Category Archives: Faith

Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert featuring Lord’s Prayer | The Guardian

You must check this out – watch the ‘Just Pray’ video and then read the articles on the BBC and Guardian websites – and find out why it’s being banned as an advert in British cinemas at Christmas, links given below…..

The irony of a prayer that Jesus taught us being banned as we prepare to celebrate his birth…

The Church of England says it is “disappointed and bewildered” by the refusal of leading UK cinemas to show an advert featuring the Lord’s Prayer.

Source: Lord’s Prayer cinema ad snub ‘bewilders’ Church of England – BBC News

Church of England says it is bewildered by leading chains’ stance on advert that was intended to play before new Star Wars film

Source: Cinemas refuse to show Church of England advert featuring Lord’s Prayer | World news | The Guardian

2015年台灣普世豐盛生命協會感恩餐會 GLEC Thanksgiving Dinner ~ and we were there!

Not only were we there, but so was Dr. Doris Brougham 彭蒙惠, possibly Taiwan’s best-known missionary and English teacher – famous for her Studio Classroom English classes through ORTV, and for her trumpet playing and very lively personality.  She’s now 89, and has been in Taiwan since 1951, and is still dancing, singing, playing her trumpet and sharing her faith.   Amazing!  Her music group, Heavenly Melody 天韻 led the worship and she joined in with her trumpet, ah it was wonderful!

And so it was that we had a very entertaining, challenging and of course, a very moving evening!

During this past summer, a group of 16 students and leaders from St. John’s University Student Fellowship and Advent Church took part in an overseas mission trip, organized by the father of one of our students, Rev. Francis Shih, who helps to run the Taiwan branch of GLEC, known in Chinese as 普世豐盛生命協會.   The initials stand for ‘Global Life Enrichment Center’ ~ their original vision was to share the Gospel with post-Communist nations, now expanded to include all sorts of ministry in all sorts of places….

So last night was their annual Taipei Thanksgiving Dinner; in the last few weeks they had also held similar events in Taichung and Kaohsiung.  Our group was invited, and as we had 2 tables, the extra places were filled with student fellowship and church members.  GLEC also especially wanted mission workers to attend, so I went too, and we were given a round of applause at the end for our service to Taiwan!  We joined 300+ others, from churches and mission organizations all over Taiwan.  The banquet was held in a restaurant usually used for wedding receptions, so hopefully the restaurant staff had a pleasant surprise – the waiters certainly enjoyed joining in with some of the action worship songs!

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As mentioned in the invitation card above, this year Taiwan is celebrating 2 special 150th anniversaries: the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the Gospel in Taiwan (and the founding of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church), and the 150th anniversary of the founding of the China Inland Mission (now OMF) by Hudson Taylor.  Thanksgiving for these anniversaries was very much part of last night’s event……

The first Presbyterian Missionary to Taiwan was James Laidlaw Maxwell, and extracts of his Wikipedia entry are copied here….

James Laidlaw Maxwell Senior ( Chinese: 馬雅各; born 18 March 1836 in Scotland – March 1921) was the first Presbyterian missionary to Formosa (Qing-era Taiwan). He served with the English Presbyterian Mission.

Maxwell studied medicine and took his degree at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland. He worked in London at Brompton Hospital and at the Birmingham General Hospital. He was an elder in the Broad Street Presbyterian Church before being sent to Taiwan by the Presbyterian Church of England (now within the United Reformed Church) in 1864. He donated a small printing press to the church which was later used to print the Taiwan Church News.

On 16 June 1865, he established the first Presbyterian church in Taiwan, this date now celebrated by the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan as its anniversary. First his mission centred in the then-capital Taiwan Fu (now Tainan City); in 1868 he moved near Qijin (now part of Kaohsiung) where his work, both medical and missionary, became more welcomed. In early 1872 he advised Canadian Presbyterian missionary pioneer George Leslie Mackay to start his work in northern Taiwan, near Tamsui.

He married Mary Anne Goodall (died January 1918) of Handsworth on 7 April 1868 in Hong Kong. They had two sons, John Preston and James Laidlaw Jnr, both of whom later also became medical missionaries. He retired in London in 1885 where he formed and became the first secretary of the Medical Missionary Association. He and his sons oversaw the construction of Sin-lâu Hospital in Tainan, the first western-style hospital in Taiwan. The younger J. L. Maxwell served in the Tainan hospital from 1900 to 1923, during Taiwan’s Japanese era.

James Laidlaw Maxwell was followed soon after by other famous missionaries, most notably Thomas Barclay and George Leslie Mackay. The UK connection is immense, and was mentioned in the opening speech by the GLEC pastor with the challenge that the UK has greatly changed since 1865 ~ and now we need to take on that responsibility ourselves and to go out and share the Gospel around the world….

And so to last night’s Thanksgiving Dinner…. worship, prayers, speeches, testimonies, songs and then a time for the offering (let’s face it, fund-raising for mission is a practical necessity!), and then the food and all 10 courses – it was very delicious!

And finally we had to have a group photo, and fortunately, dear Doris came to join us ~ her Studio Classroom has a mobile app for smart phones, and she delighted in showing our students how to find it.  Not many 89-year-olds are quite so smart when it comes to finding their way around smart phones!

And here we all are ~ a special memento of a great evening!

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Notice how smartly dressed our students are ~ no shorts, no flip flops and not even any T-shirts in sight.  Not easy to accomplish, but hey, well worth it, ha ha!

In thanksgiving to Almighty God for 150 years of mission in Taiwan ~ and here’s to the next 150 ~ YES!

The Rock Cafe 磐石咖啡館: You just must GO!

If you’re anywhere in the Tamsui (Danshui) 淡水 area of Taipei, and you haven’t been to the Rock Cafe, then you have to go.  Honestly, GO!  It’s such a great place!

The Rock is a outreach ministry of YWAM Taipei offering ‘English. Coffee. Truth.’ A great combination!  It’s really the top 2 floors above some shops in the main night shopping street of Tamsui, and is open every weekday evening for free English conversation, helped along with free coffee, and staffed by YWAM workers and volunteers, young people from all over the world.

Last night we took our St. John’s University Chaplaincy ‘Relaxed English’ Student Group down there to check it all out ~ actually it’s so famous that most students have already heard of it, and quite a few have been there.  I like to go once every semester to introduce it to our student group, and encourage them to go there on their own.  For our first-year students, it always helps to go somewhere new in a group ~ and so we did just that….

12 students, 4 groups of 3, and chat chat chat all evening. I left after an hour, but the students continued on for hours after that – clearly enjoying themselves and learning lots of English, making new friends and have deep conversations…

The Rock really is a huge asset, a great blessing for us all ~ and a wonderful place to go anytime, but especially on one of Tamsui’s many many cold and wet evenings in early autumn!

And do check out their facebook page here, pray for The Rock ministry, and for all our students. It’s such a great way to practice English and learn about the Christian faith!

Prayers of the People @ General Convention

For the last 10 days, June 25 to July 3, the 78th General Convention of the US-based Episcopal Church has been meeting in Salt Lake City, Utah, USA. The Diocese of Taiwan is one of those dioceses present, and Bishop Lai led a group from Taiwan to take part in it.

Last year during Advent, many of us took part in a highly successful social media project – like a global Advent Calendar – called Advent Word, where we posted a photo a day on an Advent theme, organized by SSJE, the Society of St. John the Evangelist.  I loved it!

SSJE were invited by the General Convention to organize another social media project for the duration of the General Convention, described here:

At the request of the General Convention Liturgy Team, the Society of Saint John the Evangelist is offering a social media initiative called  #prayersof.

#prayersof invites everyone from around the globe to add prayers in words and images to The Prayers of the People at the Episcopal Church’s 78th General Convention. Each day, a number of submitted prayers will be incorporated into the spoken liturgy of that day’s General Convention worship.

Adding a prayer is incredibly simple. By using the hashtag #prayersof on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, anyone posting a public prayer in words or images will have that prayer included in the prayer website at General Convention – prayersofthepeople.org

#prayersof is based on the seven classic forms of prayers identified in the Book of Common Prayer: thanksgiving, praise, intercession, adoration, oblation, penitence and petition. Themes of life and celebration have been added as there are nine days of General Convention Eucharists.

So this has been my humble contribution these last 9 days, all photos used were mine, taken in the last week or so, and well, minus the Instagram filters!

Day 1: Life

God of Life, may our lives be transformed into something beautiful for you.

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Day 2: Thanksgiving

God of Grace, your presence sustains us in the storms of life.  Thank you that your grace is sufficient for us, for your strength is made perfect in weakness.

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Day 3: Praise

God of Glory, however we honour our earthly heroes, it is you alone who is worthy of the highest praise, honour and glory.

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Day 4: Adoration

God of Love, as the flowers enjoy the warmth and light of the sun, may we lift up our hearts and minds to you and enjoy the warmth and light of your presence with us.

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Day 5: Penitence

God of Forgiveness, when we fail in our calling to shine as lights in the world, have mercy.

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Day 6: Intercession

God of Compassion, we pray for those who travel on the journey of life with us, especially for those struggling with pain, grief, loneliness and fear.

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Day 7: Petition

God of the ages, help us to be bridge-builders, reaching out to others, bringing unity where there is division.

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Day 8: Oblation

God of vision, our lives are often complicated and it’s a challenge to stick together. We offer to you our challenges, relationships and lives, for the building of your kingdom.

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Day 9: Celebration

We celebrated this day with a huge water fight! God of joy, may we celebrate, proclaim and share your love with those around us.

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As the General Convention concludes today, we pray for all their discussions, announcements, elections, results, decisions, conversations, meetings ~ and for the ongoing ministry of the Episcopal Church, and the Presiding Bishop-elect, Michael Curry.

Christ is risen, Alleluia!

Wishing you all a blessed and happy Easter ~ Christ is risen, He is risen indeed, Alleluia!

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“Not the empty tomb
but the uninhabited
cross. Look long enough
and you will see the arms
put on leaves. Not a crown
of thorns, but a crown of flowers
haloing it, with a bird singing
as though perched on paradise’s threshold.
We have over-furnished
our faith. Our churches
are as limousines in the procession
towards heaven. But the verities
remain: a de-nuclearised
cross, uncontaminated
by our coinage; the chalice’s
ichor; and one crumb of bread
on the tongue for the bird-like
intelligence to be made tame by.”

Poem: ‘Not the Empty Tomb’ by R. S. Thomas 1990