A Narrative History of Taipei International Church (TIC)
During the summer of 1957, just eight years after Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, and his Republic of China government and military retreated from Mainland China to take up a position of exile in Taiwan, there was an expatriate English-speaking community in Taipei. Not large, 20-30 families perhaps, it was comprised mostly of American Protestant missionaries, with some diplomatic and foreign military personnel, a few English-speaking overseas Chinese, and a small number of expatriate businessmen. Though there were U.S. military chapel worship services in English, the military and civilian communities were very separate entities in those days, so the need for an English-language worship program became a growing concern.
Led by Rev. Edward Knettler, an American missionary with the Methodist Church Mission in Taiwan, a small group of expats met for an English-language worship service in Oct 1957 in Wesley Methodist Church, in downtown Taipei, and Taipei International Church (TIC), though not yet know as TIC, was officially founded. This group continued to meet in small numbers, perhaps no more than 30 persons, at Wesley Methodist Church under the leadership of Pastor Knettler for three years, from 1957 – 1960, and then for the next three years (1960 – 1963) under Rev. Franklin Smith, who was then also Chaplain of Soo Chow University, in Shih Lin. After Rev. Smith returned to the U.S. in 1963, the congregation continued to meet for worship with the services of various interim missionary pastors until 1966, when it moved to the Taipei Masonic Temple in downtown Taipei. Rev. William Ury served as pastor for two years (1966-1967) until he departed Taiwan for home leave.
In 1967, as the attending membership continued to grow as the foreign population in Taipei also increased, Rev. Dr. Frank Manton became the pastor, and the congregation took its first official name, Taipei International Methodist Church. Dr. Manton continued as pastor until Sep 72 when Rev. William Ury, who has returned from leave in the U.S., again became the pastor. Just prior to that, in Jan 72, the congregation moved to the downtown YMCA building for its Sunday services and was officially renamed Taipei International Church (TIC). Sunday morning services continued for TIC at the YMCA until again, because of growth in it membership, it moved in 1974 to Taipei American School (TAS), and its previous location on Wen Lin Road, in Shih Lin, which is now the new campus for Taipei European School.
Rev. Ury was the pastor from 1972 to 1977, when Rev. Mike Vanderpol, of the Reformed Church, was installed as pastor. Rev. Vanderpol played an important part in TIC history for the next eight years, including the combining of the U.S. military community with the expatriate civilian community into one congregation and one united Christian education program (with the closing out of U.S. military installations and withdrawal of U.S. military personnel from 1977-1979) and the formation of Gateway as a ministry of TIC in 1981. After Pastor Mike’s return to the U.S., Rev. Gene Wanderwell, also of the Reformed Church, became the new TIC Pastor for the next five years, until 1990, during which time in 1989, TAS made its big move from the Shih Lin location to its present campus on Chung Shan North Shan North Road, Section 6, in Tien Mou.
In Oct 1990, TIC was greatly blessed with the installation of Rev. Dr. Nathan Showalter, of the Mennonite Church, who served as TIC pastor for the next eight years, until 1998, when he and his wife, Christina, returned to the U.S. It was during the ministry of Pastor Nate, in 1991, that the TIC Tagalog Fellowship was established, and in 1993, that Pastor Paul Ko was called as Assistant Pastor of TIC and to minister to the Tagalog Fellowship. After Pastor Showalter’s departure in 1998, Rev. Mike Osment, a missionary in Taiwan with the Taiwan Baptist Mission, became the TIC Pastor. Pastor Mike served at TIC until his return to the U.S. with his family in early 2003. TIC was fortunate to have Rev. Doug Beyer to serve as Interim Pastor for most of 2003. Pastor, Rev. Kim Crutchfield, was installed in later 2003.
Pastor Douglas Street was called to be TIC’s Youth & Mission associate Pastor in 2002 and served till 2012 during Rev. Kim’s and Rev. Payne’s time. And Rev. Kim and his wife Stephanie repatriated back to their home in the USA in 2011. TIC was blessed to have Pastor Mike Vander Pol and his lovely wife Lois back to Taipei to be our interim pastor until Rev. Michael Payne was installed in January 2012. Rev. Michael Payne served at TIC for 3 years with his wife Karen. During this time,
Associate pastor Fred Porter served at TIC from 2012 to 2014 as Youth and Christian Education associate pastor. Pastor Paul Ko, who faithfully ministered TIC Tagalog Fellowship ministry, retired from TIC in October 2013. Pastor Roberto Awa-Ao, fondly known as Pastor Obet, was installed in September 7, 2014, to be the assistant pastor caring for the Tagalog Fellowship, and Pastor Obet is actively serving this ministry now. In October 2015 Pastor Michael Payne moved back home to his family. And with God’s awesome provision Pastor Vander Pol returned back for the 3rd time to serve TIC as an interim pastor again with his wife Lois.
Pastor Peter Palma and Boram, his lovely wife, and his 3 sons has answered the call to serve at TIC since June, 2016. We have been blessed with his passion for the Lord, his love for people, and his incredible energy to serve Him and His people.
During these sixty years of faithful witness in Taiwan, TIC has been greatly blessed with lay leaders, musicians, missionaries, teachers, and spiritual gifts in great abundance given to faithful TIC people who enthusiastically shared those gifts abundantly. To mention only a few of the TIC ministries in just these past few years, TIC has been led in its growing commitment to youth ministry, first by Pat Rieck as our first Youth Ministry Director in 1996, and subsequently by Rev. Doug Street, who brought the Paradyme Youth Worship Program to TIC and our first TIC Youth Center.
TIC has sponsored over 25 years of outreach programs to the local community through Gateway; and through Yokefellow, Men’s Prayer Breakfast, weekly Bible studies, a rich history of small group ministries and activities; outreach in many areas through the TIC Tagalog Fellowship including Bible Study Correspondence Course (BSCC) and through Kaibigan Magazine aimed at the more than 150,000 overseas contract workers in Taiwan; the AWANA Program for children; Lighthouse Prison Ministry to foreign citizen prison inmates in Taiwan; Tres Dias; Marriage Encounter; YAYA Fellowship; and an active missions support effort for ministries in Cambodia, Philippines, India, China and Indonesia, in addition to the social welfare, music, and educational ministries TIC helps to support which are based here in Taiwan.
Most of all, and most importantly, TIC has for fifty years been a place at which the love of Jesus Christ has been shared on an individual and person to person basis with those around us, every hour, of every day, of every year.
TO GOD BE THE GLORY, GREAT THINGS HE HAS DONE !!!
Fred Voigtmann – 1st Edition
Ruu-Tian Lawrence – 2nd Edition
Ruu-Tian Lawrence – 3rd Edition