First Christian Bookstore Award Ceremony

0n Sept. 5, 2011, the first Christian Bookstore Award ceremony was held at Christ Shinagawa Church in Tokyo. Winners of the award were chosen by the staff of the 25 nationwide Christian Bookstores that are affiliated with the Christian Publication Sales Association.

 

All the Christian publications printed and published during 2010 were considered for this award.  Among 87 candidates, first prize was given to Love and Forgiveness by Hinohara Shigeaki, MD., published by Kyobunkwan, and second prize to It was Good to Meet All the Lives by Momoi Kazuma, a photo journalist, Kyodan Board of Publications.

 

Hinohara and Momoi were invited to the ceremony to be recognized by Kaneko Kazuhito, who at that time was the general secretary of the Christian Publication Sales Association and of the headquarters of Kirisuto Shinbun Co., Ltd. Although both men have been recognized by various organizations in the past, they were honored to receive the first Christian Bookstore Awards.

 

“’Forgiveness’ is a precious message for today,” Hinohara stated. “After 9/11, a journalist interviewed the wife of a victim. She said, ‘My husband is not a person to take revenge on anyone. This is a trial which can be overcome only by forgiveness.’ I agree with her. Forgiveness is all about changing yourself, not others. This is the core message of this book.”

 

“I learned the importance of ‘prayer’ through the earthquake disaster,” Momoi Kazuma remarked. “I have been running around the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake in order to report on the situation. Through that experience, I felt strongly the importance of prayer. The earthquake disaster made it very clear that humans are not the heroes of the earth, nor are we perfect. We need to be reminded of that through prayer, and I have become more and more convinced that we need to speak clearly about God, whose existence transcends human beings. (Tr. NB)

 

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)

 

Note: Dr. Hinohara’s role is Chair of the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s International Hospital and Honorary President of St. Luke’s College of Nursing.

 

「第一回キリスト教本屋大賞」

今、大切なメッセージは「ゆるし」  日野原重明

震災で「祈り」の重要性を知る      桃井和馬

 

 

このたび、キリスト教出版販売協会に加盟する全国のキリスト教書店二五書店が参加し、その書店員が選ぶ 「第一回キリスト教本屋大賞」が決まり、去る九月五日に授賞式が東京・キリスト品川教会にて行われた。

今回、授賞対象となった作品は二〇一〇年中に刊行されたキリスト教系のすべての書籍。第一次選考に挙 がった候補だけでも八七冊にのぼる。その中から第二次選考の投票で最終的に選ばれて大賞(一位)となったのが医師の日野原重明著『愛 とゆるし』(教文館)。二位は写真家でジャーナリストの桃井和馬著『すべての生命にであえてよかった』(日本キリスト教団出版局) だった。

その記念すべき第一回の授賞式には両氏が招かれ、同協会幹事長・金子和人氏(キリスト新聞社社長)より 表彰を受けた。両氏ともそれぞれの分野で多くの賞を受賞してきた人たちだが、キリスト教の本屋に選ばれたということで、受賞後、以下 のような教会向けの短いメッセージを語った。

「9・11テロのとき、ある被害者の妻に新聞記者がインタビューしたところ、彼女は『私の主人はけっしてしかえしを する人間ではない。この受難はゆるしのみが問題の解決です』と語ったそうです。私も同感です。ゆるすということは相手よりも自分が変 わることです。そのことをこの本にはメッセージとして書きました」(日野原氏)

「東日本大震災の取材のために被災地を巡り続けてきました。その中で特に感じたことは『祈り』の重要性 です。この震災は人間がこの地球の主人公ではないということ、人間は完璧ではないということをはっきりさせました。そのことを覚える ためにも祈るということが大切だと思います。そして私たちはもっと、神という人間を越えた存在をはっきりと言うべきだと思うように なったのです」(桃井氏)

(信徒の友より)

Kyodan Commissions Missionary to Seoul, Korea

Following the Kyodan Executive Council meeting’s Oct. 18, 2011 session, a service was held to commission Nag Woon-Hae as a missionary to Korea. He is the associate pastor of Saemoonan Presbyterian Church in Seoul, the first organized church in Korea, and is on the faculty of Presbyterian College Theological Seminary, the most influential seminary in the world.

 

Nag Woon-Hae is Japanese and was born in Japan. After graduating from Tokyo Union Theological Seminary and serving as pastor of two Kyodan churches, he moved to Korea, where he studied at Presbyterian College Theological Seminary to earn a doctorate. With further expectations of his good work, the Kyodan has officially commissioned him as a missionary. This commissioning is particularly important.

 

As historically recorded, the difficult relationship between Japan and Korea is a history of aggression, starting with the annexation of Korea by Japan 100 years ago. But in the 1980s, during the evangelization of Korea, history also records that many missionaries went to the Korean peninsula via Japan and many Japanese Christians also supported these efforts. Now Korean churches have grown to the point that Korea is called a Christian nation.

 

Facing the global era of the 21st century, in which national boundaries are lower and society is becoming more pluralistic, we plead without ceasing that the fellowship of these two countries may be enriched through the gospel and that we may develop a closer relationship through evangelistic cooperation. In the midst of this, it is highly significant that Nag Woon-Hae is ministering at Saemoonan Church and serving as a member of the faculty of Presbyterian College Theological Seminary. We pray without ceasing that he will continue to be used in these roles.

 

Please remember to support him and his work with your prayers. (Tr. PST)

 

—Kishi Norihide, pastor

Chiba Honcho Church

Chiba Subdistrict, Tokyo District

 

日本基督教団は、このたび、韓国で最も伝統のあるセムナン教会の協力牧師であり、世界で最も有力な神学校である長老会神学大学の教師である洛雲海Nag Woon-Hae牧師を在外教師(宣教師)として派遣した。去る10月18日、常議員会後に多くの参会者によって盛会のうちに派遣式が行われた。

洛雲海牧師は日本生まれの日本人である。東京神学大学で修士号を取得し、教団の教師として二つの教会に仕えた後に渡韓された。長老会神学大学で学ばれ博士 号を取得され、さらに彼の働きが期待されるところに、教団として正式に宣教師派遣がなされたことは意義深い。

韓国と日本の関係は、負の歴史が記憶される。それは、100年前の日韓併合に始まる侵略の歴史である。しかし、1980年 代、韓国の伝道がなされた時代、多くの宣教師たちは日本経由で朝鮮半島にわたり、多くの日本人キリスト者も支援してきた歴史を持つ。そして今や、韓国はキリスト教国とまで呼ばれるほどに韓国の教会は成長している。

21世紀のグローバルな時代を迎え、国境が低くなり、社会が多元化していくなかで、福音によって両国の交わりがより豊かなものとされ、伝道協力によって、より緊密な関係が導かれることを願ってやまない。そう いう中で、彼がセムナン教会で伝道し、長老会神学大学の教授陣に加わっていることは大きなことである。どうか、そのために彼が用いら れることを祈ってやまない。

ぜひ彼の働きのために祈り、支えていただきたい。

岸憲 秀(千葉本町教会牧 師)

A Message From General Secretary –Recent Kyodan Church Statistics –

As the 2012 Kyodan Yearbook has just been published and contains the statistics for the 2010 fiscal year, I want to discuss recent trends within the Kyodan from the standpoint of statistics.

 

The overall basics statistics are as follows:

Total Number of Churches – 1,724

Total Membership – 182,418

Total Number of Resident Communicant Members – 90,184

Average Sunday Attendance – 56,240

Average Church School Attendance – 15,918

Total Number of Ordained Ministers – 3,363   (including 635 retirees)

– 2,653 of whom are men and 710 are women

– 1,841 of whom are in local church pastorates

 

The total number of new baptisms in 2010 was 1,395, which is about the same as the previous year and represents an average of slightly less than one per congregation.  When the yearly reports submitted by local congregations are analyzed, there appears to be three peak periods in the distribution of those receiving baptism. One is women in their 30s who are in the midst of childrearing. As they raise their children, they often begin thinking about the meaning of life, what they are living for, and in the process, they discover the answers they are seeking in the Bible and are led to receive baptism. At any rate, that seems to be the general pattern.

 

The second peak period in the pattern is that of men in their 60s. From the standpoint of society, these are mostly men who have recently retired and who now have time to do things they really want to do. Often they were “wed to their company” so the harder they worked during employment, the more acutely they feel the lack of things to do after retirement. Thus, they begin considering what they want to do with the rest of their lives but realize they really have nothing firm on which to base their lives. As they look for a way to overcome this deficiency and are exposed in church to the gospel of Christ, they discover true salvation and are led to baptism. As we consider the potential for this segment of society, it is really important for local churches to develop strategies for reaching them.

 

The third peak period is students of junior and senior high school age, including both those who have attended church schools in the local church and those who have attended mission schools for their regular education. We really need to be thankful for these young people, who have either been raised in a Christian home and come to faith under the prayerful watch of their parents or were exposed to the Bible in these mission schools and were attracted to its message, with both types of experiences leading them to receive baptism as a testimony to their budding faith. Nevertheless, as young people who face many struggles and doubts, the faith of many is subsequently eroded by the cares of this world, leading to unanswered doubts, and thus they end up leaving the faith through the backdoor. This reality speaks to the need for further education and pastoral care to nurture their faith after baptism as well. These young people are the future of the church, so it is critically important for us to put maximum emphasis on training them in the faith.

 

As I looked through the statistics on baptisms, I noticed that there are a few churches with numerous baptisms during the year, including one with 29 and another with 27.  There are many plausible reasons for this, but in looking into the details, there was nothing to indicate that they were doing something special. They were simply emphasizing the preaching of the Word and prayer and praise in worship. The pastor led the laity to provide a warm and welcoming atmosphere for newcomers. In other words, it was not some special program but the faithful diligence of the entire church in providing an atmosphere in which faith could blossom. God blessed this, and the result was numerous new confessions of faith leading to baptism.

 

I also want to say something about finances. The total income from contributions among the more than 1,700 local churches was approximately 11.8 billion yen, which amounts to an average of about 7.2 million yen per church.

 

Finally, a word concerning missionaries: There are presently 64 missionaries from overseas serving the Kyodan, while the Kyodan is sending out 21 missionaries to other countries. The history of the church in Japan is one in which missionaries have played a huge role, and so I pause to give thanks for that. (Tr. TB)

 

—Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary:

 

 

総幹事日記

「最近の教団の教勢の現状について」

今回は、教団年鑑(2012版)が出版されたので、それに記載されている2010年度統計を参照しながら、教団の教勢の現状を紹介する。

まず、教会数は1724教会。信徒総数は182418名。 現住陪餐会員数は90184名。主日礼拝出席者数は56240名。教会学校礼拝出席者数は15918名。教師総数は3363名、 (うち隠退教師635名)。男女比は男性2653名、女性710名。 このうち教会担任教師は1841名。受洗者数は1395名で前年比はほぼ横ばい。全国平均は1名弱。提出された各個教会の年次報告書にみられる受洗者の実態を分析してみると、三つの山があることが知らされ る。一つは子育て中の婦人層(30代)。子育てをしながら様々な経験をし、人生の意 味は何か、真の生き甲斐はどこにあるのかなどと深く考えさせられ、その確かな答えを聖書の中に見いだし、本格的に求道して遂に受洗に まで導かれていく。そんな事情が考えられる。二つ目の山は60代の熟年層。この世的に言えば定年退職をし、やり たいことが出来る自由時間が増してくるが、実は会社人間として、がむしゃらに働いてきた者であればある程度自由時間をもてあまし、次 第に「自分は今後どのように生きていったらよいのか」と考え、自分の中に確固と生きる支えが何もないことに気づかされる。そうしたむ なしさの中で、それを克服する道を求めて志道し、教会の礼拝に集うようになり、キリストの福音に触れ、そこに真の救いを見いだして受 洗に導かれる。このような熟年層が教会に加えられている現実を見つめ、全国各地の教会が伝道方策を立てていくことが大切なのではない かと思われる。三つ目の山は中高生。教会学校育ちの中高生のほか、キリスト教主義学校に通学している中に聖書に心惹かれる者、クリス チャンホーム育ちで親の祈りの支えられ導かれて受洗する者が相当数あるのは感謝すべき現実。ただ若者特有の人生問題にぶつかり、心を 痛めつつ教会を去る者、この世の他の事柄に心奪われて信仰から離れる者も数多く見られることを思うと、受洗後の教育的配慮をきちんと していかねばならないと思う。とにかく、教会の将来を担っていく若者たちを根気強く育てていくことが重要なのである。

受洗者数について調べていくうちに気がついたことであるが、1教会で29名とか、27名 とか、多数の受洗者を生み出している事実があることである。様々な理由が考えられるが、よく調べてみるとその教会が特別なことをして いるとも思えない。ただ主日礼拝を豊に守り、み言葉の説教が力強く語られ、心からの賛美が歌われ霊性を感じる深井祈りが捧げられ、一 人一人の求道中の来会者を温かく迎えて信仰の手引きをしている、といったことを牧師を先頭に信徒が喜んで奉仕している、平凡である が、そうした事を積み重ねていく時、上よりの祝福として、受洗者が生まれてくるのではないかと思う。

最後に財政面について一言。1700余の教団教会が献げる総献金額は約118億円一教会当たり720万 円となっている。

宣教師についても一言。海外からの受け入れ宣教指数は現在64名、教団が送り出している派遣宣教師は21名である。日本の教会史は海外教会からの宣教師に 支えられてきた面が大きかったことを、今改めて思い、感謝を新たにしている。

内藤留幸