Simple History of Tainan East Gate Barclay Memorial Church

2021/10/2

Tainan East Gate Barclay Memorial Church was founded in May 1903. Up to 2021, it has 118 years of history. At that time, the British Missionary Reverend Barclay’s wife, Elizabeth A. Turner, used the teachers’ dormitory of Tainan Theological Seminary to hold night gathering and set up a mission in order to care the staff of the Sin Lou Hospital and the faithful life to the servants in the missionary’s home. 3 years later, it became a ward of the Tai Ping Jing Church. 18 years later, it was upgraded to a church on March 9, 1921.

Regarding the history of the church, the centenary special issue records the changes of the formation and evangelism of the gospel. It can be roughly divided into five stages:

1. Founding Period ~ Pioneering and Establishment (1903~1926)
At the beginning of the establishment, the pastors were all served by British missionaries, who were all deans and professors of the seminary. During this period, pastor was not only enthusiastic about evangelism, but also vigorously reformed the bad customs that were outdated at that time, such as foot binding, smoking opium and marrying 2nd wife.

2. Construction Progress Period ~ The student center church (1927~1944)
Completed the construction of the chapel (the largest chapel in the southern Taiwan at that time), and purchased more than 1,000 square meters of land in the opposite of chapel for using for kindergarten. During this period, attention was paid to the construction of Sunday school and the preaching work of the residential students in Chang Jung Middle School and Chang Jung Girls’ Middle School. Students participate in the activities of the church every Sunday, and it was not until 1972 that they changed to meet in the Chapel of Chang Jung Girls’ High School. During this period, the church members experienced the attack of the Sino-Japanese War and World War II, and they lived in hardship and oppression.

3. Transitional Period ~ Community industrial missions, renewed church organizations, and promoted the industrial preaching (1945~1993)
During this period of transition, student preaching was gradually transformed into community preaching, and through the PKU (double plus movement) ten years, Pay attention to the movement of the whole family.

4. Millennium Innovation Period ~ Construction of diversified educational buildings, e-videos, and three blessings missions (1994~2000)
During this period, we pay attention to social care and love for the countryside, and build educational buildings to give full play to the greater function of the church develop Silver College and community ministry.

5. Cross-century mission renewal period ~ Change church name, community service, campus preaching and community education (2001~present)
In 2003, the 100th anniversary of the church establishment, to commemorate Pastor Barclay, our church changed the name to be “Tainan East Gate Barclay Memorial Church". Campus preaching actively participates in the morning teaching of character education; in community education, the children’s happy weekend camp and the Blessing People Academy have been offered, which have a positive impact and results on the spread of the gospel for children and adults in the community.

Since our church is located between Sin Lou Hospital, Tainan Theological Seminary, Chang Jung High School and Chang Jung Girls’ High School, it has been closely related to these schools and hospital for the past 118 years. It can be said that our Church is the spiritual venue of hospital and these schools, and hospital and these schools are the resources of our Church. Over the past 118 years, a total of 16 pastors have cultivated this God’s vineyard. They are:

1) The 1 st Pastor Huang Ai-Ming
Term: 1927.12 ~ 1934.9
He is the father of Pastor Huang Chang-Huai and had been the first Chairman of the Tainan Central Committee。In 1930 hired Pastor Pan Dao-Jung as the Deputy Pastor.

2) The 2 nd Pastor Pan Dao-Jung
Term of Deputy Pastor: 1930.4 ~ 1934.9
Term of Senior Pastor: 1936.5 ~ 1940.3
Firstly, he was Deputy Pastor and then became the Senior Pastor. He also had been the director of Sunday School of TPC.

3) The 3 rd Pastor Yuang Shih-Yuang
Term: 1941.1 ~ 1948.4
He had been the professor of Tainan Theological Seminary; Chairman of the Committee of Southern Taiwan; Director of Hymns Committee of TPC & had created 33 hymns.

4) The 4 th Pastor Liang Sheu-The
Term: 1948.5 ~ 1955.7
He had been the professor of Tainan Theological Seminary; Chairman of the Tainan Central Committee. He also created some churched in the Northern Taiwan.

5) The 5 th Pastor Ou Ching-An
Term: 1957.8 ~ 1976.3
He was the Chairman of the 8th TPC General Committee. He has been in this position for nearly two decades. He is the longest pastor and the one who has brought the church to many aspects. In addition, the deputy pastor Chen Zhu-Sian (Ph.D. in Ethics of the Southeast Asian Theological Research Institute and the professor of Tainan Theological Seminary) was appointed.

6) The 6 th Pastor Chen Kuan-Nan
Term: 1976.4 ~ 1982.2
He was the 51 st Chairman of the Tainan Central Committee.

7) The 7 th Pastor Chen Bo-Chan
Term: 1982.9 ~ 1987.7
He was the Chairman of the 32nd TPC General Committee and also had been the Director of Education Committee of TPC.

8) The 8 th Pastor Wang Ming-Jan
Term: 1988.09.02 ~ 2006.12.11
Appointed pastor Luo Chi-Zong (current pastor of De Guang Church) and Pastor Lee Wang Shu-Juan as the “Education Pastor". Later, Pastor Ke Chong-Sin was hired as the “Assistant Pastor" and Pastor Zhong Ri-Shin as “Pastor for Young Guys".

9) The 9 th Pastor Lo Jen-Guei
Term: 2009.01.01 ~ 2019.10.31
He was the Chairman of the 59th TPC General Committee. Once hired Pastor Tsuang Song-Hui as the “Assistant Pastor" for one year; later successively hired Chen Le-Ren, Zhu Li-Fang, Lee Jia-Ju, Lee Sin-Yue, Liao Chong-Han, Tsai Jia-Chi as the preachers. Besides, in accordance with the Tainan Central Committee’s dispatching counselor, Preacher Liu Li-Ren and Preacher Wang Mei-Shu from Tainan Theological Seminary are also invited to assist our Sunday school, youth pastoral and fellowship ministry.

10) The 10 th Pastor Liu Bing-Si
Term: 2020.09.14 ~ Current pastor.
Hired Preacher Wang Gang to assist our Sunday school, youth pastoral and fellowship ministry from August 2021.

In the past 118 years, our church has established seven churches. The earliest was in 1933, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the establishment of the church, the “Takasago Town Mission" (current “South Gate Church") was established. In 1936, Dr. Song Shang-Jie came to preach, and he became enthusiastic about evangelism and set up a “Houbicuo Mission" (current “Ren De Church"). In 1961, the “Dong Ning Church" was established to spread the gospel to teachers and students in colleges. In 1963, to celebrate the 60 th anniversary of our church, the “Hou Jia Church" was established. In 1976, we adopted the “Fu-Chiang Church", established by the Tainan Central Committee Mission Department. In 1987, the “Evergreen Church" was accepted as the ward, and in 2003, on the 90th anniversary, the “De Guang Church" was further established. After the division of these seven churches, they are all very strong. This is the glory of the mother church. Pastor Ou Ching-An once described our East Gate Church in this way: “East Gate is like an old hen. Although she sheds her hair, she will lay eggs for a long time." This is really the grace of God.

In the past 118 years of history, our Church has created many firsts in church history. For example: [1] In the Ching Dynasty, it was first advocated to reform the bad customs at that time, such as binding feet, marrying 2nd wife, and smoking opium. [2] When this chapel was completed in 1926, it was the largest church in Taiwan and could accommodate more than 500 people. [3] Taiwan’s first church to establish female elders, in 1926, two female elders Gong Rui-Zhu and Pan Su-Shiu were established. [4] The first church that cared about the preaching of students, and operated schools to train students in religious life. [5] The chant team (called the East Gate Church Praise Team at the time) was established in 1927. It was composed of students from Evergreen Middle School and Evergreen Girls’ Middle School who had excellent music performance. This was the first and largest chant team in the Southern Taiwan at that time. That is why the foreigners said our church is the “Singing Church". [6] The first chairman of the Tainan Central Committee was the first pastor of our church, that is, Pastor Huang Ai-Ming had been elected as the chairman of the Tainan Central Committee in 1930. [7] The first church in Taiwan to hire two pastors. In 1930, Pastor Huang Ai-Ming hired Pastor Pan Dao-Jong as deputy pastor. [8] The first printed weekly newspaper of the church in Taiwan: East Gate Church Weekly was published in January 1932. [9] Pastor Huang Chang-Hui, who was from our church, became the dean of Tainan Theological Seminary in 1949. This is the first Taiwanese dean of theological seminary. [10] The first overseas missionary teacher of the Taiwan Presbyterian Church (TPC), Pastor Chen Siao-Chan (father is Pastor Chen Jin-Jan), was from our church and was sent to Beimadengjialou, Malaysia for missions in 1959. [11] Three people in a church have served as the Chairman of the TPC General Committee. This is the only record of the church in Taiwan. They are: Pastor Ou Jin-An as the 8 th , Pastor Chen Bo-Chan as the 32nd and Pastor Lo Jen-Guei as the 59th Chairman. [12] In August 1997, Pastor Song Chuan-Sheng (previously dean of Tainan Theological Seminary and also from our church) was elected chairman of the World Alliance Reformed Church (WARC). This is the first Taiwanese to be elected to the highest position in an international religious organization (the alliance has composed of 221 church organizations in 164 countries, with more than 80 million believers).

[ Established Elizabeth Memorial Church ]

Tainan East Gate Church purchased the land opposite the church in April 1927 and completed the original building in 1931 as a Sunday School classroom. Later, it was used as an East Gate Kindergarten classroom and restaurant until July 2011. At that time, the kindergarten stopped enrolling students and the building was not used for any special purpose.

In early 2017, the church minister Pastor Lo Jen-Guei began to plan how to activate this building for promoting evangelization. In commemoration of the contribution of Pastor Barclay’s wife Elizabeth to the creation of the Tainan East Gate Church, the church committee decided to convert it into a Taiwanese red brick building and Scottish-style mixed church under the existing structure. But they retained the front and rear walls of the original building as it has historical significance due to the traces of bullet holes caused by World War II.

The Memorial Church began construction in July 2017 and was completed in early May 2018. It is named “The Elizabeth Memorial Church". This building reflects the structure of the Barclay Memorial Church across the street. May 20, 2018 is the 115th anniversary of Tainan East Gate Barclay Memorial Church so it held a special devotional thanksgiving worship. At the same time, a signboard was set up to cherish the ancestors’ belief footprints and also thanks the honorary elder of this church, Dr. Tsuang Ming-Sion, and his wife, Mrs. Connie L. Tsuang, for their dedication to this ministry.