Christmas at Temporary Housing Complexes in Kamaishi

by Hirata Nobuyuki, Kyodan associate staff member

 

Disaster Relief Center, “Heartful Kamaishi

 

We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, with people who live in temporary housing in the earthquake-stricken area of Kamaishi. There are presently 3,124 units in 65 temporary housing complexes in Kamaishi, with 5,086 people who have no other option but to live in them. The rebuilding of homes is slowly proceeding, however, with 261 units in 15 neighborhoods within the city of Kamaishi and 232 units in 7 neighborhoods outside the city having been completed, and thus the move of people out of temporary housing into rebuilt homes is continuing. This process, however, will likely take at least two more years until all the temporary housing units are no longer needed.

 

Even in such circumstances, we were able to hold Christmas events at nine locations in the temporary housing complexes and also at one location in a new permanent housing complex, as a part of the activity of the “Occhako Salon” (a coffee-shop style ministry) of the “Heartful Kamaishi” project. Normally, we are not allowed to engage in religious activities in the temporary housing complexes, but Christmas is the exception to the rule. We celebrated the birth of Jesus Christ together with 111 people, with three volunteers coming to help us serve through music to add to the fun of the Christmas celebration.

 

The Christmas messages were given by Pastor Iiijima Makoto, Kyodan executive secretary, and Pastor Yanagiya Yusuke of the local Shinsei-Kamaishi Church. We sang hymns together and ate Christmas cake during this time of celebration. Participants gladly received Christmas presents, and we heard comments from the people who live in temporary housing about how “the true Christmas had come.” We felt that God had surely spoken to each person’s heart.

 

As life in the temporary housing drags on, the aging of the people living there also advances. Likewise, there are many single people among the residents. Thus, we will continue our “tea-time” ministry to these residents as long as they continue to come for a bit of respite from their situation. From January, we added three new staff persons at an additional four locations to increase our “Occhako Salon” ministry so that we can expand our positive impact.

 

We reaffirm our request for your prayers and support while we continue this ministry as time passes since the disaster and the flow of information flow from the disaster area decreases. (Tr. KY)

釜石の仮設住宅のクリスマス 平田信之

被災者支援センター ハートフル釜石

御子イエス・キリストのご 降誕を被災地・釜石で仮設住宅にお住まいの方々と共に迎えました。

釜石には現在65団地3124戸の仮設住宅があり、5086名の方々がいまだに仮住まいを余儀なくされており ます。徐々にではありますが復興住宅の建設が進み、釜石市分15団地261戸、岩手県分7団地232戸の募集があり、仮設住宅から復興住 宅への移動が進もうとしております。仮設住宅全戸廃止されるまでは、まだ2年以上の月日がかかるものと思われます。

そのような中でも、今年も“ハーフル釜石”のお茶っこ生活応援の活動の中で、9箇所の仮設住宅、1箇所の復 興住宅でクリスマス会を行うことができました。通常宗教活動を仮設住宅で行うことはできないのですが、クリスマスだけは特別!!。111 人の方々と共にイエス様のご降誕をお祝いいたしました。この為に3人のボランティアの方々が駆けつけ、音楽を通してのご奉仕をして下さり クリスマス会に花を添えてくださいました。

教団幹事の飯島牧師と、地元新生釜石教会の柳谷牧師によるクリスマスマッセージを頂き、讃美歌を声を合わせ て歌いクリスマスケーキを頂きお祝いの時を持ちました。プレゼントも喜んで頂きました。仮説の方々からは「本当のクリスマスが来たみたい だね~」との声を聞くことができ、お一人お一人の心の中に神様からの呼びかけが確かに届いていることを感じることができました。

仮設住宅の生活が長くなるにつれ、仮設住宅の高齢化が進みつつあります。また、独居の方々も多くおられま す。そのような中でも“お茶っこ”に集まっていただき一時でも心がホッとする時が持てればと企画を進めています。3名のスタッフが加えら れ新年からは更に4箇所の仮設住宅でのお茶っこ生活応援の活動を増加させ積極的な関わりを続けようとしています。

震災からの年月が経つにつれ被災地の情報がが風化してきている今日、皆様のお祈り・お支えをこれからも宜しく お願い致します。

Fukushima Survivors’ Experience of Discrimination After Nuclear Accident

The following is the testimony given by Ms. M, a mother who had decided to relocate her family from their home in Fukushima, at a symposium on discrimination organized by the Kyodan Buraku Liberation Center, held in June 2014 at Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church

 

Resisting the calls to just “forget about radioactivity”

 

Ms. M and her family evacuated from a certain city in the Nakadori district of Fukushima Prefecture, close to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Plant, to the Aizu district of Fukushima and stayed there until March 2014, after which they moved to a neighboring prefecture even further away from the power plant. “When I look back on the days immediately following the earthquake,” she says, “I deeply regret that we did not relocate right away. I had let my children be exposed to radiation because I was ignorant and indifferent about society and the nuclear power plant.”

 

The family was living in an apartment when the great earthquake hit, and she evacuated to her parents’ house in Fukushima Prefecture with her two sons, a first grader and one-year-old. She expected that the Japanese government would evacuate them if the nuclear power plant was truly dangerous. However, she watched in dismay as the neighborhood continued to lose residents, and she finally decided to evacuate her family to Aizu. Although they returned to their home once, she felt uneasy about the continued inaction of the central government and went to a temporary shelter in a nearby prefecture. When that shut down, she decided to relocate her family to Aizu, as that was the only place with enough distance from the power plant, but from where her husband would still be able to commute to work, thereby allowing the family to remain together.

 

Most of the people who voluntarily evacuated moved outside of Fukushima Prefecture. There was little radioactive contamination, and certain housing facilities leased by Fukushima Prefecture were provided free of charge. The evacuees were also allowed to maintain their residency in Fukushima and so were able to receive various administrative services from the areas they originally lived in and were also able to send their children to public schools around their temporary homes. For these reasons, the evacuees had fewer burdens placed upon them.

 

However, unlike the people forced out of their homes in the mandatory evacuation zones, no support is provided to those who voluntarily relocate within Fukushima Prefecture. Housing facilities were taken over by the local government and provided to the forced evacuees, leaving little availability for those who voluntarily evacuated by themselves. Mrs. M appealed to the local government to permit voluntary evacuees to enter such housing facilities, but she was told that priority was given to evacuees from the designated evacuation zones. As school was starting in the spring, her family had to move to Aizu on their own, paying for all expenses out of their own pockets.

 

When the forced evacuees finished their relocation in October, she questioned local authorities again about housing availability, but their response was cold, saying that there was nothing available for the voluntary evacuees. During that time, the mortgage on their original house, the rent and cost for living in their new home, and tuition fees for their children’s private school (instead of public school, as children from outside the designated area were not allowed to attend) piled up. Her efforts to persuade the government to allow her family to enter the evacuation housing facilities were treated as nuisance claims, as they had not been forced out of their homes in the beginning.

 

Eventually, she met others in the same predicament at the Information Center for Radioactivity in Aizu and began a movement, appealing to the local administration to accept voluntary evacuees into designated housing facilities for those displaced by the earthquake disaster. They went through appropriate channels, in accordance with the Disaster Relief Act, and submitted a petition to the Reconstruction Agency and the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare. In November 2012, the housing where certain voluntary evacuees lived was recognized as government housing, but there were conditions that applied. Only those with children and/or pregnant women were considered for government support, and there were limits to rental costs. Due to this, many voluntary evacuees had to continue to live without any government support.

 

In Aizu, Ms. M did not speak of having evacuated voluntarily, knowing she would be told that she acted like a victim when she fled from a safe zone, in overreaction to radioactive contamination. Consequently, her family would lose their place in the surrounding society. She cannot even contact her old neighbors and friends, as she harbors guilt that her family escaped while theirs did not. Not everyone had the means to escape, and those left behind begin to feel as if life has been denied to them and thus brew jealousy toward those who managed to escape. Relationships are divided and broken, and that division happens even within families. “My parents were against me in my decision to evacuate,” says Ms. M. “They told me that I was selfish to make my son transfer schools, when the government had declared our neighborhood a safe zone. I wondered myself, if I was only overreacting.”

 

They eventually sold their apartment, and the husband changed jobs. They also moved out of Fukushima Prefecture again. The family is able to live together, but they do not see eye to eye. “My husband says he agreed to move out of Fukushima to stop me from worrying so much about radioactive contamination,” Ms. M says dejectedly. “He threw away everything, and so he wanted me just to forget about radioactivity and move on. I thought that we would all be happy if we could all relocate and live together as a family and that we would see eye to eye, but differences in opinion still continue to haunt us.” It may be easy to forget about everything when living outside Fukushima, as there is little available information on the situation at the power plant and radioactive contamination. “But it’s also scary just to forget about what’s going on in Fukushima,” she continues. “The fact remains that we have been exposed to radioactive contamination. I do not want to return to the indifferent and ignorant person that I was before the disaster and repeat the same mistakes.” (Tr. KY)

 

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), December 2014 issue Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

フ クシマに聴く 被 害者たちの証言

原発という差別

2014年6月に若松栄町教会で行われた差別を考えるシンポジウム(日 本基督教団部落解放センター等主催)で の、自主避難者で、母親であるMさんの証言である。

「放射能のことは忘れろ」という声に抗う

 Mさん一家は、福島第1原発に近い、福島県 の中通り地方の某市から、2014年3月まで福島県内の会津地方に自主避難をし、現在は更に離れた近県に移住している。彼女は「震災当初 を振り返ると、どうしてあの時すぐに避難しなかったのか、と物凄く後悔します。原発や社会に無知で無関心だったために、子ども達を被曝さ せてしまった」と言う。マンション(集合住宅)に暮らしていたが、一歳児と小学一年生の二人の息子と福島県内の実家に戻った。本当に原発 が危ないなら国が避難させてくれる、と思っていたが、周囲から次第に人も車も減っていくのを見て不安に感じ、ようやく会津へ一時避難し た。一度は自宅に戻ったが「国が何もしてくれないこと」に疑問を抱いて近県の避難所に行き、そこが閉鎖されたあと、会津への避難を決め た。会津は「夫が職場に通える範囲で、家族が離散しないで済むギリギリの場所」だったからだ。他の自主避難者の多くは福島県外に避難し た。放射能汚染が少ないこと、(県が)借り上げた住宅に無料で住め、住民票を移動しなくても(元々の地域からの)行政サービスが受けら れ、子どもは公立学校に入れるなど負担が少ないからであった。しかし福島県内に自主避難すると、避難区域内から強制避難する場合とは異な り、何の支援も得られない。県内の住宅は避難区域からの強制避難者のために県が借り上げ、ほとんど空きはなかった。Mさんは「自主避難者 も、借り上げ住宅にいれて欲しい」と県に訴えたが、避難区域からの入居が優先だと言われて、春の学校開始に合わせて自費で引っ越した。強 制避難者の引っ越しが終わった10月に、県に問い合わせると「自主避難者が入れる借り上げ住宅はない」と冷たかった。避難生活では、被災 まで暮らしていた自宅のローンと、避難先での家賃と生活費、公立校への区域外就学が認められない子どもの私学学費が重なった。県に何度も 電話をすると「(避難区域外から)勝手に避難してきて、借り上げ住宅に入れろと騒いでる」と解釈された。会津放射能情報センターで出会っ た、他の自主避難者達と、災害救助法の適切な運用による自主避難者の借り上げ住宅への入居を県に求める活動を始め、復興庁や厚生労働省に 請願書を出した。2012年11月に、自主避難者が住む物件が、県の借り上げ住宅として認められたが、条件は、子どもや妊婦がいる世帯、 家賃の上限などがあり、多くの人が今も自己負担で暮らしている。会津では自主避難してきたことは話さなかった。「安全な地域から逃げてき て、被害者のような顔をしていると言われ、放射能を気にしすぎる人と思われると、行き場を失うからです。」元の自宅マンションの友人達に は「自分達だけが逃げた罪悪感で」連絡すらできない。(諸事情で)避難できない人から、避難者へのねたみが生まれたり、避難しないで残さ れた人は自分の生活を否定されたように感じるなど、人間関係が分断されていく。分断は家族の中でも起こる。「私は避難するとき、親から反 対されました。国が大丈夫だと言っているのに、子どもを転校させて避難するのは、わがままだ、と。私も自分が大袈裟なのだろうかと苦しい 気持ちになりました」結局、自宅マンションを売り、夫は転職して、福島県外に再度移住した。家族で一緒に暮らせているが、同じ方向を向い てはいない。「夫は、県外に移住したのはおまえが放射能を気にしすぎることをやめさせるためだ、そのために自分は他のすべてを捨てたのだ から、おまえも放射能のことはもう忘れろ、と言うのです。家族で一緒に避難出来れば同じ気持ちで暮らせて幸せだ、と思っていましたが、夫 との気持ちの擦れ違いは続いています。」放射能の情報が少ない県外で全てを忘れることは簡単なのかもしれない。が「気にしないという雰囲 気に流されるのも怖い。被曝の事実は消えない。震災前の無知で無関心な自分に戻って、同じ過ちを繰り返したくないのです」(信徒の友 2014年12月号より)

The Ecumenical Makeup and Mission of the Japanese Church in Berlin

by Akiba Mutsuko, Kyodan missionary

 

Ten years have passed since I became the pastor of the Japanese Church in Berlin, Germany. This congregation was started at the end of the 1980s by a Japanese pastor who began holding worship services in Japanese. It is significant that this church began with worship at its center at a time when many foreign-language churches were being formed out of home gatherings and Bible study groups.

 

The backgrounds of the people who gather at this church are truly diverse: people who have lived in Germany for decades, families of Japanese married to Germans, Japanese students in Germany, young people taking up a new challenge on a working holiday, researchers, and non-Japanese who are interested in the Japanese language and culture, among others. A larger number than expected experience the anxiety of living in a foreign country and visit the church, seeking information and contact with others. Despite the fact that Berlin is the nation’s capital, fewer Japanese live here than would be expected, and Japanese people are seldom seen on the street. Attendance at our Japanese-language service averages only about ten people. The church’s existence is also rather inconspicuous, but while cherishing the hope that the seeds of the Gospel will grow somewhere, we continue to reach out through such means as the Internet and by leaving fliers at Asian grocery stores and in taxis and restaurants.

 

The stress associated with life involving a different language, food, culture, and customs is great, and one’s identity is called into question. Under such circumstances, having a place to hear the Bible read in your native language and to sing hymns and pray in your native language is a true comfort to Christians living abroad. For non-Christians, it is a place where they can encounter God through worship and interaction with others. The Japanese-language church, as well as my own mission work, are small, but I believe in God’s providence and am committed to walking as a faith community of open worship. However, an overseas foreign-language church has many unique challenges. First, as a highly mobile community, there is a high turnover of membership. In addition, many were baptized overseas in various backgrounds, and so these individuals’ understanding of church varies widely. Together with financial challenges, all of this makes it a constant struggle to build a church. In addition to the problem of maturing in the faith, it takes prayer and time to put together a church organization.

 

We have been blessed with a great deal of help from outside. For example, the people at the Berliner Missionswerk (Berlin Missionary Society) pray for the growth of our small flock. In addition, at the regular meetings of the Kyodan’s Japan-Taiwan Committee and East Asia Mission, besides the obvious Christian-related topics, we exchange opinions on political, economic, and cultural matters, plan various projects, and make booklets. I admire the high level of consciousness and deep knowledge of Asia of those in attendance (mostly clergy). Several times a year there are symposia and scholarly retreats sponsored by the East Asia Mission Group that offer times for meaningful study and ongoing fellowship.

 

We also maintain ecumenical relations with the local church that rents us space for worship, and at the same time we share joint Bible study and prayer meetings, worship services, and church bazaars with other foreign-language churches. Every year we have a wonderful and blessed time when 1,000 people or more attend a joint outdoor Pentecost service in which more than 20 churches and denominations participate. In addition, through such activities as a joint Korean-Chinese-Japanese worship service and interactions with various mission groups, we are keenly aware of the great expectations placed on the Japanese-language church and feel acutely the importance of mission work.

 

Germany is known as a so-called “Christian country,” but individualism, a multiplicity of values, and the increase in people with different backgrounds have led to a gradual weakening of the influence of Christianity and the church. People are constantly leaving the church, and young people stop coming to church after confirmation. As a Japanese pastor, when I introduce myself as a missionary I am often asked, “But what, exactly, are you doing?” The background to this question is probably the thinking that “a Christian country like Germany does not need mission activity.” However, I get the impression that people do not go to church and that their lives are far removed from the Bible and prayer. Today, there are many ways of engaging in world mission. I hope that together with pastoral care and mission outreach to Japanese and through the example of faithful Japanese Christians abroad, we can also become a living testimony to German people. Moreover, nothing would make me happier than if feedback about our work here would serve as a good stimulus for Japanese Christians as well as the vision of Japan’s world mission. It is my prayer that God will freely and boldly use us as a bridge between Japan and Germany. I ask that you remember us in your prayers. (Tr. DB)

ドイツのベルリンで牧会を受 け継ぎ10年たちました。私の牧会先はベルリン日本語教会です。この群れは80年代末に日本人牧師が日本語で礼拝を守り始めたことが最初と聞いています。多くの外国語教会が家庭集 会や聖書を読む会などがきっかけで発展することが多い中、礼拝を中心に出発したことはとても意義深いと思います。

 

教会に集まる顔ぶれは実に 様々です。在独何十年の方、ドイツ人と結婚し生活している家族、留学生、ワーキングホリデーで新しいことにチャレンジしている若者、研究 者、日本語や文化に興味を持つ外国の方など。海外生活で不安な中、交流や情報を求めて訪れる人は予想以上です。ベルリンは首都ですが多く の予想に反してそれほど邦人数は多くなく、街中でも日本人は見かけません。日本語礼拝出席も10人前後です。教会の存在も目立ちませんが、福音の種がどこで育つかと希望を抱きつつ、ネット以外でも 案内紙をアジア食料品店やタクシー、レストランなどに置いて地道にアピールを続けています。

 

海外生活は言葉でも食事で も文化でも慣習でもストレスが多く、アイデンティティーを問われます。そのような中母国語で聖書の御言葉を聞き、讃美し、祈ることができ る場は、在外キリスト者にとっては深い慰めです。ノンクリスチャンにとっては、礼拝と具体的な交流を通して神さまに出会うきっかけの場で す。日本語教会も、私自身の宣教の働きも小さいものですが、神さまの備えを信じ、開かれた礼拝・信仰共同体として歩もうと励んでいます。 しかしながら海外外国語教会は独特の課題を多く内包しています。まず流動性が非常に高く信徒が定着しにくいのです。また海外受洗者が多い ため個々で教会理解が全く異なり、教会形成面では常にチャレンジの日々です。経済的困難もあります。信仰的成長の課題に加え、教会組織と してまとまるには祈りと時間が必要です。

 

対外的なことでは多くの恵 みをいただいています。ベルリン宣教局(BerlinerMissionsWerk)の 方々は、小さい群れの成長のため祈ってくださいます。定期的に持たれる日本・台湾委員会や、東アジア伝道会の定例会では、キリスト教関係 はもちろん、政治・経済や文化面にまで渡り意見交換し様々なプロジェクトを立て、冊子を作成したりしますが、出席者(ほとんどが牧師)の 意識の高さ、アジアへの造詣の深さには頭が下がります。また、東アジア伝道団体主催のシンポジウムや学術修養会などが年に数回あり、これ までも意義深い学びと交わりの時をいただいています。

 

 

礼拝場所を借りている現地 教会ともエキュメニカルな関係を保ちつつ、他の外国語教会と合同で聖書研究祈祷会や合同礼拝、教会バザーなどを分かち合っています。毎年1000人規模でペンテコステに守る野外合同礼拝は、20を超える教会・教派が参加し、素晴らしい恵みの時です。その他、韓中日合同礼拝や様々な宣教団体との 交流など、日本語教会への期待は大きく、宣教の働きの大切さを痛感しています。

 

ドイツはいわゆる「キリス ト教国」として知られますが、個人主義化、価値観の多様化、異文化背景を持つ人々の増加ゆえか、どんどんキリスト教や教会の影響力も低下 しています。教会脱会者も後を絶たず、若者も堅信礼以後は教会に来なくなります。そして私が日本の牧師で宣教師だと自己紹介をすると「で も一体あなたは何をしているの?」とよく聞かれます。その背後には「キリスト教国ドイツで宣教は必要ない」との思いがあるのでしょう。し かし人々は教会へは行かず、聖書や祈りから離れた生活をしているように感じます。現代では世界宣教のとらえ方も多様になってきています。 日本人への牧会・伝道と共に、海外で信仰する日本人キリスト者の姿を通して、それがドイツの人にも生きた証しになれば幸いです。さらには こちらでの歩みをフィードバックさせることで、日本のキリスト者へも日本の世界宣教ビジョンにも良い刺激となればこれほど嬉しいことはあ りません。日独の架け橋として神さまが自由に大胆に用いてくださるよう祈りつつ歩みたいと思っています。どうぞ皆さん、覚えてお祈りくだ さい。

Encouraging Troubled Youth to Recover their Humanity

by Rev. Shinmen Mitsugu, faculty member

Miyagi Gakuin Women’s College

 

This is a generation that acts as though power constitutes justice. Integrity and righteous indignation have vanished; discipline, peace, and justice are also ignored. With financial concerns uppermost, the college is being changed into a market that is geared towards career education, as though it were a job-placement facility. Meanwhile, due to the increase of needy families and social classes emerging due to this economic disparity, equal opportunity of education is on the verge of a crisis. The political economic world and the educational world have become one, transmitting a contentious message to society to “try harder.” Those of you who are being sent out into this kind of turbulent society are truly unfortunate. However, in a societal structure in which the ranking of human beings is based on ability, there is no need to be ashamed of the feeling that you as a person do not fit in or even a lapse into thoughts of self-loss: “Who am I? Do I have enough ability for living?” Rather, this is proof that those of you feeling self-loss to the point of depression, and are in pain and suffering, are persons who are living honestly.

 

When you are under pressure, thinking that your own life is not going well while other persons’ lives are seemingly going well and while enduring inner depression about your class-work grades or job-hunting mistakes, inferiority feelings, financial difficulties, etc., applaud yourself. You are endowed with feelings of self-respect and a will to live—something that will never just disappear. You should desire to demonstrate the potential for that strength to live that is within you. These kinds of feelings of self-respect, like a dim wick, are continuing to burn. Mutually, we must not put that out. Rather, society must be structured so that you can freely start again from any place and receive support from your surrounding environment. Unmistakably, you have power for living. It is only that it cannot be seen from the outside.

 

People often ask, “Who am I?” I think there are many ways to answer, but in regard to this question I think that through continuing exposure to various environments and the accumulative, alternating experiences of joy and sorrow, and through obtaining visible and invisible help from our surroundings, the self that has been formed as a complex existence, the person I am, is presently here now as a result of all that. And even if the success of one’s life is not enviable to others, success or eminence cannot be measured. For life always has depth, dignity, and substance. There may possibly be a one-time event or

encounter that can change our lives. It is important that we should change this warped society into a more flexible social system in which anyone can make a new start from wherever he or she may be. In order to do that, youth and adults must change. Persons with an abundance of experiential wisdom and social networks, and who are blessed financially, must cooperate with others who do not have these advantages, regardless of personal connections. This type of work will become the unseen foundation of society.

 

Let us join together with each other once again as equal persons. Together let us recover our respect as persons who have been deeply wounded. Freed from the ostentation of the world, let us mutually return to being human beings. Let us hold in common the thought that “you are hurting, so I hurt as well.”

 

From the viewpoint of the Bible, the pride and unrighteousness of the powerful who have no regard for the socially weak is basically an insult to God. As it is written in Luke 4:18, “The Lord has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoner . . . to release the oppressed,” and Jesus Himself manifested that.

 

For Jesus, living was being saved from the pride and unrighteousness of the strong. Indeed, for that reason, rising above relations based on social position, Jesus was able to meet with diverse kinds of persons. And you, as well, are not excluded from that salvation.

 

Furthermore, Jesus urges us to stand up and consider not only ourselves but also those of whom we become aware. Christianity is for you who are suffering. You have an irreplaceable life, and I am hoping you will accept that kind of awareness as God’s calling. Even if you are under the impression that you are insignificant and unworthy, if you take hold of courage and trust and open your heart to God’s calling, you will be surprised by the discovery welling up within you that you are invaluable. (Tr. RT)

 

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend),

November 2014 issue

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

悩める若者に語る人間回復論

新免  貢 し んめん みつぐ   宮城学院女子大学教員

 

今の時代は、力を正義としています。廉恥も義憤も消え、規律も平和も 正義も軽視されています。経済至上主義で、就職斡旋機関のように大学はキャリア教育に傾き、市場化されています。一方で貧困家庭の増加と 経済格差の階級化により、教育の機会均等が危機に瀕しています。政財界と教育界は一丸となり、「もっと頑張れ」という戦闘的なメッセージ を社会に発信しています。このような乱暴な社会へ送り出されるあなたたちは実に気の毒です。しかし、人間を能力主義的に序列化する社会構 造に、自分という人間が適合していないと感じ、「自分は何なのか、生きていく能力があるのか」と自己喪失に陥っても、恥じることはありま せん。むしろ、自己喪失に陥ってしまうほどまでに意気消沈し、苦しみ、悩んでいるあなたたちは、正直に生きている人間であるという証明な のです。

自分の人生がうまくいかず、他の人の人生がうまくいっているように思 えるという重圧の下で、学業成績の不振や就職活動の失敗、劣等感、経済的困難などに人知れず耐えている自分をほめてください。

あなたたちには自尊感情と生きる力が備わっているのです。生きる力を根絶することは不可能です。あなたたちは、自らの 内に潜在する生きる力を発揮したいと願っているはずです。そういう自尊感情は、ほの暗い灯心のように燃え続けています。私たちは互いに、 それを消してはならないのです。むしろ、どこからでも自由に再スタートできる社会の仕組みと周囲のやさしい視線が必要です。間違いなく、 あなたたちには生きる力があります。外からは見えないだけのことです。

人はよく「自分とは何か」という問いを持ちます。さまざまな答え方が あると思いますが、私はそういう問いに対しては、「ありとあらゆる環境にさらされながら悲喜こもごもの経験を積み重ね、周りから有形無形 の助けを得て自己を形成してきた複雑な存在として、自分という人間が今たまたまここにいる」のだと考えます。人がうらやむような立身出世 の人生ではなくても、成功や出世などでは測れない生きることの深さ、尊さ、重さが必ずあります。質的に価値ある、ただ一度限りの出来事や 出会いがその後の人生を変えることさえあります。誰かに犠牲を強いて成り立ついびつな社会を作り変えていくこと、誰もがどこからでもやり 直せる、しなやかな社会システムへ転換させていくことが大切です。そのためには若者も大人も変わらなければなりません。豊富な経験知と幅 広い人脈と経済的に恵まれた者たちは、有縁・無縁を問わず、持たざる者たちのために、協力すべきです。そういう働きが、見えざる社会的基 盤となります。

私たちは、互いに対等な者として再びつながりましょう。深く傷ついた 者の尊厳を互いに取り戻しましょう。世の虚飾から解放され、互いに人間に戻りましょう。「あなたも痛いから私も痛い」という思いを共有し ましょう。

聖書の視点では、社会的弱者を顧みない強者の高慢や不正義は、神に対 する根本的侮辱です。「主がわたしを遣わされたのは、捕らわれている人に解放を……圧迫されている人を自由にし」(ルカ4・18)と記されているように、イエスは自らの身をもってそのことを示しました。

イエスにとって、生きることは強者の高慢や社会的不正義から救われる ことでした。だからこそ、上下関係を超えて多種多様な人々がイエスに出会うことができたのです。あなたたちもまた、その救いからもれるこ とはありません。

さらにイエスは、自分のことばかりを考えるのではなく、気がついた者 から立ち上がれと促しています。キリスト教は、悩みながら生きるかけがえのないあなたのために、そういう気づきを神からの招き(calling)として提供したいと願っています。勇気と信頼をもっ て神からの招きに心を開けば、取るに足らない小さなことと思い込んでしまっていることにも、かけがえのなさを発見する驚きが湧いてくるよ うになるのです。

信 徒の友 2014年12月 号より  (川 上善子編集委員長要約)

 

Symposium Held on the Spiritual Care for Pastors and Their Families

The Kyodan Subcommittee on Dealing with Handicapping Conditions sponsored its 4th National Symposium, Sept. 2-3. It was held at “Toyama Sunrise” National Welfare Center for Persons with Handicapping Conditions, in Shinjuku, at which 35 people from 14 Kyodan districts were present. The theme was “Spiritual Care for Pastors and Their Families,” with Professor Fujikake Akira from Seigakuin University Graduate School as the main speaker.

 

On the first day, the theme of the lecture was “Stress and the Mental Health of Pastors.” Research on pastoral stress has revealed that such areas as power struggles among pastors and/or laity, the degeneration that comes from the care of laity, and personal and family problems of pastors are mentioned as some of the major causes of burnout. Pastors have an innate sense of their role as enabler/helper and tend to act as if there is no area where they cannot function as such. How can we solve this dilemma and integrate what can and cannot be done by pastors? The importance of diversion and frank dialogue as the means of self-observation (among pastors) and the revelation of SOS signs were discussed. The evening group discussions were used as an opportunity for participants to share insights from the earlier lecture, as well as to discuss freely the issues they face.

 

The theme for the second day was “The Church and Personality Disorders.” We learned about the handicapping conditions of narcissistic behavior and a lack of boundary awareness, both of which are growing problems in our churches. There is an increased awareness of personality disorders, but even among the experts, addressing the problem is still an area of research. How to deal with this in our churches is an ongoing task. We cannot deny that the special environment of the church presents a complementing factor to this problem. However, as our understanding of these handicapping conditions deepens, we can circumvent some of the dangers that are presented. Though this is not a condition that can be dealt with easily or at once, we were told that it is important that we continue to confront it.

 

In recent years, the problem of communication with churches has resulted in pain and illness for pastors and their families, as well as depression, embarrassment, and even suicide. This problem continues today. With no mechanism within the Kyodan to address this issue, the situation is worsening. The theme of this year’s symposium was born out of the need to develop a means of preventing the isolation of pastors and individual churches dealing with this problem. (Tr. JS)

 

—Uetake Yuko, pastor

Iwaki Church, Tohoku District

From Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4807

「障がい」を考える小委員会(Subcommittee on Dearling With Headicapping Conditions)が主催する第4回全国交流会が、9月2~3日、新宿・戸山サンライズにおいて開催された。今回 は、「牧会者ならびにその家族の精神的なケアを考える」交流会として、講師に藤掛明(Fujikake Akira)先生(聖学院大学大学院Seigakuin University Graduate School)を迎えた。牧会者とその家族を中心に14教区35名が出席した。

1日目には、「牧会者のストレスとメンタルヘルス」をテーマとする講演であった。牧師のストレ ス研究では、教職同士や信徒とのパワー争い、信徒へのサービスによる消耗、自己や家族の問題等がバーンアウトの要因の上位を占めること等 が紹介された。牧会者は、援助者役割が身に染みており、自らに影の世界が無いかのごとく振る舞う。いかに援助者役割を解き、光と影を統合 していくか。「SOSサイン」や素の自分に向き合うための「気晴らし行動」、「語り合うこと」の重要性について話された。夕べの分団は、 講演内容を分かち合い、それぞれの課題が自由に語られる場となった。

2日目は「教会とパーソナリティ障がいをテーマとした。教会でトラブルが増えている、境界性/ 自己愛性パーソナリティ障がいについて学んだ。パーソナリティ障がいの認知は進んでいるが、対処法については専門家の間でも研究途上にあ り、教会がどう対応するかは、これからの課題となる。教会特有の環境が、問題を難しくしてしまう面も否定できない。それでも、障がいにつ いての理解が深まれば、危険を回避することができる。状況を一変させることではなく、状況に「細く長く向き合い続けることが大切であると述べられた。

近年、教会とのコミュニケーションの問題で、牧会者やその家族が病み、うつや不祥事、自ら命を 絶つ事態が後を絶たない。教団の中に対応できる窓口がないまま、課題は深刻化している。牧会者や各個教会が孤立しないための手立てを考え ていく中に、今回の全国交流会の場が生まれた。弱さを自覚し、解決の見えない課題に失望せず、「細く長く」取り組んでいくことが求められ ている。(上竹裕子報)新報4807号より