ELCA companions in Taiwan
Who are our companions in Taiwan?
Who is the Taiwan Lutheran Church (TLC) and what are its ministries?
The Taiwan Lutheran Church (TLC)
, a member of the Lutheran World Federation
, has grown to be a witnessing community of approximately 15,000 members in 120 congregations and 30 new church plants. The largest congregations are in the Taipei and Kaohsiung metropolitan areas, but there are a number of congregations and new mission outreach programs in the west central part of Taiwan as well.
The TLC has given extensive attention to ministry among university students, with strong student center programs in Taipei, Taichung, and Tainan. The student work has brought many young and well-educated women and men into the church, providing a new generation of leaders. Having grown up in Taiwan, they are more comfortable in its highly industrialized and secularized milieu than the older pastors and laity, who were mostly immigrants from rural areas of China. A number of young pastors have chosen the gospel ministry, which has little status and economic security in Taiwan, over opportunities for successful careers in business or professional life.
Medical work has also received priority concern, with a small hospital in Kaohsiung, and a large, 1000-bed hospital in the south-central city of Chiayi. The Chiayi Christian hospital has a mission outreach to "guest workers" from Thailand and the Philippines who work in factories in Chiayi. The hospital operates senior care centers and vocational programs for those with disabilities. The hospital has also begun an outreach program in Laos, with the hope of building a hospital or clinic there.Who is the China Lutheran Seminary and what are its ministries?China Lutheran Seminary
, in Hsinchu, is an inter-Lutheran theological training center serving all six Lutheran church bodies in Taiwan. The seminary recently opened a Research Center for Traditional Chinese Religions and New Religious Movements, in response to a resurgence of religious movements within the past decade or more. Many TLC pastors are also trained at China Evangelical Seminary in Taipei, an ecumenical institution that focuses on evangelism and preaching the gospel.How do the companions in Taiwan and the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America accompany one another in ministry?
Through the churchwide ELCA Global Mission unit, the ELCA relates to and is in bilateral relationship with over 80 companion churches and institutions. The ELCA Global Mission unit stewards a church-to-church relationship with the companions in Taiwan.
This relationship is deepened and extended by the TLC's relationship, through the ELCA Companion Synods program, with the Sierra Pacific Synod.Churchwide funding
through the ELCA Global Mission unit supports key priorities identified by the companions. Following the 2008 massive earthquake in Sichuan, China, the ELCA and TLC worked together in providing relief and support with the church in Sichuan. Cooperative work extends to utilizing the gifts of a Taiwanese pastoral care professor to fill needs in Malaysia (Sabah) and China. TLC also supports Chinese ministries within the ELCA, especially with its companion synod, the ELCA Sierra Pacific Synod.Taiwan: the context where the Taiwan Lutheran Church serves
Taiwan is a multiparty democracy. More than 23 million people inhabit Taiwan. They recognize Taiwanese (Min) and Mandarin Chinese as their official languages, while some also speak Hakka dialects. Three main ethnic groups can be found in Taiwan: Taiwanese (84%, including Hakka), Han Chinese (14%), and aborigine (2%). Religions found in Taiwan include: a mixture of Buddhist, Confucian, and Taoist (93%); Christian (4.5%); and other (2.5%).
Taiwan has a dynamic capitalist economy with diminishing government involvement in investment and foreign trade. Exports provide the basis for Taiwan's economy. Agriculture comprised 35% of GDP in 1952, but only 2% today. Taiwan is an important and major investor in many Asian nations and China has become its largest export market. Low-level radioactive waste disposal, raw sewage disposal, trade in endangered species, and air and water pollution are Taiwan's primary environmental concerns. Economic growth will depend on export markets, which makes Taiwan vulnerable to global trends.
For up-to-date information on Taiwan, type “Taiwan” into an online search engine or visit: