Executive Council Votes to Revitalize Kyodan’s Evangelistic Efforts

The 5th Executive Council meeting of the 37th General Assembly biennium (2011-12) met Feb. 13-14 at the Kyodan headquarters. The opening worship service was led by Executive Council member Okamura Hisashi, who expounded on Romans 8:26-30. He talked about his experiences prior to entering the ministry: how God spoke to him through the sharing of Holy Communion with a brother in the faith on the verge of death, who taught him that this was truly the table of God’s Kingdom. Likewise, he shared his experience of living with his mother, as she fought pancreatic cancer during the last few months of her life, and how that experience confirmed for him that God alone is the only firm basis we have for salvation. His concluding remarks were that it is not we who search out God and thereby find salvation, but it is God who searches us out and saves us through his grace.

In his report, General Secretary Naito Tomeyuki first announced the decision of the National Christian Council in Japan to elect both a new moderator and a new general secretary who are members of the Kyodan. Next, he reported the establishment of the Japan Ecumenical Disaster Response Office (JEDRO) as an emergency measure and the Kyodan’s full cooperation with the NCCJ in that endeavor. He then reported on the meeting of the National Christian Liaison Committee on the issue of the Basic Law for Foreign Residents in Japan, held Jan. 26-28 at the Korean YMCA. General Secretary Naito was in attendance, and he reported that the official name of the organization was changed to The National Christian Liaison Committee on the Establishment of the Basic Law for Foreign Residents in Japan.

The chairperson of the Subcommittee on the Clarification of Christian Center Issues, Takahashi Jun, reported on the proposed bylaws for Kyodan-related Christian Centers. His report included bylaws for the establishment of such centers, a model for center regulations, and bylaws for both financial standards and auditing.

At this Executive Council meeting, a significant amount of time was devoted to the report of the Committee on Strategies for Evangelism. Council members viewed detailed statistics of local churches, focusing particularly on the numbers of baptisms as a function of the numbers of resident communicant members and how that has changed through the years. In order to stay even over time, the number of baptisms in a year needs to average 3% of the number of resident communicant membership. The national average, however, is only 1.55%, and thus over the past ten years, the resident communicant membership has declined by 10%. Based on this data, the following nine items were proposed:
1. Establishing an Office of Evangelistic Support as a stepping-stone towards the establishment of a Board of Evangelism;
2. Strengthening of the process of calling local pastors: more Kyodan involvement designed to revitalize strategically central churches in local areas to strengthen growth regionally;
3. Developing a support structure for church-related kindergartens and child-care centers, especially as it relates to the government’s push to implement “Integration of Kindergartens and Daycare: A New System”—a development that bears watching as we develop a multifaceted response;
4. Revitalizing autonomous evangelism-oriented organizations within the Kyodan;
5. Strengthening ties with other organizations, including schools and social welfare organizations;
6. Promoting evangelism on the Internet;
7. Developing lay movements across the nation as a response to the prayers of the laity to fulfill the Great Commission;
8. Reinvigorating ministerial development: employing the means necessary to develop spiritually devout ministers who can preach clearly a message of the forgiveness of sin; and
9. A reconsideration and reinvigoration of the activities of the various subcommittees.

During the discussion of these proposals, a variety of opinions were expressed, including 1) that the reports on the data were too negative, 2) that there was insufficient data concerning those we are trying to reach through evangelistic efforts, and 3) that there was no mention of church school ministries and women’s activities, However, there was general approval of these proposals, and they were ratified.

Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi gave a report on the Relief Task Force. In addition to publishing its task force newsletter and a report on the emergency symposium, the task force elected Nagasaki Tetsuo as its general secretary. He will participate on the subcommittee for the Overseas Donations Project to assist Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo. He will also interview and recommend candidates for on-site positions in the earthquake/tsunami relief effort, as well as prepare proposals on how best to disburse relief funds to churches damaged in the disaster.

Kato Makoto, the executive secretary in charge of the effort, reported that a special camp for children from Fukushima, called the Kohitsuji (Lamb) Camp, would be held March 9-11 at the Myoko Kogen YMCA campgrounds in an effort to help protect the children from radiation. The plan is for the camp to become a regular event. He also reported that representatives of affected kindergartens and daycare centers gathered in February to exchange information and to help insure fair and effective relief.

The Ou, Tohoku, Kanto and Tokyo districts each gave reports as to their situations and the Secretary reported that the total damages to churches and manses is now estimated to be 1,545,000,000 yen (about $19.3 million).

In preparations for the 38th General Assembly, a committee for organizing agenda items was selected. With respect to the Commission on Finance, a revised budget for fiscal year 2011 was approved. Also, the budget contribution to the NCCJ for 2012 was increased from 3.5 to 9 million yen. (Tr. TB)
—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

第37総会期第5回常議員会報告
第37総会期第5回常議員会が、2月13,14日 の両日、教団会議室で開催された。開会礼拝は岡村恒常議員が担当し、ローマの信徒への手紙8章26~30節より御言葉を取り次いだ。献身前に、死に瀕した兄弟への 聖餐に共に与った体験から、それが神の国の食卓であると実感したこと、また、膵臓がんで余命半年を宣告された実母と過ごした体験から、救いの確か さの根拠が神にあることを教えられたと語り、私たちが神を探し出し救いを見出すのではなく、神が私たちを探し出し救うことを実感したと結論した。

 総幹事報告ではまずNCCについて「教団から新議長と総幹事を選出することが 決まった」こと、「震災対策室(JEDRO)を整 えていくという緊急課題と取り組むためにも積極的にNCCに 協力していくことになった」ことが報告された。続いて、外登法問題と取り組む全国キリスト教連絡協議会が、1月26~28日、 在日韓国YMCAを会場にして開かれ、内藤総幹事 が出席したこと、名称が当日より「外国人住民基本法の制定を巡る全国キリスト教連絡協議会」になったことが報告された。

 高橋潤センター明確化推進小委員会委員長からは、セ ンター設置規則(案)、センター細則(モデル)案、センター会計基準案、教団センター監査規定(案)が示された。

 今常議員会において比較的議論に時間が割かれたのは 「伝道方策検討委員会報告」であった。議場に各教会ごとの詳細なデータが資料として配られ、主に現住陪餐会員数から見た受洗率と現住陪餐会員 数の推移が報告された。現住陪餐会員に対する受洗率が3パーセントならば、現住陪餐会員数は現状を維持できるが、現状は1.55パーセントで あることが報告された。また、この10年で現住陪 餐会員数が一割減であることも報告された。このデータをベースにして9項目の提言がされた。①「伝道推進室」設置 伝道局の設置に向けて伝道推進室を作る。 ②教師の人事の強 化 教団として教勢全体が奮うよう地域の中核教会の活性化を念頭に置いた積極的な人事を行う。 ③教会関係幼稚園・保育園の支援体制構築 政 府が進める「幼保一体化・子ども子育て新システム」の内容を見極めると共に、これへの対応を多角的に検討する。 ④教団内の伝道推進自主団体 の活性化。⑤関係諸団体との連携強化 学校関係、社会福祉関係など、関係諸団体との連携を強化する。⑥インターネットによる伝道の推進 ⑦信 徒運動の全国展開 信徒の祈りの結集が大伝道命令への応答となるよう、全国的に信徒運動の展開を提案する。 ⑧教師養成と再生 罪と赦しを明 確に語る説教力を養い、霊的で敬虔な牧師の養成を行うために必要な手立てをなす。 ⑨現在の小委員会の活動内容の洗い直しと活性化  質疑応 答では、データに関し、余りにもネガティブな報告すぎるのではないか、伝道対象者についてのデータが足りないのでは等の意見があり、提言につ いても教会学校や女性の活動に対する言及がない等の意見が出たが、提言そのものは一定の評価がされ、委員会報告が承認された。

 雲然俊美書記により救援対策本部の報告が行われた。 主な活動としては、対策本部ニュースと緊急シンポジウム記録集の発行。救援対策本部事務局(通称11号室)室長として長崎哲夫教師を選任。海外献金プロジェクト小委員会委員として石橋秀雄 議長を補充。現地専従者の人選・面接・会議における提案。「被災教会支援金配分要綱(案)」の作成。加藤誠担当幹事は、特に放射能汚染から福 島県下の子どもたちの命を守るための「こひつじキャンプ」第2回 が、3月9~11日、妙高高原YMCAにおいて開催される旨を報告し、このキャンプの定期的な開催を推進する方向であると述べた。幼稚園 や保育園との担当者会を2月中に設け情報交換を し、偏りのない手厚い支援を実施していきたいと述べた。

 奥羽教区、東北教区、関東教区、東京教区からそれぞ れの状況について報告され、会堂・牧師館の全体的な被害額は、現在のところ15億4千500万円と見積もられているとの報告が書記からされた。

 第38回教団総会については、議案整理委員会を設 置することが可決された。予算決算委員会関連では、11年 度第2次補正予算を可決した。12年度予算ではNCC負担金が350万円から900万 円に増額されることが報告された。

 

 

 

Volunteer Work Facilitated by the Tohoku District Disaster Relief Center

The Tohoku Disaster Relief Center was established soon after the earthquake that occurred on March 11, 2011 and has operated out of the Tohoku District Center, which is known as the Emmaus Center. As of Nov. 14, 2011, there were 1,405 volunteers who had registered at the Emmaus Center to help with relief work. Initially, the relief efforts were focused on helping the survivors in Shichigo in the Wakabayashi Ward of Sendai City with mud removal, cleaning houses, and clearing debris from the fields. As the volunteers involved themselves in this work, they showed that while they were weak in the face of such destruction, they were not powerless to bring restoration. Likewise, they were there not merely to labor with the victims but also “to rejoice with those who rejoice and weep with those who weep.” Thanks to the “Rebuilding Strategy” announced by Sendai City, many residents have now decided to return to their homes, and there has been an increase in the number of requests for our volunteers to help.

Ishinomaki City, on the other hand, is one area where the realities are still grim, and the recovery process is lagging far behind. It takes approximately two hours by car to go from Sendai to Ishinomaki. We needed to establish a base of operations in the city, and one of our primary commitments during the summer was to establish a center there. The Kyodan Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters was able to buy a house from one of the survivors from Ishinomaki, and we quickly renovated the house to serve as the “Emmaus Center in Ishinomaki.” Since the summer of 2011, we have been able to carry on volunteer activities from this base of operations.

From the beginning, the Emmaus Center used the Internet to call on people nationwide to join in the relief efforts. The Center registered numerous volunteers, irrespective of whether the individuals themselves were Christians, and so approximately 70% of the volunteers who come to the Emmaus Center are not themselves Christians. The Emmaus Center has made a point of praying each morning before going to work and in the evening after coming back from work, as a way of expressing gratitude to God. In this way the volunteers are exposed to Christianity, which is at the heart of our relief efforts. Volunteers are housed in the local churches. For many volunteers, it is their first time to enter a church. Some even make a point of attending the Sunday morning worship services. The churches that have opened their doors to the Emmaus Center volunteers have hosted up to 150 persons as of November 2011. One church lost its parsonage and yet showed its gracious spirit by offering lodging to the volunteers.

During the summer, the number of volunteers was high, due to the fact that many of the volunteers were college students. Since schools are now in session, the numbers have decreased, but our efforts are being sustained by committed churches, schools, and organizations, as well as by individuals who repeatedly come back to join in the relief efforts. As we look ahead to a long and sustained relief process, our church-based relief efforts will become even more necessary. As the recovery process continues, the content of our work and the quality of our relatedness to the survivors will change. But despite the changes ahead of us, we will need to continue to “love our neighbor.” We will always continue to need “people” at the heart of our effort to walk alongside and to serve the survivors. (Tr. JM)

—Maekita Mio, Staff member
Kyodan Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters

 

「東北教区被災者支援センター(通称:エマオ)」

震災後すぐ東北教区センターに「東北教区被災者支援セン ター(通称:エマオ)」が立ち上がり、生活復興支援が始まりました。11月14日現在でのべ1405名のボランティアが登録していま す。

当初、地域にあって最も過酷な状況に置かれている方々のた めに何かできないかと仙台若林区七郷地区を活動の中心に、汚泥の除去や田畑の再生、屋内の清掃活動など津波被害を受けた支援活動を始 めました。彼らは「微力だけれど、無力じゃない。」復興のためだけに活動するのではなく、苦しみの中にある地域の人々とともに「共に 泣き、共に喜ぶ」姿勢をもって関わる事を大切にしています。仙台では9月22日に復興計画が出た事から地域に人が戻ってくるケースも 増え、ワーク依頼は増加傾向になっています。

一方、石巻は復興が遅れており、現在において最も過酷な状 況に置かれている地域の一つです。仙台から車で通うと2時間かかり、夏以降は長期的な支援をするために拠点を作る事が急務でした。こ の事から対策本部では被災家族から中古物件を購入し「エマオ石巻」と名付け、ここにもボランティアを派遣し支援活動を展開していま す。

エマオでは初期から県外ボランティアをインターネットで受 付し、積極的に受け入れた為クリスチャンに関わらず、多くのボランティアが登録しました。そしてその7割がノンクリスチャンの若者た ちで構成されています。彼らはワークに行く前も戻った折にも、神さまに感謝して、共に祈るエマオのスタイルを通じキリスト教に出会い ます。又、宿泊所として提供された「教会」に生まれて初めて足を踏み入れ、希望したものは礼拝にも参加します。主にエマオのボラン ティアの宿泊所として解放してくださった教会では11月まで平均して150名を受け入れ、中には牧師館が被災され大変な最中にあって も温かくボランティアを受け入れた教会もあります。

今まで主力メンバーであった大学生たちの夏休みが明け、ワーカーの数は減ってしまったものの、現在は各教 区の取り組みやリピーターによって支えられています。今後長期的な支援には、このような教会的な取り組みが不可欠です。復興が進めば 労働力だけでなく、関わりの形は変化していくことも考えられます。しかし、いつもいつでも隣人愛をもって、この震災の出来事を通し被 災されたお一人ひとりに仕えてゆく「人」が今もなお、必要とされています。 前北未央(救援対策本部主事)

Christmas Parties in the Shichigo Area of Sendai

On Dec. 23, 2011, the Kyodan’s Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters dispatched to Sendai Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo; Kato Makoto, the executive secretary responsible for the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters; and Maekita Mio, Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters secretary and assistant to Executive Secretary Noda Taku. The four joined in Christmas parties for boys’ baseball teams and their parents in Wakabayashi Ward, the area of Sendai that had experienced the worst tsunami damage on March 11, 2011. This was based on a project begun in August 2011 for the Tohoku District Center in Sendai [known as the Emmaus Center] to support victims of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami by sending out volunteers. The project was brought to fruition through the efforts of local boys’ baseball coach, carpenter, and volunteer leader Sugawara Tadao. The area around the site of the morning party, the Shichigo Elementary School, has been without a church for some time. This situation is not unrelated to the fact that the area was largely settled during the early to mid-Edo Period when Christianity was harshly suppressed and Christians did not officially exist. For that reason, no traces of Christian evangelism can be found in the area.

With a car full of presents, Secretary Maekita dressed as a snowman, and the Assistant to Executive Secretary Noda in a Santa suit, the four of us set out for the Shichigo Elementary School grounds, the site of the morning’s activities. We were welcomed by about 60 members of two baseball teams and their parents. Executive Secretary Kato acted as master of ceremonies, and Moderator Ishibashi appeared with his ventriloquist’s dummy partner Haru. It was the first time the children had ever seen a ventriloquist or heard the biblical story of Jesus Christ. In his performances, Moderator Ishibashi has been given permission to use the name Harukaze Shiro by the professional Christian ventriliquist Harukaze Ichiro. From beginning to end, the audience’s attention was riveted on Moderator Ishibashi and his partner Haru as they used the words of the Bible and a sprinkling of jokes to tell the story of Jesus’ birth.

After lunch, a second Christmas party with the same content was held for another baseball team and their parents on the grounds of the Rokugo Civic Center. There were approximately 50 in attendance there, but including the children who could not attend either party that day, we were able to distribute all of the 300 presents we had brought. When both the morning and midday Christmas parties were finished, our host, Sugawara, said a few words to all the participants. He told those gathered: “I am not a Christian, but because of the earthquake disaster I was able to meet the people from the Emmaus Center. From now on, Jesus will be a part of my life.” In fact, the only volunteers who were accepted by the Shichigo area were those sent by the Emmaus Center. The biggest reason they were accepted was that the Emmaus Center volunteers were completely committed to being with and supporting the people of the Shichigo area. These volunteers gained the trust of the people of this area by observing the rules of the community, by never intruding on their privacy, and by working in silence with sweat dripping from their brows. Half a year of accumulated volunteer work and being able to realize the first Christmas parties—for these reasons alone, Sugawara’s words brought us joy and impressed us like nothing else could have. (Tr. DB)
—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

七郷地区クリスマス会の報告

 日本基督教団救援対策本部は2011年12月23日に石橋秀雄教団総会議長、加藤誠救援対策本部担当幹事、前北未央(まえきたみお)救援対策本 部室主事、野田沢幹事補佐の4名を仙台に派遣し、仙台市では一番多く津波の被害を受けた若林区において、少年野球の子どもたちとその保 護者を対象にしてクリスマス会を行った。これは、仙台エマオが3月11日の大震災後に初めてボランティアを派遣する際に、地元の少年野球チーム指導者をしている菅原ただお(大工で地域ボランティアリーダー)が、ボランティア受け入れの中心人物となって下さったことにより実現 した企画である。朝の会場となった七郷地区七郷小学校の周辺には以前から教会はない。それはこの地区の住民の多くが江戸の初期や中期 から住み始めたことと無関係ではない。江戸時代、厳しいキリスト教弾圧により、クリスチャンは公には存在しなかった。それ故、この地 域でキリスト教が伝道されたという形跡は見当たらない。

 私たち4人は用意したプレゼントを携え、前北主事は雪だるまのぬいぐるみを着、野田幹事補佐はサンタクロースの衣 装に着替えて、朝の会場である七郷小学校グラウンドに車で向かった。2チームの少年野球団員約60名とその保護者が出迎えた。加藤幹事が司会を務め、石橋議長が腹話術での相棒、人形のハル君と共に登場し た。子供たちは腹話術を体験するのも、聖書を通してイエス・キリストの話を聞くのも初めてであった。石橋議長は春風一郎というキリス ト者で腹話術のプロから春風シローを名乗ることを許されている。ジョークを交えながら、聖書の御言葉を通して主イエスの誕生を語る先 生と相棒のハル君に向けられた視線は、屋外にも関わらず最後まで途切れることはなかった。

 昼食後、六郷市民センターにあるグラウンドで別の少年野球のチームと保護者を対象に してクリスマス会を、同じ内容で行った。ここでの参加者は約50名であったが、この日参加出来なかった子どもへのプレゼントを含め、用意した300のプレゼントを全て手渡すことが出来た。朝と昼のクリスマス会の終了時、受け入れ責任者の菅原氏より参加 者全員への挨拶をいただいた。その折、菅原氏は「私はキリスト者ではありません。しかし今回の震災を通してエマオの人たちと出会いま した。一生キリストとお付き合いするつもりです。」

と語られた。実は七郷地区で受け入れられたボランティアはエマオが派遣したボランティ アのみであった。受け入れられた最大の理由は、エマオのボランティアが「寄り添う」事を徹底したからである。この地域のルールを守 り、決してプライバシーには立ち入らず、黙々と働くボランティアの流す汗を、七郷の人たちは信用したのである。半年に及ぶボランティ アの積み重ねがあって初めて実現することのできたクリスマス会であり、それだけに菅原氏の挨拶は、私たちに他のなにものも与えること の出来ない喜びと感動を与えた。

加藤誠

First Kohitsuji Camp Held for Families from Fukushima

The first Kohitsuji (lambs) Camp, a short-term program designed to provide rest and recreation for families living in Fukushima Prefecture, was held at the Tokyo YMCA’s Yamanakako Center, Jan. 13 (Friday)-15 (Sunday). This program was planned by Okamoto Tomoyuki, assistant director of the Kyodan’s Relief Planning Headquarters, as a project for protecting children from radioactivity.

The camp was carried out under the joint sponsorship of the Relief Planning Headquarters and the Aizu Radioactivity Information Center, in cooperation with the Tokyo YMCA. Although 24 participants from seven families applied, two families had to cancel, so the final number of participants was 17. Matsumoto Takehiro, director of the Tokyo YMCA’s South Community Center, took the role of camp leader; three people with rich experience, along with myself as representative of the Relief Planning Headquarters, also took part. On the third day, Honda Shinya, assistant general secretary of the Tokyo YMCA and director of its head office, came to join us.

For this inaugural event, we aimed at creating a program that caused no inconvenience related to school attendance. We departed from the Aizu Radioactive Information Center at 4 p.m. on Friday and then met with participants from Koriyama Church. There, with Pastor Niwa, we joined together in a prayer for their safety at the camp. We had arrived a little later than expected due to bad weather and poor road conditions between Aizu and Koriyama. However, those waiting had a good time singing camp songs with YMCA leaders in the Koriyama Church sanctuary while waiting for our arrival. Also, as many of the participants had never been in a church before, it was a good opportunity for them to visit one in their own neighborhood, for which we were all thankful.

The following morning we arrived at Yamanakako Center, after taking an all-night bus, but because the children were so tired from the trip, the scheduled morning assembly was cancelled so that they could rest. One of the main features of the Kohitsuji Camp is that small children who cannot participate in other rest-camps as well as children with severe allergies can feel comfortable taking part in this camp experience because of the YMCA’s expertise in dealing with these issues.

Nevertheless, the main drawing card of the camp was scheduled for that first day, when the families would be able to choose from a number of activities that had been prepared. Some families chose to go fishing for small lake fish called “smelt” in English, while others went ice-skating or took an easy walk along the shoreline of Lake Yamanaka. Some children simply spent time doing their homework. Our aim was that they would be able to spend time feeling free and easy at the health resort, with all of them doing whatever they liked.

A family from the city of Koriyama decided to go fishing, and in order to get out to the fishing boat, went in a small paddleboat they propelled by foot pedals. The children were in awe of the scene, with the magnificence of Mt Fuji towering over the lake. Putting live bait on the hook took a bit of getting used to, but when they caught their first fish, they soon became engrossed and thoroughly enjoyed themselves for those three hours.

Likewise, a mother and her daughter from the town of Date, who had never been ice-skating before, decided to take the challenge. Just getting the skates on was a struggle, but as they envisioned their favorite skater, they kept at it. What struck me most was how the child repeated over and over how much fun she was having. The afternoon program involved a similar set of choices, including crafts, such as making tops, playing card games, playing outside, and going hiking. Participants had roasted marshmallows in the fireplace and baked apples for a snack at three o’clock. Quite a few parents and children participated in programs separately, and those parents no doubt had some time to be refreshed by being able to leave their children in the care of others.

At night, everyone went on the Lake Yamanaka Art Illumination tour, which was held at the Lake Yamanaka Hana-no-miyako Park. Although it was cold, the spacious site was gleaming with LED decorative lighting, and the children were so excited that they lost their sense of time and were not bothered by the cold. They said it was like being in a dream, and they all enjoyed being in this dreamlike space.

On the third day, they started from the morning assembly (noncompulsory participation), with a constant smile on their faces, doing fun morning exercises led by Tokyo YMCA leaders. They took commemorative photographs, with Mount Fuji in the background. The signal for taking a picture was “Yamanakako (click)!” They became wonderful photos, as not many children had seen Mt. Fuji before this camp.

Tokyo YMCA leaders showed their true ability during the final program, which involved a series of games. Each of the families enjoyed themselves to the full in the friendly atmosphere and also enjoyed eating the fish some children had caught the previous day, deep-fat fried as tempura; and those who had actually caught the fish displayed a triumphant look.

Finally, they had only a little time left before boarding on the bus, but for the children, it was a precious time to play before departure. Some joined in a jump-rope contest, while some of the girls played soccer, and they all spent a fulfilling time at the camp until the very end. Several issues remain to be solved, such as the aspect of publicity. However, I am grateful that we could spend these three days together safely, carefully focusing on each participant’s feelings. One mother expressed her sentiments by saying, “I couldn’t help but shed tears at the closing ceremony. Thank you for such a delightful memory.” If I can help to protect children’s precious lives even a little and help share the pain of the victims of the nuclear power plant disaster by continuing this program of rest and recreation, I will be very happy. (Tr. SM)

—Maekita Mio, staff member
Kyodan Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters

短期保養プログラム第一回「こひつじ」キャンプ報告

 

放射能から子どもの「命」を守るプロジェクトとして、岡 本知之救援対策本部副本部長が 企画した福島県内の親子を対象とした短期保養プログラム第一回「こひつじキャンプ」が東京YMCA山中湖センターで1月13日(金)~15日(日)まで行われ ました。

このキャンプでは主催を日本基督教団救援対策本部とし、共 催として会津放射能情報センター、東京YMCAの協力のもと実施され、7組24名が申し込み、当日は5組 17名(キャンセル2組)の参加者が与えられました。

キャンプリーダーは東京YMCA南 コミュニティーセンターの館長松本竹弘氏が中心となって3名の経験豊富な方々がつき、教団からは救援対策本部より私が参加しました。 3日目には東京から東京YMCA副総主事・本部事務局長の本田真也氏も駆けつけてくださいま した。 

第一回目は就学に支障のないプログラム作りを心がけ、金曜 日の16時会津放射能情報センターを出発し、途中郡山教会にて残りの参加者と合流。郡山教会では丹羽牧師のお祈りで、参加者たちは心 を一つにし、これから始まるキャンプの無事を主にお祈りすることから始めました。会津から郡山までは荒天と道路事情により、予定の到 着時間より少し遅れましたが、参加者たちは待っている間も郡山教会の礼拝堂でYMCAのリーダー達とキャンプソングを歌ったり、楽しいひとときを 過ごす事ができました。また今回初めて教会の中に入った参加者の方も多く居られ、近隣の教会を訪れるよき機会になったことは喜ばしい ことでした。 

さて夜半にバスが山中湖センターに到着した翌日は、幼少の お子さん達に無理がない様、前日の移動の疲れを十分にとる時間が持てる配慮がなされ、朝の集いなどはYMCAの現場の判断により、取りやめられました。今回の「こひつじ キャンプ」ではこうした他の保養キャンプに参加できない幼少のお子さんや重度のアレルギーをお持ちのお子さんなどもYMCAの豊富な経験と実績から、きめ細かい対応をしていただき安心 して参加してくださった事も大きな特徴の一つです。

2日目のこの日は、キャンプの目玉でもあるチョイスプログ ラムが各種用意され、午前中はワカサギ釣りに行く家族、スケートに行く親子、山中湖湖畔をのんびり散歩する家族があり、また宿題をす るお子さん達も居りました。それぞれが思い思いに好きな事をすることによって、日常性 も大切にしながら、気兼ねなく保養地で過ごしていただく事が狙いです。

ワカサギ釣りに参加してくださったのは郡山市から参加のご 家族。湖畔より小さなテンダーボート(足舟)に乗って釣り舟に向かいます。子ども達は湖上からは見上げる雄大な富士山のその迫力に圧 倒されていました。釣り船でワカサギを釣り始めて約3時間…、生き餌に少々戸惑っていたのも束の間…一匹釣れると勢いがつき、全員夢 中です。

一方、スケートをチョイスした家族は伊達市から参加くだ さった親子で、お二人とも初めてのスケート…。靴を履くところから苦戦しましたが、あこがれのスケート選手を思い浮かべて一生懸命練 習しました。まだ幼少のお子さんでしたが、楽しかったとなんどもお話されていたのが印象的でした。

午後のチョイスプログラムはクラフト制作(コマ作り)や カードゲームをする子、外で遊ぶ子も居りハイキングに行くもよしという自由参加のプログラム。3時には暖炉で焼いた熱々のマシュマロ や焼きリンゴのおやつも頂きました。保護者の方と子ども達が別々のプログラムに参加したご家族も多く、子どもを安心して預けた後は保 護者の皆さんのささやかなリフレッシュ時間にもなった様です。

この日の夜は山中湖花の都公園で開催された「山中湖アート イルミネーション」を見に行くツアーもあり、全員が希望し参加しました。寒かったけれど広大な敷地がLED電飾できらめき、子ども達は「夢の中みたい!」と時間も寒さ も忘れて大興奮。親子みんなでこの幻想的な空間を味わいました。

3日目、この日は東京YMCAの リーダー達が楽しい朝のエクササイズを指導してくださり、笑顔の絶えない「朝のつどい」(自由参加)から始まりました。その後、富士 山をバックに記念撮影。シャッターを切る合図は「山中湖!(パチっ)」もっとも今回のキャンプで初めて富士山を見る子も少なくありま せんでしたので素敵な記念撮影になりました。 最後の全体プログラムは東京YMCAのリーダーたちが本領を発揮!ゲーム大会を行いました。各家 族お互いに仲良くなっていたのが幸いし、とても和やかで目一杯楽しみました。又、この日の昼食は前日のチョイスプログラムでつり上げ た「ワカサギ」を天ぷらにしておいしく頂き、獲物を釣った子ども達はつい得意顔…。

 さて、いよいよ後はバスに乗るだけ、とい う出発前のわずかな時間も子ども達に取っては大切な遊び時間。グラウンドで大縄跳び大会をしたり、女の子たちがサッカーを楽しんだり 最後の最後まで濃密なキャンプとなりました。広報面など多くの課題も残しましたが、参 加してくださったお一人おひとりのお気持ちを大切に受け止めて、この3日間を無事に過ごさせて頂けた事は感謝です。参加者の一人のお 母さんからは「閉 村式には思わず涙があふれてしまいました。本当に楽しい思い出を、ありがとうございました。」 というお言葉も頂きました。今後も継続的に保養プログラムを続ける事で、原発事故の被害に遭われた方々の痛みに寄り添い、子ども達の かけがえのない「命」をほんの少しでも守る事がお手伝いできたら幸いです。(前北未央)

Mary Hesser, Founder of Hokuriku Gakuin, and Francina Porter, Founder of Japan’s oldest Kindergarten

Along the coast of the Japan Sea on the main island of Honshu are the prefectures of Toyama, Ishikawa, and Fukui, which make up the Hokuriku Region. In the early Meiji Period, this region was greatly impacted by the missionaries sent to Kanazawa from the Northern Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.: Thomas C. Winn and his wife Eliza C. Winn.

Mary K. Hesser

Along with church planting, Thomas taught at a private boys’ junior high school, which he had established. Along with opening an orphanage, Eliza was the first person in the area with the idea of establishing a school for women.

Through their request to the Presbyterian mission board, Mary Hesser, known as the “German wind,” was also sent to Kanazawa. Mary was born in Erie, Pennsylvania in 1853. As her parents were from a German Catholic background, she attended both Catholic parochial schools and free schools, and following graduation, became a seamstress. However, at the age of 25, Mary entered Western Female Seminary, and upon her graduation in 1882, on the recommendation of the seminary president, was sent to Kanazawa as a missionary. In April 1885, she founded Kanazawa Girls’ School, which began as place for advanced education with 23 students. Gradually its reputation grew, and Kanazawa Girls’ School found itself in need of expanding its facility and became a fully developed school.

Mary Hesser persevered through various hardships in her administration of the school. Increased state control of education created difficulty in obtaining teachers, and the use of the Bible in education was forbidden as well. In addition, there was the lack of understanding and the jealousy of ordinary people. However, as a convert to Protestantism from Roman Catholicism, she was “a person of faith, a person of prayer.”

Endeavoring to usher in a new era of women’s education, she designated Psalm 111:10 as the school’s motto: “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” She had two younger seminary graduates from her alma mater sent to help revise the institution, its curriculum, and even its name. In this way, Mary Hesser became the founder of Hokuriku Gakuin University, but it took a heavy toll on her body. In 1894, she passed away in California at the age of 41.

Francina C. Porter

Inspired by the above-mentioned Mary Hesser’s women’s school in Kanazawa, Francina C. Porter founded the oldest kindergarten and a private elementary school in the Hokuriku district.

Born in Riceville, Tennessee in 1859, she attended Merriville College in Tennessee, majoring in English. Upon graduation in 1882, she was sent as a Presbyterian missionary to teach English in Kanazawa at a school whose president was her older brother, who had come to Japan one year earlier as a Presbyterian missionary.

At first, the Children’s School she opened was intended to have both a kindergarten and an elementary school. At that time, there were no kindergartens or private elementary schools in Hokuriku. Through the introduction of Thomas Winn, she met with Maria True at the Sakurai Women’s School in Tokyo and asked for her assistance. Upon True’s return to the United States, she found Elizabeth Milliken, a preschool educational expert, who came to Japan to head up the department of preschool education at Sakurai Women’s School. Francina also met a woman in Nagoya named Yoshida Etsu, and after having her study childhood education for a year, had her come to be a teacher at Eiwa Kindergarten, which she founded in 1886. She established the Eiwa Elementary School the same year, bringing in a teacher from Kanazawa Church.

At the time, theories of childhood education in Japan were very underdeveloped, and there was a great scarcity of Christian educators. Added to this was the need to renovate the buildings. These factors made it a very difficult time. Furthermore, the kindergarten and elementary school found themselves in the middle of the “storm of crisis in Christian education.”

With strong will and determination, Francina endeavored to develop childhood education, of which there were few examples in Japan. Despite the central government’s many obstacles, she was able to keep the Eiwa Elementary School in continued operation until it was forced to close in 1903. It is said that Francina, who was hospitalized in California, cried through the night when she heard of this.

Through the wisdom and perseverance of Francina and her successors at Eiwa Kindergarten, the legacy of country’s oldest Christian kindergarten has had a lasting and continuing impact in the field of early education in Japan.

After having recovered from her hospitalization, Francina Porter returned to Japan, where she was able to continue to pursue her passion and opened another kindergarten in Kyoto. Later, in 1939, she passed away in California at the age of 79. (Tr. AKO)

—Umezome Nobuo, head
Historical Archives of Hokuriku Gakuin University
Kanazawa, Chubu District

北陸初の女学校を創ったメリー・ヘッセルと最古の幼稚園を設けたフランシナ・ポーター

日本の本州中央部、日本海側に位置する富山県、石川県、福井県が北陸地方である。
明治初期、この北陸3県のプロテスタント・キリスト教に最も大きな影響を与えたのは米国長老教会(The Northern Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A.)から派遣されて金沢に来た宣教師のトマス・C・ウィン(Thomas C. Winn)とその妻、婦人宣教師のイライザ・C・ウィン(Eliza C. Winn)である。

メリー・ヘッセル:
トマスは開拓伝道に従事するかたわら、私立男子中学校を開設して教えた。またイライザは孤児院を開いたりしたが、この地方 初の女学校の開設を発想した。
この二人が長老教会のミッション・ボードに申請して金沢にやって来たのが婦人宣教師のメリー・ヘッセル(Mary K. Hesser、ドイツ語風にこう呼ばれた)である。
メリーは1853年ペンシルベニア州エリーに生まれた。父母はドイツ系移民のカトリックで、彼女はカトリックの教区学校とフリー・スクール で学んだ後、ドレス・メーキングをしていたが、25歳のときにウエスタン女子セミナリーに入学、82年に卒業し、校長の勧めによって婦人宣教 師となって来日し、金沢に来た。
彼女が創設した金沢女学校は1885年4月に開校し、最初は先進的な教育を受けさせたいと願う親の子女が23名集まったが、徐々に一般に知 られるようになり、校舎の増改築を余儀なくされるほどに発展した。
しかしメリー・ヘッセルの学校経営は苦難の連続であった。すなわちその頃から進められた教育の国家統制の強まり、これによる聖書の使用禁 止、また良い教師が得られないこと、さらに一般の人々の無理解ややっかみがあった。
しかし彼女はカトリックからプロテスタントに転向した「信仰の人・祈りの人」であった。彼女は「主を恐れることは知恵のはじめ」(詩編 111:10)という聖句を学校標語に掲げ、新しい時代に働く女性の育成に力を尽くした。彼女 は母校のセミナリーから2人の後輩を送ってもらい、教育課程を改定したり、校名や制度を改定するなどして教育の充実を図った。
このようにしてメリー・ヘッセルは北陸学院の創立者となり、その基礎を築いたが、その体は激務に耐え得ず、1894年カリフォルニアで天に 召された。41歳の若さであった。

フランシナ・ポーター:
上記のメリー・ヘッセルの金沢女学校の創設に触発されて、北陸地方初の幼稚園と私立小学校を創設したのがフランシナ・ポーターである。
フランシナは1859年テネシー州のライスヴィルに生まれ、テネシー州メリーヴィル・カレッジで英語学を専攻し、1882年に卒業して米国 長老教会婦人宣教師となり、同じ教会の宣教師として1年前に来日し金沢に来ていた兄が校長をしていた学校で英語を教えた。
彼女は最初、幼稚園と小学校を含む「子供の学校」の開設を目指した。当時、北陸には幼稚園も私立の小学校もなかった。彼女はトマス・ウィン の紹介で東京の桜井女学校にマリア・ツルーを訪ね、協力を頼んだ。ツルーは帰米し、幼児教育の専門家エリザベス・ミリケンを見出した。ミリケ ンは来日し、桜井女学校幼稚保育科の科長となった。フランシナは名古屋の吉田エツという女性に会い、1年間幼稚保育科で学ばせ、英和幼稚園の 保母主任とし、1886年に英和幼稚園が発足した。小学校の方は、金沢教会に小学校の教師がいたことから、彼を中心にして、同じ年に英和小学 校が発足した。
当時、日本における幼児教育理論は未成熟であり、適当な教科書がなく、キリスト者の教師が得られず、校舎が増改築を要するなど、困難が重 なった。その上、幼稚園、小学校ともに、「キリスト教教育の危機という嵐」の只中におかれていた。フランシナはその強固な意志と努力によっ て、全国でも類例の少ない幼児教育という難事業に取り組んだが、国家統制の力の前に、英和小学校は1903年廃校の止むなきに至った。カリ フォルニアで病気療養中であったフランシナはこ れを聞いて一晩中泣き明かしたと伝えられる。英和幼稚園の方はフランシナや彼女の後継者たちの知恵と尽力とによって今日まで存続し、現存する わが国最古のキリスト教幼稚園として先進的幼稚園教育を進めている。
病気癒えたフランシナ・ポーターは再来日し、京都に新しい幼稚園を開設するなど日本の幼児教育に尽くしたが、1939年カリフォルニアで天 に召された。享年79であった。 (北陸学院史料室長 梅染 信夫)