Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan
The Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan (FOMCIT) emerged from Mennonite Central Committee (MCC) medical and relief programs for aboriginal peoples in Taiwan begun in 1948. As the missionary medical program developed, an interest in church planting resulted. Since this was not part of its mandate, MCC turned to the Inter-Mennonite Council of Mission Board Secretaries, which gave the General Conference Mennonite Church the first option to start work in Taiwan. In November 1954, Hugh and Janet Sprunger arrived as the first missionaries under the General Conference. Worship services began the same year in a small bamboo chapel under the leadership of MCC worker, Glen Graber. The first Mennonite congregation in Taiwan, the Lin Shen Road Mennonite Church in Taichung was formally established on 12 March 1955. A year later, the MCC program was officially turned over to the General Conference Mennonite mission in Taiwan. The result of MCC and mission work was the founding of Mennonite Christian Hospital and the Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan.
Formed in 1962 as an autonomous church organization, FOMCIT has concentrated on church planting efforts in three urban centers. At the end of 1986 there were 17 congregations with a total membership of 1,200. The cities of Taipei and Taichung each had seven churches, and three churches were located in Hualien. All property, whether used by the mission or FOMCIT was legally registered in the name of FOMCIT.
The ministry of evangelism, church planting, social service, theological education and publication was directed by an executive committee of 11 members, with working subcommittees for each area of ministry. The Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan invited and assigned missionaries of the Commission on Overseas Mission (GCM).
A monthly periodical, called Manna was published by the conference. Anabaptist/Mennonite materials were translated and published in Chinese. A theological training program on the pastoral and lay levels was being developed.
The Mennonite Christian Hospital (MCH) was founded in Hualien in 1954 to serve as a base for the mobile clinic work on the east coast of Taiwan. Under the leadership of Roland Brown, MCH continued to expand in size and services. When MCH came under joint FOMCIT-Mission control in 1986, it had 200 beds and a staff of 400. A board of trustees was established in 1961. M. J. Kao served as administrator (CEO) 1975-1987, and Roland Brown continued as medical director until 1986. In addition to medical services, the hospital was classified as a teaching hospital. A six-member chaplaincy department ministered to patients and staff.
The New Dawn Development Center in Hualien, a day school for mentally handicapped children was begun by missionaries Otto and Elaine Dirks in 1977. The school is operated under the auspices of FOMCIT's Social Concerns Committee and is registered with the government. In 1986 the enrollment was 27 students, with a staff of nine.
An outgrowth of the New Dawn program was the founding of a Social Service Center in Hualien. The social programs included counseling, relief work, and the training of home care workers. An evangelist was appointed by FOMCIT to oversee the spiritual ministry of the center.
Kraybill, Paul N., ed. Mennonite World Handbook. Lombard, IL: Mennonite World Conference, 1978:183-87.
Sawatzky, Sheldon V. "The Gateway of Promise: A Study of the Taiwan Mennonite Church and the Factors Affecting Its Growth." MA thesis, Fuller Theological Seminary, 1970.
Sawatzky, Sheldon V. "Identity and Authority in the Taiwan Mennonite Church." Missionary Focus 15, no 4. (1987): 54-56.
Adapted by permission of Herald Press, Harrisonburg, Virginia, and Waterloo, Ontario, from Mennonite Encyclopedia, Vol. 5, p. 297. All rights reserved. For information on ordering the encyclopedia visit the Herald Press website.
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MLA style: Sawatzky, Sheldon V. "Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan." Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. 1987. Web. 23 May 2013. http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/F46.html.
APA style: Sawatzky, Sheldon V. (1987). Fellowship of Mennonite Churches in Taiwan. Global Anabaptist Mennonite Encyclopedia Online. Retrieved 23 May 2013, from http://www.gameo.org/encyclopedia/contents/F46.html.