‘PREPARE for what? How do you PREPARE for the Word of God to come and “take our flesh and grow as a child in Mary’s womb?” PREPARE and “grow as a child.”’
Today we celebrate Rev. Charles C. T. Chen 陳金地牧師 82nd birthday ~ Happy Birthday Charles! He and MaryJo are not in Taiwan to celebrate, instead they are in Italy with Bishop David J. H. Lai and the group from the National Council of Churches of Taiwan (NCCT) visiting many people and places, including the Vatican and Pope Francis (check the report here).
This photo is Charles and MaryJo’s engagement photo, taken in 1958, as they PREPARE(d) for their marriage. Wow, almost 60 years ago!
And what’s the connection with the ‘Visit to the Taiwan Episcopal Church 台灣聖公會 of Bishop John A. Pinckney from Taiwan’s Companion Diocese, the Episcopal Diocese of Upper S. Carolina (EDUSC), October 1965?’
Fast forward to 1996, and St. James’ Episcopal Church, Taichung became a parish, with Rev. Charles C. T. Chen as rector. In 1998, a letter from Bishop Manuel Lumpias of the Episcopal Diocese of Central Philippines (EDCP) to then Bishop of Taiwan, John C. T. Chien described how Igorot Christians in EDCP were meeting for worship under mango trees because they had no church buildings of their own. Inspired by memories of the generous US$ 30,000 donation in 1971 from Christ Church, Greenville, EDUSC, to build St. James’ Church, Charles responded in faith and love, inspiring church members and friends to donate money sufficient to build a church in EDCP. That first church, Christ the King, Sandeline in Nueva Ecija, soon inspired a second, then a third, and eventually over 12 years, a total of 12 churches were built to the glory of God.
As Charles said at the time, “In Taiwan, we had nothing and we were so poor. Now we have everything, so it is time for us to help others. Just as Christ Church, Greenville, EDUSC gave so willingly to us in our early days, so we want to express our thanks by sharing our wealth with others.” Thanks Be To God!