During the summer and fall of this year, the Kyodan held two gatherings for youth and young adults. The first was the National Church Conference for Junior and Senior High School Youth and Young Adults, which was held at Megumi Chalet in Karuizawa, Aug. 21-23, on the theme “For evangelism inJapan– being called and sent out.” The purpose of this conference was to serve as a kind of precursor of a conference being planned for 2017 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and thus the vision being promoted is to nurture the next generation of evangelists to serve the cause of evangelism inJapan.
There were 270 participants in total, including seven young people from the Presbyterian Church inTaiwanwho came toJapanas youth mission participants and five youth from churches inKorea: one from theKoreanMethodistChurchand four from the Presbyterian Church in theRepublicofKorea. Participating as facilitators were Kondo Katsuhiko, president of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, together with his colleague Osumi Yuichi, Professors Sakon Tomu and Ogura Yoshiaki fromSeigakuinUniversity, and many other pastors. Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo was able to attend part of the conference, and he gave words of encouragement, saying: “You all are the future and hope of the Kyodan.”
Two pastors from the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami gave reports, and the participants joined together in prayer for the churches as well as the survivors in those regions. The conference was truly a time of blessing, as our sense of calling to communicate the gospel was strengthened by feeding our spirits through Bible study, the sharing of testimonies, and the strengthening of our mutual bonds through singing hymns and praying together.
The other conference was held at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary on Saturday, Sept. 29. Entitled “A Gathering of Youth Who Will Lead 21st Century Evangelism,” this has been an annual event held in late September since the program was instituted 14 years ago by a coalition of seven churches along with the faculty of TUTS. The original purpose was to reach out to young people in theTokyometropolitan area to share with them the joy of dedicating oneself to evangelism. The coalition has since grown to nine churches, and while various changes have occurred, the original vision of praying for youth to receive a calling to become 21st century evangelists and of encouraging and training them has not changed. Thus, this year’s event was the 14th such youth gathering, with a total attendance of about 180.
Every year, several youth have made that commitment (some years numbering more than 10), with many of them enrolling in TUTS. The planning committee for this event consisted of over ten church youth, most of whom are seminary students, together with one TUTS professor and one pastor from the organizing coalition. At the opening worship service, a TUTS professor gave a message on the theme of the conference concerning the joy of evangelizing. The conference attendees were then divided into ten groups to discuss various themes. Afterwards, two young pastors who both had graduated from seminary about ten years ago, one male and one female, shared testimonies of faith experiences since they became Christians. Their descriptions of the great joy and satisfaction they felt in giving their lives to the spreading of the gospel spoke deeply to the youth attending, and we were filled with hope as voices of praise echoed throughout the sanctuary.
As an additional option for those interested, TUTS President Kondo gave a short lecture designed to resemble one they would receive if they enrolled at TUTS. The youth listened intently, and as they left to return to their homes, it seemed that their faces were aglow. (Tr. SM)
—Naito Tomeyuki, former general secretary
この大会は5年 後の2017年 に宗教改革500年 を記念する青年大会を見据え、そのプレ集会として位置づけられ、
もう一つの会は9月29日 （土）東神大を会場にして開かれた『第14回・21世 紀伝道を担う青年の集い』である。この青年の集いは14年 前首都圏の教会青年に呼び掛け、伝道の喜び、