Churches in Taiwan united to walk on 50-days Prayer Journey for Social Harmony
Published 13 April 2004 | Eunice K. Y. Or
In late March, the presidential election in Taiwan has been causing disorders in the society. Yesterday, the atmosphere changed as more than 100 Christians from major Christian denominations in Taipei participated in a 50-day prayer drive.
Christian voters and churches were divided over their political preference during the presidential campaign. In the early morning at Chinan Presbyterian church adjacent to the Legislative Yuan, in the prayer for peace and social harmony in Taipei, the congregations reconciled with each other and united together. The one-hour prayer meeting was the first of a series of similar services to be held at the church over the coming 50 days until May 30.
According to Reverend Chou Lien Hua, who initiated the prayer drive, "We must pray for this piece of land because our country is divided after the election. Not only are offices and families divided over politics, even Christian churches have also been divided.?
Taiwan, a small island hosting a total population of 23 million, has complicated ethnic and political background. The population is divided into two groups: one is the “mainlanders? those whose families fled to Taiwan when the Chinese communists took over the mainland in 1949 and the other one is “native Taiwanese?
The mainlanders traditionally support eventual unification with China, while the native Taiwanese lean more toward formal independence. The debate of being an independent nation or not continued for many years. Even for Christians in Taiwan, they were quite active in participating in the political and social activities.
The disintegration between the two parties has become tenser after the presidential campaign. Pastor Lee Yao Pin spoke on yesterday’s prayer meeting, “Taiwan is too small that it cannot afford to see division over political, ethnic and regional differences.?
"We must learn to pray for the political party or individual politicians we hate most in line with the biblical teaching of 'praying for your foes,'" Lee said.
"I earnestly hope that this series of prayer meetings can help mend political and ethnic divisions,?prayed Rev Chou, the initiator of the prayer drive.