To Search Hope from Vanities, the Book of Ecclesiastes Read to the PCT Youth

Taiwan Church News
3739 Edition
Oct 23 ~ 29, 2023
Weekly Topical
To Search Hope from Vanities, the Book of Ecclesiastes Read to the PCT Youth
Reported by Lin Yi-ying from Hsinchu
Entitled as, “Lying Flat? Let’s Talk about Hope amid Vanities!”, the 2023 PCT Youth Bible-Reading Camp is held at the Presbyterian Bible College in Hsinchu City from October 20 to 22. This is an event sponsored by the PCT General Assembly’s Campus Ministry Committee, and jointly organized by the Campus Ministry Committee and Youth Ministry Committee of the Taichung Presbytery, and the Youth Ministry Committee of the Hsinchu Presbytery. The book of Ecclesiastes is designated as the major text to study. About 70 youth from across the island participate in this Bible-Reading Camp.
Evangelist Song Yu-jer, assistant professor of the Old Testament at Tainan Theological Seminary and College, points out in his lectures that the book of Ecclesiastes may appear pessimistic, fatalistic, contradictory, and negative at first glance, but in fact this book explores the realm and practice of the biblical wisdom.
Though, Song says, the author of Ecclesiastes claims to be “King in Jerusalem”, however, the publication of Ecclesiastes is estimated to have been occurred in the third to fourth centuries BC. Many studies of historical criticism therefore conclude that the era of Ecclesiastes’ text is inconsistent with the era of King Solomon. In addition, he says, the Ecclesiastes is like a monologue text in which the author talks to himself, so it is very likely that King Solomon is just a pseudo-name utilized to cover up the author’s identity.
Mr Pan Chao-wei, convener of the Bible-Reading Camp, says that the members of the preparatory committee was all volunteer youth from different churches and presbyteries. Considering the limited time of the event, the book of Ecclesiastes is finally decided as the suitable biblical text for the youth to read and study.
Rev Tsai Heng-wei, who is in charge of the administrative affairs of the camp, says that the Youth Bible-Reading Camp, initially launched by the PCT General Assembly, was suspended in 2018. Since then, the grass-root events of Bible-Reading Camp was still continued among the PCT youths, college workers and local pastors, proving that it was very popular even during the pandemic period of covid-19. Such incessant movement of Bible-Reading also shows that the PCT youth need a Bible Studies Program to offer spiritual guidance in their daily lives.
Delivering a sermon, themed with “What is the use of hard work in a life full of pains, conflicts, chaos and vanities? “, Rev Lin Li-lun, pastor of Lu-Gu Church of Taichung Presbytery hosts the opening service of the Bible-Reading Camp. He encourages young men to reflect their own lives from an in-depth perspective, based on the ideas of “vanities” reiterated in the book of Ecclesiastes, and audaciously figure out future lives compliant a God-like vision with meanings and blessings.

To engage in this 2023 Bible-Reading Camp, there are five workshops offered as Biblical Theology, Bible Studies, Self-Care, Work Career, and Social Relationship respectively: The Biblical Theology Workshop is suitable for social youth who are familiar with the Bible; if the youth expect pastors and evangelists to lead Bible studies or exegesis, they can choose the Bible Studies Workshop; if the youth want to share and discuss your thoughts and feelings, they can choose the Self-Care Workshop; if the youth encounter problems and challenges in the career, they can choose the Work Career Workshop; if the youth want to get to know each other through reading the Bible, they can choose the Social Relationship Workshop.
Translated by Peter Wolfe