[Episcopal News Service – Taipei, Taiwan] Presiding Bishop Michael Curry brought the message of the Jesus Movement to the Episcopal Diocese of Taiwan during its recent Diocesan Synod, Feb. 24-26, telling Taiwanese Episcopalians to “follow Jesus in the Episcopal way.”
“If you follow in the way of Jesus and your life begins to reflect his life and if he is the perfect image of God, the more your life reflects his life, the more you actually reflect the image of God in you and you become who God created you to be. And when you do that you are free,” said Curry during a Feb. 25 address to synod attendees gathered at St. John’s Cathedral in Taipei.
“To follow Jesus is not to become someone else; it’s to become who God intended you to be in the beginning,” he said
Prayer, fasting, self-denial, reading and studying scripture, special acts of devotion and piety that serve others in the world have, for thousands of years, drawn people to God and to each, Curry said, inviting those present to adopt those practices this Lent.
Over a three-day visit, Curry preached and concelebrated at Eucharist during the synod’s opening and closing sessions at St. John’s Cathedral; gave a keynote address focused on “The Meaning and Significance of a Christian University in the 21st Century” to students at St. John University; addressed the diocese’s clergy, lay leaders and standing committee members attending the synod and held a Q&A session. (The video of the presiding bishop preaching at the synod’s opening leads the post, the closing sermon follows at the end. Both sermons were interpreted by Tim Pan into Mandarin. A blog post by Catherine Lee, an Anglican missionary serving in Taiwan, including photo gallery is here.)
When Taiwan Bishop David Jung-Hsin Lai heard the presiding bishop would be visiting Asia, he worked with Peter Ng, the church’s officer for Asia and the Pacific, now retired, to schedule a diocesan visit onto the end of the trip. It’s important for Episcopalians and Christians in Taiwan, to hear the Curry’s message about the Jesus Movement, said Lai, following the presiding bishop’s sermon at the close of the synod.
Lai, the Rev. Lily Chang, of St. James’ in Taichung West District said, encourages Episcopalians to be Christians in the world, not just in the church.
“The bishop tells us, ‘we are a minority, don’t just hide in church. Lift up your head and bring love to the people,’’’ said Chang, who was excited to hear the presiding bishop preach about the Jesus Movement.
An estimated 4.5 percent of Taiwan’s 23.5 million people identify as Christians, roughly half Protestant and half Roman Catholic. The Anglican Church reached Taiwan in the late 1890s; Episcopal chaplains brought the Episcopal Church to Taiwan when they ministered to American soldiers after World War II. The Diocese of Taiwan achieved full-diocesan status in 1988 and is part of Province VIII; the House of Bishops held its fall 2014 meeting in Taipei.
Taiwan was the presiding bishop’s last stop on a Feb. 15-27 tour of Asia and Southeast Asia that included visits to the Anglican Provinces of the Philippines and Hong Kong, and the Protestant Christian Church in China.
Ng; the Rev. Charles Robertson, canon to the presiding bishop for ministry beyond The Episcopal Church; the Rev. David Copley, director of global partnerships and mission personnel; Neva Rae Fox, the church’s public affairs officer; and Sharon Jones, executive assistant to the presiding bishop, accompanied Curry on trip to Asia and Southeast Asia.