A broad-minded ecumenical Presbyterian minister who exercised dynamic spiritual leadership in promoting interdenominational witness by drawing different churches together to cooperate in joint evangelism crusades, retreats, and Bible study work, Chen was highly respected by the ministers of Taiwan’s Christian community. He was appointed chairman of almost all joint Christian assemblies in Taipei City and at the national level. In 1975, at the age of 80, he was appointed national chairman of the first Billy Graham Crusade in Taiwan. As chairman he invited the then Republic of China (ROC) president, Chiang Ching-kuo, to attend.
Chen achieved a number of firsts in the Taiwanese church. He ministered at Shuang-Lien Presbyterian Church (SLPC), Taipei’s largest church, for 55 years (1921-76). During this period, the church was rebuilt three times. He was ordained pastor there in 1936, and his funeral service was held there in 1990. His youthful enthusiasm throughout his life is summed up in his nickname, “Pastor Evergreen.”
Chen had the foresight and courage to lead his flock at SLPC to build a 12-story combined church and commercial building (1973). He forged a bond between the church and the surrounding business community through the Shuang-Lien Lectures, with topics such as “Faith and Business Management” and “Faith and Inter-personal Relations.” He opened up new avenues of evangelism toward the modern business community.
The longest-serving board chair and honorary chairperson of the Bible Society in the Republic of China to date (1961-90), Chen promoted the translation of the Bible into the aboriginal languages, of which the Amis, Taroko, Yami, Atayal, and Paiwan projects have already come to fruition. As the chairman of some dozen national church organizations, he made many contributions to church unity and evangelism among the disabled and ethnic minorities.
Chen died at age 95. At his memorial service, the Rev. Dr. Tsai Jen-Li, United Bible Society Asian Pacific regional secretary, noted: “His sight was not dimmed, nor had his vigor failed” (Deut. 34:7). Like Moses, he remained active until the end of his life, working for Christ.
Lai, David C. M., An Evergreen Among Men: A Centenary Collection in Memory of the Rev. Chen Chi-Chun (1994).