It’s Holy Week and the sun is shining all week in Taipei, yippee!
Today is Maundy Thursday, and appropriate for Maundy Thursday is a visit to Zhongshan Presbyterian Church (中山基督長老教會) in central Taipei (62, Linsen N. Rd 林森北路62號), where the small stained glass window above the altar is of Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane, while his disciples are fast asleep nearby.
The window at the back of the church is of Jesus the Good Shepherd…
This morning, very early, I cycled past this church on my way into Taipei. The sun was shining, the sky was blue and the traffic stopped long enough for me to take some photos without getting run over. The church does look splendid in the sun!
And what’s so special about this church? Well, it’s very historic, built in 1937 in a Gothic style, with a 3-story bell tower. This was during the Japanese era 1895-1945, and it was built as a Japanese Anglican Church, Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) with all services in Japanese. Taiwan at the time belonged to the NSKK Diocese of Osaka. This is the most famous of all the church buildings in Taiwan built by the Japanese Anglican Church. Apparently, as it was near a place called Taisho Cho, its original name was “Taisho Street Anglican Church”.
But in 1945-6, when the Japanese left Taiwan, there was no Taiwanese Anglican / Episcopal Church to hand it over to, and in 1947 it became the Zhongshan Presbyterian Church; the church celebrated their 70th anniversary in 2017. The Taiwan Episcopal Church was founded much later, in 1954.
Fast forward to 2004 and Taiwan Episcopal Church (Diocese of Taiwan) began a companion diocese partnership with the NSKK Diocese of Osaka, which is still going strong today. And we have a good relationship with the Zhongshan Presbyterian Church today too – and Bishop David J. H. Lai has preached at this church many times.
One of the places we like to take our Japanese visitors is to see this church. It really is full of history, and it really looks quite amazing surrounded as it is by all the high-rise buildings and all that traffic, whizzing past on both sides!
And so, back to the stained glass window and its significance for Maundy Thursday ~ wishing you all a meaningful and blessed Holy Week!