From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Taiwanese Church Leaders Welcome the Year of the Sheep

From Taiwan Church News <>
Date Wed, 29 Jan 2003 10:52:17 +0800

Taiwan Church News 2657/8, February 2 & 9, 2003
Reported by Li Yi-shin. Translated and rewritten by David

   The annual celebration of the New Year is upon us. This year
February 1st on the "solar" calendar is "January 1st" on the
"lunar" one.  Many church leaders in Taiwan will welcome the new
year in a spirit of Thanksgiving for God's leadership in the past
and vision for the future. They urge believers to see service to
God as glorious, to work with joy and to put away grudges.  The
Taiwan Church News interviewed Kao Chun-ming (former General
Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan), Tsai Ling-min
(current General Secretary of Taiwan's Baptist Association) and
Lai Rong-hsin, (current Bishop of the Taiwan Episcopal Church).
Each recommended that Taiwan's Christians learn from the
character of the sheep, listen for the voice of God, and be the
flock of God's Kingdom.
   Rev. Kao and Rev. Tsai expressed a joint desire based on their
faith in Jesus, that people lay hold of the leadership of God as
they seek peace and joy.  They expressed a hope that Taiwan's
churches will be revived, and that all believers might enjoy the
loving kindness and abundance of God with hearts full of thanks.
   Traditionally the new year festival is a time of blessing and
togetherness for Taiwan's families.  The ideal is for a family,
no matter how far its members have scattered, to reassemble for
the holiday.  For clergy, it is a chance to partly make up for
the absence from family that is part of their profession.
   Rev. Tsai said that his work ordinarily prevents him from
seeing his own brothers.
They live overseas, but return home for the festival.  The family
gathers around his mother for a joyful reunion meal.  They have a
private custom, asking their mother to pray a blessing on each
one.  In one way, they show their gratitude for all she has done
for them, and on the other hand, they obtain a simple and pure
hope from her simple and basic faith.
   Bishop Lai's custom is full of friends and relatives too.  "I
don't even go out. I wait at home for people to come and visit."
Ordinarily his work keeps him away from home quite a bit, so he
values the holiday's opportunity to spend time in conversation
with his family and old friends.
   "When people come I bring out the good tea leaves and boil the
water.	Every friend sits around the tea kettle. We're warmed by
our drink and our talk."
   Rev. Kao's family celebrates the New Year according to the
solar calendar. His family gathers for a thanksgiving worship
service.  He feels, however, that no matter whether one
celebrates the solar or the lunar holiday, the most important
thing is to do so with thanksgiving to God.
   Rev. Kao said, "Since my grandfather came to faith in Christ
130 years ago, we have been thankful for God's grace.  As we
gather to worship, we reconnect as we encourage and support each
other's faith.	Every year more than a hundred of us get
together.  This year, with the sixth generation grandchildren, we
were more than 1,100.  Our feeling grows as our family becomes
its own society.  Our thanksgiving worship time is ever more
precious."  He feels that the happiness and support are more
valuable than anything money could buy.

For More Information: Kao Chun-ming  TEL +886 2 27021956
		      Tsai Ling-min
		      Lai Rong-hsin

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