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Welcome Speech for Workshop on Emergency Preparedness and Response on Nov.10 2015

Emergency Preparedness and Response Workshop

November 10-13, 2015

Welcome Remarks
Rev. Lyim Hong-Tiong, General Secretary

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

On behalf of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan, it is with great joy that I welcome you to Taiwan. I see several good friends who have visited us previously and others are here for the very first time. I am so happy to renew relationships with our partners but, I am even more delighted to make new friendships. It is so wonderful that as members of the body of Christ, we are not strangers to one another. We give thanks to God that we can be part of ecumenical family despite the vast physical distances that separate us.

Let me take this opportunity to express my deep appreciation to the Council for World Mission for helping to be a co-sponsor of this significant workshop. Without its generosity and commitment to promote emergency preparedness in the churches, this workshop would not have taken place. Thank you very much, Sudipta. Kindly convey our profound gratitude to the CWM. I also must express a special word of gratitude to the ACT Alliance, especially to its Moderator, Mr. Sushant Argawal and the staff who are here to provide leadership to the workshop. Modertor Argawal, I am so pleased that our discussion in Busan, two years ago at the WCC Assembly, about the possibility of holding a workshop in Taiwan, is now a reality.

Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,

Later today, some of you will be sharing your experiences in emergency preparedness and response. My colleague, Rev. Uilian Lim, will do so on behalf of the PCT. So I will not repeat what he will say. I will just say a few words about our motivation.

In 2009, Typhoon Morakot devastated Taiwan. The PCT raised over US$ 8 million and we embarked on a four-year long emergency response and rehab programme. For assistance to the Fukushima Triple Disaster in Japan, our Church raised US$ 1.7 million to contribute the emergency response through our partner church, the United Church of Christ in Japan and the Japan Ecumenical Disaster Response Office.


When these emergencies occurred, we had two simple messages to our PCT congregations.

The first is to remind them the familiar scripture that is well-known to all of you.

“If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it.” (1 Corinthians 12:26). As Taiwan was struck by the most serious flooding in fifty years, the PCT urged its members to adhere to their faith and tradition. We urged them to identify with this land and its inhabitants, especially those who suffered loss and destruction.

In other words, we appealed to our members to be in solidarity with those who suffered and with the survivors. We organized a church-wide response by providing relief and help to the afflicted areas immediately. We took charge of the distribution of daily necessities. We recruited and assigned many volunteers. We held prayer services to bring hope and peace for the people in the afflicted areas.

The second message we shared with our membership was to urge them to be responsible stewards of the earth. This is what God commissioned the whole humankind. We told our people to be mindful of the consequences of years of improper emphasis on economic development and an unwise national land planning policy. We pointed to the arrogance of believing in the power of technology. Together these factors created a serious ecological crisis in Taiwan.

Therefore, we urge the government and the people in Taiwan to repent and renounce the idea that we are in control of “ecological balance” or that we can forever be in charge of the earth. We ask our nation to be humble and learn from the whole creation. The creation offers the possibility of renewal and redemption of human folly. The earth is our mother, given by God. Only when we learn to treat God’s creation with humility and respect, can we and our children avoid the wrath of nature.

Once more, thank you so much for coming to Taiwan. Welcome!


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