March 2014. Bangkok has been the center for a series of protests against the current government, mostly for perceived corruption by various government officials. These protests have been mostly peaceful. Several major intersections were taken over by the protesters who set up orderly little tent cities. Days were relatively quiet, but the tent cities really rocked at night when protesters listened to speeches, music, and programs to entertain and educate those who were protesting. Ranks of vendors, selling everything from meals to clothing to basics for living, surrounded these tent cities and stretched in all directions, creating a carnival-like environment at night.—Sharon Bryant, mission co-worker
2/6/14 update: The conflict is ongoing. Even though elections have taken place, there was so much disruption that a decision was made to hold another election in 4-6 months. Demonstrations will continue. PC(USA) mission co-workers who live in Bangkok are safe. They are taking measures to make good and smart decisions about when and how to move around the city.
Update on Political Turmoil in Thailand
Jan. 30, 2014. General elections scheduled for February 2 will be held despite warnings that national voting could lead to an escalation of recent violence. All PC(USA) mission co-workers in Thailand are safe and continue to work with our primary mission partner, the Church of Christ in Thailand. Please pray for our partner, our ecumenical Christian mission partners, and our mission co-workers. Read more
Presbyterian work officially began in Thailand in 1840. The PC(USA) now works in this country through mission personnel and partner church relationships, primarily the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT). Membership in the CCT is still a small portion of population, but it is growing appreciably. Challenges the church faces include growing membership in many small parishes unable to hire pastors, growing interreligious unrest, a continuing HIV/AIDs problem, environmental and conservation issues, tourism and white slave trade issues, and drugs. The church’s educational, health and social ministries are widely known and appreciated. Its special ministries include an HIV/AIDS hospice ministry along with other health ministries, drug rehabilitation, education through the Tertiary Level, youth ministries and urban ministries.
Mission emphases of the CCT are evangelism, HIV/AIDS, Mekong River Valley projects, a growing interest in mission to neighboring countries, and ministry to minority groups within Thailand. In addition to its traditional support of 30 schools and eight hospitals, the CCT carries on an AIDS support program both for those who have the disease and for their families. The women’s unit provides vocational training for young women as an alternative to prostitution. A new ministry being initiated in the Klong Toey area in Bangkok seeks to reach other marginalized and underprivileged persons.
The PC(USA) also joins the Christian community in Thailand in ministries that include children’s ministries, church construction/renovation, church development/redevelopment, community development, human rights advocacy, leadership development, ministry to refugees and immigrants, new church development, peace education and reconciliation, spiritual formation, theological education and women’s work.
Thailand Partner Churches and Organizations
Tracing its history back to the arrival of the first Protestant missionaries in 1828, the Church of Christ in Thailand (CCT) unites congregations started by Presbyterian, Baptist, and Disciples of Christ missionaries. Membership in the church is more than 40,000 in a country that is 95 percent Buddhist.
The Thailand Baptist Mis sionary Fellowship (TBMF), one of the constituent groups within the CCT, has an outreach among hill tribe people, many of whom find themselves discriminated against in Thai society. PC(USA) mission workers, invited to serve in Thailand by the CCT, provide educational opportunities, medical assistance, and other social services.
The TBMF shares the gospel with Thai nationals by working to increase their awareness of how their own culture relates to the gospel. This approach is supplemented by the work of the Institute for the Study of Religion and Culture at Payuap University in Chiang Mai and the Christian Communication Institute (CCI), which adapts traditional Thai cultural forms such as dance and drama as media for effective evangelical witness. The CCI also produces programs for radio and television. —2004 Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study.
The PC(USA) has many other partners in ministry in Thailand
American Baptist Convention
Disciples of Christ
Mennonite Central Committee
Church of Scotland
Thailand Mission Network
- For information contact Mienda Uriarte
The Thailand Mission Network is among more than 40 networks that connect Presbyterians who share a common mission interest. Most participants are involved in mission partnerships through congregations, presbyteries or synods. Network members come together to coordinate efforts, share best practices and develop strategies.
Learn more about Thailand
Visit the BBC country profile.
See the 2014 Presbyterian Mission Yearbook for Prayer & Study, pp. 224-225