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[PCUSANEWS] Moderator, family travel to Asia

From newsservice <newsservice@PCUSA.ORG>
Date Thu, 5 Feb 2009 15:43:41 -0500

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>Moderator, family travel to Asia

Reyes-Chow to explore family roots in Philippines during
Feb. 9-19 trip

>by Bethany Furkin
>Presbyterian News Service

LOUISVILLE ― Bruce Reyes-Chow has never been to the
Philippines, but his visit there this month will be a
homecoming of sorts.

Reyes-Chow, the moderator of the Presbyterian Church
(U.S.A.)'s 218th General Assembly, is a third-generation
Filipino - his grandparents are from the Philippines.

Reyes-Chow and his family ― wife Robin Pugh and daughters
Evelyn, Abigail and Analise ― will also travel to Taiwan
and Hong Kong. They will be accompanied by the Rev. David
Hudson, the denomination's area coordinator for
Asia/Pacific, and Nancy Eng MacNeill, an associate in the
Presbyterian Peacemaking Program.

"It's quite exciting on many levels for me," Reyes-Chow
told the Presbyterian News Service, adding that he hopes
the journey will be a chance for him to gather firsthand
knowledge to bring back to the United States.

He will speak with government officials as well as church
partners and grassroots organizers to learn more about
topics ranging from human rights to the commonalities
between Presbyterian churches in the United States and

Although some people have suggested places he should visit
during the trip, Reyes-Chow said he isn't forcing an
agenda. With 10 days to visit the countries - four days
each in the Philippines and Taiwan and two days in Hong
Kong - the trip will be a "whirlwind," he said.

"My main focus is to learn and speak intelligently about
what's going on," Reyes-Chow said.

And he plans to start that communication while still
overseas. Reyes-Chow expects to start posting to his
moderator blog [] Feb. 9. Depending
on his phone's cooperation, he might also update his
Twitter account [].

Once back in the States, Reyes-Chow said he'll keep up the
communication, and he expects that his experiences will
open doors for new speaking engagements.

One of the traditions of the moderator's office is to take
one international trip a year. Past trips and personal ties
are factors in deciding where to go, as well as current
issues affecting countries. In the Philippines, civil
rights issues have been impacting members of the clergy.
His family roots in the country also were appealing to

"We wanted to go where our actual presence would be of some
use," he said.

Reyes-Chow said his three daughters ― ages 12, 7 and 5 ―
are excited to see more of their Filipino heritage and have
been asked to speak to Sunday school classes about life as
the children of a Presbyterian pastor and moderator.

They are also prepared to immerse themselves in another
culture. His oldest daughter will have to wear dresses or
skirts in public, something she's unaccustomed to at home
in San Francisco, Reyes-Chow said.

The Presbyterian Church (USA) has played a great role in
the development of churches around the world, Reyes-Chow
said, and he expects to see the response from locals about
the impacts of the PC(USA), perhaps in many ways that he
has not experienced in the United States.

"As being moderator has opened my eyes about the entire
denomination, this is just one more opportunity to see
more," he said.

>Tentative itinerary

Feb. 9 ― departure (arriving Manila Feb. 10) Feb. 10 ― meet
with officers of the United Church of Christ in the
Philippines (UCCP); visit with PC(USA) mission workers;
meet with human rights workers and advocates.

Feb. 11 ― historical tour of Manila; meet with UCCP
programmatic workers, dinner with members of UCCP Ellinwood

Feb. 12 ― meet with government officials, reunion with
friends and relatives.

Feb. 13 ― depart for Taipei, Taiwan; dinner with
Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) leaders and staff.

Feb. 14 ― travel to Taichung and visit Chang-Shan
Presbyterian Church and "Joyce Home"; travel to Chu-Tang
and visit Chu-Tang Presbyterian Church; travel to Tainan
and visit Sin-Lau Christian Hospital; dinner with PCT

Feb. 15 ― worship at Min-Chu-Lu Presbyterian Church and
Dong-Ning Presbyterian Church; tour Tainan City; return to

Feb. 16 ― visit 228 Peace Park and Museum, Liberty Plaza;
visit East Gate Presbyterian Church; visit Taiwan
Theological College and Seminary; visit PCT General
Assembly office and meet with church officials; dinner
hosted by moderator of PCT General Assembly.

>Feb. 17 ― travel from Taipei to Hong Kong.

Feb. 18 ― visit with officials of the Hong Kong Council of
Church of Christ in China; meet with officials of the Amity
Foundation; meet with Hong Kong Christian Council; dinner
with Hong Kong church leaders.

Feb. 19 ― travel from Hong Kong to San Francisco.


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