(USA).
It also has been interesting to discover that they heard I made a Call to the Church a short while ago. They, too, are dealing with a society that is increasingly secular. They, too, are seeking ways to revitalize their ministry as a denomination. So they are very anxious to hear what becomes of our current efforts to question our members as to future visions, missions, and plans.
The Committee on the Office of the General Assembly (COGA) has sent out a questionnaire across the church—www.pcusa.org/identity. The NEXT Church is conducting listening sessions. The Presbyterian Mission Agency Board has sent out a survey. Other groups are also gathering information. How do we, as a denomination, fulfill God’s will?
So now, my sisters and brothers, is our time to share what we believe Jesus is calling us to be. Ask your church to canvas your membership. Have your presbytery respond. If you are on a church-related board with some organization, have them provide data. Everyone needs to be involved, and if you are not you cannot be critical of outcomes that may differ from your wishes. Please participle and prayerfully ask that God’s will be done.