Friday, 19 September 2014 08:42

House of Bishop's -- Day Three

As I mentioned in my last post today we heard presentations on the theological context and challenges for mission in Taiwan. Bishop David Lei walked us through the history of the diocese. This year makes the 60th anniversary of the Diocese of Taiwan making our presence here even more meaningful.


As you can imagine forming a Christian community in the midst of a culture influenced by Buddhism, Daoism, Taoism, and variations of the same is difficult, to say the least. To their credit the people of the diocese are undeterred in their witness to the Risen Lord Jesus. There is a palpable enthusiasm in their commitment to building up the Body of Christ in this vineyard. This is remarkable given the obstacles before them. For instance, if you become a Christian you are disowned by your family as though you never existed. The conversion experience of each new member is very life-changing and is as much a life itself. To think that people are willing to sacrifice those important relationships is truly amazing.

This is not insignificant in that their culture is defined in many ways by the worship of their ancestors. If one is disowned then they are not able to participate in this tradition. It is a very painful thing for God's people to endure but endure they do. The challenge is redefining such a custom as to how to keep these two traditions in tension with one another. One by one the win should for Christ. It really is something to behold.

Well, it's time to turn-in. It seems I am getting accustomed to the time change and was finally able to sleep through the night. Praise God! This comes with my very blessing for one and all. God bless and keep you.

Bp. Paul

Friday, 19 September 2014 08:36

House of Bishops Update

Episcopal Church House of Bishops Fall 2014 meeting:
Daily Account for Friday, September 19

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23. The following is an account of the activities for September 19.

The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination.

The day began with Eucharist, celebrated by Bishop Robert Fitzpatrick of Hawaii and Bishop-in-Charge of the Church in Micronesia (Guam and Saipan). Preacher was HOB Chaplain the Rev. Simon Batista, Canon Missioner for Latino Ministries and Outreach of the Diocese of Texas.

Throughout the Eucharist, Bishop Fitzpatrick used Hawaiian language for the prayers and concluded with a Book of Common Prayer blessing in Hawaiian: Ka ho’opomaika’I ‘ana o ke Akua mana loa, ka Makua ke Keiki, a me ka ‘Uhane Hemolele me ‘oukou a e noho pu me ‘oukou amau loa aku.  ‘Amene. (The blessing of God Almighty, the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit be upon you and remain with you forever Amen.)

The emcee for the day was Bishop Dean Wolfe of Kansas.

Bishop David Lai of Taiwan, and the host of the HOB meeting, presented Theological Context & Mission Challenges in Taiwan. Bishop Lai gave an overview of the history of the Diocese of Taiwan, from a missionary district to today’s diocese, beginning with the Episcopalians in the American military. The diocese grew to 20 congregations. The ministry context of the diocese is defined by Taoism, Buddhism and ancestor worship. Using the Book of Common Prayer in Mandarin is mandatory, even though 70% of the nation’s population speaks Taiwanese Hokkien. Table conversation focused on two questions: What surprised you about the theological context or challenges for mission in Taiwan; and are the theology and/or challenges in Taiwan very similar or different from the context of my diocese?

The first afternoon session was devoted to the Rev. Peter Koon,  Principal Secretary,Hong Kong Sheng Kung Hui, and Dr. Gareth Jones, Principal, SKH Ming Hua Seminary, Hong Kong,  presenting Theological Context & Mission Challenges in Hong Kong. 

The shifting political realities of Hong Kong’s special relationship with mainland China shape the missional context of the school. Theological education in the Ming Hua seminary revolves around an interpretation of seeking the restoration of companionship with God, which the original couple lost when they abandoned God in the Garden of Eden.

That was followed by Theological Context & Mission Challenges in Pakistan by the Most Rev. Samuel Robert Azariah, Bishop of Raiwind and Moderator of the Church ofPakistan. He prefaced his remarks about Pakistan with a broad characterization of the mission context of South Asia. It is a place of multiple languages, many religious traditions, different climates, and a variety of cultures. Turning more specifically to his home Pakistan, the Bishops were asked to imagine that we were not bishops but simply disciples of Jesus Christ. He then led us in imagining ministry in the third largest Islamic state. He detailed for us the numerous challenges that the small minority of Christians in Pakistan face daily. When asked how the Episcopal Church could be helpful to the Church in Pakistan, he replied that we could help them learn how to do development and capacity building. Additionally, there is a great need for addressing theological education. His example humbled and encouraged the members of the House of Bishops.

The evening was focused on class gatherings, discussion and dinners.

Follow the bishops on Twitter: #HOBFall14

Friday, 19 September 2014 08:11

House of Bishops -- Day Two



Well, another full day has come to an end. This day was a long one to be sure having begun at 8 a.m. with a bus ride across Taipei to visit St. John's University and The Church of the Advent before ending at a night market after dinner. St. John's is a remarkable institution being founded in the 1879 by American Episcopal Missionary Bishop Samuel Isaac Joseph Schereschewsky. (You need to look that one up!) The university is a state-of-the-art institution and has to its credit many talented alumni over the years. We enjoyed a tour of the campus including a delightful orientation and presentation by the "Canterbury" group at the Church of the Advent.

We will begin our formal meetings tomorrow hearing presentations on the Theological Context of Mission Challenges in Taiwan and Hong Kong. If time permits I will write to you tomorrow evening. God bless and keep you all.

Bp. Paul
Wednesday, 17 September 2014 09:43

House of Bishops

Episcopal Church House of Bishops Fall 2014 meeting:
Daily Account for Wednesday, September 17

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23. The following is an account of the activities for September 17.

The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination.

The day began with Eucharist. The Presiding Bishop presided and preached (Presiding Bishop’s sermon here.) During the Eucharist the Bishops renewed their commitment to the Core values of the House of Bishops.

Thursday, 18 September 2014 08:15

House of Bishops -- Update

The House of Bishops of The Episcopal Church is meeting in the Diocese of Taiwan from September 17 to September 23. The following is an account of the activities for September 18.

The theme for the fall meeting of the Episcopal Church House of Bishops is Expanding the Apostolic Imagination.

On Thursday, the House of Bishops and spouses embarked on daylong visits to Episcopal churches and institutions throughout Taiwan to witness the mission and ministry of the diocese.  The visits will be discussed during the remainder of the House of Bishops meeting.

Groups visited:
• Church of the Good Shepherd, Taipei
• St. James Church, Taichung
• Trinity & St. Stephen’s Churches, Keelung
• St. John’s University, Tam Sui

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A Prayer for the Diocese

O Lord, you promise to be with your Church until the end of the age: continue this good work as you raise up the next Bishop of Dallas. Prepare this person to be the pastor and spiritual leader who will lead us forward to glorify you. We also ask that you send your Spirit upon the committees and convention given the task of calling our next bishop. Give them prayerful, open and discerning hearts that they may hear your voice and do your will to fulfill your purpose for this diocese. We ask all this in Jesus' name. Amen.