Response of Other Churches and Denominations

The Roman Catholic Church. On June 23, 2013 (a day of remembrance for those who died in the Battle of Okinawa), the Japan Catholic Council of Bishops introduced an informal message in the name of Bishop Okada Takeo, which was shared during a special time for thinking about peace (Aug. 6-15). The message says, “We are in a very dangerous situation. We believe Article 9 is a treasure the whole world can be proud of and that it proclaims the teachings of Jesus Christ concerning love.” The message was introduced on June 23 and draws attention to the fact that the people of Okinawa call this day “the day of humiliation,” referring to the fact that an unfair accord was signed between Japan and the United States that even now reminds us that Japan’s sovereignty is not yet fully restored, something that we must never forget.

The Mennonite Church. On May 3, Constitution Day, concerned persons within the Mennonite Church issued a statement calling for peace and the preservation of the present Constitution. The statement was issued to all Mennonite churches in Japan and to their brothers and sisters in Christ in all churches saying, “Let us protect Japan’s Constitution. Let us make peace a reality.” This is not a time for the “peace” churches to be silent. The statement further states: “Our integrity as Anabaptists and Mennonites, as members of a church in which many were martyred for their opposition to war, is being questioned.” It calls on people to maintain Article 9, “being strengthened by Christ, to speak out saying Japan must not build a path to war again and that

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war itself is the greatest sin.” It is a rare opportunity for this group to cross denominational lines and call out to other denominations so that “being guided by the Holy Spirit, we may all work together to be called children of God”. (Tr. RW)

 

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), August 2013 issue

教 会がフリースペースーひきこもりの青年達の「居場所」

倉 橋 剛 西小倉めぐみ教会牧師

西小倉めぐみ教会は京都の宇治市にある小さな教会です。毎週月曜日の午後、ここに何人かの青年たちが集まってきます。元気にとは言え ず、本当に何とか体調を整え、たくさんの勇気を振りしぼってやってきます。

家から、中には部屋からも出ることが難しいひきこもりの青年たちが、たとえわずかな時間でも家から一歩外に出たいと思ったときに安心 して行ける「居場所」があれば……。 一人ひとりが抱えているしんどさを少しでも理解してくれる仲間やスタッフのいる居場所があれば……。 そんな思いで現在小さな居場所、フリースペース「おやすみ」を教会は開いています。

きっかけは私自身の子どもがひきこもりになったことです。解決の特効薬はないのに、親である自分は焦りを抑えられませんでした。ひき こもる当人ばかりでなく、そんな保護者にとっても「ほっ」とできるスペースをと願って始めました。以後、しんどさを抱えながらも精一 杯の日々を送っている青年たちとの出会いを多く与えられてきました。

そんな青年たちからもらった、特に大切なメッセージを紹介したいと思います。

不登校から、そのままひきこもってしまったある青年は、そのころのことを振り返ってこう話してくれました。「ものすごく学校に行くこ とがしんどくなって、親にその思いを伝えたのに、学校に行くことを強いられた。そんなことの繰り返しの中で、だんだん自分は親から信 用されていないんだ、親は味方ではないんだ、守ってくれる人ではないんだと、子ども心にも強く思わされた」。

また別の青年は「今、苦しいことの一つは、他人を信用できないこと。親に認められるために、小さいころから自分なりに一生懸命良い子 になろうと努力してきた。オーバーな表現ではなく、毎日が綱渡りをしているような感じ。細い一本の不安定な綱の上で必死でバランスを 取りながら、いつ転落するかわからない、そんな恐怖感と不安感を覚える毎日を過ごしてきた。正直、もう疲れた」と言います。

学校でいじめられ、ズタズタに傷ついた青年もいます。彼は丸七年間、ほとんど外へ出られなくなっていたとのことです。人が怖くなって しまうと、外へ出るハードルはますます高くなってしまうのです。

こんな声も聞きました。「怠けようなんて思っていないよ。でも僕は親やまわりの大人と全く別の人格を持っている人間なんだ。性格も、 持っているものも違う。それなのに親によく言われるのは、俺たち親にできたことがおまえにできないわけがない。そんなに世の中甘くな いぞ、もっと頑張れ、ということ。でも今は、生きることが精一杯なんだ」。

日本人の死因の上位は、ガンや心疾患、脳疾患です。しかし二十~三十九歳では自死が一位、十五~十九歳でも二位であることをご存じで しょうか。

今の社会の中では、「ひきこもり」というだけで強いマイナスのイメージで見られます。彼らへの言葉で一番多いのは、「さぼってる、甘 えてる、弱すぎる」です。これは大きな偏見と誤解です。彼らは今を精一杯生き、「生きる」ということの意味を真剣に考えている真面目 な青年たちなのです。

確かにデリケートな傷つきやすい心を持っているでしょう。でも、痛みを知っている彼らは、人間としての大切な「優しさや、思いやりの 心」も持っています。

まずは、ひきこもらざるを得ない状態の中で心の休養を取ろうとしている青年のありのままの姿を受け止めること、「あなたはあなたのま までいいんですよ」と、その存在を丸ごと受け止めることから、初めて再出発のスタートが切れるような気がします。私たちがすでに、大 切な存在として神さまに愛されている、その事実の上に立ってのスタートです。

ひきこもりがちな青年たちと共に歩むことは、小さな教会の小さな働きだけでは困難があります。さまざまな教会からの支援、祈り、また 行政や地域との連携があってようやく一歩一歩、歩んでいる状況です。

最後に、今、「おやすみ」に来ている青年たちの声は、「近くに居場所がもっとあったらなあ」です。近所の人もいますが、遠方の人が多 いのです。人間関係を築いていくことがとても苦手という青年がほとんどで、家から出ると極度に緊張する人が多く、遠い居場所まで来る 大変さは十分想像できます。そうした青年たちが安心して行けるスペースが、彼らの近くにある教会も含め、いろいろな場所に備わってい たらと願わずにはおられません。

 ゆっくりと心を休めることがで きた青年たちは、信頼できる人との出会いを時間をかけて築いていく中で、きっと自分らしく歩み出せるようになると信じています。教会が 「ありのままの彼らを受け入れる真の居場所・フリースペース」になれたらと、心から願い、祈っています。(信徒の友11月号より)
総幹事室より

 

「総幹事談話」(新報より)

 

 

The Church as “Free Space”: A Haven for Youth Who Choose Seclusion

by Kurahashi Tsuyoshi, pastor Nishi Ogura Megumi Church, Kyoto District

Nishi Ogura Megumi Church is a small church in the city of Uji, near Kyoto city. Every Monday afternoon a group of young people gather there. It is hard to call them a robust group because it is with great effort that each of them gathers the courage, as well as physical and emotional energy, to come.

 

These are youth who often find it difficult to leave their rooms, let alone their homes. But when there is that desire to get out—even for a brief period of time—is there a haven where they can feel safe to go? Is there a haven with staff or companions who can understand the distress they feel? With those questions in mind, our church has opened a small “free space” (haven) for these youth, called “Oyasumi” (rest).

 

It began when my own child became reclusive. There is no special medication to deal with this, and as a parent, I could not restrain my impatience to do something. Not just the reclusive individual but also the parent/guardian wants to find a space for relief. Since starting that search, I have met countless youth who are doing their best while struggling with their reclusiveness.

 

I would like to share with you a special message these young people have entrusted to me.

One youth, starting with truancy from school, went down the path to full seclusion. He was willing to talk with me about his recollections of that time in his life. “It was becoming increasingly stressful for me to go to school. I told my parents about it, but they forced me go. In the midst of this I began to feel strongly that there was no trust from my parents, that they were not on my side, and that there was no one to protect me.”

 

Another youth told me, “One of the painful things now is that I cannot trust others. In order to be accepted by my parents, I did my best from the time I was little to be a “good boy.” It is not an exaggeration to say that it was like walking a tightrope. Every day I lived with the uncertainty and fear of falling from a very thin rope as I struggled to keep my balance. To be honest, I was exhausted.” There was one youth who had been bullied and severely injured. For seven years, he hardly ever left his home. When people become the source of fear, the hurdle to get outside becomes higher. I was told this as well: “In no way do I think I am being lazy. However, I am completely different from my parents or the adults around me. My personality and the things I can do are also different. However, my parents often tell me that there is no reason that I cannot do what they were able to do. They tell me that the world we live in is not easy and that I need to try harder. But for me, I

The leading causes of death for Japanese people are cancer, heart disease, and brain disorders. However, for the age group of 20 to 39, suicide is number one, and for the age group of 15 to 19, it is number two. In current society, the mention of the word hikikomori (a recluse who avoids the public) creates a strong negative image. What these youth hear most often are words like “lazy,” “spoiled,” and “too weak.” These words reflect prejudice and a lack of understanding. Rather, these young people are conscientiously trying their best to live (in extremely challenging conditions) and seriously thinking about what it means to live. Undoubtedly, these young people have delicate feelings that are easily hurt. However, they know deep pain that has caused them to become individuals who possess the important qualities of “kindness” and “thoughtfulness.”

 

First, we must learn to accept these young people as they are: individuals who are in situations in which they feel their only alternative is to seek isolation, while at the same time they are seeking a place of rest for their spirits. I feel that their only chance for a fresh start begins with an affirmation—letting them know that they are accepted as they are. We are all special individuals loved by God, and fresh starts come from that awareness. Trying to walk with young people who tend to seek isolation is a difficult task for us as a small church. However, support from churches as well as links with local government and community agencies are gradually making it possible for us to take small steps with these youth.

 

Finally, let me leave you with the voice of these young people who come to us for haven. “I wish there were some places closer.” There are neighborhood youth (who come to our church), but many come from long distances. It is not difficult to imagine the extreme stress felt by a young person who must leave his or her home to go to a different neighborhood when that person is already having difficulty building relationships. I cannot help but hope that “space” can be made available for these young people in local communities by churches and other organizations.

I believe that young people who have found a place of rest and are given opportunities and time to interact with people in trustful relationships can restart their personal journeys. It is my fervent hope and prayer that the church can become a “free space”—a haven—where these youth can be accepted just as they are. (Tr. JS)

 

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)

November 2013 issue

教 会がフリースペースーひきこもりの青年達の「居場所」

倉 橋 剛 西小倉めぐみ教会牧師

西小倉めぐみ教会は京都の宇治市にある小さな教会です。毎週月曜日の午後、ここに何人かの青年たちが集まってきます。元気にとは言え ず、本当に何とか体調を整え、たくさんの勇気を振りしぼってやってきます。

家から、中には部屋からも出ることが難しいひきこもりの青年たちが、たとえわずかな時間でも家から一歩外に出たいと思ったときに安心 して行ける「居場所」があれば……。 一人ひとりが抱えているしんどさを少しでも理解してくれる仲間やスタッフのいる居場所があれば……。 そんな思いで現在小さな居場所、フリースペース「おやすみ」を教会は開いています。

きっかけは私自身の子どもがひきこもりになったことです。解決の特効薬はないのに、親である自分は焦りを抑えられませんでした。ひき こもる当人ばかりでなく、そんな保護者にとっても「ほっ」とできるスペースをと願って始めました。以後、しんどさを抱えながらも精一 杯の日々を送っている青年たちとの出会いを多く与えられてきました。

そんな青年たちからもらった、特に大切なメッセージを紹介したいと思います。

不登校から、そのままひきこもってしまったある青年は、そのころのことを振り返ってこう話してくれました。「ものすごく学校に行くこ とがしんどくなって、親にその思いを伝えたのに、学校に行くことを強いられた。そんなことの繰り返しの中で、だんだん自分は親から信 用されていないんだ、親は味方ではないんだ、守ってくれる人ではないんだと、子ども心にも強く思わされた」。

また別の青年は「今、苦しいことの一つは、他人を信用できないこと。親に認められるために、小さいころから自分なりに一生懸命良い子 になろうと努力してきた。オーバーな表現ではなく、毎日が綱渡りをしているような感じ。細い一本の不安定な綱の上で必死でバランスを 取りながら、いつ転落するかわからない、そんな恐怖感と不安感を覚える毎日を過ごしてきた。正直、もう疲れた」と言います。

学校でいじめられ、ズタズタに傷ついた青年もいます。彼は丸七年間、ほとんど外へ出られなくなっていたとのことです。人が怖くなって しまうと、外へ出るハードルはますます高くなってしまうのです。

こんな声も聞きました。「怠けようなんて思っていないよ。でも僕は親やまわりの大人と全く別の人格を持っている人間なんだ。性格も、 持っているものも違う。それなのに親によく言われるのは、俺たち親にできたことがおまえにできないわけがない。そんなに世の中甘くな いぞ、もっと頑張れ、ということ。でも今は、生きることが精一杯なんだ」。

日本人の死因の上位は、ガンや心疾患、脳疾患です。しかし二十~三十九歳では自死が一位、十五~十九歳でも二位であることをご存じで しょうか。

今の社会の中では、「ひきこもり」というだけで強いマイナスのイメージで見られます。彼らへの言葉で一番多いのは、「さぼってる、甘 えてる、弱すぎる」です。これは大きな偏見と誤解です。彼らは今を精一杯生き、「生きる」ということの意味を真剣に考えている真面目 な青年たちなのです。

確かにデリケートな傷つきやすい心を持っているでしょう。でも、痛みを知っている彼らは、人間としての大切な「優しさや、思いやりの 心」も持っています。

まずは、ひきこもらざるを得ない状態の中で心の休養を取ろうとしている青年のありのままの姿を受け止めること、「あなたはあなたのま までいいんですよ」と、その存在を丸ごと受け止めることから、初めて再出発のスタートが切れるような気がします。私たちがすでに、大 切な存在として神さまに愛されている、その事実の上に立ってのスタートです。

ひきこもりがちな青年たちと共に歩むことは、小さな教会の小さな働きだけでは困難があります。さまざまな教会からの支援、祈り、また 行政や地域との連携があってようやく一歩一歩、歩んでいる状況です。

最後に、今、「おやすみ」に来ている青年たちの声は、「近くに居場所がもっとあったらなあ」です。近所の人もいますが、遠方の人が多 いのです。人間関係を築いていくことがとても苦手という青年がほとんどで、家から出ると極度に緊張する人が多く、遠い居場所まで来る 大変さは十分想像できます。そうした青年たちが安心して行けるスペースが、彼らの近くにある教会も含め、いろいろな場所に備わってい たらと願わずにはおられません。

 ゆっくりと心を休めることがで きた青年たちは、信頼できる人との出会いを時間をかけて築いていく中で、きっと自分らしく歩み出せるようになると信じています。教会が 「ありのままの彼らを受け入れる真の居場所・フリースペース」になれたらと、心から願い、祈っています。(信徒の友11月号より)

Support for the Homeless Crosses Denominational Lines

by Kusachi Daisuke, pastor of Hofu Church Nishi Chugoku District

The city of Hofu is located about halfway along the coast on the Seto Inland Sea side of Yamaguchi Prefecture, with a population of about 120,000 people. There are a number of Christian churches in the city, but fellowship among these churches in different denominations has been nonexistent for over ten years, and so has not flourished very much. However, starting about a year-and-a-half ago, due to their shared concern for the homeless, pastors of the Roman Catholic, Baptist, Lutheran, and Kyodan churches have been sharing information regularly. In addition, we began a service for people who want to settle down by negotiating with the city on their behalf and are also cooperating to provide for persons in need of food.

 

Members of the various churches had been in contact with each other, but until recently partnership among the churches had only been business-like at best. However, since their first ministerial meeting, the pastors and priests have been gathering at the respective churches about once every three months, with discussion centering on support for street people. Now, under the shared awareness of “shouldering the propagation of the gospel among all the churches in the area,” they are enjoying a fellowship that crosses denominational lines and a deepening experience of grace.

 

None of the churches has a large membership, but when they are working jointly to support the homeless, the churches are given new wisdom and a new perspective. Of course, there are denominational differences, but they are all led by the same Lord and, through implementation of the spirit of love shown by Christ, the overcoming of those differences is being realized. It was discussed that “when there are persons in distress, persons seeking aid, we must transcend denominational differences.”

 

The other day, there was a baptismal service for a man and his two children at the Roman Catholic Church. His wife was already a member there, so they wanted to be together as a family in the same church. He had also been attending our Kyodan church and, during the development of his desire to be baptized, I had a chance to meet with him personally and have fellowship with him. The family was closely related to both churches, and since we had already been in a deepening relationship, I was able to discuss with the Roman Catholic priest the question of how to lead them to faith.

 

As the churches had once again begun to cross denomination lines to offer support, the discussion went very smoothly for all those living in Hofu. As a result, it was decided that the “service would be done together” and we would participate as officiating pastors together in the service at the Roman Catholic Church. That day, members of the Hofu Church and the pastor of the Baptist Church attended the baptismal service at the Roman Catholic Church. In addition to this being a joyous “carrying out of a ‘cooperative work’” that crossed denominational lines, the smiling faces of that family, who were able to share their common faith together, left a very radiant impression.

 

We are hoping that the solidarity of the area churches, which began with the discussion about supporting persons facing difficulties, will only deepen further. There are homeless persons who are seeking concrete help. How to care for such people now, and from here on, is being discussed not only by pastors but also by lay people.

 

Furthermore, the Roman Catholic Church is appealing to persons throughout the city every year by holding an Advent concert during which the priest says, in his message: “By all means go to a church near the various places where each of you live for the Christmas worship service.” Appeals to attend the various church gatherings are also made freely, and actually the various believers take part in one another’s meetings and are deepening their interaction. As the pastor of a Christian church built in this same area, I hope to continue the “cooperative work” from now on as a witness to the Lord. It is my great desire that in this way the grace of the gospel will reach as many persons as possible.(Tr. RT)

 

 —From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), October 2013 Issue

 

A Message From General Secretary

Kyodan Tohoku District Nuclear Disaster Relief Task Force “IZUMI,” the office that Tohoku District set up to deal with radiation issues, had its opening ceremony on Nov. 1, 2013. We listened to a lecture about nuclear power generation and how, in the process of producing electricity, poisonous radioactive waste is also produced, for which disposal and treatment methods are still undecided.

 

The following day, I journeyed south through the Hamadori section of Fukushima to visit the churches. I was guided from the tsunami-stricken area of Arahama to the churches in the radiation contamination zones, all the while thinking how shameful it is that urban areas using electricity have forced this problem onto Fukushima. As I watched the huge dump trucks destined for reconstruction projects lumbering along the damaged roads and saw signs stating “under decontamination” posted in yards, parks, and fields, I was further reminded of the scale of the disaster. Contaminated soil that had been scraped off was put in large black bags and piled up in fields that would have been ripe with harvest and then covered with plastic to keep off the rain. At every church we visited along the way, there were nursery school and kindergarten facilities, and these were to be places of mission and outreach. They were supposed to be places where children and their parents and guardians would be directly exposed to the gospel message. But the effect of radiation from the nuclear accident becomes the focus of attention in places such as these, which concentrate on children, and casts a pall on their future. For instance, in regards to drinking water, divisions between people arise if some parents think it better not to drink tap water while others think it is not dangerous now. Town official want to emphasize that it is now safe, so if the kindergarten provides bottled water, they are not happy about that.

 

Likewise, some people receive compensation while others do not, and numerous other factors caused by the nuclear accident subvert harmonious relationships in the community. These include divisions between nuclear plant workers and temporary workers coming in now to deal with the situation, people who have

Defective foot. Soft cheap pharmacy hold to Real plates for. And online pharmacy prilosec thus this out…

been forced to move into temporary housing and other local people. Local governments, industries, educational institutions, medical facilities and society as a whole have all been seriously affected. And standing there beside the confused adults are the anxious children, with their world turned upside down. These children should be our first priority, as they are the ones who have been the most victimized. (Tr. KY)

—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary

総幹事室より

「総幹事談話」(新報より)

11月1日、東北教 区の放射能問題支援対策室「いずみ」の開所式で、「原発は電気も産むが、同時に未だその処分方法が決まらぬ能動的毒物とも言われる 『放射能』を排出するとの講演を聞いた。都会がその電気を使い、福島にそれを押し付けた慙悸の思い あり。翌日2日、案内されて津波被災地の荒浜から放射能汚染地に立つ教会の問安に浜通りを南下する。復興工事の大型ダンプカーが行き交う荒れた道にあの日の被 害の膨大さを見、次第に家・公園・田畑に「除染中」の立札が林立。除洗土は、黒い袋に包まれて本来秋の実り豊かな農地や丘陵 に直(じか)に置かれ、その上を雨よけビニール・シートがかかる。行き着いたそれぞれの教会に大きく立派な保育園と幼稚園が あった。見る限り、其処は地域伝道の一大拠点。福音は先ず集まる子どもらと保護者と地域に向かってダイレクトに届けられる筈だ。だが、放射能事故は正に此処に集約され、「子ども」の肉体 を直接蝕み、将来に不安をかき立てる。「飲み水」一つ挙げる。保護者に水道水を飲めぬ人がいれば、冷たい視線をあびなければならない。水道水の汚染の危険、または安全性を認めるか認めないか、という 見解の相違からくるものだ。それのみか、園が遣うペットボトルを公は喜ばぬ。町は安全と強調したいのだ。其処には保証金を得た人と得 ぬ人。原発勤務者と労務者の家族。仮設への移住を強いられた人の現実と地元の人々の言い分。 行政・企業・教育・医療・社会の全部が割れる。その混乱 に揺れる大人の傍に子らはたたずむ。それ自体が彼らの通常を覆すのだ。事故は、先ず子どもを犠牲にしたことに大人は気づくべき だ。長崎哲夫

RCUS Women Missionaries and the Beginnings of Miyagi Gakuin

The Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions of the Reformed Church in the United States was founded in 1838 for the purpose of fulfilling Jesus’ command, “Go ye into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature.” However, for some 35 years, the mission board never really began functioning, so it was reorganized in 1873, when the decision was made to focus on evangelism in Japan. The first missionary to be appointed was Ambrose D. Gring, who finally arrived in Japan in 1879. During the next ten years, that board sent four more men and three women as missionaries.

 

The Founding of Miyagi Gakuin

 

Hattie L. Gring, the wife of Ambrose, had been appealing to the board to send some women teachers to Japan, and the net result was that Elizabeth (Lizzy) R. Poorbaugh and Mary B. Ault answered the call to educate Japanese girls based on Christianity. They arrived in Sendai in 1886, with the vision to liberate women from the shackles placed on them by the society of that time. Compared to Tokyo, it was an undeveloped region to say the least, but they settled in Sendai, the largest town in Tohoku, where they established Miyagi Jogakko (School for Girls) on Sept. 18, 1886. This was the forerunner of Miyagi Gakuin.

 

Principal Poorbaugh

 

The school began with eight students, two foreign teachers and two Japanese women teachers in a two-story house. It soon generated great interest in the town, with passersby stopping by

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to peek in the windows. As the first school for girls in the Miyagi area, it developed a reputation as something new and exotic.

 

According to Poorbaugh’s report of the second year of operation (1888), there were 48 students, and 12 of them had received baptism with another 3 preparing to be baptized. The students all really valued the hour-long daily Bible study class, and two-thirds of the students attended the Sunday school there, with the other third helping with Sunday schools in other locations. Her report showed that her work was bearing much fruit among the lives of Japanese women.

 

Poorbaugh was born on Dec. 27, 1854 in Berlin, Pennsylvania and graduated from York High School, becoming a public school teacher. When she came to Japan at age 30, she was accompanied by her six-year-old niece, Sarah Kathleen (nicknamed Kittie), whom she was raising due to the death of her sister-in-law in childbirth. She served as principal of the school for seven years before returning to the U.S., where she married Rev. Cyrus Cort, and served as a pastor’s wife for the rest of her life. She spent her final time on earth in the care of Kittie and her family, and her ashes were scattered in the garden of Kittie’s home, which was designed to resemble the Japanese gardens that they had both so loved.

 

Women Missionaries

 

The other woman missionary teacher at the founding of the school was Mary Ault, a pastor’s daughter born in Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania in 1863. She had dreamed of being an overseas missionary from the age of seven, and after her marriage, she and her husband, Rev. William Edwin Hoy, came to Japan in June 1888 as the third missionary couple sent by the RCUS. She spent her entire life after that in overseas missions with her husband, passing away in 1937 in Hankou, China.

 

The work of these missionary women in the early days of the mission was a critical factor that should not be overlooked. After the Grings, the second couple to arrive was Rev. Jairus P. Moore and his wife Annie. They were followed by Rev. David B. Schneder and his wife Anna. Each of them had a deep concern for the spiritual welfare of Japanese women and gave their lives in loving service to them.

 

Following these initial ten missionaries, Miyagi Gakuin has over the years received numerous RCUS missionaries. By 1985 that number had reached 148 persons, of which 116 were women, all of whom had put their hearts and minds into educating the students. This number does not include wives, such as Anna Schneder, who did not teach at the school but who nevertheless contributed to the work in the Sendai area. In addition to being a support for their husbands’ work, the loving examples they showed in their Christian lives were of great benefit to not only Miyagi Gakuin students but also in a variety of other ministries, including kindergartens throughout Tohoku, caring for the sick, and women’s groups in churches. These women lived in a society that at the time in Japan was still feudalistic in its thinking, and they communicated the love of Christ through their daily lives.

 

Graduates of Miyagi Gakuin

 

The women missionaries at Miyagi School for Girls not only taught the Bible and other subjects but were also involved in the lives of their students, serving as role models like kind mothers or older sisters. They said, “As the students go off to get married and build their own Christian homes, the Christian faith will continue to spread to their children and to following generations as well.” This tradition of sending out graduates raised up in Christian values has been continued by that school’s successor, Miyagi Gakuin. (Tr. TB)

—Umino Michio

Miyagi Gakuin President’s office

日本への宣教師派遣

宮城学院の基礎を築いたのは、合衆国改革派教会の外国伝道局が派遣した宣教師 たちである。このボードは1838年に組織され、その使命は「全世界に出て行って、すべての造ら れしものに福音を宣べ伝えよ」とされた。しかしながら、35年の間本格的には機能せず、再組織会議が開かれ、伝道の先を日本に 決定したのは1873年 のことだった。そして最初の宣教師A.D.グリングが委員会から派遣され、日本に到着したのは1879年 のことだった。それから1889年までの10年間に、ボードは4人 の男性宣教師と、3人 の女性宣教師を送り出した。

 

宮城女学校創立 

女性宣教師であるエリザベス (リズィー) R. プールボーとメアリー B. オールトの二人は、最初の派遣宣教師 グリングの妻ハティによる日本への女性教師を派遣する必要性の訴えにこたえて応募した女性だった。この二人は日本の女 子にキリスト教を通した教育を施し、当時の社会の中で虐げられていた女性たちを救うという使命をもって1886年、 仙台の地に招かれることになった。二人は東京に比べると未開の地であり、発展していないけれど、東北では一番大きな都市であった仙台に伝 道の拠点を定め、宮城女学校(現在の宮城学院)を創立させ、その教育にあたった。

 

プールボー校長

プールボーを初代校長とし、8名の生徒と、外国人2名 と日本人女性2名 の教師によって、2階 建ての一般家屋を借りてスタートした学校は、瞬く間に評判となり、通行人が足を止めて格子窓の中の授業の様子を覗き込むなど、仙台の新名 物珍風景になった。宮城県には他にまだ女学校がなかった時代である。

第2年度のプールボーの年次報告(1888年) によると、在籍数は48名、 洗礼を受けた生徒が12名 であり、他にも受洗志願者が3名いること、毎日1時間の聖書講話の時間を生徒た ちが大切にしていること、3分の2の生徒が日曜学校に出席しており、残りの生徒 は他の日曜学校の手伝いに行っていること、などが記されている。彼女の働きは日本の女子の心に伝わり、実を結んでいった。

30才で日本への宣教に出願したプールボーは、1854年12月27日 にペンシルヴェニアのバーリンで生まれた。ヨーク高校を卒業後、公立学校の教師になった。彼女は日本に来るとき、6歳 になる姪のサラ・キャザリン(愛称キティ)と一緒だった。キティを出産する時に亡くなった義理の姉に代わって姪を養育していたのだ。プー ルボーは日本での7年 間の校長の職を終え、アメリカに帰り、コート牧師と結婚し、牧師夫人として夫を支えた生涯であった。その最期はキティの家族と暮らし、彼 女の遺灰は心から愛した日本の庭園を模して作った自宅の庭に撒かれた、とのことである。

 

女性(宣教師)たち

もう一人の最初の女性宣教師だったオールトは1863年 ペンシルヴェニアのメキャニスバーグで牧師の娘として生まれ、7歳の頃から海外伝道宣教師になることを考えていた女性だった。1888年6月 に合衆国改革派教会3人 目に派遣されていたホーイ牧師と結婚し、1937年漢口で亡くなる生涯のすべてを夫と共に海外伝道に捧げた。

初期の段階での既婚者の男性宣教師たちに同行した妻たちの働きも、忘れてはならない。グリングに続 き、2番目に日本に派遣されたJ.P.モールの夫人 アニー・モール(写真前列右キティの隣)や、D.B.シュ ネーダーの妻アンナ(写真前列左端)も女性の精神的福祉に大きな関心を持ち、その愛あふれる生涯を日本の女性たちの為に用いた。

この初期の10人に続き、宮城学院がボードを通して受け入 れていた宣教師は1985年 までに、148人。 彼らはどの時代においても心を尽くして宮城学院の教壇に立ち、教育に携わった。その中で女性宣教師は116人にものぼる。こ の数にはミセス・シュネーダーのように夫と共に仙台の地に赴任した妻たちは入っていない。しかしながら彼女たちは、夫の働きを支えるだけ でなく、クリスチャンとしてその生活の姿勢と優しさを通し、宮城女学校(宮城学院)の学生だけでなく、東北における幼稚園教育や、婦人た ち、病に苦しむ人たちに目を向け、家庭でそして教会においても大きな働きを担った。彼女たちは、当時根強かった封建的な日本社会の中でク リスチャンライフを実践し、その生き方を持ってしてキリスト教の愛を伝えた。

 

宮城学院卒業生

宮城女学校の女性宣教師たちは 皆、授業で聖書や教科を教えるだけでなく、学生の生活のすべてを大切にし、模範となる優しい母であり姉であった。宣教師たちはこう言って いた。「生徒たちが結婚し、クリスチャンホームを築くことで次に生まれてくる子どもたち、そしてその次の世代にキリスト教を広げていける ことだろう。」

こうしてその後、宮城学院はたく さんの心豊かな卒業生を送り出すことになった。

 

 

学校法人宮城学院 学院長代行

海 野 道 郎