The SARS epidemic in Taiwan has deterred many activities of churches outside worship services.
Sio-Pak-Lo Presbyterian Church in Tainan City is holding special worship services at a park near the church building. Rev. Ms. Li So-chin said because now the building is too small for worship services, it is under renovation for offices and classrooms.
After moving outside, the church received interesting results. Because the worship service is open for everyone, even the passersby gather and listen to the sermon.
The church participants said "the outdoor worship service has already been 2 years. The form of the service has changed. And the most important thing is the attendance has increased from 30 to 60."
However, there were many difficulties and struggles with neighbors. Some even called the police and complained that the audio system was too loud. But eventually all was settled peacefully and the worship services has sustained itself until now.
Also Ms. Li added, "miraculously it almost never rained when we have outdoor worship services."
Ms. Li and her husband Rev. Tzeng Zhi-Sheng previously pioneered a new church in the Tainan County town of White River. This church has an outdoor Sunday School for kids. Outdoor Sunday School was effective in reaching children.
They added, "the facilities for churches are normally very expensive but the outdoor worship service program is a very economical alternative for [a] church."