“Being There” as the Meaning and Call of the Church: Involvement in Pastoral Care on the Buddhist Soil of Hokuriku and Noto

by Osumi Keizo,  retired Kyodan pastor

Those of us doing evangelism in Hokuriku sometimes get completely unexpected phone calls requesting funerals. These requests come from people who have never attended our churches and who live a long way away. I cannot imagine that something like this would happen in a metropolitan area.

 

Until the outbreak of World War II, the Canadian Methodist Church took responsibility for the evangelization of the Hokuriku region (which is along the Japan Sea coast north of Kyoto, with Noto being the peninsula sticking out into the Japan Sea). One of this denomination’s strategies was circuit evangelism, basically meaning that each church was a focal point, with responsibility for going out to bring the gospel to any place in the area where people lived. This was at a set time every year. As a result, little groups of Christians sprang up in every part of this region. However, when the missionaries had to leave because of WWII, these believers were left unsupported. Among them, however, a small number managed to keep their Christian faith alive. Indeed, “Only a remnant of them will return” (Isaiah 10:22).

 

After the war, it was possible for the churches to begin evangelism again, but they did not have the resources to reach everywhere, and thus we have to say that the believers in the most remote places were abandoned. In spite of this, they continued their lives, depending on Jesus Christ. And as they approached the end of their lives in this world, they contacted far distant churches to request Christian funerals. The churches cannot simply ignore this. Just because they have not been active members of his or her own church is no reason for a pastor to ignore these believers’ requests. Similarly, such an opportunity can also be given to those who have come to faith while living in the cities but have returned to end their days in their hometowns or villages. This is one aspect that gives added meaning to the existence of churches throughout Hokuriku.

 

Hokuriku has been called the “Kingdom of Shinshu” (the Jodo-Shinshu sect of Buddhism). It is fair to say that the whole of society is living according to Buddhist beliefs. For funerals, although there is a basic pattern, each area has its own firmly established customs. Even as Buddhist believers, the reality is that a family cannot hold a funeral purely according to its own wishes, and there are cases where the members of the community take charge of the arrangements.

 

To hold a Christian funeral in such an environment means to go against local conventions. Thus, there are serious obstacles that require courage to overcome. We can therefore say that in this way, a confession of faith is strongly made manifest to the world. In this area, funerals can become the setting for proclamations of faith.

 

Togi Village, with Togi fishing port directly adjacent, lies in a remote part of the Noto Peninsula. The mackerel there are particularly good. Along the coast in the fishing village of Shitsumi, there lived a Christian fisherman. Pastors not only from the Noto area, but also from Ishikawa and Toyama prefectures often used to gather there, where he taught them the art of fishing. It was said by those around them that they were glossing over their lack of success in evangelism by making it look as if they had time for fishing. When this believer who had been their fishing instructor was called to heaven, the ministers attended the funeral to pay their last respects, not because there had been any request for them to do so but simply out of feelings of friendship. As this was a small community, the villagers all knew each other by sight. Yet here were seven or eight completely unknown faces, and some of these strangers were wearing ministerial robes. The news quickly spread that these were “Jesus priests”–Christian pastors.

 

In this area, as a general rule, you can tell the importance of the funeral by the number of Buddhist priests in attendance, and so to have such a number of Christian clergy showing their faces at a funeral was a major incident in the village. It became a big talking point, and the image of Christianity rose in the minds of the people. Although it seems amazing that such a simple thing should have so much influence on public opinion, this established a kind of precedent, and to this day, whenever there is a funeral anywhere in Noto, the ministers from the three Noto churches make it a point to express their goodwill by being in attendance.

 

Recently there was a baptism at the small Togi Church for the first time in 30 years. If we are going to talk about the efficiency of evangelism, it is not a number worth mentioning. Any company would have pulled out of this place long ago. Yet in spite of this reality, a new church building has been erected for Togi Church. After the Noto Peninsula Earthquake in 2007 brought the already aging church building to the verge of collapse, a new one was built with the help of various Kyodan churches, and I want to express my thanks for this. This new building has attracted new people.

 

In a long life of faith, it is not uncommon for people to be faced with various personal relationships that make it difficult for them to continue attending church. Also, there are many cases of believers who are isolated and surrounded by deeply rooted Buddhism, or who find it physically impossible to maintain a church connection. The only people who can support such brothers and sisters are fellow Christians in the churches. Paul says, “I planted, Apollo watered” (1 Cor. 3:6). We also have our part to play. When we can help in any way in such an effort, from wherever we are located, then we can also share in the joy of the fruits of the labor. Paul goes on to say, “For we are God’s fellow workers” (1 Cor. 3:6, RSV). Can we not say that great things are expected of us? (Tr. SN)

 

—Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

Based on an article in Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), June 2013 issue

 

教会が「そこにある」ことの意味と使命

仏教的土壌の北陸・能登で牧会に携わって

大隅啓三

おおすみ けいぞう/日本キリスト教団隠退教師

 

北陸で伝道していると、思わぬ所から葬儀依頼の電話をいただくことが あります。教会の礼拝に来たことのない人からの要請です。教会の所在地から遠く離れています。都会ではほとんどありえないケースでしょ う。

北陸一帯は第二次世界大戦まではカナダ・メソジスト教会の伝道地でし た。この教会の伝道方式の一つにサーキット伝道がありました。それはおおざっぱに言えば、拠点の教会の周辺一帯に、それもおおよそ人が住 んでいる場所ならあらゆる場所に出向いて福音を伝えるという活動です。それも毎年決まった時期に。

そんなわけで、この地方のどんな辺地にも少数ながらキリスト者が生ま れました。しかし戦争によって宣教師たちが引き上げた以降は、そうして生まれた信者たちは取り残されてしまったのです。その中には、少数 ながらキリスト信仰を堅持して生き残った人々がいました。まさに「そのうちの残りの者だけが帰ってくる」のです(イザヤ書10・22)

戦後の教会は伝道を再開することができましたが、かつてのように隅々 にまで手を伸ばすことはできませんでした。辺地の信徒たちは取り残されたままだったと言ってよいでしょう。それでも彼らはイエス・キリス トを頼りに生活し続けてきたのです。そしてこの世の最後に臨んで、葬儀を遠隔地の教会に電話で依頼してきたのです。教会は放っておくわけ にはいきません。牧師は自分の教会で信仰生活をしなかったという理由で見過ごすことはできません。また都会で生活をしていた際に信仰を得 て、晩年を故郷で過ごす人にもそういう機会が与えられます。これが北陸の各地に教会が存在する意義の一つです。

 

北陸は真宗(浄土真宗)王国と言われてきました。社会全体に阿弥陀仏 信仰が生きていると言ってもよいでしょう。葬儀一つとってもそれぞれの地にしっかりと根付いたしきたりがあります。仏教徒といえども家の 考えだけで葬式をすることができないのが実情です。集落の人々の手によって葬送される場合もあります。

そういう環境でキリスト教の葬儀を行うことは、土地のしきたりと齟齬 を来しかねないということです。大変な障害があり、また勇気を必要とするのです。ですからこれは世間に対する大きな信仰告白の表明と言え ます。葬儀が信仰告白の場になるのがこの地方なのです。

能登半島の懐深くにある富来町のすぐ外側に富来漁港があります。ここ の鯖は逸品です。その海沿いに七海という漁村があります。ここにかつてキリスト信徒の漁師がいました。能登の牧師だけでなく、石川県と富 山県の牧師たちはよくここに集まり、魚釣りの伝授を受けたものです。周囲からはあいつら伝道の成果が上がらないので、魚を釣ってごまかし ていると言われたものです。

その魚釣りの師匠である信徒が天に召されたときのことです。葬儀では 普段から教えを受けていた牧師たちが勢ぞろいしてその漁師さんを天に送りました。依頼されたわけではありません。日ごろの友誼を感じて勢 揃いしたわけです。小さい集落のことですから、村の人々は参加者全員顔見知りです。そこに見慣れぬ面々が七、八人も顔をそろえました。ガ ウンを着けている者もいます。これらが牧師(耶蘇坊主)たちであることはたちどころに知れわたりました。

この地方では葬儀の大小は僧職の人数の多寡によって判断するのが通例 です。これだけの数の聖職者たちが顔をそろえた葬儀はこの村では大事件です。それで大いに村中の話題になり、キリスト教の評価が上がりま した。単純なことで評価が左右されるのには恐れ入った次第でしたが、それが先例になったと申しましょうか、今日でも能登では葬儀がある と、どこで行われる場合でも、能登三教会の牧師たちが参集して心を込めて葬送するのがならわしになっています。

 

最近、富来伝道所で三〇年ぶりに洗礼式が行われました。これは伝道効率 から言えば、全く話にならない数字でしょう。企業ならこんな所からはとっくに引き上げているのに違いありません。それにもかかわらず、富 来には新しい教会堂が建設されました。老朽化した旧会堂が地震のために崩壊寸前となり、教団諸教会の援助によって再建されたのです。これ も感謝したいことです。その新会堂が人を招きました。

(中略)

長い信仰生活の中では時にさまざまな人間関係につまずき、教会に行き づらくなることがあるものです。また、根強い仏教信仰に囲まれて信徒が孤立したり、物理的に教会へつながるのが難しくなる場合も多々あり ます。

このような兄弟姉妹たちを支えるのは具体的にはわたしたちキリスト者であり、教会なのです。パウロも「わたしは植え、アポロは水を注いた」(6節) と言っています。わたしたちにも役割があるのです。与えられた持ち場を守って多少なりとも手助けさせていただくときに、成果を共に喜び合うこ とが可能です。パウロは「わたしたちは神の同労者である」(9節。 口語訳)と言っています。大きな期待がわたしたちに負わされていると言えるでしょう。(信徒の友6月 号より、川上善子KNL編 集委員長による要約)

Okinawa Hosts Tohoku Student Exchange Program

“Wow! It’s beautiful beyond belief!” “No way! How can this actually be real?” Beholding the beauty of Tokashiki Island in Okinawa, the children from northeastern Japan shouted out with excitement.

 

From August 7 to 11, a group of 16 elementary and junior high school students from the disaster zone in the Tohoku region spent five days on Okinawa Island and Tokashiki Island at the invitation of Okinawa Christian University. The Kyodan general secretary, a pastor, and a former relief center staff member accompanied them as leaders and were joined in Okinawa by 9 student volunteers, a pastor, and a seminary student to make the total number of 28 participants.

 

The breathtaking views, both during the evening and during the day, make it one of the most beautiful beaches in the world. The participants were able to swim with sea turtles and tropical fish in the nearby water; to participate in Eisa, the local traditional dance; and to eat delicious Okinawa Soba. The whole experience was like a dream.

 

Among the 16 students, some had lost their homes in the tsunami, others were forced to relocate because their homes were near the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, while others were from areas less severely affected who had been able to remain. However, despite all of the worries the leaders had in preparing for the event, the youth who gathered were able to find a true time of healing and to leave feeling very satisfied after the five days. With its culture, the warmth and hospitality of its people, and its abundance of natural beauty, Okinawa is a place people in Tohoku have always found attractive. This gathering, however, was aimed beyond merely being a sightseeing trip to Okinawa, as there were three very specific goals in mind.

 

First, because of the health risks the students face in their everyday environment, bringing them to the prefecture of Japan furthest away from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant was a desire shared by the parents of the students as well. Likewise, for these children who had not been able to enjoy the ocean since the tsunami and nuclear contamination, being able to enjoy such a program at the beach was quite a wonderful present for them.

 

Secondly, in Okinawa, there is an expression “nuchidou-takara,” meaning “life alone is precious.” This expression comes from the tragedies associated with World War II. Tokashiki and the other small islands of the Kerama group within the Okinawan chain, were the first to experience being forced to kill each other so as not to fall into the hands of the U.S. military, which occurred as the Okinawan invasion began. On the first day of our visit, we were shown the place where over 300 islanders were killed. It was a valuable experience and a testimony to the value of life.

 

Thirdly, the people of Okinawa know firsthand what it is like to be denied access to one’s own home for an extended period of time, as there are people on the island who have been waiting for well over half a century for the U.S. military and the Japanese government to return their property. Of course, the circumstances are not identical to those who are cut off from their homes because of radiation, but the two groups share common ground and share similar stories of pain. I would very much like to express my gratitude to the people of Okinawa District for their invitation. They are people who truly have known the deep sorrow of the loss of one’s own land.

 

Each day we had a worship service, and for some of the children, it was their first experience with the Bible and singing hymns. However, beholding the handiwork of God’s creation in Okinawa’s natural splendor and seeing and hearing the history of Okinawa was like a living worship service through which the true meaning of the cross was etched in our hearts in a very profound way. During the flight back from Okinawa, as we flew over the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant, I prayed that these students might be empowered to become Christ’s disciples, bringing hope and comfort to a community that wrestles with an uncertain future.

(Tr. AKO)

—Arai Isaku, pastor of Natori Church, Tohoku District

From Shimpo (The Kyodan Times), No.4782

 

「沖縄・東北交流プログラム」

 

「うわー、うそみたいにきれい!」

「やべぇ、これみんな本物かよ!」

沖縄・渡嘉敷島の美しい自然を目の前にして、東北の子どもたちは興奮気味に声を上げました。

8月7日~11日 の5日間、沖縄キリスト教学院大学の招待を受けて被災地の小中学生16名 が沖縄本島と渡嘉敷島で過ごしました。引率として日本基督教団の幹事、牧師、被災者支援センターの元スタッフの3名が同行し、現地で学生 有志、牧師、神学生9名が加わり総勢28名 での旅でした。

世 界有数の美しさを誇るビーチは日中も夕暮れも私たちを魅了し、さらに海中で目の前を悠々と泳ぐ熱帯魚やウミガメの姿、地元青年団とのエイ サー交流、美味しいソーキソバ、書ききれないすべてが夢のような日々でした。

参 加した生徒16人 は、津波で完全に自宅と故郷を失った子どもたち、福島第一原子力発電所すぐそばの自宅から関東の各地に避難している家庭の子どもたち、ま たあえて地元に留まっている家庭の子どもたちなど様々です。しかし特別な配慮を覚悟していた大人たちの心配もよそに、子どもたちは沖縄の 学生たちに温かく見守られる中、互いに打ち解けてゆったりと5日間を満喫できました。

沖縄はその自然環境、文化・風土、人の温かさなど、普段から東北の人間にとってあこがれの土地です。ただし 今回の企画が目指した地は単なる「観光地・沖縄」ではなく、より深い、三重の意味を持っています。

一 つには「放射能汚染地域・未だ不安定な福島第一原発から最も遠い県」であること。これは送り出す家族の切実な願いでもあります。今回の企 画のメインは海辺で過ごすことでしたが、津波と原発事故以降、海で楽しむことなど思いもよらなかった生徒にとってこのビーチでの思い出は 最高のプレゼントとなりました。

第 二に沖縄は「命(ぬち)どぅ宝(=命こそ宝」の心が生きている地であること。雄大な大自然に包まれて過ごした私たちですが、実は渡嘉敷を 含む慶良間諸島は第二次大戦末期に最初の集団自決が行われた地域です。島に渡って初日、私たちは三百余名が犠牲となった集団自決の現場で 島のガイドの方から命の証言を伺う、貴重な機会を与えられました。

第三に沖縄は故郷を奪われる痛みを長期にわたって背負い続けている地域です。状況はやや異なるものの、津 波、そして放射能汚染によって故郷を失っている東北の出来事は、いかに遠くの沖縄でも他人事ではないのです。

このように命の重さ、土地喪失の痛みを最も深く受け止める教区の方々からお招きを受けたことに多大なる意義 を感じつつ、紙面をお借りして感謝申し上げます。

期間中、私たちは毎日全員で礼拝を守りました。聖書・讃美歌に初めて触れる生徒たちもいます。しかし沖縄の 大自然と歴史という文脈の中で、十字架の意味について、私たちに与えられた命の使い方について、生きた礼拝を捧げることができたのは恵み でした。

沖縄からの帰途、福島第一原発の上空を飛行機で通過しつつ、先の見えないこの社会の中で子どもたちが希望と 慰めの使者となってくれることを切に祈りました。

 

名取教会牧師・荒井偉作

(教団新報 4778号より)

 

Executive Council Debates Rebuilding of Japan Christian Center

The second Executive Council Meeting of the 38th General Assembly Period took place July 1-2 at the Kyodan headquarters, with 29 of its 30 members present. Vice-moderator Ito Mizuo gave the sermon at the opening worship service. Then Haga Tsutomu, newly installed president of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, expressed thanks for the restoration of good relationships with the Kyodan and stated that his attendance was not as an individual but as the official representative of the seminary.

 

General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo reported that Kyodan grants and loans for the rebuilding of churches and parsonages destroyed in the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster are being distributed on schedule, along with continuing support for church-related schools and the general rebuilding of the region. The Committee on Issues Surrounding the Japan Christian Center Building, continues to debate possible earthquake safety measures. Waseda Hoshien, located in the building next door, is prepared to cooperate, so based on the decision of the Kyodan Executive Committee, the Building Maintenance Committee proposed several options, including reconstruction. As arguments against the rebuilding proposal continued, Moderator Ishibashi Hideo suspended further debate. It was voted that the Kyodan Executive Committee reorganize the committee considering these issues.

 

Evangelism Committee Chair Kobayashi Katsuya reported that the basic policy of the Task Force on Evangelism Promotion is “to promote evangelism and research of best practices, with the intended goal of a unified faith based on the Kyodan’s Confession of Faith, Constitution, and Bylaws.” This relates to the aim of forming a Board of Evangelism in the future.

 

Vice-moderator Ito, chair of the Kyodan’s Preparation Committee for the International Conference on the Great East Japan Disaster, reported that the conference will be held at Tohoku Gakuin University, March 11-14, 2014 on the theme “Against the Myth of the Safety of Nuclear Energy—The Fundamental Question from Fukushima.” Representatives from overseas churches are being invited.

 

The Board of Publications ended the past fiscal year “in the black” despite the depression of publication business as a whole. It was also able to donate a portion of the sale proceeds from books on the Great East Japan Disaster to the affected areas. (Tr. TB)

 

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

Based on an article in Shimpo (The Kyodan Times), No.4778

 

第38総会期第2回 常議員会報告

 

第38総会期第2回常議員会は、7月1日(月)、2日(火)に教団会議室で30人 中29人が出席して開催された。伊藤瑞男副議長の説教による開会礼拝後議事に入り、まず4月に学長に就任した芳賀力・東京神学大学学長より「東京神学大学と教団との関係正常化に感謝 している。私個人ではなく、教団立の東京神学大学を代表して出席した。東京神学大学は、福音の伝道を神学的に深め、優れた教師の養成 に努めたい」と挨拶した。総幹事報告では長崎哲夫総幹事は「東日本大震災救援活動では、会堂・牧師 館再建の支援金・貸付金を順次進めている。キリスト教主義学校、地域支援を継続的に行なっている。教団事務局が入る日本キリスト教会 館の耐震問題は、会館問題小委員会で協議を続けてきたが、早稲田奉仕園の協力が得られる見通しがついたため、常任常議員会の議決に基 づき、会館管理委員会に、会館の立て替えを含めた検討を申し入れた」との報告を行なった。立て替えについて反論が続き収束の見えない 論議に、石橋議長は打ち切りを提案。「常任常議員会で会館問題小委員会を再編し、次回常議員会に提案する」として承認を得た。

小林克哉伝道委員長は、伝道推進室報告において、「信仰告白と教憲教規に基づく信仰の一致をもって、将来の伝道局構想を視 野に入れ、伝道の実践と研究に取り組む」との基本方針を報告した。

東日本国際会議実行委員会報告では、伊藤瑞男委員長は、東日本大震災国際会議主題「原子力安 全神話に抗してーフクシマからの問いかけー」日時・2014年3月11日~14日、 会場・東北学院大学が決定し、海外教会へ参加呼びかけをすることが報告された。

出版局からは、「出版業界全体が苦境にある中で、倉庫を教団内に したことの等の工夫もあり、黒字決算の報告が出来ることは感謝である。震災関連の書籍の売り上げの一部を被災地にささげることができ た」との報告があった。(加藤誠)

In Mission with the First United Methodist Church of Cedar Park, Texas

by Kataoka Hoko, pastor

Kamakura Sensui Church, Kanagawa District

 

From July 20 to 30, under the the auspices of the Task Force on Evangelism Promotion, I went on a mission trip with a group of ten young people, made up of mainly high school and university students. The First United Methodist Church of Cedar Park, Texas, which is a suburb of Austin, had invited us. More than 20 young people, together with our host families and other church people welcomed us. We attended the church worship service together and went out to do volunteer work on weekdays.

 

This church had sent a mission team called Project Youth to Japan (PY2J) in March 2012 to do relief work in the disaster-stricken areas. The fellowship born out of that experience with their brothers and sisters in Japan continued, and as they talked together about their missionary vision of “what to do next,” the plan to make this trip was set in motion. During our ten days in Austin, we shared together in worship and experienced various volunteer activities with the homeless and people living in poverty. We learned that the relationships God has both with us and with others are blessed.

 

The young people who participated in the mission trip had each experienced earthquakes or other such times of suffering while they were growing up or at turning points in their lives. Some of them told me that their visits to the homeless reminded them of being in the disaster zones after an earthquake, and they mentioned they had wondered why it is that God allows us to experience such sorrowful things. But as these youth acted upon what they understood to be God’s will, they also began to be present with others and to listen to what they had to say. And as they really faced up to these issues, they learned how to share God’s love through their actions. I could see them maturing and becoming stronger day by day.

 

As I look back on this mission trip, I can see that none of us could have done this by ourselves but only as we walked together and shared together. It is my hope that we can continue this vision of mission together as we are blessed by ongoing fellowship and ask our brothers and sisters in Texas what it is that we can do next. (Tr. SM)

 

2013年7月20日~30日、伝道推進室の下で、高校生・大学生を中心とした青年たち10名と共にミッション・トリップに行って参りました。私たちを招いて下さったのは、テキサス州オースティン 近郊にあるシダーパーク第一合同メソジスト教会です。20名以上の青年たち、ホストファミリーの皆さま、教会の皆さまに迎えられ、礼拝を共に守り、平日はボラン ティアに出かけました。

この教会は、2012年3月にProject Youth to Japan(PY2J)というミッションチームで来日し、被災地での支援活動を行ってくださいました。その際に生まれた日本の兄 弟姉妹との交流が続き、「次は何ができるか?」と宣教のビジョンについて語り合ったことから今回の計画が動き出したのです。

私 たちは10日間、礼拝および分かち合いの時、そしてキリスト教諸団体のボランティア活 動(ホームレス・貧困者支援)を中心として、神と自分、また神と他者との関係が祝福されていることを学びました。

ミッ ションに参加した青年たちは、成長期、また人生の節目に震災やその他の苦しみを経験してきた人たちです。ホームレスの方々を訪ねた 後、被災地のことも思いだしながら、「神さまは、なぜこのように悲しいことを経験させるのだろう」と思った、と何人かが話してくれま した。しかし青年たちは、神の御心にそって行動することで、だんだんと他者の言葉に耳を傾けていきました。そして最後には、問題を見 つめながらも、愛を行い、分かち合うことができるということを学んだのです。私は、青年たちが日に日にたくましくなっていく様を見ま した。

ミッ ションを終え、私たちは、一人でそれをしたのではなく、皆で共に歩み、いつも分かち合いをして進むことが出来たのだと確 信しています。これからもユースミッションによる交流が祝され、テキサスの兄妹姉妹、リーダーたちと共に、「次は何ができるか?」、 宣教のビジョンが示されることを願っています。片岡宝子

Participating in the Presbyterian Youth Triennium 2013

by Mochizuki Asao, pastor

Yotsukaido Church, Kanto District

 

The Presbyterian Youth Triennium (PYT), hosted by the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America (PCUSA), held once every three years, is a big event for high school students. High school students and leaders belonging to the PCUSA and related churches gather on the spacious campus of Purdue University in Indiana where several thousand high school students experience an unforgettable event. This year’s event was held from July 16 to 20 under the theme “I am.” The highlight of every day was the two-and-a-half-hour assembly held in a huge auditorium that could hold the more than 5,300 participants. The program included worship, dancing, singing, and drama. The worship brought about a passionate harmony to the whole event. The high school students separated into more than 150 small groups, and each group engaged in guided discussions and workshops with the group leader most of the day. In addition, there were other enjoyable programs in the garden outside, including dancing, concerts, picnics, et cetera. For the leaders, various lectures were also provided.

 

A lot of participants from various countries of the world joined in this PYT as global partners. As a global partner, the Kyodan sought candidates among high school students and sent Hanna Edefors (Shizuoka Eiwa Jogakuin High School) and Takano Yume (Yamanashi Eiwa Gakuin) as its representatives. Mochizuki Asao (a member of the Committee on Ecumenical Relations) and Takada Teruki (a Kyodan headquarters staff member) acted as leaders for the two students. It was not an easy decision for the Japanese high school students to travel overseas in mid-July because of their school schedules, with examinations and other school programs still going on. Likewise, as the PYT is aimed at U.S. high school students, the language barrier was difficult for them. Nevertheless, through the various programs, they were challenged to think about their faith. Moreover, as they were representing the Kyodan, participation in this event was not something they could take lightly.

 

It is not difficult to imagine how tense the two girls felt during the bus trip from Indiana Airport to Purdue University through the endless corn and soybean fields, as they were surrounded by precocious U.S. high school students who were speaking too fast for them to follow easily. They literally prayed their way through, making their best effort. They were given an opportunity to introduce Japan and to teach U.S. high school students origami while wearing yukata (light cotton kimono). They also taught the Lord’s Prayer, in Japanese, to many students. The U.S. participants really enjoyed the help of the students from Japan in choosing Chinese characters to write their names in Japanese. There was always a large group gathered around the two students, and many people were pleased with their participation.

 

Thanks to the PYT, they encountered a new world. I hope that this experience becomes a new door of life for them and that their personal experience will become a catalyst within the Japanese church. (Tr. KY)

 

アメリカ合衆国長老教会青年大会 2013 参加レポート

望月麻生(四街道教会)

 

三年に一度開催されるPresbyterian Youth Triennium(PYT)は、PCUSAが主催する高校生を対象にした一大イベントである。インディアナ州にある広大なPurdue Universityに、全米からPCUSAならびに関係教会に属する高校生と引率者が集結し、数千人の高校生が一生忘れられないひと夏を過ごす。今 年は7月16日から20日にかけて開催された。テーマは「I am」。毎日の中心は、5300人以上の高校生、そして引率者やキャンプのリーダーが一つのホールに集まってのWorship…ダンス、歌、演劇とメッセージとに満ちた2時間半…である。このWorshipがキャンプ全体に熱を帯びた調和をもたらしている。また、高校生たちは150以上ある小さなグループに分かれ、一日のうち多くの時間を、リーダーのもとで工夫されたdiscussionやworkshopに取り組む。屋外の広場でのダンスパーティーやコンサート、ピクニックなど、楽しみも多い。引率者向けに も豊富な講演会が用意されている。

PYTにはGrobal Partnerとして世界各国からも多くの参加者が集まる。KyodanもGrobal Partnerの一員として高校生を募集し、エデフォスはんなさん/Hanna Edefors(Shizuoka Eiwa Jogakuin High school)と髙野夢さん/Takano Yume(Yamanashi Eiwa Gakuin)を派遣した。世界宣教部国際関係委員の望月麻生と教団職員の高田輝樹が引率を務めた。7月中旬に海外旅行へ出かけることを決断するのは、日本の高校生にとっては試験や学校行事との関係でとても 難しい。また、基本的にアメリカ人の高校生を対象としているため、語学面での甘えは許されない。自らの信仰に関しても学生たちはプロ グラムを通して深く問われる。教団を代表するという一面も持つ。つまり、このキャンプは誰でも容易く参加できるものではない。はんな さんと夢さんがインディアナ空港からPurdue Universityへ向かう乗り合いバスの中でどれほど緊張していたかは想像に難くないだろう…周りの高校生たちの大人びた雰囲気、会話の速さ、終わりのないトウモロコシ畑と大豆畑…。しかし彼女たちは、祈りつつ最大限の力を発揮した。彼女たちには日本を紹介する場が与えられ、彼女たち は浴衣を着てアメリカの学生たちに折り紙を教えた。日本語で学生たちの名前を書くサービスはとても喜ばれた。また、日本語の「主の祈 り」を多くの人々に教えた。彼女たちの周りには常に大きな輪ができ、彼女たちの参加を多くの人々が喜んでいた。

PYTによって、彼女たちは新しい世界と出会った。これが、彼女たちにとって人生の新しい扉となること、また、 これが彼女たちの個人的な経験に留まることなく、日本のキリスト教の中で生かされていくことを、わたしは願う。