Taiwanese mark 60 years
TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan celebrated its 60th anniversary Oct. 25-26, honoring its beginning with Mennonite mission workers, rejoicing for its present and setting a course for an expanding future.
More than 1,100 people attended the event in Taipei with the theme “Legacy, Renewal and Expansion.”
General secretary Robert T. Chang said his deepest impression of the church is its faith in God who hears prayers.
“Because of your intercession, we work together to complete the mission that cannot be completed on its own,” he said. “So we are excited to continue persevering in prayer.”
The Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan has blossomed to include 22 churches.
Marietta and Sheldon Sawatzky, former mission workers to Taiwan with Mennonite Mission Network, attended the event. They served in Taiwan over a span of 47 years.
Sawatzky said five kinds of choirs and groups sang and played music. Every session involved song, part of the Taiwanese church’s tradition of praise.
Chang wrote a song for the event titled “Rise Up and Go,” which encourages Mennonites with “Let us hand-in-hand courageously go forward.”
Titus Liao, chair of the fellowship board of directors, preached at the Sunday morning worship, based on Joshua 1:6-9, in which God gives leadership to Joshua and tells him to be strong and courageous. Liao emphasized the importance of unity.
“The only hope for Taiwan resides with the church,” Liao said. “The Taiwan Mennonite Church has already shown the love of Christ through ministries to the marginalized.
Now, renewal will come through trust in God’s Word and the power of the Holy Spirit.”
The first Mennonite church services began in 1954, about six years after Mennonite Central Committee established medical and relief programs in Taiwan.
In 1954, Hugh and Janet Sprunger were the first mission workers to go to Taiwan through the Commission on Overseas Mission, a predecessor agency of MMN. The North American Mennonite ministry in Taiwan ended in 1993.
In 2013, the fellowship had 1,920 baptized members.
“Mennonites in Taiwan are known for their contribution in social services,” Sawatzky said. “Notably, the three programs in Hualien, the Mennonite Christian Hospital, the New Dawn Educare Center for mentally challenged persons and the Good Shepherd Center for aborigine girls sold into prostitution, abused women and children from dysfunctional families.”
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