Kyodan Executives Visit Churches in North America

The Kyodan sent General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo and Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Ministries Kato Makoto on official visits to churches in North America that previously had related to the Kyodan through the former Japan-North American Commission on Cooperative Mission (JNAC). This opportunity was precipitated by the invitation of Xiaoling Zhu, area executive for East Asia/Pacific of the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, to attend the Asia Pacific Forum, Jan. 29-30, in New York. Even though the Kyodan has concluded cooperative mission agreements with the Reformed Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA), communications with churches in North America following the 2004 dissolution of JNAC had weakened considerably, so this was a good opportunity to improve that situation. Likewise, it was also an opportunity both to express our thankfulness for their contributions to the relief effort following the East Japan Disaster as well as to request the various boards to send educational missionaries to Christian schools in Japan.

 

The Kyodan executives first called on the headquarters of the United Church of Canada in Toronto. General Secretary Kim Byung Ho of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and Heo Bae Kki, secretary of the Korean Christian Church in Japan, joined us for our visit, and we shared with each other the issues facing the respective churches.

 

As our arrival in New York, our next destination, was delayed one day because of heavy snow, we regretfully had to cancel our planned visits to the Anglican Church and some other appointments on the day before the Forum, but we were able to participate in the Forum as scheduled. The conclusion we reached was that it would be very helpful for the Kyodan to participate actively in the Asia Pacific Forum as it is a structure that can help replace the defunct JNAC. The common and urgent issue felt by all was how to nurture the next generation of leadership. As a step towards that goal, a large-scale youth conference (for 14 to 18 year-olds) is scheduled to be held, beginning July 26, 2016 in the United States, and we were requested to send ten youth from the Kyodan.

 

On Sunday Feb. 1, we attended the Union Japanese Church of Westchester’s worship service and had a time of fellowship with missionary Nishikawa Akimitsu, who started his new assignment at the end of last year, and with members of the church.

 

On Monday we visited the headquarters of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, Indiana, where we were hosted by Area Secretary Zhu. Surprisingly, the staff in the room next to the pension bureau specializes in investment, and it seems they are able to enjoy a profit equivalent to ten percent annual interest. We next visited the UCC headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday and then PC(USA) headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday. The UCC headquarters is in a building directly connected to a hotel, which the church operates. However, the church intends to sell the building, including the hotel, within two years and move to a building that can be operated at less expense. The strategy is to use the money gained from the sale to promote mission work actively. (Tr. KY)

 

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

北米諸教会訪問記

 2015年1月25日(日)~2月7日(土)まで教団は長崎哲 夫総幹事と加藤誠世界宣教幹事を旧JNAC(日北米宣教協力 会)に関係していた北米諸教会の公 式訪問のため派遣した。きっ かけは共同世界宣教局東アジア担当幹事シャオリン・ズー牧師から1月29,30日にニューヨークで開催された「アジア・太平洋フォーラム」への参加を強く勧められたことにある。2004年のJNAC解散以降、PCUSA(Presbyterian Church in the United States)(米国長老教会), RCA(Reformed Church in America)(米国改革派教会)とは宣教協約を結びつつも北米諸教会との交流が希薄になっていた点を改善する良い機会であり、東日本大震災(East Japan earthquake)後 の献金の御礼とキリスト教主義学校への教育宣教師派遣依頼を行うことが各本部訪問の主な目的であった。

 最初の訪問先はトロントにあるUCC(米国合同教会)の本部で あった。カナダ長老教会と在日大韓基督教会(Korean Christian Church in Japan)から金柄鎬(Kim Byung Ho)総幹事と許伯基(Heo Bae Kki)書記が加わり、お互いの 教会の紹介と課題を共有した。

ニューヨークは大雪のため予定より一日遅れて到着した為、フォーラム前日に予定していた聖公会訪問等がキャ ンセルになったのは残念であったが、フォーラムには予定通り参加した。結論を言えば教団はJNACの代わり足り得る存在とし てアジア・太平洋フォーラムを認識しその交わりに積極的に入るべきである。各教派共通の、そして緊 急な課題である青年を育てるこ とが話し合われた。具体的には2016年7月26日から米国で大規模なユー スミーティング(14~18歳)が開催される予定であ り、教団からは10人の青年を派遣するよう要請された。

2月1日の聖日はニューヨーク北 部にあるユニオン日本語教会(Union Japanese Church of Westchester)の礼拝に参加し、昨年末に 赴任された西川晃充(Nishikawa Akimitsu)宣教師と教会員の方々との 交わりの時を持った。

翌月曜日はインディアナポリスIndianapolisにあるディサイプルズとクリスチャン・チャーチの本部を、ズー幹事の案内 で訪問した。驚いたのは年金局の隣に投資専門のスタッフルームがあり、年利10%に相当する利益を上げているとのことである。水曜日にはクリーブランドClevelandにあるUCC本部訪問、木曜日にはルイ ビルにあるPCUSAの本部を訪問した。UCC本部は経営するホテルと直結する構造だった。2年以内にホテルも含めたビ ルを売却し、より安い経費で運営できるビルに移るそうである。そこには浮いた差額をより積極的に宣教に用いようという戦略がみえた。 (加藤誠)

Recovery Progress Four Years after the East Japan Disaster

by Iijima Makoto, executive secretary Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Projects

 

Introduction

【Church & Parsonage Reconstruction】(through domestic contributions)

 

There were 81 congregations that received funding to repair damage caused by the March 11, 2011 disaster: 43 in Tohoku District, 10 in Ou District, 27 in Kanto District, and one in Tokyo District.

 

As of Feb. 28, 2015 there are 29 congregations that have received support and an additional four that are scheduled to receive support, for a combined total of 34 churches. Already 446,148,429 yen has been dispersed with another 150 million yen expected to be dispersed. Along with aid, 20 congregations have received loans; loans have also been made to two preschools and one institution. A total of 255,505,500 yen in loans has been made available through the Church Mutual Aid fund, and it is anticipated that four more churches will be receiving loans of 100 million yen each.

 

1. Emmaus Sendai & Ishinomaki (support from United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), Reformed Church in America (RCA), & Kyodan)

 

【History】In the immediate aftermath of the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami, Tohoku District created the Emmaus Relief Center. Youth from all over Japan came to the center to volunteer, distributing food and supplies as well as assisting with repairs, rebuilding, and the removal of rubble. In 2013, Emmaus Sendai began work on the restoration of agriculture through planting and harvesting. At the same time, in Ishinomaki, restoration of the fishing industry began through helping with the seeding of oyster beds and the harvest of kelp. So far, there have been a total of 6,669 volunteers.

 

【2015 Activity Plan】Work will be focused on the needs of the residents in temporary housing. “Ochakko Salon,” a tea-time fellowship ministry, is being used to provide an atmosphere in which these residents can find relaxation and hope through conversation and fellowship.

 

2.Heartful Kamaishi (support from EMS, UMCOR, mission 21, & Kyodan)

 

【History】This work began in February 2012, when four Ochakko Salons were opened at four temporary housing complexes in the city of Kamaishi. Currently work is continuing at 14 locations, including 12 temporary housing complexes and one reconstruction housing area. As of Feb. 28, 2015, a total of 9,105 people have participated in these gatherings.

 

【2015 Activity Plan】Four years have passed since the disaster. The Ochakko Salon now features arts and crafts. Other activities include weeding and picking up fallen leaves around the temporary housing units and visiting individual residences.

 

3.Little Lambs Camp (support from UMCOR, EMS, RCA, and Kyodan)

 

【History】The first“Little Lambs Camp” was held at the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA) Yamanaka Lodge in January 2012. The intent was to take children and families who lived within close proximity to the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant away from the radioactivity in their environment. In January 2013, through an invitation from the Presbyterian Church of Taiwan (PCT), we also began having camps in Taiwan. In cooperation with the YMCA, we have had 13 camps in Japan as well as 3 camps in Taiwan.

 

【2015 Activity Plan】Six camps are planned for 2015. Each camp will have 25 participants, with priority being given to those who have yet to participate.

 

4.Disaster Relief Concert (support from the Federation of Swiss Churches, RCA, Kyodan, and several individuals.)

 

【History】In January 2013, the first Disaster Relief Concert was held in Ishinomaki. Since then there have been six more concerts in Sendai, Natori, Iwaki, Tono, Kamaishi, and Ishinomaki. The performances have been held at churches, supermarkets, preschools, temporary housing complexes, and private homes. The performers are primarily from the New Japan Philharmonic Orchestra.

 

【2015 Activity Plan】Plans are being made for spring, summer, fall and winter concerts.

 

Conclusion

Each project is both initiated and brought to its conclusion through prayer. It is through being led by prayer that we receive the power to accomplish the work with which we have been entrusted.

 

In addition to prayer, we have received much support for our work through our fellowship with partners from overseas. UMCOR, EMS, PCT, along with RCA and Mission 21 have given us much support throughout this journey of recovery. Without the funding from these organizations, we would not have been able to accomplish the work we have done. Truly I am not fully able to express my gratitude for this invaluable support. (Tr. AKO)

震災4年目を迎えて

 

日本基督教団 東日本大震災救援対策本部

担当幹事 飯島 信

はじめに

【会堂・牧師館復興・再建支援】(資金は国内募金)

3・11によって被災し、負担金減免措置を受けた教会数は81、その内訳は、奥羽教区10教会、東北教区43教会、関東教区27教会、東京教区1教会である。

2015/2/28現在、教団からの支援を受けた教会は29教会、これから支援を受ける予定の教会 は4教会、合わせて33教会が支援対象となっている。すでに4億4,614

8,429円が執行され、さらに約1億5千万円の支出が見込まれる。支援と共に 貸付を受けた教会は20教会あり、その他に貸付だけの幼稚園が2園、施設が1施設で、貸付総額は2億5,550

5,500円である。資金は会堂共済組合から借り 入れ、今後4教会でさらに約1億円の貸付が予定されている。

1.エマオ仙台と 石巻(活動資金は国内募金と海外のUMCOR・EMS・RCA

【歴史】2011年3月11日から時を置かず、東北教区に被災者支援センターエマオが立ち上げられた。この活動には、全国から学生・ 青年を中心としたボランティアが集まり、支援物資の配布、津波に襲われた家の床下の泥のかき出し、廃材の処理などを行った。2013年度以降は、エマオ仙台では畑の復興、種まきや収穫の手伝い、石巻では牡蠣の種付けや昆布のメカブ取りの 手伝いなどが行われている。ボランティア登録者数は6,669

(1/31)に達した。

【2015年度の働き】活動の中心は、仮設住宅集会室で被災者に交わりの場を提供する「お茶っこサロン」に移りつつ ある。心身ともに疲れを覚えている被災した方々に寄り添うことは、仮設がある限り大切な働きとなる。

2.ハートフル釜 石(活動資金は国内募金と海外のEMS・UMCOR・Mission21

【歴史】2012年2月、釜石市内4ヶ所の仮設住宅で「お茶っこサロン」が始まる。現在は12ヶ所の仮設住宅と1ヶ所の復興住宅等、計14ヶ所で活動が行われている。「お茶っこサロン」を利用した仮設の方々は、延べにして9,105

(2/28)である。

【2015年度の働き】震災から4年、手芸を中心とした「お茶っこサロン」に加え、仮設住宅周囲の草取り、落ち葉掃きなどの環境整備、個別 訪問が始まっている。

3.「こひつじ キャンプ」(活動資金は、国内募金と海外のUMCOR・EMSRCA

【歴史】2012年1月、第1回の「こひつじキャンプ」が山中湖で行われた。原発事故による放射能汚染より逃れ、短期間でも保養を求め る家族が参加した。2013年1月からは台湾基督長老教会からの招待も加わり、YMCAとの共催で16回(内3回は台湾)を開催するに至っている。

【2015年度の働き】国内外で計6回のキャンプが予定されている。定員は各回25名前後、初めての方の参加を優先している。

4.被災地支援演 奏会(活動資金は、国内募金とスイスの教会・個人、RCA

【歴史】2013年1月、第1回演奏 会を石巻で行ったのを皮切りに、これまで6回にわたって行 われた。訪れた被災地は、石巻、仙台、名取、いわき、釜石、遠野で、演奏場所は教会・スーパー・仮設住宅・幼稚園・保育園・個人宅など 多彩である。

【2015年度の働き】春夏秋冬4回にわたる演奏旅行を企画している。

 

終わりに

各プロジェクトは、祈りによって始まり、祈りによって終わる。祈りに導かれてこそ神様 から力を得、私たちに託されている働きを担うことが出来るからである。

又、教団が展開している被災地支援活動は、UMCOR(アメリカ合同メソジスト教会海外災害 支援部)・EMS(ドイツを中心とした福音連帯宣教 会)・PCT(台湾基督長老教会)を中心に、Mission21(スイス)・RCA(アメリカ改革派教会)によって支えら れている。これらの団体や個人などの支援が無ければ、私たちは今日のような活動を生み出すことは出来なかった。そのことを思うと、海 外からの支援への感謝の思いは尽きることがない。

Unity of Faith: The Key to Growth in Mission

by Sasaki Michio, Kyodan vice-moderator, pastor of Shizuoka Church

At the 39th biennial Kyodan General Assembly in 2014, I was elected vice-moderator. Upon taking this responsibility, I have been asked to express my hopes and aspirations in this article. As I said at the assembly after I was elected: “For someone like me to be elected to this position brings a sense of apprehension, but I accept this responsibility as God’s will and will exercise my duties faithfully. I am well aware of my responsibility to support the moderator, and I will make every effort to do so.”

 

Having served as vice-moderator for the 36th Kyodan General Assembly period (2008-10), this will be my second term. Four years have passed since my first term, and the situation within the Kyodan has changed. The reality is that I am starting my work as vice-moderator with some sense of perplexity, but I hope to fulfill my responsibilities with the help of Moderator Ishibashi Hideo and other Kyodan officials and staff.

 

When I was elected to this position four years ago, I was asked to share my hopes and aspirations at that time, too. However, rather than sharing my hopes and aspirations, I wrote the following: “The immediate need of the Kyodan is to determine where it can find unity amidst the deepening confusion and problems within the Kyodan. Unity in our faith, confirming our ordination system, and fruitful service and witness are paths that will lead to the solution of these problems. During this term, finding unity in our faith is the key task facing the Kyodan.”

 

The theme for our 2014 General Assembly was “Building an Evangelistic Kyodan–Promoting Evangelism Based in a Unified Faith.” Moderator Ishibashi has continued his efforts to promote a “Kyodan that is on fire for evangelism,” and we must now move to the next stage, accompanied by an even deeper commitment and united faith. Of course, this entails unity in our understanding of the sacraments and ordination system as well.

 

At the opening worship of our Kyodan Assembly, Rev. Kishita Nobuyo, referring to words from Isaiah 40, reminded us that in “Building an Evangelistic Kyodan,” we need a faith that puts its “hope in the Lord.” On that first Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit gave birth to the Church, the news of salvation through God’s great gift of Jesus Christ was preached. Indeed, the power to preach the Gospel and continue the “birthing” of the Church starts with putting our hope in God’s Holy Spirit.

 

Four years ago I wrote the following. “On one side, the Kyodan is facing the difficult reality of an aging membership and a decline in the number of younger people in our congregations. Every church is facing difficulties as it engages in evangelism and the development of the local church. If this current trend continues, statistics make it clear what the situation will be like in ten years. As we move into the future, there is no solution other than to continue in prayer and evangelistic outreach.”

 

“At that time, the content of our faith as the Church will no doubt have great meaning and prove to be the power we need. During this term, I hope to gain an awareness of where the members of our churches are in their faith journeys.”

 

When the Kyodan as a denomination and each individual church affirm a united faith, find joy in their faith, and join together in prayer, we will find unity and growth in our mission. The powerful work of the Holy Spirit will be with us. My belief in this is as strong now as it was four years ago.

 

Beginning this biennium, we will administer our “Evangelism Fund.” We are also continuing the various relief efforts related to the East Japan Disaster. As our churches recognize the mission the Lord has given the Kyodan, we will join related schools and social agencies and continue to respond to what the Lord is entrusting us to do. Although I lack power as an individual, I will “hope in the Lord.” (Tr. JS)

 

—From Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4813

第39回教団総会に於 いて副議長に選任され、その抱負をこの紙面に求められています。選任された時に総会の場で申し上げたことは“私のような者を議場が お選びになったことに畏れを覚えると共に、御心と受けとめて誠実に職務に励みたい。副議長の職務は議長をお支えすることに尽きると心 得る。”ということでした。私 は第36回教団総会の副議長を務めさせて頂きましたので、今回が二度目となります。四年を経ていますから教団の状況も変わり、戸惑い ながら仕事を始めたというのが現実です。石橋議長を始めとして教団役員、職員の方々に教えを請いながら自分に課せられた務めを為して 行きたいと願っております。

実は四年前にも 教団副議長に選任されての抱負をこの紙面に求められました。そこで私が申し上げたことは抱負と言うよりも、“混迷を深める教団の状 況とその諸課題を覚え、日本基督教団という教会がどこで一致を見るのかが今や避けて通れない問題である。「信仰内容の一致、職制の確 立、それに基づく豊かな奉仕と証」がそれを解く教会の筋道だ。この総会期は信仰内容の一致こそが教団の課題だ”ということでした。  

第39回教団総会に 掲げられた主題は「伝道する教団の建設」-信仰の一致に基づく伝 道の推進-です。石橋議長が進めて来られた「伝道に燃える教団」形成が、その信仰的内容を伴って 更に深められる段階へと入っていきます。もちろんそこには聖礼典や職制の一致と確立も重なります。

教団総会の開会礼 拝で木下宣世牧師はイザヤ書40章の御言葉を挙げながら「伝道する教団の建設」にも“主に望みをおく”信仰が求められると語られました。ペンテコステの日、聖霊が降って教会は誕生し、すぐ に神の偉大な業であるイエス・キリストによる救いを語り出したのです。福音を語り、教会を形成する力を得ることは、まことに聖霊なる 神に望みをおくことから始まります。

四年前の紙面にこの ように記していました。“教団は一方で高齢化や いわゆる若年層の減少という厳しい現実の波に洗われています。各個教会・伝道所が日日取り組んでいる伝道と教会形成の場には大きな困 難があります。このままの状態で10年推移した時、どのような事態がもたらされるのかは既に統計上明らかにされています。祈りつつ伝 道に励む他、将来に対する手だてはないのです。

その時、教会の信仰内 容が最も大きな意味を持ち、また力であることも事実でしょう。全国諸教会・伝道所の信徒の方々がどこに基を置いて信仰生活を続けてお られるのかを受けとめつつ、この総会期の務めに与って参ります”。教団という教会と全 国の各個教会・伝道所がその信仰内容の一致を確認し、喜び、祈り合う中にこそ、伝道の一致と推進も成る。聖霊が豊かな働きをもって臨 んでくださる。このことへの思いは四年後の今も同じです。

今総会期には「伝道 資金」の運用も始まります。また東日本大震災救援対策諸事業も続いています。主が教団に与えられた使命を全国諸教会・伝道所と共に確 認しながら、関係学校・関係社会事業団体等と力を合わせて主の御委託に応えられるよう励んでまいります。自分に力はありませんが、“主に望みをおいて”。佐々木美知夫副議長(教団新報4813号より)

Executive Council Focuses on Current Financial Concerns

The second Executive Council meeting of the 39th biennial Kyodan General Assembly period was a special session held on Feb. 10, 2015 at the Japan Evangelical Lutheran’s Tokyo Church, with 29 members in attendance.*

 

As this was an extraordinary meeting, there were only four agenda items: determining subsidies for evangelism, work on remodeling the Japan Christian Center building to bring it up to earthquake standards, the selection of an Executive Committee member, and continued relief efforts related to the East Japan earthquake.

 

At the beginning of the meeting, Moderator Ishibashi Hideo reported that a prayer meeting had taken place on January 29 on behalf of the Japanese hostages being held by ISIS in Syria. With respect to the subsidies for evangelism, applications were received from 14 districts. At the subcommittee meeting on Feb. 6, each application was reviewed and all were accepted, with the total subsidies for all of the programs amounting to 51,253,000 yen.

Of the total planned budget for the earthquake retrofitting of the Japan Christian Center building, which is expected to be 280 million yen, it was decided that the Kyodan’s upper limit for its portion of the cost would be 60 million yen but that it would also loan the building maintenance union an additional amount of up to 40 million yen.

 

Regarding the selection of a new Executive Committee member, Sugimori Yoko was chosen to replace a member who had resigned after being elected to the ten-member committee at the first Executive Council meeting. It was also decided to provide funds for the rebuilding of churches and parsonages that were damaged due to the East Japan Disaster in the form of loans totaling 200 million yen from the denomination’s church building fund, with repayment over a 15-year period. Executive Secretary Iijima Makoto reported that for fiscal years 2015 and 2016, a total of 350 million yen was budgeted for ongoing relief efforts, and loans would be necessary for that purpose. (Tr. TB)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

*Due to the limited space in the temporary headquarters building, this nearby church is sometimes rented.

第39総会期第2回(臨時)常議員会報告

 第39総会期第2回(臨時)常議員会が、2月10日、日本福音ルーテル東京教会会議室にて、常議員29名の出席で開催された。

本常議員会は臨時であるため、伝道交付金決定、日本キリスト教会館耐震工事、常任常議員選出、東日本救 援対策の4件のみの審議となった。

会議の冒頭、石橋秀雄議長は、シリアで武装勢力に拘束された日本人解放のための祈祷会を2月29日に開催したことを報告した。

伝道交付金については、交付申請を14教区から受付け、2月6日の小委員会審査を経て、本常議員会においてすべて申請通り交付を決定した。申請総額は5125万3千円である。

日本キリスト教会館耐震改修工事費用概算目論見書では、費用として2億8千万円が見込まれている。これに対して教団負担分6千万円を限度として支出し、会館管理組合へは4千万円を限度として融資することを可決した。

常任常議員選出に関しては、第1回常議員会で選出した常任常議員1名の辞退申し出を事情止む得ないものとして承認し、新たに杉森耀子(Sugimuri Yoko)常議員を選任した。常任常議員の定員は10名。

東日本大震災救援対策に関しては、被災教会会堂・牧師館再建の貸付資金として、会堂共済組合より2億円を借り入れることを決定した。返済は貸付先からの返済金を順次充て、15年で完済する計画である。飯島信担当幹事からは、15,16年

Clarify the Church’s Self-image to Prepare to Call a Pastor

Naito Tomeyuki, previous general secretary of the Kyodan and retired minister of the Kyodan, as interviewed by Omura Naoko, chair of The Believers’ Friend editoriarl committe and a member of Mita Church in Tokyo, seeking his advice on the subject of conducting pastoral interviews

 

Naito:  Originally, the Kyodan was formed out of over 30 denominations with various traditions. Even in regard to ministerial staffing, policies varied in the original denominations: the Methodists and others had an appointment system; the Presbyterian and the Congregational denominations had an invitation system. For example, in the Methodists’ appointment system, personnel matters were handled in accordance with the appointments of the bishop. Pastors and laity could not make decisions by themselves. Through unification, the churches with such a background switched over to the invitation system. Today, even after a span of 70 years since the establishment of the Kyodan, it cannot be said that the invitation system issue has been fully instituted. In Japanese, the characters for the word “invitation” in this sense are those used especially when an envoy sent by a king is received with the greatest courtesy. As I understand the use of these characters, Jesus Christ, who is the Lord of the church, sends the pastor as the envoy of the Gospel, who is received by the church with the greatest courtesy. This is different from the general employment concerns of companies. I would like to see both parties confirm well what the invitation system is and afterwards, with humility and prayer and discretion, do the right thing. If there is a firm understanding, many of the problems will be solved.

 

Interviewer:  The pastor may have a sense of mission and go to the next post, but the church members may not share that understanding. At times, they may also feel as though they have been abandoned.

 

Naito: The pastor is always subject to being transferred. Thus, while the pastor is in a specific church, he or she must communicate that “your Lord is Christ, so when the time comes, the pastor must leave.” The church’s journey cannot be completed in the lifetime of the pastor. There are persons who run long distances and persons who run short distances, which is good. There is no possibility that one pastor has been given all the gifts. I think I would like lay people to keep this in mind. They need to avoid faultfinding through comparison to a previous minister.

 

Interviewer:  Searching for a new pastor places a heavy burden on the members of a church. It would seem to be a good thing for them to have help from the district and subdistrict.

 

Naito:  The Kyodan Bylaws, Article 113, states: “Speak to the district personnel affairs division.” Someone in the district is to be the contact person for personnel, who can give advice, but there are districts where this office is not functioning or is not even set up. There is also the Commission on the Ministry at the Kyodan level that includes a service provision for “matters related to personnel exchange.” It would be good if these provisions were functioning, but in reality that is not the case. In districts where there is strong cooperation, these needs will be addressed. But where that does not exist, consulting with a seminary, depending on relationships within churches tied to the original denomination, or just seeking the advice of a minister with a large number of connections may be the only source of real help. In addition to problems related to the system, there is something else that is very important. This is that the constituency issuing the invitation is the local church. TheKyodan Bylaws, Article 106, stipulates: “The local church will be the one to give the invitation to the minister responsible for that church,” so the one issuing the invitation is the local church. I will offer three points to help clarify this matter. 1) What has the church treasured in its formation heritage, and on what kind of traditions is it based? 2) What kind of situation is it in today? 3) What kind of church is envisioned for the future? I am hoping that the church members will discuss these three points and come to a common understanding.

 

Interviewer:  So, while the pastoral candidate will present his or her own resume, the church, from its side, must also indicate its basic aims in concrete terms as well.

 

Naito:  It is important to decide carefully the details of the invitation. 1) When will the pastor arrive? 2) What are the duties? In a situation where there is a kindergarten or an institution, are there duties there? 3) Where will the pastor live? 4) What is the salary? For example, are utilities included, etc.; these details must be reviewed and decided. 5) How long is the term of service? In the case of an invitation, stipulating the term of service is not that common, and so determining if it will or will not be stipulated is important. In addition, there are the issues of the sacraments and church government, etc. No matter how careful the church is, a mismatch may arise. I think that if the church is thrown into confusion, the pastor must take responsibility and resign, saying: “My work as pastor and my evangelism was not sufficient.” However, if it is a matter central to the Gospel, that’s a different matter. Nevertheless, in many of the actual cases that have arisen, various misunderstandings on even small matters, together with a lack of consideration, is the root of the problem. The cause is often related to the pastor’s adaptability. What I am seriously thinking is that the pastor’s prayer life is insufficient. That may seem very harsh, but the number of pastors who make others aware of their humility, prudence, and spirituality is decreasing. To begin with, I think that both pastors and laity must be nourished by the Holy Spirit, as it all starts from there!

 

Interviewer:  At the pastor’s installation ceremony, the pastor and the church members make a promise before God. Focusing on prayer and returning to that starting point is important. Lastly, please give us some advice for churches without pastors and churches with part-time pastors.

 

Naito:  Do not give up hope. That, and give one another support. I hope the care of the small churches in central towns in rural areas will be kept in mind. I hope that the large churches might always be mindful of the small churches to which they have given birth. (Tr. RT)

 

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believer’s Friend), February 2015 issue

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

失敗しない招聘のために まず教会の自己像を明確に

内藤留幸 牧 師へのインタビュー記事

日本基督教団前総幹事、日本基督教団隠退教師

聞き手 大 村直子 信徒の友誌 編集委員長、東京・三田教会員

 

内藤*日本キリスト教団はもともと異なる伝統を持つ30余の教派が合同してできました。教師の人事についても、元の教派ではメソジストなどの任命制と、長老派や会衆派系 の招聘制などいろいろとありました。たとえば任命制のメソジストでは人事は監督の任命によります。牧師も信徒も自分たちで決めること ができませんでした。そうしたさまざまな背景を持つ教会が合同によって招聘制に移行しました。教団成立から70余年を経た今日でも、この招聘問題が充分整理され たとは言えません。日本語の招聘という字は、特に王が送る使者を礼を尽くして迎えるときに使う文字です。教会の主であるイエス・キリ ストが福音の使者として牧師を送り、それを教会側は礼を尽くして迎えることなのだと、文字を採用するとき(翻訳する時)に理解してい たのだと思います。一般の会社の雇用関係とは違います。招聘とは何かをよく確認した上で、双方とも謙遜と祈りと慎みをもって事に当 たってもらいたいのです。そこがしっかり認識されているなら多くの問題は解決します。

 

インタビュアー 牧師は使命を感じて次の任地に行くのでしょうが、 信徒にとっては寂しいことです。時に、捨てられたような気持ちになることもあります。

 

*牧師には原則転任があります。「あなたの主はキリストであって、 牧師は時が来れば去る」ということを牧師が在任中に伝えないといけません。教会の歩みは牧師一代で完結しません。長い距離を走る人 と、短い距離の人がいます。それでいいのです。1人の牧師にすべての賜物が与えられているわけではないですから。信徒もそのことをわ きまえてほしいと思っています。前の牧師と比べて粗探しをするようなことは避けるべきです。

 

インタビュアー 新しい牧師を探すのは、信徒だけでは荷が重いこ とです。教区、地区のサポートがあればいいと思うのですが。

 

*教規113条に、「教区人事部に申しいで」とあります。教区には人事担当がいて相談に乗ってくれますが、機能していなかった り、窓口がない教区もあります。また教団の常設委員会である、教師委員会の活動項目の中に、「人事交流に関する事項」があります。こ れらの規定が機能しているといいのですが、現実にはそうなってはいません。互助などがしっかりしている教区では懇切に対応してくれま すが、そうでない場合は神学校に相談に行くか、旧教派のつながりに頼るか、人脈の豊富な牧師に助言を求めるしかないのが現実です。制 度的な課題とは別に、重要なことがあります。それは、招聘の主体は教会だということです。教規106条に「教会担任教師は、教会が招聘するものとす る」とあるように、招聘するのは教会なのです。私は三つの点を、はっきりさせるようにアドバイスしています。①教会が何を大事にして 形成されてきたか、どういう伝統に立ってきたか。②現在どういう状況にあるか。③将来どういう教会を造り上げて行きたいと考えている のか。教会員でこの3つを話し合って共通の理解を持ってくださいとお願いしています。

 

インタビュアー 牧師からは履歴書が提出されますが、教会側からも 見える形で教会の基本方針が示されなければならないのですね。

 

*招聘の、より細かい条件をきちんと決めておくことも大事です。① いつ着任してもらうか。②職務は何か。幼稚園や施設がある場合は、その職務があるか。③どこに住むか。④謝儀はいくらか。その中に、 たとえば光熱費が含まれるのかなど、細部にわたって決めておく。⑤任期はいつまでか。招聘制の場合、任期を決めることはまれですが、 これを決めるか決めないか。その他、聖礼典の問題や教会政治の問題などがあります。どんなに注意してもミスマッチは起こります。私は 教会が混乱したら牧師は、「私の牧会・伝道が不十分でした」と責任をとって辞任するのがよいと思っています。福音の根幹に関わること であれば判断は違うと思いますが。しかし現実に起こっている多くのケースではささいな行き違いや思いやり、思慮の足りなさが原因に なっていることが多いのです。原因が牧師の適性に関わることも多いと思います。牧師の祈りが足りない、そのことを真剣に思っていま す。厳しいようですが、謙遜、慎み、霊性を感じさせる牧師が少なくなりました。牧師は、そして信徒はまず祈って聖霊の養いを得るこ と、そこから始まると思います。

 

インタビュアー 牧師就任式で神さまの前に牧師も信徒も誓約しまし た。折りに触れてその原点に立ち返ることが大切ですね。最後に、無牧の教会や兼牧の教会へのアドバイスをお願いします。

 

*希望を失わないこと。それと支えあうこと。地方中核都市の教会は 地域の中心となって小さな教会のことをいつも心にかけてほしいと思います。大きな教会は、生み出した小さな教会のことをいつも心がけ てほしいと思っています。(信徒の友15年2月号より)まとめ川上善子KNL編 集委員長