Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Tai Chung

We took the train from Taipei to Tai Chung, which took approximately one hour. We were greeted at the train station by the Rector of St. James's Church, the Rev. Philip Lin and an ordinand Joseph Ho who has started a mission south of Tai Chung -- Church of the Living Star. The Rector Emeritus, the Rev. Dr. Charles Chen met us and actually gave us the tour, thinking that the Rector's English isn't very good, but it is. Fr. Philip's English teacher Warren teaches at the school and was confirmed at All Saints Pasadena.

St. James has a kindergarten with 330 students. It also has an after school program with 130 students, and an adult education language program offering classes in English, Japanese and Spanish. They also have a counseling center on site.

The kindergarten program not only has turtles and fish, but an amazing butterfly garden and a "touch and smell" garden. Here's some images from the kindergarten:

So nice!:

The turtles are from Brazil, we were told:

A poster with sample pictures of the butterflies in the butterfly garden for the children to study before they enter the garden:

And the entry to the butterfly garden and the garden itself follows:

A butterfly that looks like a dried leaf:

The children learn about the lifecycle butterflies? Here is caterpillar:

The touch and smell garden and the playground:

The church has an average Sunday attendance of approximately 80 people at two services. One service is in English, the other service is offered in Mandarin. There are two multistoried buildings, one which has the rectory and a hostel, the other a series of classrooms and meeting rooms. Here are some photos of the church and various rooms:

New conference room:

View from the hostel:

We went to lunch together, then we said goodbye to the Chen's (Mrs. chen gave us tea and a snack at the hostel and accompanied us with Fr. Chen to lunch). We then headed to Sun Moon lake with Philip and Joseph. It is a little over an hour from Tai Chung, but you feel as though you are in a different world. The drive up was beautiful. Here are some pictures from different places we stopped around the lake:

And a few shots of the front of a temple along the way.

To realize that although you are in Taiwan you are with your brother and sister clergy of TEC made this last leg of our trip more meaningful. Bp. Lai is a member, of course, of our House of Bishops. The voice of this Diocese is important in Asia, and I'm so grateful that we were able to visit Taiwan!

We are headed back to Taipei a little earlier than we had initially planned. The last time we will pack for this trip is this evening. Tomorrow we will spend the late morning and early afternoon with Bp. Lai before heading to the airport for our 5:00 flight to Haneda, then our midnight flight to Los Angeles. We leave Thursday at 5:00 in afternoon and return to Los Angeles on Thursday at 6:00 in the evening thanks to the 13 hour difference in time. Tonight we need as much rest as we can get!

This has been an incredible journey, an amazing learning experience, and we have made many contacts and new friends. As long as my iPad holds up (the cracks are getting larger and the glass flakes bother me), I will try to post tomorrow. If not I will post a reflection on the trip when I get home.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Location:Tai Chung, Taiwan

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