A Message From General Secretary:Guests from Overseas Churches

We are happy to report that since the district assemblies this past spring, we have hosted a series of overseas guests and have had very good exchanges.

 

On June 28, Bishop Dr. Markus Droge of the Evangelical Church of Berlin-Bradenburg-Schlesische Oberlausitz (EKBO), Roland Herpich, director of the Ecumenical Centre, Berlin Mission, and Dr. Christof Theilemann, Ecumenical Centre Berlin Mission visited our office. They were followed on July 11 by Lutz Drescher, liaison secretary for East Asia/India of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS). As general secretary, I took this opportunity to express our thanks to them all for their fervent prayers and financial support for the relief work of the Kyodan in responding to the March 11, 2011 disaster. In response to an appeal from the EMS, the Kyodan also sent an offering to help with the education of Syrian children whose families had fled to Lebanon, as well as appealing to churches nationally, through the Kyodan’s Committee on Social Concerns, to contribute to the efforts as well.

 

On Sept. 6, we received a visit from Moderator Gloria J. McCanna of the Reformed Church in America, together with Global Mission Director Jhonny Alicea-Baez. We had a lively, in-depth discussion concerning the situation of educational missionaries sent to the Kyodan-related schools, as well as the various issues involved with missionaries sent to do evangelism. On that occasion, I mentioned Dr. Gordon Laman, who devoted his life to evangelism through literature, and thereafter I received a letter from Dr. McCanna, informing me that after her return to the U.S.A. she read the “Pioneers to Partners” written by Dr. Laman and had been studying about the ministries God had brought to the churches in Japan.

 

On Sept. 17, we received a delegation from the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ)/United Church of Christ: Executive Minister James A. Moos, Dr. Xiaoling Zhu, executive secretary of East Asia and the Pacific, and Representative Director Jeffery Mensendiek of the Zai-Nippon Interboard Senkyoshi Shadan. They invited us to attend the Asia Pacific Forum to be held in April 2014 in Toronto, organized by the major Christian organizations in North America. They also presented us with documents for the transfer of the ownership of the missionary house in Tohoku District to the Kyodan.

On the following day, Sept. 18, we met with Associate General Secretary for International Programs Melissa Crutchfield of the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR) of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries. The Kyodan moderator and other related staff joined in this meeting to discuss details concerning the new funding for the March 11 Disaster Relief proposed by Kyodan. Although there was not much time for the meeting, we had a friendly discussion on the logistics of the Kyodan’s fund proposal to UMCOR, which consists of the amount of 100 million yen toward the costs of the international conference on nuclear issues in March 2014; volunteer efforts based in Sendai, Ishinomaki and Tono; expenses for “liberation camps” for children affected by the nuclear power plant accident; an endowed chair at Tohoku University as well as scholarships for university students; and an additional 50 million yen for Tohoku District’s Taskforce on the Nuclear Power Plant Accident. We are now waiting for the outcome of their study of our proposal.

 

On the same day, we received a visit by the team headed by President Su Chii Ann of the Sarawak Chinese Annual Conference of the Methodist Church in Malaysia, and Chairman John Ling of the Council of Missions of the Methodist Church in Malaysia. They shared with us about their situation, having to deal with the power of Islam as well as the difficulties of spreading the gospel in the context of tribal customs and blood ties, and we had a very cordial time of exchange.

 

On Sept. 19, we welcomed General Treasurer Roland Fernandes of the United Methodist Church’s General Board of Global Ministries and Executive Director Hikari Kokai Chang of the Wesley Foundation. We discussed the restoration of the relationship between the Kyodan and UMC that had become slightly strained following the 2004 dissolution of the former Japan-North American Commission on Cooperative Mission (JNAC).

 

The disaster of March 11, 2011 was surely an unfortunate event; however, the Kyodan has received many prayers and concrete support from all over the world. This experience has made us renew our commitment to walk beside those who are suffering from natural disasters, wars, and poverty. We were able to respond to the request to send a monetary contribution to aid the people in Colorado, U.S.A. suffered form flooding at the end of September.  (Tr. KY)

—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary

 

総幹事室より

本年春に開催された教団各教区総会が終了した6月から、総幹事室は海外からのお客様の訪問を盛んに受け、良き交流の時を持つことができたことを喜んでいる。

先ず、6月28日 には、ベルリン・ブランデンブルク領邦教会ドレーゲ司教、ベルリン宣教会世界宣教局長ヘルピッヒ牧師、ベルリン宣教会世界宣教局幹事タイレマン牧師が来室し、7月11日にはEMS東アジア担当幹事ドレッシャー氏が来室した。この時、総幹事は双方代表者に対して3.11被災以来教団に対する厚い祈りと救援に対する謝辞を述べた。最近、EMSが呼び掛けている、レバノンに難民として移ったシリアの子どもらへの学校教育のための募金に教団も早速見舞金を 送った。さらに、教団社会委員会が全国の教会に募金を呼び掛けた。

9月6日には、アメリカ改革派教会議長マッカンナ牧師アメリカ改革派教会世界宣教 局長アリセア=バエツ牧師の訪問を受け、同教団の教団関係学校への派遣教育宣教師の実態及び直接伝道宣教師に関わる諸問題について 突っ込んだ話し合いをした。この時、私は同教派の宣教師 Rev. Dr. Gordon Lamanの九州教区での文書伝道の生涯を話題にしたところ、後日MacCanna議長は帰米後、同宣教師の”Pioneers to Partners”を読み、神が日本の教会にもたらした働きについて学んでいるとの手 紙を戴いた。

9月17日、共同世界宣教局長モース牧師、共同世界宣教局東アジア担当幹事ズー牧師、在日本インターボード宣教師社団代表理事、共同世界宣教局(「米国合同教会とディサイプルズ(クリスチャン・チャーチ)」)

宣教師メンセンディーク牧師の三牧師を迎えて、12月16-17日 の両日トロントで開催される北米主要教団主催のアジア太平洋フォーラムへの 出席を要請され、同時に現在の東北教区宣教師館の名義を教団に委譲する旨の書類を受けた。

翌9月18日には、Ms. Melissa Crutchfield, Associate General Secretary International Programs, United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), General Board of Global Ministries (合同メソジスト教会世界宣教局海外災害支援部(UMCOR)副総幹事クラッチフィールド氏)が教団の3.11災害救援金要請に関して内容調査のためごく事務的でかつ短時間であったが教団議長はじめ関係委員との友好の時を持つことができた。UMCORに対する教団の要請内容は、国際会議・仙台、石 巻、遠野のボランティア拠点の働き・原発事故による閉ざされた子供らへの解放キャンプ・東北大学寄付講座・現地大学生奨学金等に1億円、東北教区原発事故対策室のため5千万円を要請しているが結果待ちである。

同日、マレーシアメソジスト教会サラワク華人年会会長 蘇慈安牧師、マレーシアメソジスト教会宣教委員長 リン氏一行の訪問を受け、現地のイスラム勢力との関係、諸習俗的な地縁・ 血縁との福音的緊張の模様を知らされたが、温かな交流の一時が得られたことは幸いであった。

9月19日には、合同メソジスト教会世界宣教局財務部長フェルナンデス氏,ウェス レー・ファウンデーション執行理事小海牧師を迎え、旧JNAC(Japan-North American Commission on Cooperative Mission)が 解散した2004年以来やや希薄であった教団とUMCとの関係回復等協議した。

教団は、3.11以来あの災害は確かに不幸なことではあったが、世界の諸教会からの具体的な祈りと支援を受け、改めて世界の自然災 害・戦争・貧困に関心を寄せ、それらにも寄り添う気持ちを顕していく時が来ていることを実感している。9月末米国コロラド州の水害にUMCORの呼び掛けに応じ、早速見舞金を送ることができた。長崎哲夫総幹事