A brief history of Friendship Presbyterian Church
American Presbyterian missionaries, Miss Margaret Sells and Dr. and Mrs. E. H. Hamilton, formerly missionaries working with the Chinese in Kobe, Japan, were invited by the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan and the Canadian Presbyterian Church to come to Taiwan and work among the Mandarin speaking people and do student work in the fall of 1952. A new student center called “Friendship Corner” was built with funding from the Presbyterian Church United States Board of World Missions in October 1953. This early work focused on ministry to students, and developed a Mandarin worship service.
By May 1954, these missionaries started an English speaking worship service as well. This English-speaking congregation was formally received into the Taipei Presbytery of the Taiwan Presbyterian General Assembly in September 1958 and called “Friendship Corner Presbyterian Church.”
GuoYu LiBai Tang Jin-Nan Presbyterian Church, pastored by Dr. Chen Wei-Pin, had purchased property intending to build a new church, but later found out that it was zoned for farming and could not be developed. The English-speaking congregation soon invited the Chinese congregation to share expenses to build a new church using the lot already owned by the English speaking Friendship Corner Presbyterian Church. Each congregation contributed half of the building costs. On May 4, 1963 the joint congregations laid the cornerstone.
Since that time there have been two distinct congregations with their own pastoral staff, elders, deacons, etc., but sharing joint ownership of the building and managing the property through a juridical board that has equal representation from both congregations. Neither congregation has authority over the other congregation. Around 1968 the church withdrew from the Taiwan Presbyterian Church and became independent.
The current church building was constructed beginning in March 1988 and completed by September 1989 on the original Friendship church site. The new building and apartments for each congregation’s pastors was mostly paid for through the government’s purchase of the Jin-Nan Chinese church’s property that was unusable in 1963.
The Mandarin speaking congregation has had four different senior pastors since 1963. The current pastor, Rev. Andrew Shen, came in 1979. The Mandarin congregation has planted two daughter churches in Shi-Pai, Taipei (1993) and Neihu, Taipei (1998). They adopted the Tze-Chiang Church next to Christ’s College in Danshui in 2002. In January 2003, the Mandarin congregation began two extra services and a Sunday School at the Chinese Evangelical Seminary chapel due to overcrowding in their three services. Their main preaching pastor now is Rev. Paul Kong.
The English speaking congregation has had many pastors since its founding in 1953. Rev. Dennis Brice from the Presbyterian Church of Scotland pastored the English Congregation from 1986-1990. Rev. Marshall Hickman was pastor from 1998-2001. Rev. Bill Beasley (August 2001-January 2002) had most recently been serving in a PCA church in Hawaii before coming to FPC. The English-speaking congregation has had a number of pastors who have been ordained in the Presbyterian Church in America since 1977: Rev. Trinkle 77-80, Rev. Farlow 80-81, 82-85, Rev. Conkling 92-98, Rev. Yates 02-08. The current pastor, Rev. Dennis Brown, took over as pastor November 1, 2008.