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Jerry Chang brings Taiwanese culture, language

Jerry Chang, who grew up Presbyterian in Taiwan, came to the United States to study and work in computer information systems.  Since January 2016, he has served as the pastor of Seattle Taiwanese Christian Church (UCC), which meets at Keystone UCC, 599 Keystone Place North.

Jerry Chang has served as pastor of the Seattle Taiwanese Christian Church since January.   

He graduated from Missouri Baptist University in St. Louis in 2002 and worked three years with a computer company.  His many years of involvement with Presbyterian churches led his into ministry and studies at Eden Seminary.

After graduating with a master of divinity degree in 2009, he worked at the Taiwanese Presbyterian Church of Greater St. Louis and was youth and children’s minister for three years with Woodlawn Chapel.

In January he came to Seattle with his wife, Charlene, and two teenagers.

Jerry said the church is one of five Taiwanese churches in the Seattle area.  The others are the Seattle Formosan Christian Church, First Taiwanese Presbyterian Church, Taiwanese Lutheran Church and Bellevue Taiwanese Christian Church.

The members of the five churches know each other, gathering at a funeral or for a regular get-together, such as a picnic and outdoor worship in the summer and a Christmas worship service.

“We have close relationships and each has its own pastor,” he said.

Only Seattle Formosan and Seattle Taiwanese, formed in 1989, churches have full-time pastors.  The others are part-time.

While about a third of the members live near the Keystone UCC, the rest of the members live around the Seattle area, coming from Issaquah, Bellevue, Edmonds and Renton. Jerry lives in Renton.

Sundays, about 30 to 35 on average gather at the Keystone UCC, where they have met for many years.  They meet for Sunday school, Bible Study, a children’s message,  worship with preaching in Taiwanese, and singing Taiwanese songs.

There is translation from Taiwanese into Mandarin, but there is not yet an English translator, so Jerry translates a summary of his sermon in English.  There are just three English-speaking people

Because the service is primarily in Taiwanese, members are older, in their 70s and have been involved with the church for 40 years.  A small portion are younger families with children.

“We are working to build the participation of young families,” he said.

There are also several fellowship groups.

Seniors meet for a morning Bible study, potluck and games such as table tennis, bridge and mahjang at 11 a.m., Thursdays, at the house of a member in Renton.  About 10 come to that.

Friday evenings, all ages--with many younger families- meet the home of a member in Magnolia for younger families with children.  They have a Bible study and educational classes, plus a children’s program and dinner.  About 15 come.

Jerry has also joined the secular group, American Citizens from Taiwan which introduces Taiwanese culture and food to the public and promotes education about Taiwan such as  videos and programs. About 30 come.

Jerry also gathers ecumenically with a pastor’s group in the Reformed Church tradition.

“I follow the lectionary in my preaching,” he said.

Jerry also gives presentations in the community on the Reformed tradition, history and culture, and on UCC polity and theology.

“Taiwan wants to be recognized as an independent country,” he said.  “I also preach and teach on human rights or on issues like the election.  Taiwanese language is not easy to learn.”

Many second-generation Taiwanese live in two cultures

For information, call 425-891-7704 or email


Pacific Northwest United Church of Christ News © November-December 2016


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