Presbyterian Church in Taiwan assembly greetings
Geneva, 14 April 2009
"Because you are precious in my sight, and honoured, I love you."
Dear Brothers and Sisters,
Christ is risen! And with the joy of the resurrection, I greet you with grace and peace in the name of the Triune God – Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Eastertide is indeed a powerful time to be gathered for prayer, witness and council. Please know that our prayers are with the whole church and especially the pastors, elders and lay persons gathered at Mackay Memorial Hospital for the 54th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT). The great story of the crucifixion, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ will surely inspire you as you seek God's guidance in strengthening the witness of the church and in living out the great commandment of love.
Please know that the WCC fellowship of 349 member churches is praying for all the people and the churches of Taiwan this very week. In the tradition of the ecumenical prayer cycle, through which the ecumenical family offers its prayers for God's world, this is the week that we pray for Taiwan, North Korea, South Korea and Japan.
The theme of the 54th General Assembly, "Witness of a Healthy Church – Practice the Command to Love", is a bold one reminding us of God's unfailing love for all of creation, Christ's commandment to love one another and St Paul's call to use the gifts we have been given to glorify God and build up the body of Christ.
As the prophet Isaiah preached to the Israelites in exile, the source of our redemption is God's love. We are redeemed by God's grace through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. The power of the resurrection is the great testimony that God's love can conquer all things. By God's grace, Christ was raised from the dead and the world was saved because of God's love for all of creation.
In response to God's amazing grace, we are commanded by Christ himself to share the redeeming love of God with one another, recognizing that all of creation is precious and honoured in God's sight.
We are precious gifts to one another and together we are called to use the gifts God has given for building up the body of Christ – for being the church and for proclaiming that Christ is Lord and Saviour.
The witness of a healthy church is measured by the love among Christ's followers, not only for one another, but for all of God's people and for all of creation. The witness of a healthy church is observed through the prayers and abundant gifts offered by Christ's followers for the glory of the Triune God. The witness of a healthy church is the people of God working together for peace and justice in the world through the mission of the church.
In the days ahead, may you be inspired by the witness of Christ resurrected, may the Holy Spirit bless you with an even deeper knowledge and practice of love and may God be glorified through your prayers and the work for which you are gathered.
I am very thankful to the Rev. Chang Te-Chien, General Secretary of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, for his kind invitation to be with you personally. Unfortunately, my schedule does not permit me to be with you. I remember fondly my last visit to Taiwan in 2006 and have remained encouraged by the witness of the PCT and its abiding commitment to mission.
Again, please accept these sincere greetings on behalf of the WCC fellowship of member churches. We pray for God's abundant blessing on the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan and for the proceedings of the 54th General Assembly.
Yours in Christ,
Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
WCC general secretary