Jonathan and Emily are periodically in the United States and available to speak to congregations as their schedule permits. Email them to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.
About Jonathan and Emily Seitz’s ministry
Since 2009, Jonathan and Emily Seitz have served at the invitation of the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan.
Jonathan teaches at Taiwan Theological Seminary in Taipei, the capital of Taiwan. Most of Jonathan’s students are preparing for pastoral ministry. Taiwan Seminary traces its history to 1872. Students are about evenly split between men and women. Around a quarter of the students are first-generation Christians, while others trace their faith back five or six generations. Students are predominantly ethnically Taiwanese, but there is also a mix of indigenous and international students. After graduation, ministry students draw straws to determine in which part of Taiwan they will begin their ministries, and they are usually first assigned to rural churches. Jonathan teaches classes related to mission, religion and world Christianity.
Emily serves in children’s ministry in local churches and volunteers in the Seitz children’s schools. She is an active participant in the PCT’s ecumenical theological group (Taiwan Ecumenical Forum) and is helping to formulate a Young Adult Volunteer site in Taiwan.
Taiwan is an island nation that sits between China, Japan and the Philippines. One of the “four dragons” of East Asia, Taiwan is known for its rapid economic change. Taiwan’s international status is ambiguous. A vibrant “Sunflower Movement” influenced discussions about global trade and Taiwan’s relationship to China in 2014. Taiwan elected its first female president, Tsai Ing-wen, in 2016. Major questions for the future include Taiwan’s relationship to China and the global community, changing demographics (a low birth rate, rising immigration and an aging population) and social change.
The Presbyterian Church of Taiwan traces its history to English and Canadian missions whose ministries there began in the 1860s and 1870s. About 90 missionaries from the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.) — or its predecessors — have served in Taiwan during the last 75 years. Early Presbyterians started churches, schools and hospitals that continue to minister today. The PC(USA) has had special involvement in campus ministry, aborigine work and theological education. The Presbyterian Church of Taiwan is known for its commitment to witness, social transformation and contextualization.
About Emily and Jonathan Seitz
The Seitzes have often been moved by the passion of ministry students for the work they do. “One of the biggest influences on my prayer life,” says Jonathan, “is being part of the seminary community at Taiwan Theological Seminary. At meals and before classes, during Bible studies and in worship, Taiwanese students and teachers pray. Taiwanese sometimes pray kaikou, or “open mouthed,” a format where the whole group or congregation sort of mumble their prayers together. At first this seemed quite alien to me, and only gradually did it become familiar and even meaningful. The time we have spent as part of this community reconverted me.”
Jonathan was born in Congo but grew up in the U.S. He was baptized by a Congolese pastor (Rev. Ntolo) in the Tshiluba language. Growing up in the U.S. in Virginia and Ohio, he was always curious about the world church. Jonathan completed his Ph.D. at Princeton Theological Seminary in its History and Ecumenics Department. Jonathan adjuncted and precepted at Princeton University and Princeton Seminary and taught world history at Centenary University (NJ) for a year.
Emily was born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio, and never imagined she would one day live overseas! Emily studied English and Spanish at Wooster and was a Jesuit volunteer in Atlanta after college. She completed masters and doctoral degrees in Library and Information Science at Rutgers University (New Jersey). While living in NJ and attending graduate school, she worked in reference and youth services in public libraries. She has also volunteered in her children’s school libraries. Emily enjoys libraries and information services of all types.
Jonathan and Emily met at the College of Wooster in Ohio. Jonathan was ordained as a minister during regular worship at Grace Taiwanese-American Presbyterian Church in Lawrenceville, New Jersey, in 2005, and Emily became an elder in 2007 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Trenton. Jonathan and Emily have three children — Samuel, born in Princeton, NJ, in 2008, and twins Eva and Eli, born in Taipei in 2010. The Seitz kids enjoy music, art, and sports.
Emily – June 6
Jonathan – June 29
Samuel – March 21
Eva – October 29
Eli – October 29