Dr Albert Lin, an Engineer for Taiwan State-Building, Dies at 92 Years Old

Prof Albert Lin participated in the book launch of his biography, published by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan in 2017. (File photo, photography / Lin Yi-ying)

Taiwan Church News

3731 Edition

August 28th ~ Sept 3rd, 2023

Weekly Topic

Dr Albert Lin, an Engineer for Taiwan State-Building, Dies at 92 Years Old

Reported by Lin Yi-ying at Taipei
Translated by Peter Wolfe

Dr Albert Lin, nicknamed as Taiwan’s “Godfather of Urban and Rural Mission” (abbreviated as URM), and “Taiwan’s nation-building engineer”, died of illness on August 22 in Toronto, Canada, at the age of 92. He devoted his life to the Taiwan independence movement and championed the social movement of non-violence resistance in Taiwan society.

Since 1982, he has encouraged and invited pastors of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and grassroots organizers of social movements to receive URM training in Canada. Up to now, he had introduced training courses of URM, Third Party Neutral (TPN), Open Space Technology (OST), and etc. into Taiwan society, and had implemented these courses into the job-on-service training programs for the PCT pastors, and will continue to facilitate the ministries of local church in Taiwan.

On behalf for the PCT, Rev Fuyan Suda, vice moderator of the 68th PCT General Assembly will fly to Toronto, Canada to attend Dr Albert Lin’s funeral service held on September 2nd. In Taiwan, the memorial service of northern Taiwan will be held at 10 a.m. on September 16th at Suang-Lien Church of Chi-Hsin Presbytery; the memorial service of southern Taiwan will be held at 2:00 pm on September 17th at the Song-Inn Hall of Tainan Theological Seminary and College; the memorial service of central Taiwan will be held at 2:28 pm on Sept 24th at the Justice Action Church of Taichung Presbytery.

Rev Chen Zer-yin, secretary of the PCT Evangelism Committee, said that as early as 2009, the 54th PCT General Assembly passed a resolution to include social training courses of URM, TPN, OST and etc for the PCT empowering programs. Practical measures introduced by Dr Albert Lin, such as one-on-one tutorial disciplines and pastoral qualification testing, were implemented to train the participants within two years of programs. Urging the PCT members to reach outside of the church, Dr Albert Lin’s legacy is also manifested in the PCT’s “Six dimensions of the Holistic Mission” as preaching the Gospel, nurturing God’s children, loving service, social transformation, caring for the created world, the Gospel and culture, Rev Chen expressed. This is the reason why URM, TPN, and OST are very important on-job training for the PCT missionaries and members, he said

Rev Chen Zer-yin also pointed out that OST is helpful to build consensus and find solutions to various kinds of problems happened within personal networks; URM emphasizes to analyze the difficulties faced by society, stand with the people to learn their sufferings with compassion and love, and care about the difficulties faced by in society and community. He said, just like Archbishop Tutu of South Africa could dig into the racial conflicts between black and white and decide to fight against the oppression of black people with measures, the South African churches finally stood up to call everyone to pay attention to the pains of black people; now many churches in Taiwan are very concerned about issues of social justice and are deeply influenced by URM. In the meantime, through lots of experiences and practice, TPN is proved to be a very important principle and method to solve problems and conflicts in society.

Rev Chen Zer-yin remarked that URM, TPN, OST and etc are all courses sponsored by the PCT Church and Society Committee and open for the public to apply admission. Seminarians of the PCT General Assembly’s Evangelist Training Programs are also required to attend these courses. Through interactions with social grassroots volunteers or political activists, there were thought-exchanges and discussions from different social backgrounds. In 2023, the event of “Training Course for Social Action: Love and Suffering, URM Junior Class”, organized by the PCT, was held at Suang-Lien Church from August 20 to 25. Rev Cheng Kuo-chong and Rev Tsai Cheng-dao, who had received a systematic URM training were invited to give lectures.

Prof Tsai Ting-kuei, a former convener of Alliance of Referendum for Taiwan and a founding chairman of Free Taiwan Party, who had also completed a full set of URM trainings, reflected his first encounter with Dr Albert Lin face-by-face via the connections of the PCT networks about a decade ago, when he first-time took to the streets to protest against the oppression of KMT regime.

Prof Tsai said that whether it was the “100 Action Alliance” that abolished article 100th of Taiwan’s Criminal Law in 1991, the Sunflower Student Movement in 2014, the spirit of non-violence resistance advocated by Dr Albert Lin is always critical and influential. Prof Tsai revealed that, when he was the president of the Taiwan Association of University Professors in 2008, he took to the streets to stage a hunger strike for the injustice of the plebiscite law. Only later did he learn that hunger strikes were also a form of non-violence resistance.

Prof Tsai expressed that URM, TPN, OST and other empowering courses were all introduced to Taiwan by Dr Albert Lin. Prof Tsai participated in the initial translation of URM files and documents, and these archives was later compiled and published by the PCT. Prof Tsai said the ideals of Civil Based Defense (CBD), advocated by Dr Albert Lin, is even more important in Taiwan today, as it is a good recipe to fight against China’s threat of force.

Prof Tsai indicated that Dr Albert Lin had worked hard for the Taiwan independence movement all his life, and that’s why he grew a beard to wait for the arrival of Taiwan’s independence. Although this could no longer be realized during Dr Albert Lin’s lifetime, Prof Tsai believed that Dr Albert Lin, who was modest, courteous and always smiling, would become the founding father most missed by the brave Taiwanese!