The General Secretary's Diary

The General Secretary’s Diary
On Saturday morning, Dec. 5. 2009, representatives of the mission boards of the former Japan-North American Commission on Cooperative Mission (JNAC)-member churches visited my office in Tokyo, and we had a pleasant conversation. The representatives, as pictured in the accompanying photograph are Xiaoling Zhu, Common Global Ministries Board (CGMB) of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/United Church of Christ; David Hudson, Presbyterian Church USA PCUSA); Jhonny Baez and Barbara Boers (financial officer). Reformed Chruch in America; Rebecca Asedillo,United Methodist Church; and Bern Jagunos, United Church of Canada (UCC). I would like to report on one aspect of the discussion we had at that time.
These mission board representatives raised the question: “In light of the religious solidarity that has united the Japan mission over the last 150 years, what does the future hold for us as we move towards 200 years?” In reply, I gave the following responses.
1. As we look back on the past 150 years of Protestant mission work in Japan, there are five areas in which the gospel message of Christ has been spread. They are as follows:
(1) Salvation from sin: the establishment of local churches
(This has been the primary work).
(2) Salvation from poverty: social work (ministries of mercy)
(3) Salvation from sickness: hospital evangelism
(including ministering to victims of Hansen’s Disease)
(4) Salvation from ignorance: educational evangelism
(mission schools, which overlaps extensively with youth
(5) Salvation from broken human relationships: family ministries
During these 150 years, missionaries have engaged in all these areas of Christian mission with great zeal and sincerity. Through these efforts,the Christian churches and their related facilities, along with mission schools, etc., have gained the recognition and trust of Japanese society, and this has continued to the present time.
2. With respect to the future strategy of the Kyodan, we want to focus particularly on the following areas included in the previously mentioned categories:
(1) Youth Evangelism. We particularly want to work closely with
Christian mission schools (junior high, senior high, and university).Beyond the transmission of knowledge, we aim also for the development of personality and the nourishment of the spirit. This is an area in which there can be strong cooperation between the schools and the churches, and there are many ways that missionaries can contribute meaningfully in this endeavor.
(2) Family Ministries. We have made it a practice to send our very best evangelists to key churches in outlying regions so that they can be a catalyst in helping surrounding churches revitalize their churches and associated kindergartens and welfare facilities. These outlying churches and the people they serve have a deep respect for missionaries, and so I believe that God wants us to continue to provide such mission personnel for the furtherance of this work.
3. Additionally, it has been reported that social problems influenced by the use of drugs is on the rise. Presently, this is a very difficult problem for us to deal with, as we don’t have the necessary resources. Nevertheless, some of our larger churches as well as cooperative arrangements of groups of churches, are making efforts to deal with this problem. (Tr. TG & TB)
―Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary

Consultation Planned for Churches in Korea, Switzerland, Japan

Consultation Planned for Churches in Korea, Switzerland, Japan
In July 1967, the Kyodan formulated a mission agreement with three
Korean churches: The Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK), The Korean
Methodist Church (KMC), and The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK). This occurred shortly after the Kyodan publicly announced its “Confession of Responsibility during World War II” in March of that year.
After 1910, when the Japan-Korea Treaty was formulated with Japan’s annexation of Korea, Japanese churches basically went along with national policy. However, when the Japanese churches asked for forgiveness for the past in the “confession,” a new basis for fellowship was established. Ever since that time, many church conferences and exchanges have been held between the two countries, and in June 1992, a revised mission agreement was formulated. Article 5 of this agreement calls for the participation of a representative of the Korean Christian Church in Japan as an observer at any public meeting of the Kyodan and the three Korean churches. Five such conferences were held between 1988 and 1997.
In 1885, evangelical churches in Switzerland and Germany initiated
mission work in Japan through the General Evangelical Protestant
Missionary Society (AEPMV). In 1988, after the end of World War II, the Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund (SEK) formulated a formal mission agreement with the Kyodan, and in 1993, in accordance with that agreement, a mission conference was held in Kyoto. Mission conferences between the three countries–Switzerland, Korea, and Japan–have been held in Switzerland (1995), in Korea (2002), and in Switzerland (2006).
Another such conference will be held July 5-8, 2011, this time in Tokyo,Japan. The main theme is “The Bond of Peace: one Body, one Spirit, one Hope.” (Eph. 4:3-4) The keynote speaker will be Kang Sang Jung ,professor of communications at the Graduate School of Tokyo University.The Kyodan’s Executive Committee is working on the program details. (Tr.RK)
  ―Ishimaru Yasuki, executive secretary
韓国・スイス・日本 三国間協議会計画
 韓国の三教会PCK(The Presbyterian Church of Korea), KMC(The Korean
Methodist Church), PROK(The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of
Korea)と教団(Kyodan)は、1967年7月、宣教活動のための協約を結んだ。それは、教団が1967年3月に「第二次大戦下における教団の責任の告白」Confession on the Responsibility during the World War Ⅱを発表した後のことである。
 1910年の日韓条約による併合に沿って日本の教会が国策に協力したことに対する謝罪がなされたことにより、新しい歩みの基点がしるされた。その後両国の教会協議と交流が重ねられ、1992年6月に改定された協約が結ばれた。この協約には、第五条に「教団と韓国三教会との公式会合には、常に在日大韓基督教会(Korean Christian Church in Japan)総会代表の陪席を要請する」の文言が記された。1988年から1997年まで、5回の韓日宣教協議会が開かれた。
二度の世界戦争の後、SEK(Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund)は1988年宣教協約を教団と結んだ。1993年、協約に基づいて京都で宣教協議会が開かれた。
 次回は2011年日本で開かれる事が決まった。日程は7月5日(火)から8日(金)、場所は東京。主題は「平和の絆、一つの体、一つの霊、一つの希望(エフェソ4:3-4)」主題講演講師はKang Sang Jung東京大学大学院情報学。現在、同実行委員会ではプログラムの詳細を検討中である。

The Students Engraved on My Heart ― Elizabeth Russell's 40 Years at

The Students Engraved on My Heart ― Elizabeth Russell’s 40 Years at Kwassui Gakuin
by Nonomura Noboru, chancellor
Kwassui Gakuin, Nagasaki City
The road that leads up the Higashi (east) Yamate hill in the city of Nagasaki has become known as “Dutch Slope.” This is because at the beginning of the Meiji Era a foreign settlement was established in this area, so it was usual to come into contact with foreigners here. Part way up the slope is the main gate of Kwassui Women’s College; by going through it and climbing up the stone steps, the view at the top suddenly becomes visible. On the right are the lawns of the campus grounds and the red roofs of the college buildings, while across the valley on the left is Glover Garden and the sea beyond.
Three camphor trees tower above the way into Kwassui’s college campus,their thickly growing branches and leaves stretched out as if they are holding out their arms to welcome visitors to the campus. The founder herself is said to have planted these trees, and this is also mentioned in the school song. At the time of Kwassui’s 126th anniversary in December 2005, the school erected a plaque near the camphor trees to commemorate the missionaries who have been sent to Kwassui throughout its history. On it are engraved the names of 76 missionaries, all of them women.
The inscription reads as follows. “In 1879, two missionaries crossed the Pacific from distant America and came to Nagasaki. They immediately opened a girls’ school with a Christian basis. This was how Kwassui Gakuin was established. Since then, for 126 years, undaunted by a great number of trials, Kwassui has kept sight of its original purpose and fulfilled its calling, and so has been able to reach the present time. During these years, 76 missionaries have responded to God’s call to come to serve here, and their prayers and devotion have been a support of the base of this institution. The education they have provided, arising from
a spirit of reverence for God and love for other people, has raised up a large number of young women who have leadership abilities and noble characters. We erect this commemorative plaque with deep respect and gratitude for the missionaries who have served here over the years, and all those who have sent and supported them. ‘How beautiful on the mountains are the feet of those who bring good news.’ (Isaiah 52:7)”
Kwassui’s founder, Elizabeth Russell, was sent to Japan, along with her missionary colleague Jean Gheer, by the Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society of the American Methodist Church at the request of the Reverend John Davison, who had begun his own missionary work in Nagasaki in 1873.The two missionaries started their educational activities just eight days after arriving in Nagasaki. They had one student. According to Russell’s journal, the student and her teachers did not know each other’s languages, and were communicating through facial expressions.
However, day by day, the missionaries’ Japanese improved, eventually to a level that enabled them to read the Bible in Japanese. The number of students also steadily increased to more than 40 after three years. At this point, the missionaries made up their minds to erect a new school building, and magnificent premises were constructed on Higashi Yamate hill, with spacious accommodation for 60 boarders and 40 commuting students.
Although the system of compulsory education in Japan began in 1873, the percentage of children actually going to school was extremely low, and for girls especially so. In fact, in 1882 67 percent of Japanese boys were being educated but only 33 percent of the girls, and Nagasaki followed the general pattern. In such circumstances, the development of schools for girls, such as Kwassui, can be said to have contributed to the spread of women’s education.
This is not the only area in which Kwassui showed itself a pioneer. For example, in music education, although according to the regulations for the public schools music (then termed “singing”) had to be included in the curriculum, putting this into practice was postponed on the grounds that for the time being singing would not be missed. However, from the beginning, Kwassui implemented music education in earnest. A liberal arts strand, including music, still flows as an undercurrent in the structure of the content of Kwassui’s education. It is also worthy of note that in 1893 Kwassui became involved in children’s welfare activities with the opening of Kwassui Jo-En (Kwassui Girls’ Home), an institution that took in and educated girls who had lost their families
due to a tsunami.
From the time of her arrival in Japan, Russell worked single-mindedly for Kwassui. The fundamental attitude running through her 40 years of productive activities is shown in her words that are engraved on the relief found at the front of Kwassui’s main chapel. “If you could see it, you would find the girlhood of Japan written on my heart.”
Whenever we see these words, we are reminded of what we have learned from Elizabeth Russell and must pass on to the next generation: the attitude of loving our neighbors and of loving our students to such an extent that they are engraved on our hearts. (Tr. SN)
生徒らを心に刻んで――ラッセル校長の40年――活水学院院長 野々村昇
活水学院の創立者エリザベス・ラッセル宣教師と協力者ジーン・ギール宣教師を送り出したのは、アメリカ・メソジスト教会の婦人外国伝道協会(Woman’s Foreign Missionary Society)である。派遣を要請したのは、すでに1873年から長崎で宣教活動をしていたJ.C.デヴィソン宣教師である。二人が長崎での教育活動を開始したのは、長崎到着のわずか8日後。生徒は一人だけであった。生徒も教師も互いの国語がわからない。ただ表情でコミュニケートするばかりであった、とラッセル師は記している。しかし、日を追って二人の日本語は上達し、日本語で聖書が読めるほどになる。生徒数も徐々に増加し、3年後には40名を越す人数になった。この時点で二人は校舎の新築を思い立つ。60名の寮生、40名の通学生を教育するのに十分な広さをもつ壮麗な学舎が東山手の丘に建った。その1年ぐらい前には「活水」という校名も定まっていた。ヨハネによる福音書4章に由来する。
  If you could see it, you would find the girlhood of Japan
written on my heart.

(EMS) Ecumenical Youth Volunteer Program in Germany

(EMS) Ecumenical Youth Volunteer Program in Germany
By the grace of God and the support of many people, a cooperative
exchange program with partner churches was held in Southwest Germany from September 2008 through May 2009. The program is a cooperative venture rather than a one-way street. Youth from seven churches in five countries gathered, including eight youth from Japan. The participants connected with pastors of churches in the areas where they were sent and took part in the volunteer work to which they were introduced. Once or twice a month the team gathered at Baden-Wu”rttemberg (in Stuttgart) at the headquarters of Das Evanglische Missionwerk in Sudwestdeutschland (EMS) to learn about various common issues and projects in the churches.Participants shared reports to deepen mutual understanding through the
exchange. There was a range of opportunities beyond the core program for anyone who was interested, including the chance to attend such events as the Youth Forum organized by the Roman Catholic Church.
The participants could experience various accommodations, ranging from a homestay with a German church family to university dormitory life. Some team members were housed in the Rhineland-Palatinate area of Kaiserslautern. The Protestant Student Association (Evangelische Studierenden Gemeinde [ESG]) provided use of its assembly hall and dormitory, where doors were always wide open to students regardless of nationality or religion. It was a truly fascinating place. This diversity certainly provided a rich cross-cultural and ecumenical experience for us. We were greatly helped by Pastor Pearly Walter from The Church of South India, OEFP, who was in close solidarity with us. Our two leaders were given lodging and an office for emergency consultations, which was an ideal setting. At first, my work was primarily simple translation at the university, but when I shared my desire for more human interaction that too was accommodated, and I was able to volunteer at a nearby nursery facility.
ESG, as mentioned above, is open as a gathering place for activities.Every Tuesday there was a workshop covering a range of issues, such as tips for international student life, international conflicts, and religious conflicts. On Wednesdays, the area gospel chorus held its practice. On Friday there was an English Bible study led by the pastor of Calvary Bible Church, who was from the United States. There were also interfaith gatherings of Christians and Muslims as well as an African church that used the facility at times. We observed church life in Germany as we experienced various local church situations and programs. We are deeply grateful for the fine leadership of Kaiserslautern Landeskirche Riyou Kuni, who was in charge of the youth volunteer program. Whenever we expressed an interest in anything, he listened carefully and guided us. He also skillfully handled our requests, adjusting the program to fit our needs whenever possible.
One of my greatest joys was to observe the Children and Worship program.The EMS meetings were brief but focused and packed with content. Surely this program achieved its aim of promoting mutual understanding about the church as we exchanged our various perspectives from our countries of origin. We learned about the state of the church in Germany through the various reports. EMS was very adept at addressing issues related to international cooperation modalities, immigration assistance, women’s rights, care for those suffering with HIV, as well as others.
Through the training and discussions we became friends gathered in the name of Christ, although we came from different cultures and hold different ideas. Occasionally we had clashes of opinion, but ultimately we were strengthened through the process. We focused on “Building up each other in the church as a network of multidirectional how” — it is a positive and proactive outlook. Although there may not be clear-cut answers yet, we found it important to keep on struggling to keep listening deeply to each other. This is the benefit of the “forum” type of mission.
I am grateful to the Kyodan’s Committee on Ecumenical Ministries for appointing me to lead this group and for the tireless support of Takada Teruki in the Kyodan office. I thank God for blessing the program, its supporters, and participants and pray God’s blessing on the next generation of leaders. (Tr. NB)
―Nishido Nozomi, member
Ten’nodai Church, Tokyo District’s Chiba Subdistrict
参加者の派遣地域や滞在形態(教会員家庭へのホームステイ、寮生活等)はそれぞれ異なるが、私の受け入れ先となってくれたのはラインラント=プファルツ州カイザースラウテルンにあるプロテスタント学生協会(ESG)と、その管理下にある一軒家を用いた集会所兼学生寮であり、国籍や宗教・宗派を問わずに広く学生と地域に門戸を開放した面白い場所だった。間借り人のほとんどは近くの工科大学に在籍する留学生で、ここでの共同生活が滞在中の異文化交流やエキュメニカルな体験として占めた割合は大きい。また、同じOEFP参加者である南インド教会のP. Walter(ウォルター)牧師が一緒だったことも、立場を同じくする仲間がすぐそばにいる安心感として大きな支えとなってくれた。私たち2名の師父は、ESG担当責任牧師であり、同館に住居とオフィスを構えていたため有事の相談には困らない恵まれた距離だったと言える。ボランティア活動の場として私には大学での簡単な翻訳仕事が与えられたが、もっと人と接する仕事がしたいとの要望を容れてもらい、後に近くの保育所にも保育補助員として通えることになった。
OEFP 参加にあたり御尽力下さった日本基督教団事務局の高田様、国際関係委員会の皆様方、EMSスタッフと全ての御協力者、そして守り導いて下さった主に感謝いたします。次代の参加者の上にも主の豊かな恵みが与えられますこと、心よりお祈り申し上げます。

Christian Schools Council Holds General Assembly in Tokyo

Christian Schools Council Holds General Assembly in Tokyo
On January 28, 2010, the General Assembly of the Christian Schools
Council on Cooperative Mission was held in the Kyodan Conference Room and included time for presentations, discussion, and fellowship. First to speak was David Burger, whose theme was “Thirty Years of Work at Seigakuin.” While growing up in Tennessee, Burger attended the local United Methodist Church with his family and after completing preparation classes was baptized on Easter Sunday shortly before his 11th birthday.Burger met his future wife when he was 27, while he was teaching English
to a group of Japanese students preparing to enter American colleges. It was this experience that made him want to learn more about the Japanese language and culture. The father of another Japanese student at the U.S. college his future wife attended was the principal of Joshi Seigakuin Junior/Senior High School. He introduced Burger’s name to then president of Joshi Seigakuin Junior College, William G. Kroehler, who asked Burger to come to Japan as a missionary associate. Burger feels that unlike most short-term missionaries at Christian schools, in the beginning he
did not “choose” as much as he “was chosen” to come to Japan as a missionary to a Christian school. Nevertheless, he feels certain that God led him in this direction, so after much prayer, he accepted the call to become a missionary teacher at Joshi Seigakuin Junior College at the age of 29.
For Burger, it is most important that a missionary teacher is a
Christian who represents the spirit of Christianity while teaching. For example, when he taught a class in intercultural communication, he tried to convey to students that effective intercultural communication occurs when we have the same love for others that God has for all: namely, God loves all equally, so we also must love one another. He also believes that it is important for Christian teachers to be models of the Christian life to their students. To lead such a life is a great challenge to any missionary, but at all times, we must be guided by the same love God has for all. In 1994, Burger was asked to become Dean of
Students, and four years later he became head of the English Literature Department. In that role, he helped oversee the final year of the junior college’s existence before it merged with Seigakuin University and he became a member of the Japanese Culture Department. Nine years later, in 2008, he moved to the European-American Culture Department as chair,where he remains today.
Burger said that the assurance of God’s constant presence and guidance continues to give him the confidence he needs to face whatever challenges are presented. Being the top person has never been his ambition but rather simply to be satisfied by doing the best he can at whatever he is asked to do. As Jesus taught in Luke 12:48: “From everyone to whom much has been given, much will be required, and from the one to whom much has been entrusted, even more will be demanded.” Burger said that he is forever thankful for all that has been given and entrusted to him during his time in Japan and for the opportunity to participate in the great mission of Christian schools to infuse a traditional liberal arts education with Christian values and mission.
The second speaker was Park Mi-Ae of Rakuno Gakuen University, who spoke on the topic “The Mission and Role of Missionaries in Christian Schools.” Park pointed out that despite the fact that the Christian population is quite low, it is impressive that Japan has produced world-class theologians, social activists, literary figures, and other Christian leaders. In addition, the fact that ten percent of Japanese universities are Christian schools is another blessing from God. Park was sent by the Presbyterian Church in Korea and served at Asian Rural Institute for eight years, 1994-2003, then served for one year at Nishinasuno Church. After a brief return to Korea, Park has been working as a missionary and teacher at Rakuno Gakuen University since 2008.
Chapel services are held three times a week at Rakuno Gakuen and are semi-required for first- and second-year students. There are many positive aspects of semi-required chapel services, Park feels, among them the opportunity for spiritual growth and mental development, as well as for a sense of belonging to an educational community. In Park’s Christian Studies class, the aim is for students to study the Christian ideas that form the basis for the establishment of the school, to form a sense of values and an understanding of the world, and to put into practice Rakuno Gakuen’s founding principle of a threefold love for God,humanity, and the earth.
Park expressed the belief that working at a university both as a
missionary and as a foreigner is a great advantage in that she is
naturally able to fulfill her role as a cultural exchange ambassador.Rakuno Gakuen currently sponsors a “Japan-South Korea Reconciliation and Peace Study Tour.” In addition to that, the university offers a Korean language course for independent study. Park also serves as a counselor. For students or teachers who may find it hard to go to the counseling room, even when they are having problems, Park has set aside a time and place where they can come and talk freely. For her, as a missionary and as an evangelist, this is another important role.
In reality, there is a limit to what can be conveyed in a chapel message or in a lecture, but Park can personally introduce a local church to students who are interested in Christianity and attend worship services with them. This is an important role she can play in furthering solidarity between Christian schools and local churches. Through a work camp at Asian Rural Institute, with the theme “A Trip to Learn about the Founding Principles of Rakuno Gakuen,” as well as through a tour of the Ashio copper mine ruins, students are able to learn the history of the Ashio mineral poisoning incident and about Tanaka Shozo, who had a great
influence on Rakuno Gakuen founder Kurosawa Torizo.
At a time when there is an absolute lack of Christian teachers, and when there is a question of how we can educate and nurture young people who have the Christian spirit, Park hopes that the work of missionaries can be of some help in realizing this goal.
―Aminaka Shoko, staff
Christian Schools Council on Cooperative Mission
Pastor, Bethel Church
(Tokyo District’s Southwest Subdistrict)
2010年1月28日(木)日本基督教団会議室において宣教協力学校協議会総会が行われ、発題と懇談の時が持たれた。はじめに、David Burger先生は「聖学院での30年間の働き」と題して、発題した。
テネシー州に生まれ、家族と共に合同メソジスト教会に通い、11歳の誕生日直前に受洗準備会に参加し、イースターに洗礼を受けた。27歳の時、留学準備の夏期学校で日本人グループに英語を教えたのがもっと日本語や文化を知りたいと思うきっかけとなり、将来妻となる女性と出会ったのもその夏期学校であった。妻が通う大学の日本人学生の父が女子聖学院中高の校長で、当時女子聖学院短期大学の学長であったWilliam G,Kroehler 先生と連絡を取って下さり、短大で準宣教師として教えることになった。日本にいるほとんどの教育宣教師とは違い、私は自分で選んだのではなく選ばれて日本に来ることになったと思う。実際、神さまが私をこの方向に導いて下さったということは確かで、一生懸命祈った結果、29歳で女子聖学院短期大学教育宣教師になるという召しを受け入れることになった。一番大切なことは教えている時に、クリスチャンとしてキリスト教精神を示すこと。教会的な異文化間コミュニケーションは、神さまの全ての人たちへの愛から生じていることを教えるよう努力した。神さまは全ての人を平等に愛して下さっている。だから私たちもお互いに愛し合わなければならない。
酪農学園大学 朴美愛先生(ぱくみえ)「キリスト教学校での宣教師としての使命と役割」日本のクリスチャン人口は少ないが、世界的な神学者、社会運動家、文学者などクリスチャン・リーダーが生み出されていることをうらやましく思う。そして日本の大学の10分の1がキリスト教主義学校であることも神さまの祝福だと思う。私は大韓イエス教長老会から派遣され、1994年から2003年まではアジア学院で8年、日本基督教団西那須野教会で1年働き、一時帰国の後2008年から酪農学園大学で宣教師、教員として働いている。酪農学園では週3回礼拝をおこない、1,2年生は準必修。霊的、精神的な成長、教育共同体としての一体感など、礼拝の準必修は肯定的な面がとても多い。
キリスト者教員が絶対的に足りない今、どうすればキリスト教の精神を持った人材を育成する教育が出来るのか、宣教師の働きが少しでもその役に立てばいいと願っている。 —– EXTENDED BODY: —–