305. 美國聖路易台灣人基督長老教會的歷史簡略 / 張理美 /07/2017

美國聖路易台灣人基督長老教會的歷史簡略

作者 張理美

一九七二夏天,在聖路易的張世聰醫師與翁秀惠夫婦,高銘憲與石幸津醫師夫婦,台北雙連教會長老石滋理醫師,和林逸民醫師陳倫美夫婦,開始討論要成立一個台灣人基督徒圑契。當時還有陳克充博士郭榮子夫婦,及鄭紀昭博士謝光華夫婦,一齊開了約兩次會。正好蔡承昌與張理美醫師夫婦抵達聖路易而受邀請。自此每隔一週的家庭禮拜就開始了。漸漸人數增加至20多人。1978成立幹事會和設立章程,命名”福爾摩斯基督徒圑契“. 由張理美向州政府登記。陳倫美在1978-1984執筆寫隔週一次的通訊。當人數增加到40’s,家庭容納不下,只有向美國長老教會以利亞-拉芙究以中會求救。經過中會呼籲,瑞奇蒙長老基督教會熱忱開放教會給此圑契,在隔週的禮拜天下午使用禮拜廳,主日學教室,和廚房。在1982五月,合法登記聯邦和州政府的非營利教會機關。

做禮拜的人數愈多,會友要求找牧師的意望愈強烈。幹事會進行尋牧。當時正好邀請黃武東牧師來培靈,他是以前台灣長老教會總會多年的總幹事。那時在紐約恩惠教會牧會。與他諮商後,幹事會決定參加美國主流教派,美國長老教會。幹事會先做財政意願的調查,剛好足夠符和中會的標準,聘請全勤牧師。感謝主!同時尋求以利亞-拉芙究以中會協助設立’創會牧師’職位,使政府準許聘牧。幹事張理美醫師被派當代表到台灣與台北雙連教會賴俊明牧師面試及邀請他來赴任。這職位是四分之三牧師職,其他時間攻讀聖路易伊典神學院神學博士。賴牧師於1984十一月抵達聖路易. 為了改為每週日上午做禮拜,很快經中會呼籲, 便而轉至克可伍市第一長老教會的壁爐室做禮拜, 並使用主日學教室及節慶活動用的大廳。賴牧師立即開始查經運動並供給研讀資料。一半以上會友加入運動。同時每週三有小組查經班。會員靈性進步,數目增至六、七十人。

1988十月二日,正式以“福爾摩斯基督徒圑契“加入基底恩斯-拉芙究以中會會員。這是美國中西部第一間加入美國主流教會的台人教會。隨之,教會名稱正式登記為大聖路易台灣人長老基督教會,而賴俊明牧師在1989五月七日被封立為的第一任牧師。之後,“小會“成立,設有牧師與六位長老,高銘憲,林逸民,張理美,陳克充,和鄭紀昭。多年來會友有個願望“要建自己的教堂及自給的教會”。建堂基金會儲蓄有加,建堂行動開始了。會員找尋土地好幾年,終於接受基底恩斯-拉芙究以中會在波溫市的一塊五公畝土地。經過幾次的建堂研討會,張理美長老建議傘形禮拜堂與長方形交誼廳; 加上辦公室在前面傘型一角,使教堂的空中俯瞰圖成一個’台’字。同時蘇希三建議避免無用空間,故主日學教室圍繞交誼廳,剛好符合其原則。不久建堂委員會就成立了。鄭紀昭長老當主席。接著中會介紹專門教堂設計家及專門教堂建築的公司。聖路易聖馬可基督長老教會的豪爾.格里森牧師是這中會裡很支持我們的親愛朋友。1990九月十六日舉行破土典禮。除了建堂基金,也有很多聖路易台灣朋友及外地基督徒朋友奉獻。真感謝大家!

新教堂,542 Res Road,St. Louis,MO 63021,的獻堂慶祝典禮在1991八月十七日舉行。教堂正門右邊的牆壁內有貯藏一個’時空盒’,百年後可以開啟。這教堂亦用為聖路易地區台灣人聚集中心。在三年內這教會就將土地的價格額奉獻給基底恩斯-拉芙究以中會做“新教會發展基金”之用。

賴牧師應國際聖經公會之邀就職為台灣地區聖經公會主任,故於1990八月離開聖路易教會。他專程回來聖路易市參加獻堂慶祝典禮. 尋牧委員會立即成立。同時從1991十一月到1992十二月中會任命凱瑟琳.羅賓孫牧師當臨時牧師。這時期,青少年圑契得到凱瑟琳牧師帶領開花繁盛。張理美長老是當時的青少年事工長老而顔彼得博士是青少年輔導志工。至今這一群青少年已長大成人,散居各地,但仍繼續聯繋與相聚。讚美主!

以下是第二任紀元訓牧師與非牧者同工的記載:

紀元訓牧師:1993二月聘請,四月封立牧師。他創立社青圑契,與高銘獻, 張理美輔導英語成人圑契, 重組成人主日學並配合新開始的愛餐。全教會分四,五個家庭小組聚會, 直到2013 左右, 因很多退休會友常出外旅行。然而社青圑契, 年輕家庭團契, 英語成人團契, 與孩童事工, 愈興旺.

下列六位天使是神差遣來這教會的:

布連達.芬雅:兒童主日學校長。1996-2004。

希希和助手丈夫傑克.克雷姆夫婦:英語成人主日學. 1995-1996

布萊恩和珍妮.提爾夫婦,導航者宣教士: 開始英語大學生圑契. 1997-2003。

洪彼得牧師(韓國人),導航者宣教士: 主領門徒訓練班。使會友靈性大更生. 1998-1999。

成立執事會: 2003

威斯里.咖敏斯牧師:2005七月聘請為全勤副牧師,專注於英語事工和青少年事工。2005八月十四日封立。張理美是英語事工長老。英語大學生事工漸成長。可惜咖敏斯牧師2009四月離開後英語大學生事工就衰退了。英語成人圑契繼續。由陳澤華邱秀菁長老夫婦支持這事工。

帖德(韓國第二代)與瑰娜. 哈夫婦:紀牧師的女婿與女兒,2014到六月2017大大加強英語成人事工與小兒事工。現在有三位年輕成人加入查經領導陣容。

社青圑契: 多年受呂飛騰長老邱秀珍執事夫婦及紀俊傑長老吳靜如夫婦的輔導, 建立堅實的信仰與聖經智識。這圑契接受很多聖路易地區各大學學生及中國學生。

年輕家庭圑契: 很多拿到學位的社青有了工作及居留權,又建立家庭就加入年輕家庭圑契,繼續靈性的長進,並増加數目。至今約有四十小孩與嬰兒,使教會充滿活力與希望。年輕的會員也漸漸擔任長老和執事職位,大力服事主。讃美主!

目前第一代台美人會員已因搬離別州或年齡増加而漸減少數目。現存的是陳榮吾醫師黃志芳夫婦,利國柱博士邱橙枝夫婦,張理美醫師,紀吳淑梅,翁淑貞,謝照寅張雅惠夫婦,黃鐵城鄭巧君夫婦,普溜兹.鄭瓊君,謝正忠沈香園夫婦,蘇希三何麗津夫婦,蔡國雄,王鵬男醫師楊葆萩夫婦,王俊傑邱綉雅夫婦,翁四明陳麗琴夫婦等。他們都以愛,熱心支持與關懷年輕一代。

這教會包括台灣人,韓國人,中國人,日本人,和美國人。用三種語言。因敬畏神的話語,會友彼此親愛互相幫助,互相提攜,與關懷會外的人們。這教會將繼續受神的祝福而繁盛! 在聖路易地區作燈塔! 要高歌讃美主,宣告祂偉大的作為,榮耀主的名!

THE HISTORY OF TAIWANESE PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF GREATER ST. LOUIS

In mid-1972, Dr. & Mrs. Shih-Chung & Sheow-Hwey Wong Chang, Drs. Ming-Shiang & Hsin-Chin Shih Kao, with her father Dr. Tzu-Lee Shih of Taipei Shuang-Lien Presbyterian Church, and Dr. & Mrs. Yi-Ming & Loon-Mei Joyce Chen Lin in St. Louis started to entertain the idea of forming a Taiwanese Christian Fellowship group. They gathered more people, including Ker C. Chen, Ph.D. & his wife Ron-Zhe Nancy Kuo as well as Chi-Chao Cheng, Ph.D. & his wife Kuang-Hua Karen Hsieh and had a couple of fellowship meetings. At the arrival of Drs. Lii-Mei Beverly Chang and Cheng-Chang Charles Tsai to St. Louis, they invited the Tsai’s to join. The bimonthly Sunday home-worship was since established and the group grew to 20-30 people. An administrative committee was formed, and a by-law was written and registered to the State of Missouri by Dr. Beverly Tsai in 1978. It was named Formosan Christian Fellowship (FCF) of St. Louis. From 1978 to 1984, biweekly newsletters were distributed, mostly penned by Mrs. Joyce Lin. When the size of the group outgrew the capacity of the home setting, a larger facility was needed. Through the Elijah-Lovejoy Presbytery’s calling, the Richmond Heights Presbyterian Church generously opened the facility in 1980 for the biweekly Sunday afternoon-worship, Sunday school classes and the reception Hall for special activities. In May of 1982, it was legally registered with the federal and state authorities as a non-profit religious corporation.

With increasing members of more than 40, there was an outcry for a pastor. The administrative committee started the search. When the Rev. Ng^ Bu-Tong, the previous long-term General Secretary of Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), who then was pastoring the Grace Presbyterian Church in New York, came to lead TPC-STL an evangelical event. In consultation with him, the board decided to join a major denomination of Christianity in USA. Most of the St. Louis members were originally Presbyterians in Taiwan, the decision was to affiliate with Presbyterian Church of USA (PC USA). While searching for a pastor, the church sought assistance from the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery to call the “organizing pastor” to be qualified for P.R. status.

A financial survey showed the FCF was willing and able to support a full-time pastor. Dr. Beverly Chang, a member of the Administrative Board was designated as an envoy to travel to Taiwan for the interview and the invitation of the Rev. David Chun-Ming Lai of Shuang-Lien Presbyterian Church, Taipei to be our Organizing Pastor. The term of the pastor position was a three quarter time of pastorship and part-time study for Ph.D. of Divinity at Eden Seminary in St. Louis, MO. He arrived in Nov. 1984. Soon, the congregation moved to the Fireplace Room of the First Presbyterian Church of Kirkwood in May 1985 in order to have weekly Sunday-morning worships. The church also open the Sunday school classrooms and reception hall for celebration and special events. Pastor Lai immediately started a Bible study movement with the Bible study materials. More than half of the members joined the movement. Meanwhile he held Wednesday small group meetings every week. The church grew stronger in spirit and in number to 60’s.

On Oct. 2, 1988, the FCF was chartered by the Giddings-Lovejoy Presbytery of the P.C. USA as Formosan Christian Church (FCC). It was the first Taiwanese Church to join the main stream Presbyterian Church in the Midwest of the USA. Pastor Rev. David Lai was installed as the first pastor of the church on May 7, 1989, while the church was renamed and registered as Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Greater St. Louis. Then, the session of six elders and the Pastor was established, including M.S. Kao, S.C. Chang, Y.M. Lin, Beverly Chang, Ker C. Chen, and C.C. Chieng.

Throughout these years, the members had developed a vision of “a self-sufficient congregation and building its own church building”. The Church Building Fund had grown and it transformed into action! The members had looked for a piece of land for years and finally settled on a 5 acre land in the City of Ballwin that the G-L Presbytery provided. Many brain-storm meetings for the building were held. Lii Beverly Chang suggested a fan-shaped sanctuary with a rectangular reception hall. It was generally accepted. Then, the office space near the front angle of the “Fan” was added. This became an obvious air view of the character of Taiwan, ‘台’. The elder Hisam So recommended a structure without non-functioning space. So the Sunday school classrooms would be built around the reception hall, directly open to the hall. This is in accordance with the principle of ‘no wasted space’. Soon a building committee was formed and was led by Elder Chi C. Chieng. Later, the G-L Presbytery introduced an experienced church-building architect and a church-construction company to the committee. The Rev. Howard Gleason of St. Mark Presbyterian Church of St. Louis County was our dear supporting friend from the G-L Presbytery. On Sept. 16, 1990, the ground was broken. Many Taiwanese folks in St. Louis and from out of state were excited and supported the building. The church has been grateful for them!

The new church building at 542 Ries Road, St. Louis, MO 63021. was dedicated and celebrated on Aug. 17, 1991. A box of “time Capsule” has been placed in the wall of the right side of the front entrance, which may be opened after 100 years. The building also has served as a community center for Taiwanese folks in St. Louis Metropolitan area. In three years TPC had donated the amount of the land cost to G-L Presbytery for the New Church Development Fund.

Rev. Lai left in 1990 for a call to be the General Secretary of the Taiwan division of the International Bible Society. From November 1991 to December 1992, Rev. Catherine Robinson was called as Interim Pastor, while a searching committee was looking for the future pastor. During this period, Youth Ministry blossomed under Rev. Robinson’s leadership and her presiding Youth Confirmation Classes, with the help of Youth Ministry elder L.B. Chang and volunteering Youth counselor, Peter Yen, Ph.D.. This group of youth was built strong in faith and tight in relationship. Even after marriage and living in different states, they still connect to each other and get together sometimes.

The following list shows the chronological history of the Clerical and non-clerical positions under the leadership of the second Pastor Rev. James Chi:

The Rev. James Chi was called Feb. 1993; installed on April 17, 1993. He started Taiwanese Young Adult Fellowship. Adult Sunday school was reorganized and followed by Sunday Agape meals. Meanwhile, English Adult fellowship helped by Ming-Shiang Kao and Beverly Chang, and several active family groups started. Children and youth ministry continued.

The following six volunteer religious teachers were the angels sent by God:

Mrs. Brenda Vinyard: the Director of children Ministry from 1996 to 2004.

Mrs. Cici & her husband Jack Cramer: led English adult Sunday school, 1995-1996.

Mr. & Mrs. Brian and Ginny Teel from the Navigator organization: led an active English College Student Fellowship, 1997 to 2003.

The Rev. Peter Hong from the Navigator: led the Discipleship training programs, 1998-1999. The church was revitalized further.

Two short term Directors of Youth Ministry: Sept. 1998-Aug. 1999 and July 2003-April 2004 respectively.

The board of Deacons was established in 2003.

The Rev. Wesley M. Cummins: He was called to be the Associate Pastor in July 2005, installed on Aug. 14, 2005. He was in charge of English Ministry and Youth Ministry, till April 2009. Beverly Chang was the English Ministry Elder to assist him. The English Young Adult group dwindled after Rev. Cummins left in 2009, but the English Adult group continued. Dr. & Mrs. TZ & Jean Chen have opened their homes for the monthly EM meetings.

The arrival of Mr. Ted Ha and his wife Queena Chi (Pastor Chi’s daughter) in 2014 to June 2017 had strengthened the English Ministry group and the Children Ministry remarkably. Now we have at least three younger English adults joining the Sunday school leading roles.

The MYA (Mandarin Young Adult group): under many years of mentoring by Dr. & Mrs. Fei-Tung & Shiu-Jen Chiu Leu, Mr. & Mrs. Jay & Niki Wu Chi have built up solid Christian faith foundation and Biblical knowledge.

The Family Fellowship group (YFF): Those MYA members who settled down with jobs and families in St. Louis are in this group who continue to grow strong in spirit and in number to this day. Now there are 40 young children and babies in TPC. We are full of hope for the future. Praise the Lord!

The older generation of TPC members has declined in number because of moving and aging. The remaining active in service are James & C.F. Joan Huang Chen, Kuo-Chu & Chern-Z. Chiu Li, Lii-Mei Beverly Chang, Su-Mei Wu Chi, Sue J. Weng Chiu, Mrs. Ya-Hueh Tina Chang Hsieh, T.C. Edward & C.J. Julian Cheng Huang, Chiung Joanna Cheng Puliusz, J.J. & Christine Shen Shieh, Hisam Tony & Letin Su, George Tsai, Peng N. and Pan Chiu Yang Wang, Samson & Show- Ya Wang, Su-Ming & Li-Chin Lisa Chen Weng, etc. They are strong and supporting the younger generation with love. More young members are serving the session and the board of deacons now.

The church is mixcultural and tri-lingual. It is a loving and caring church and guided by the Word of God. It will continue to thrive under the Lord’s blessings. It has been and will be the lighthouse of St. Louis area. We want to sing praise to the Lord, tell people all His wonderful acts and glorify His name!

 

The front side of the church. The small white square in the front wall is the box of “Time Capsule” which may be open at year 100.

The interior of the sanctuary.

The left side of the interior of the sanctuary. Pastor Chi is preaching with the screen down for the PPT.

 

Source from Dr. B. Chang 07/2017

Posted in 07/2017