From the Worldwide Faith News archives

Yuanlin affirms local church’s alternative to ancestor worship

From "Taiwan Church News" <>
Date Wed, 14 Apr 2010 11:02:31 -0700

>      Taiwan Church News

>3032 Edition

>April 5~11, 2010

Yuanlin affirms local church’s alternative to ancestor  worship

>Reported by Chen Wei-chien

>Written by Lydia Ma

Christian churches in Yuanlin and Yuanlin Township government held  a ceremony 

ancestors last year on Tomb Sweeping Day. Since the ceremony  received positive 

churches and town officials decided to collaborate again this  year.

On April 4th, the day before Tomb Sweeping Day, a Christian  ceremony was held 
to honor

ancestors. It included lighting candles, offering flowers, and  pouring water. 
The purpose of

these three gestures was to help villagers understand Christianity  and grasp 
how Christians

>remember and honor their forebears.

The ceremony was held at a local activity center and sponsored by  Yuanlin 
Township Office

and Yuanlin Prayer Alliance and drew approximately 700 villagers.  During the 

Yuanlin Mayor Wu Zong-xian and other officials gave a sincere bow  on behalf of 

Changhua Presbytery Moderator Liu Te-shing presided over the  service and Rev. 
Liao Kun-

tian gave a sermon entitled “Remembering our forebears on  Tomb Sweeping Day”.

According to Liu, who is also the convener of Yuanlin Prayer  Alliance, Yuanlin 
is the biggest

township in Taiwan, but Christians make up less than 1% of the  population. 
There many souls

to be won for Christ in Yuanlin and churches hope to use memorial  services 
such as this one

to change villagers’ impressions on Christianity and lead  them to reflect on 
God, the source of

life, on a day when they reflect on their roots.

Liu hopes this partnership between Yuanlin government and local  churches on 

Sweeping Day can become a tradition in Yuanlin so that regardless  of who 
becomes township

mayor, there will always be a Christian ceremony on that day. He  also prays 
these services

will change villagers’ perceptions on ancestor worship and  Christianity and 
open the way for

evangelism once ancestor worship is no longer a stumbling block.

At the end of the memorial service, everyone was invited take part  in the 
flower offering

ceremony. People were instructed to write on a small card the  names of their 
parents or

relatives that they were honoring on this occasion and affix the  card on a 
bouquet before

bringing the bouquet to the front of the podium.

According to feedback letters collected on that day, villagers  really liked 
the ceremony and felt

comforted by it. They were also touched by how the ceremony had  accorded 
dignity and honor

to ancestors without creating any environmental pollution.

Editor’s note: Taiwanese people usually mark Tomb Sweeping  Day by worshiping 

ancestors. Rituals for that day usually involve offering food and  burning a 
lot of joss paper.

The smoke from burning joss paper has become a serious  environmental concern.


Taiwan Church News is published weekly in Taiwan's local  languages.

You may translate and re-use our articles online only if you  acknowledge the 
source as

"Taiwan Church News" and list the names of the reporter and  writer.

Contact us before reprinting any of our articles for print  publications.

Direct comments and questions about this article to:

Visit our website for more news at:  (English)

> (Chinese)



Browse month . . . Browse month (sort by Source) . . . Advanced Search & Browse . . . WFN Home