Taiwan Church News
Nov 6th ~ 12th, 2023
Women Caring for God’s Earth – ACWC Celebrates Its 65th Anniversary in Taiwan
Reported by Lin Yi-ying from Hsinchu
The 17th Asia Church’s Women Conference (ACWC) was held in Taiwan from November 5th to 8th. The quadrennial conference, which was originally scheduled to be held in Bangkok, Thailand in 2018, due to the impact of the pandemic, it was held again in Taiwan after a five-year absence. At the opening ceremony held at the Presbyterian Bible College on the 6th Nov, ACWC Chairman Ms Supaporn Yarnasarn on behalf of the ACWC Executive Committee, said in the opening speech that she thanked and praised the Lord for bringing everyone together in Taiwan to celebrate the 65th anniversary of ACWC.
During the four-day and three-night conference, a total of 66 ACWC church women representatives, from Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, Philippines, Thailand, New Zealand, Nepal, Myanmar, Mongolia, Indonesia, India, Sri Lanka, and Taiwan, attended the conference. During the conference, representatives from various countries went on the stage to report current situations and issues faced by women in the local churches. In the meetings, a new chairman and executive committee members were arranged to be elected. In addition, the countries designated for mutual intercession were adjusted, and whether to amend the constitutional charter were also discussed.
Ms Yanasan admitted that there were actually many obstacles during the pandemic. She expressed that, after the 16th General Assembly held in Bangkok in October 2018, everyone seemed to miss something deep in their hearts as it’s hard to meet each other face to face in the pandemic. However, everyone also began to learn how to contact other people through various communications online, because everyone did not want to stop serving God and His people, she said.
Now that the 17th ACWC conference can be held at the Presbyterian Bible College in Taiwan, she warmly welcomes members from all over the world the ACWC Executive Committee. At the opening ceremony held on Nov 6th, a Hakka poetry group read a poem entitled as “Walking on the Mountain Road Reciting Poems and Singing”, in response to this year’s theme “Women Caring for God’s Earth”.
Ms Chiu Kai-li, assistant professor of Taiwan Theological Seminary, was invited to deliver special lectures for the conference. Professor Chiu lamented that climate change and the rising greenhouse effects caused the entire creation to groan in pain. Thus, the incurred natural disasters also endangered the survival of animals and plants, including humans, she worried. Coupled with the rapid industrialization, over-waste of resources and energy, and the continuous shrinking of animal habitats, etc., the obvious human greed and selfishness have seriously distorted the balance of our only earth and cost human beings the noble spirit of reciprocity, interdependence and mutual respect.
Ms Chiu Kai-li, collaborated with Mr Lin Yi-ren, a professor at Taipei National University of the Arts, and Ms Pagung Tomi, an Atayal cultural worker, led ACWC members to experience the restoration of the millet farming in the tribes of Smanqus, Chen-si-bao and Tian-pu in Jian-Shi Township, Hsinchu County.
To appreciate the cultural significance of this indigenous agriculture, the ACWC members were also invited to read a poem, by Simon J. Ortiz : “…Standing again / with and among all items of life, / the land, rivers, the mountains, plants, animals, / all life that is around us / that we are included with, / Standing within the circle of the horizon, / the day sky and the night sky, / the sun, moon, the cycle of seasons / and the earth mother which sustains us,…Standing again, within, among all things / we ask in all sincerity, for hope, courage, peace, / strength, vision, unity and continuance.
In his speech, Rev Chen Hsin-liang, general secretary of the Presbyterian Church of Christ in Taiwan (PCT), affirmed ACWC’s vision to care about God’s creation from a unique female perspective, via reflecting on the “pains” experienced in daily lives, and endeavoring with the hope in God to create a free, righteous, harmonious, and reciprocally-beneficial living environment. Responding to the theme of 17th ACWC Conference, women’s care for God’s creation, Rev Chen on behalf of the PCT supported women’s solidarity to change and influence the world to take care of our world’s ecological environment and wished the ACWC conference a success and full of God’s blessings.
ACWC was initiated by a group of Asian Christian women met in PCUSA assembly in 1956, and its first conference was held at Hong Kong in 1958. The first session meeting of the first round in the PCT Women’s Ministry Committee, convened in 1960, decided to join several ecumenical institutes: the World Day of Prayer, The Fellowship of the Least Coin Prayer and the ACWC. in 1984, the PCT Women’s Ministry Committee of the 30th PCT General Assembly decided to set the fourth Sunday of June annually as the ACWC Memorial Sunday. Ms Jiang Shu-wen, the Elder of Taipei East Gate Presbyterian Church of Chi-Hsin Presbytery, served as the general secretary of ACWC from 2002 to 2010.
Translated by Peter Wolfe