Taiwan Church News
Oct 30 ~ Nov 5, 2023
Standing United for the Mission, Bunun Presbytery Commemorates the Reformation
Reported by Dalul from Hualien
Bunun Presbytery held a mission assembly, entitled as “Mintasa Cis Tamadaza – Standing United for God”, on October 29, commemorated for the Reformation. The assembly invited 41 churches to attend from the metropolitan area, Hualien District, and Taitung District, with a total of more than 1,600 PCT members. Gathered in the Yuli High School gymnasium, the participants served each other, via showcasing their passion and determination to stand together, and pledged to carry on proclaiming the gospel.
The liturgical design of the service programs was full of cultural and ethnic elements of the Bunun indigenous people. When the service was officially started, the elders of the Bunun Presbytery sang “Pasibutbut” (an ancient polyphonic Bunun song, also known as a prayer song for the millet harvest). When this song of Pasibutbut is sung, the singers are required to cooperate with each other. Only when the spirit of cooperation can be shown explicitly, the solidarity meaning of Pasibutbut can be realized to echo the spirit of the assembly – “Standing United for God”.
Following the ritual of Malastapang (a Bunun indigenous report of hunt gathering), the Bunun Presbytery’s missionary white paper was announced by Rev. Peng Chi-hong, moderator of the PCT General Assembly, and then handed over to Elder Chiu Wen-ming, moderator of Bunun Presbytery, and finally passed to Rev Paki Takisulavan ( director of the Pastoral Care Committee of Bunun Presbytery).
This very ritual of Malastapang, as a solemn covenant with God in public prayer, read the missionary white paper as an important foundation and standard for future missionary work. At the end of the ritual, flags of each church were handed over by the elders to the youth representatives, symbolizing that missionary participation invites all of age and requires the efforts of the church as a whole. In the meantime, an chorus of “Paiska Laupaku” (meaning “from now on”) is sung by the congregation, symbolizing an official launch of the Bunun mission for God.
Quoting the scriptural verses from Revelation 6:1-8, Rev Peng Chi-hong preached a sermon entitled as “Will tomorrow be better!?” . He pointed out that today’s world is full of challenges, including atrocious warfare, economic stagnation and food shortage etc. However, the scriptures in Revelation shows that these disasters are under the control of God. Therefore, as Christians, we should have hope, follow Jesus with passions, witness the truth in our lives, and share the gospel and faith with our neighbors, Rev Peng stressed.
Elder Chiu Wen-ming pointed out in the interview that statistical analysis shows that the demographics of Bunun Presbytery became stagnated. Therefore, he said, evangelical mission became the goal of the Bunun Presbytery, and a missionary task force had also established among different committees within the Presbytery to integrate evangelical missions into kinds of services. Reiterating “Standing United for God” as the theme of the assembly, he emphasized that the union of pastors, elders and the laymen is crucial to the missionary work. Without solidarity, he said, the hopes and visions of mission would be difficult to realize. Through the Pasibutbut announced within the congregation, he sincerely hoped that the enthusiasm for future missions in Bunun can be reignited.
Rev Tiang Qalmutan, leader of the Bunun mission team, said that many consensus meetings for the mission had been held in the past, and the feedback showed that what the Bunun Presbytery needs most at present is “solidarity” and “training”. To reach the evangelical visions in the future, he said, the mission of Bunun Presbytery shall consider different age groups according to their needs, occupations and other factors. In addition, he reminded, the lands targeted by mission should not limit to Taiwan only, but also shall include south-eastern Asian countries, such as Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, etc., which meant the mission shall move forward into the international community, and continue to inspire pastors, elders and the laymen to work together for the Kingdom of God.
In addition to the Bunun mission assembly on Oct 29th, a youth worship with musical concert was also held in the Yuli High School gymnasium on the afternoon of Oct 28th, remarked by Rev Qaivang Taisnunan, general secretary of Bunun Presbytery. The Youth Assembly was aimed at the youth group and invited young people to share their life experiences. From the service of music worship, young people were called to work for the Lord. The Sunday School Education ministry of Bunun Presbytery also prepareed different worship sites and led 300 children to learn the Bible stories and biblical verses.
To promote the cultural ministry of Bunun language, Rev Qaivang Taisnunan pointed out that not only bilingual missionary videos in the Chinese and ethnic languages were manufactured, but also bilingual sermons at youth training camps were offered. Among the assembly for Sunday school children, Bunun cultural courses and ethnic hymnals were the core programs. And senior Bunun citizens were invited to lead the children to learn and study via interaction. Bunun Presbytery’s ministry committee of Agro-Cultural Industry and Ethnic Development collected local handicrafts and agricultural produces from various churches and set up 11 booths to promote the Bunun ethnic development and indigenous peoples across Taiwan.
Translated by Peter Wolfe