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Church news, Tim Tseng update

The longest night of the year

December 22, 2011

Dear Canaan EM’ers and friends,

Today is the Northern hemisphere’s winter solstice. It is the shortest day of the year; tonight will be the longest night of the year. Almost all cultures in human history have marked the winter solstice as a very special day. After all, from this point on, the days will lengthen.

The Roman Emperor Julius Caesar designated December 25 as the date of the winter solstice in 45 BCE. The early Christians chose to honor the birth of Christ on the longest winter night  because they believed that Jesus’ light would increasing from this day forward. The world would increasingly receive God’s love. “Christ Mass” is a Twelve Day festival that concludes on Epiphany (Jan. 6) – the day when Jesus’ presence in the world is made public. During the Season of Epiphany, Christians celebrate Jesus’ public ministry.

In 1582, when Pope Gregory XIII restored the northern winter solstice to the more accurate December 22 date (hence, the Gregorian calendar), Christians continued to celebrate Christmas on the 25th.

The Christian calendar is important to me. It reminds me – in a very concrete way – that I have chosen to follow in Jesus’ footsteps and in the pattern of his life daily. It reminds me that I am part of a worldwide community of disciples who seek to be a blessing in the world.

So even though Christmas is supposed to fall on the longest night of the year, it also represents the beginnings of a brighter future as the promise of God’s grace extends to the entire world! Indeed, because of grace, we can light a candle instead of cursing the darkness! Please make the most of the Christmas season to offer hospitality to  returning students and newcomers!

Have a blessed Christmas! See you Sunday!

Tim Tseng , Ph.D. 曾 祥 雨
Pastor of English Ministries

P.S. Take a look at a winter solstice celebration at a near-by Catholic Mission: http://www.latimes.com/news/local/la-me-illuminations-20111222,0,328880.story

******

* * * * OTHER UPDATES

Last Sunday afternoon, Agape Community Group led a large contingent of us to do Christmas caroling at the Golden Heritage Living Center in San Jose. It was a great experience! Photos from the event can be found on canaanagape.shutterfly.com

The coordinators for Agape from January through May 2012 will be:

  • Head Coordinator: Ed Chen
  • Program: Emmeline Chen* and Torence Lu
  • Worship: Shirley Tai and Syeffy Sie
  • Childcare:Rachael Chiang* and William Tai
  • Dinner: Cinthia Lee*, Winnie So, and Jessie Hwang
  • Special Events & Community Service: Wendy Huang* and Rowena Cheung

* * * *

During Second Hour (H2O) this Sunday, youth and adults will celebrate the end of the year by thanking those who have served faithfully in our church community. So join us after worship on the second floor worship hall!

* * * *

Beginning January 1, we will begin a new set of Second Hour (H2O) offerings for adults on Sundays. Contact Nelson Lu if you have any questions or if you’d like to help!

  • Couples – Husbands & Wives together (facilitated by Tim & Betty Tseng). We will focus on supporting and growing closer to each another.
  • 2030 “Seasoned” Young Adults (facilitated by Mike Ling & Gloria Chang). More fun!
  • Sermon reflection group (facilitated by Nathaniel Tseng). An opportunity to reflect on and apply the Sunday sermons to our lives.
  • (Approximately) Seven Kings for Seven Weeks [a study of Kings and Chronicles] (led by Nelson Lu). These are not dead kings; these are kings who live in ourselves, in good and bad ways.
  • Prayer Fellowship (facilitated by David Chen)

* * * *

Pray for the English Ministry leadership team as we begin to launch a new theme for 2012 – Walk Like a Disciple! The following is a sample of the data from the Town Hall Survey and the ELT Retreat that we will use in our planning:

Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church English Ministry
Town Hall meeting survey (Dec. 4, 2011) Draft #1

1. When I tell my family and friends why I am part of Canaan, this is what I say…

  • Canaan is a place where there is a good children’s ministry
  • Multi-generational church is great
  • I’ve been coming for a long time and have no compelling reason to leave. I continue to grow as a Christian and enjoy the friendship I continue to build
  • I have many neighbors, friends, and relatives who might feel more comfortable in a Mandarin, Taiwanese, or English speaking church, and Canaan has them all – greater outreach opportunity and can reach families with different language speakers
  • Multi-generational church where you interact with people from all stages of life, as well as peers/groups whom you can relate to.
  • A place to build community in Christ and to encourage one another in our walk. A place where multi-generation can worship and in different language. A place where unity in Christ is shown and a place to outreach here, Taiwan and beyond.
  • Canaan is a place where I feel like I am a part of a family.
  • CTCC is a multi-generation group of people. We can come as single, child, youth, young adult, parent, ground parent etc… CTCC promotes Jesus’ great commission.
  • Canaan is a local community that has similar direction to me, where I also feel I have the call and opportunity to contribute and serve.
  • My cousins and my aunt are here to know who Jesus Christ is.
  • People are kind and friendly.
  • I am proud of facility and the wide spectrum we attempt to cover in our ministry activities– entire family cycle– cradle to grave.

English & Youth Leadership Team Retreat summaries (Dec. 10, 2011)

Reasons why we come to EM:

  • love and support
  • kind people (not fighting)
  • similar generations (1.5-2.0)
  • opportunity to build something (future facing)
  • options for self/friends/family (E+M+T+W/C2 W/Y)
  • culturally blended (gen 2 husband w/ gen 1 wife)
  • association with Taiwanese
  • spectrum within EM (American <–> Asian)
  • wide spectrum with respect to generations (cradle to grave)

Reasons why we invite folks to EM:

  • meet new people
  • safe place for seekers to learn (other Asians/friends are here)
  • messages with cultural relevance
  • special event/celebrations (i.e. ski trips)

Responses … Thoughts for 2012?

  • good first impression, clearer space usage and way finding
  • do less, do well, do more as a team… coordinated
  • greetings – work with other services and EM
  •  think of inviting regularly
  • half integrated with ministries and sermons
  • be clearer on why I’m here, why I’m still here and why you should come
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About Tim Tseng

I'm Pastor of English Ministry at Canaan Taiwanese Christian Church (San Jose, CA), independent scholar and theological educator.

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