The History of Taiwanese Community Church:
The history of the Taiwanese Community Church started in the early 1980s. It was a part of a 1982 plan of the Des Plaines Taiwan Presbyterian Church to establish a mission in the Southwestern Suburb. The church was established after our first minister, Rev. Joshua Yapp, was ordained in the Reformed Church of America. The original name in 1983 was the Taiwan Reformed Church in the Greater Chicago Area. In 1985, the church officially joined the RCA and the name was changed to Taiwanese Community Church.
Article by Abraham Teng
Mission of TCC Children/Youth/English Ministry:
Our mission is to provide a Christ-centered fellowship to enrich and equip the next generation of the Taiwanese Community Church congregation in the Word of God. This ministry also provides a resource for Taiwanese-American families to identify and share their Taiwanese ethnicity in a Christian environment.
2017 Theme: “Do the Will of God, Accomplish His Work ”
Ephesians 6:6-7: “Obey them not only to win their favor when their eye is on you, but as slaves of Christ, doing the will of God from your heart. Serve wholeheartedly, as if you were serving the Lord, not people”
Articles in the 25th Anniversary Bulletin:
25th Anniversary Celebration (Raymond Chen):
1. Reflections on TCC Youth Ministry By Raymond Y. Chen With the celebration of the TCC 25th Anniversary this year, members and friends young and old were asked to provide a written reflection of their thoughts or testimony about a particular topic or ministry of the TCC that they have been involved with while attending TCC. As such, I want to share with the members and friends of TCC my thoughts on the TCC youth ministry for which I been involved with. For some background, I have been a member of TCC since 1993 when I transferred my membership (I was baptized at a local church Latham Community Baptist Church (LCBC) in upstate NY where I went to grade school and high school and where I was baptized in the 9th grade). The memories of those years at LCBC in grade school as well as through middle and senior high school at LCBC are still with me. I remember the friendships that developed with others at the church, the fun activities we had - playing ping pong in basement of the church every Wednesday night when the youth group met, playing on the church softball team with the pastor and other adults, playing violin with other youth during special services; going to week-long Baptist youth camp in the summer and hiking the Appalachian “Long Trail” in Vermont. Little did I know at that time, the real influence all these “fun” experiences have had to shape me as a person and as a believer in Jesus. Now that I have been involved with the TCC youth ministry, I realize that the true blessing from my own experiences is that the Holy Spirit is always at work in all of us - even if I did not completely understand or realize it at the time. Things are somewhat different now and youth, parents, families and leaders of the church have to deal with more challenges I think than say 30 to 35 years ago when I was growing-up. The youth have more options to “enrich” their lives these days but the formula for spiritual enrichment remains essentially the same - through youth fellowship and through the teachings of the Bible. During the past 5 years, some of the spiritual “enrichment” activities for TCC youth involve the following:
- Shared Sunday school teaching resources with our RCA sister-church, Fellowship Church, including a several trips to Roseland community (in the south-side of Chicago) to serve Sunday breakfast for the homeless in their community
- Organize Christmas caroling trip to members and friend of TCC
- Sponsoring the youth on their first joint visit to TAF (10 TCC youth members went)
- Starting to introduce live youth worship team to Sunday school
- Working with the youth pastor from TPC to have periodic joint youth fellowship activities (visit Cornmaze in fall) and worship / message (every other Friday at church)
Although some of the TCC youth group activities above are different from what I did as a youth in New York, many are the same also. The ultimate mission is for the TCC youth to build their connection with God through Jesus and to be filled with the Holy Spirit that will prepare them to be life-long servants of God. The TCC youth mission statement comes from Matthew 19:14 where Jesus says, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to such as these.”
With these words of Jesus in mind and the mission that all of us young and old are given, my hope is that the TCC youth group will continue to help the youth grow in knowledge as well as to provide a foundation where they can begin to internalize their faith as well as connection with Jesus to become the next generation of worshipers in their community wherever that may be.
Church and My Family (Peihuang Chen):
In 1992, because Ray’s uncle, Elder Ching Wei’s invitation (he was also a newcomer at TCC back then), Ray and I started coming to TCC. During the past 15 years, TCC has gone through many changes; our little family has our shares of change as well – children’s births, life changes, and even geographic moves. Yet it has become obvious to us that TCC is our “home” church.
During our almost 3 years stay in Singapore from 1999 to 2001, we came back every year during “home leave” to see friends at TCC. Afterwards, when Ray was relocated back to U.S., one of the main reasons we chose Chicago over Philadelphia is the fellowship at TCC. There has also been 2 other occasions where moving to east coast was an option, but again, we choose to remain in Chicago.
One of our bigger challenges since coming back to Chicago involves our children. In 2004, nine year-old Eric wanted to go to a Chinese school. His argument was that some of his school classmates, whose families were Greek and Japanese, got to learn their language and heritage. With his request, my “parental” responsibility was awakened and we started a continuous work to witness to our children who we are. With them I try to share my experience as a new Christian and a first-generation Taiwanese-American.
In 2004 after considering the schedule conflict between TCC and Eric’s Chinese class, a lack of English worship at TCC and a low attendance of TCC youth, our family attended Parkwood Community Church as guests for a period of time. With the short time at Parkwood, I thought about the difference of being a member and a guest of a church. At that time, Parkwood was in the process of searching for a new pastor and looking for a church facility. I realized that as a guest, I received many blessings but was not included in sharing work and had no part in their pastor searching or new facility.
At the beginning of 2006, change of TCC worship time and the joint youth ministry with Fellowship Church made it possible for our family to come back to our “home” church together. At that time Ray and I were very thankful and decided that we should help with the youth ministry whenever we can.
At home we pray and study the Bible with Eric and Emily sometimes (but we need to make this more regular); on Sundays we bring them to children and youth Sunday school. We also bring them to English worship with Fellowship Church. We rely on God’s grace to provide for us and our children. Ray serves as the TCC Youth ministry coordinator. In addition to weekly schedule, he has organized youth activities such as Christmas caroling, serving breakfast at Roseland Christian Reformed Church in south-side of Chicago, “corn maze” outings with TPC, TCC youth performance at various church and Taiwanese Community events, etc.
Serving with youth brings us joy; watching them grow up, developing friendship with one another and seeing them eager to participate, beginning to worship, sing praises, play guitar and keyboard every Sunday.
As far as learning Taiwanese language and heritage, we are blessed to have brothers and sisters at TCC who are real life examples for our children. Many of them also hear the callings for the ministry with our next generation. Among them, Pearl, Yaling, Joyce and Huichen give our youth and children Taiwanese lessons on Sundays. This semester Eric and Emily stop going to Chinese school so that our family can spend more time together at church and at home.
More and more blessings are in the future for TCC youth and the church. Many things in the world may change but God’s promises never change. TCC will continue to witness His love and we are thankful for being a member of our “home” church.
My Church (Emily Chen):
My favorite thing about church is when we go on retreats.
I like going on ones when we stay for a couple of days. First we eat breakfast then we gather in a big room. We sing songs and listen to the message and discuss what it is about. I like this because I get to spend time with my friends and worship God. One day we had a picnic and we ate, played, talked, and laughed. On the last day we say good-bye but in a while we will see each other at our church again.
On Sunday mornings I get ready for church. When I get there I go to Sunday school. I have had many teachers like Steve C., Steve D., Sam C., and sometimes my dad. My brother, Andy and Sam play guitar; Dorothy plays the keyboard and Jocelyn is the lead singer – that is who is in our worship band when we worship God. Then we read from the bible and answer questions. Sometimes on holidays we sing songs that we learn in Taiwanese class. In Taiwanese class we read stories, sing songs and read poems.
My favorite thing is reading the bible and singing songs in Taiwanese and English. Every day before I go to bed, I pray to God with my mom about things I want to happen. Most of all, I want God to keep my church safe.
TCC Youth - A Testimonial (Eric Chen):
I’ve been a member the TCC children and youth programs as long as I can remember. In the 13+ years that I’ve been involved, I’ve received blessings of a growth in my fellowship in Christ and friendships that could last a lifetime. Now, one of the things that I’ve noticed is the changes within the youth group. When I was little, the youth group, that I was not yet part of, was quite large.
We had, maybe 20 members of the youth group, and the children’s group consisted of me and a few other kids including Dorothy and Jocelyn. The youth from 10 years ago have moved up and out. Some are now in college, like Andy Yapp, Jason Lee, Marco, Leo, and Helena; some have started careers, like Jennifer Yapp, Moses Yang, and Lynette Hsu; and some have now even become parents, like Calvin Chen, Joanna Chang, and David Huang.
In turn, the children from 10 years ago have now become the youth group. This would be Dorothy, Tiffany, Jocelyn, and I. Since then, we’ve also had some other additions to the youth group. Andy and Jeff Nian joined the group, and now Jeff has moved on to college. Joe Peng was also a member of the TCC children for a time, although he attended less often. He has now begun attending another church with his family. Kelly and Erin Lin came into the group about 4 years ago. Dorothy brings Maria Lee to the group whenever she can. Ashley Smith, one of the children from the Fellowship Church is now also part of our group. Just this year, Jocelyn’s cousin, Kevin, moved into their house with his dad and they now attend the church. Christina Mo, one of the pastor’s children, often joins our group, and with help, mostly from Kelly, gets involved as much as she can.
Although they aren’t quite members of the group, Viviane, Dorothy and Tiffany’s cousin, as well as Gloria and David Mo are great friends to have around. All three are amazing musicians and do their part of assist our youth group. With their help, our group can definitely continue to progress. Within the church, the youth program is pretty active and I think that everyone enjoys it; even visitors to our church. Our Sunday school class starts off with worship.
This is followed by a message and lesson from our teachers. A prayer opens and closes each class. Afterwards, we have a 30 minute Taiwanese lesson where we learn the language, sing songs， and read stories. We have several joint services with the adult congregation each year. At the services we get everyone involved. We sing songs, dance, or perform skits that everyone can become a part of. The current goal of our group is to start a worship team. With a keyboard, drums, several guitars, and vocalists, we’ve already started shooting for our goal, and practice through our weekly worship before our lessons.
On the second and fourth Fridays of each month, our youth joins with the youth group of TPC to worship. We then listen to a message from the English Minister of TPC, Elias Yao. Programs like these increase the fellowship between churches, as well as individuals. Now, with the addition of a worship team, our group can continue to grow. In fact some of us believe that a worship team could be used to invite other kids outside of the church to fellowship.
Over the years, the TCC youth group has experienced times of joy as well as minor hardships, but as long as we go on, I am sure that God will make things continue to get even better. The youth group is one of the most important groups in the church, and I pray that God will allow it to become the best we can make it.