【June 2015 No.383】My First Time at a Missionary Conference

by Kawakami Yoshiko, pastor                                                                                             Okubo Church, Tokyo District                                                                                             Editor, KNL Editorial Committee

The Missionary Conference, organized by Kyodan once every two years, was held from Monday, March 22 to Thursday, March 26, 2015 at Kansai Seminar House in Kyoto. Including overseas guests, 62 persons attended the conference, of which 34 were active or retired missionaries in Japan. What was particularly notable about this conference was that the Kyodan invited representatives from the sending churches, and two came from the United Methodist Church, two from the Presbyterian Church in the USA, and three from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. The Kyodan also sent invitations to its districts within Japan, and representatives from six Kyodan districts participated. Presently, missionaries serving within the Kyodan are not only from Europe and America but also from Asia and Africa. English was the native language of less than 20 of the participants. As the common language of many participants was Japanese, this was the main language used during the first half of the schedule, with English, Chinese, and Korean translation provided.

 

The opening worship service, which began at 5 p.m., was led by the Reverend Bernard Timothy Appau from Ghana, who is sent to Asian Rural Institute from the All Africa Baptist Fellowship. His sermon was translated into Japanese, and we sang the hymns in both English and Japanese. The evening program began with “a cooperative game” in which an eight-person team formed a circle and took ropes that were tied together in the middle like the spokes of a wheel. While not being allowed to speak, each person had to manipulate his/her own rope to lift a common bar hanging down from the center and pick up blocks that had a slot for the bar to fit in. The object of the game was to lift one block onto another in the least amount of time in order to form a tower of blocks that did not fall over. The game was designed to have team members feel each other’s pulling actions and come together as one. After that, we separated into small groups to share our mission experiences, and I was thankful to have an opportunity in my group to get feedback concerning our KNL newsletters.

 

On the morning of the following day, Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo introduced something he had used in his own ministry: kyogen laughter. [Kyogen literally means “crazy talk” and is a theatrical form associated with Japanese Noh plays.] It involves an exaggerated laughter from the gut using one’s entire body. During his devotion, he had us all practice doing it, so it became a morning devotion that included lots of laughter.

At the first panel discussion in the morning, we listened to presentations on the theme of “expectations of each partner” from the perspectives of both the receiving and sending organizations. Representing the Kyodan was Ou District Moderator Ohara Muneo, while Swiss Baptist missionary Ruth Ester Waehrer and UMC Associate General Secretary for Missionary Services Judy Chung represented the perspectives of the missionaries and sending bodies respectively. Waehrer came to Japan as a missionary 40 years ago from Switzerland and became a Kyodan pastor. She is presently serving at Uozu Church in Toyama Prefecture. She said, “It is obvious that we need to work alongside the church in Japan.” In addition, she pointed out the work of a missionary needs to be within the context of a “rubber framework,” meaning that while it is important for a missionary to work within a framework connected to the local churches in the area, it is important that there also be considerable flexibility to work within when various issues arise.

 

In his presentation, Ohara gave the example of a missionary who had been called to serve as the pastor of a Japanese local church but was then recalled by his sending mission board rather suddenly. The local church had worked together with him to develop some new ministries but was left in the lurch when he had to return to his country. So naturally, Ohara said that he wondered what it meant to be “partners in mission” in such a situation. Nevertheless, he stressed his hope to truly be able to work together as partners.

 

In her presentation, Chung expressed her desire for the receiving body to state clearly what its needs are. She said that the role of the sending body is to meet those needs and to give a new perspective. She added that both sides need to work on building bridges between the receiving and sending bodies. All three presenters joined together to emphasize the following two points: namely, that (1) prior to a new missionary coming to Japan, he or she needs to do as much language study as possible and that (2) the sending side will be greatly helped in providing the best match when both sides clearly understand the mission activities that are acceptable to the receiving body. There was also some discussion about how best to hold and publicize events for Japanese missionaries going overseas to tell about their work.

 

During the afternoon, missionary Timothy Boyle led a group outing to visit various historical sites in Kyoto that testified to previous Christian influence in Japan, first from the “Assyrian Church of the East,” often called the “Nestorians,” who had come to Japan as early as the 7th century, and then later from the Jesuit mission of the 16th century. We saw several artifacts showing that Christian influence, particularly from the turbulent period of the early 17th century, when Christianity was banned and Christians severely persecuted. We paused at the monument to the “Kirishitan” (Christian) martyrs on the banks of the Kamo River, where we heard of their courage and offered prayers for peace and reconcilliation in today’s world.

 

On the final morning, PCT Evangelism Committee Chair Dr. Chuang Hau Sheng led the devotion, which was held in the Noh Theater adjacent to Kansai Seminar House. The unusual setting was enhanced by an early morning snow that covered the garden. This was followed by a panel discussion that included Commission on Ecumenical Ministries Chair Akiyama Toru, the Reverend Divan Suqluman, a missionary sent by the PCT to Hokkai District, and PCUSA World Mission’s Regional Liaison for East Asia Lim Choonsik. We discussed “the prospects of partnership” by deepening our solidarity through mutual mission agreements. Suqluman, a member of an indigenous tribe in Taiwan, explained how she took time to develop a sense of fellowship and trust among the Ainu people in Hokkaido. That afternoon, participants were able to join either a tea ceremony held in the traditional tea house on the grounds or listen to a lecture by Christian artist Watanabe Soichi on the various Christian art items on display at Kansai Seminar House.

 

Through these various programs, people of different backgrounds and languages were able to gather in the name of the Lord and use the language skills they had through either English or Japanese to open up to each other and encourage each other in their work. (Tr.KY)

 

宣教師 会議に初出席して。

教 団の、二年に一度の宣教師会議が、2015年3月22日 (月)~26日 (木)、京都市の関西セミナーハウス(Kansai Seminar House)に於い て開催された。参加者は、この会の為に来日した方々を含めて62名。今 回の特色は、宣教師の派遣元(海外教会)にも招待をし、合同メソジスト教会から2名、ア メリカ合衆国長老教会2名、台 湾基督長老教会3名の参 加を得たことである。国内では、各教区に案内を出し、6教区か らの代表が参加した。現在、宣教師方の出身地域は欧米、アジア、アフリカに拡がり、62名の 内、英語を母国語とする人は20名弱で あった。日本語が共通語となる方々もあり、日程前半は日本語をメイン言語とした。開会礼拝は午後5時から で、日英の歌詞で賛美歌を歌い、アジア学院のRev.APPAU,Bernard Timothy師(All Africa Baptist Fellowship) の英語の説教が、即、和訳された。夜の部は「協力ゲーム」から始まった。8人が輪 になり、無言で、互いに繋がったロープの端を操って、木製ブロックを拾って積む速さを競った。互いの力加減を感じ取りながら、心と動きを 合わせるゲームであった。その後、少人数に分かれ伝道経験を分かち合った。KNLの感想 を伺えたことは感謝であった。翌火曜の朝は、石橋秀雄・教団総会議長が、牧会経験の中で活用なさった、狂言の笑い方を紹介してくださっ た。全身を使いお腹から笑うことで、気持ちをほぐす。一同も実践し、笑いに満ちたディボーションとなった。午前中の第一回目のパネルディ スカッションは、「パートナーへの期待」として、宣教師を迎える側と、遣わされた側の意見を聞いた。教区を代表して邑原宗男・奥羽教区議 長、宣教師を代表してルツ・ウェーラー(Rev.WAHRER,Ruth Ester牧師 (魚津教会・Swiss Baptist)、 ジュディー・チャン(Rev.CHUNG,Judy)牧師 (合同メソジスト教会・世界宣教局副局長)の発題であった。ウェーラー牧師は、40年前にスイスから宣教師として来日。教団の牧師となられ、富山県・魚津教会で牧会をしておられる。「日本の教会に沿っ て働くのは当たり前」と仰り、その上で、宣教師の働きには「ゴム製の枠」が必要である、と指摘なさった。宣教師が、地域の教会と連携し、 ある程度の枠組みを設けた中で動くことが大事であるが、もしもぶつかったら柔軟性をもって受け止めることができる枠であって欲しい、と語 られた。邑原宗男・奥羽教区議長は「宣教師が牧師として着任なさり、地域や信徒方と馴染んできた頃に、派遣元からの急な帰国要請がなさ れ、築いたものが断ち切られることがある

と 一例をあげ、そのようなケースでは“Are We really partner?” と思う ことがあるが「我々はパートナーとしての歩みを続けて行きたい」と希望をこめて語られた。チャン牧師は、迎える側に対しては、”What the needs are?”(ニー ズを示して欲しい)と願われ、自分達の役割はそのニーズに応えることと、新しいperspectiveを与え ることであり、両側からの架け橋を作ることが大切だ、と語られた。今後へのアドバイスとしては三者から、来日する前に、①宣教師の側は出来るだけ日本語は学んできて欲しい、②迎える側が、どんな活動内容で受け入れてくれるのか具体的にわかってい ると、遣わされる側は助かる、という意見が出された。日本から海外に遣わされた宣教師の報告会開催とその告知方法についても提案があっ た。午後はティモシー・ボイル(Rev.BOYLE,Timothy)牧師の 案内で、京都市内に残る7世紀頃 の基督教(景教・ネストリウス派)と推定される痕跡と、16世紀戦 国時代のキリスト教の足跡に触れた。鴨川添いのキリシタン処刑の記念碑の前では、平和と和解を願って祈りを献げた。25日朝の ディボーションは台湾基督長老宣教委員長である荘孝盛牧師(Rev.Dr.CHUANG,Hau Sheng) PCTEvangelism Committee Chairが担当。時ならぬ雪に包まれた能楽堂が会場であった。午前中のパネラーは秋山徹世界宣教委員長、ディバン・スクルマン(Rev.SUQLUMAN,Divan)牧師 (台湾基督長老教会から北海教区へ派遣)、チューン・リム牧師、(Rev.LIM,Choonsik)PCUSA World Mission’s regional liaison for East Asiaアメリカ合衆国長老教会アジア担当幹事。「パートナーへの展望」として、宣教協約に基づく連携がさらに深められること を期待して語り合った。スクルマン牧師が、少数民族出身者として、時をかけて深められたアイヌ民族との交流も伺った。午後は茶室での茶事 とキリスト教画家の渡辺総一氏による講演が持たれた。幾つものプログラムを通して、複数の異なる母語を持つ人々が、主の名によって集い、 各自のスキルに応じた日本語や英語を媒介に、打ち解け、励まし合う時となった。

川 上善子 KNL編集長

【June 2015 No.383】Nuclear Power & Discrimination

At a symposium on discrimination sponsored by the Kyodan Buraku Liberation Center that was held in June 2014 at Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church, Ms. A, a full-time rice farmer from Aizu, spoke as a mother. In the aftermath of the March 11 disaster, Ms. A began to study the issue of radiation on her own, as she was filled with concern about safety issues. Three months later in June 2011, she was introduced to the Aizu Radioactivity Information Center. At the time, Ms. A was very concerned about whether it was appropriate or not to begin spring planting. Although she was inclined not to plant, both the prefectural and local government officials instructed her to go ahead with planting because “if she did not plant, then she would not be able to receive reparation for lost income due to crop losses resulting from nuclear contamination.”

 

Feeling extremely conflicted over who would actually be able to purchase the rice, given the safety concerns, and over the reality that without planting there were be no possibility of compensation for losses due to contamination, she went ahead with planting. However, after conversing with her husband and family she realized, “I would never feed my children food that would endanger their health, nor could I do that to anyone else’s child.” As she had no means by which to determine its safety, she decided not to ship her produce.

 

However, following this, various conflicting opinions began to arise in the region. After her husband suggested that “the crops need to be thoroughly inspected,” they received numerous phone calls from other farmers in the region, complaining that he had voiced such an opinion. Meanwhile, farmers from other regions with concerns about how they might be impacted by public concerns over safety accused farmers from Fukushima of being “murderers.” Despite hundreds of thousands of yen spent to comply with stricter inspections by both the national and prefectural governments, both the consumers and the farmers remain dissatisfied with the current situation.

 

Ms. A ultimately decided to take on the challenge of combatting the problem of radiation on her own. The soil on her farm is made up of clay of such a quality that produces particularly delicious rice and also prevents radioactive isotopes from entering into the crops because it absorbs the cesium. Further, the mineral zeolite can be used in soil management to neutralize the acidity of the soil. Also, having been advised by the prefectural government that when soil is low in potassium, crops absorb higher amounts of cesium, Ms. A added potassium to the soil both during planting and during the hot days of summer.

As a result of these efforts, when the harvested crops were inspected in the fall, the levels were under one Becquerel per kilogram. In fact, almost all of the fields tested well within acceptable levels. Although her fields had indeed been contaminated by the radioactive fallout, the results gave her reason to push ahead with her efforts. In 2011, the government had set the levels for brown rice at 500 Bq/Kg. However, in farms with sandy soil rather than clay, a few fields did unexpectedly go over the limit for various reasons, but for most fields the levels were below 10 Bq/Kg.

 

Since the accident in March 2011, farms have been subjected to strict testing standards. In 2012, official government guidelines permitted foodstuffs at levels up to 100 Bq/Kg. Given that prior to the disaster, the level of radiation in rice was less that 0.03 Bq/Kg, there was much concern about allowing these levels in food for general consumption. Would there be a market for this rice, and who would actually purchase rice that had levels of 80 Bq/Kg? It was said that rice with these high levels of radiation would be purchased for scientific research. Ms. A states that no rice with these high levels of radiation is making its way into the market for general consumption at present. “I want to assure you that the farmers of Fukushima are taking the issue of radiation very seriously.”

 

However, it should also be noted that the problem of radiation also extends beyond Fukushima to the surrounding areas. “I am not able to say that there is no reason for concern.” Ms. A added, “I do believe the limits that the government set are too high; as for our own farm, we have set the acceptable level to be at 1.00 Bq/Kg.” She strongly believes that youngsters should not be in areas where there are high levels of radiation, so they need to be patient in their everyday lives. It is important to understand the science of radiation rather than to live in the fear that is created by ignorance. Agriculture in Fukushima stands on the forefront of the battle against the dangers of radioactivity. I hope that by sharing this information with the people of the Aizu Radioactivity Information Center, you will have a deeper understanding of our struggle, as together we combat the difficulties that have been thrust on all of us by this nuclear disaster. (Tr. AKO)

 

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

February 2015 issue

(Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko)

 

原発という差別

2014 年6月に若松栄町教会で行な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、米農家の女性Aさんが、会津で働く米の専業農家であり、母親として証言した。

Aさんは、 2011年3月以来、安全に疑問をもって個人的に放射能の勉強を続け、同年6月に会津放射能情報センターに出会った。震災後悩んだの は、その春からの農作業を準備すべきかということであった。彼女は作りたくないと考えたが、県と市町村から、「今年農作物を作らなけ れば、最初から作っていなかったとみなされ、損害請求もできなくなる」と農作物を作るよう指示された。作らなければ補償もされない が、安全かわからないものを誰が買うのか、という葛藤の中で、農作業を始めざるを得なかった。しかし「我が子に危険なものは食べさせ たくないし、他のお子さんにも食べさせられない」と夫やその実家と話し合い、お米が放射性物質を取り込まないためにあらゆる対策を し、安全性が確認できない限り出荷はしないと決めた。しかしこの後、放射能に対する温度差が原因となって、地域でさまざまな対立が生 じていった。

当時は福島県 全体で安心・安全をアピールしていた為、放射能の危険性をめぐり農家同士が分断されてしまった。彼女の夫が、農家の集まりで「秋に収 穫したお米をきちんと検査すべきだ」と発言すると、苦情の電話がかかってきたこともあった。全国に米の個人販売もしていたが、「米作 りをどうするのか」との問い合わせが殺到し、中には「福島県の農家は人殺しだ」と言う人もいた。県や国よりも厳しい自主検査を、何十 万円も投資して行っているにも関わらず、農家からも消費者からも責められる厳しい状況が続いた。彼女達は放射能との闘いに挑んだ。幸 運にも彼らの土地は、美味しい米が出来ると言われる粘土質であった。さらに粘土質はセシウムを吸着し、作物へのセシウムの移行を防い だ。酸性の土壌はセシウムをより多く取り込むと知ると、酸性の土壌を中和するゼオライトという鉱物を使い、土壌の管理を徹底した。カ リウムが土壌に少ないと、農作物は代わりにセシウムを吸収するという県の指示により、カリウムを追肥として土壌に与え、夏の暑い日に も繰り返しカリウムをまいた。その結果、秋の収穫時に定量下限値1ベクレル/キロという厳しい検査を行い、ほとんどの田で不検出と なった。彼女達一家は放射性物質が土壌に降ったことに変わりないが、もう少し頑張ってみようと決めた。

国は2011 年当時、玄米に含まれる放射性セシウム濃度の暫定的な規制値を500ベクレル/キロと定めていた。しかし意外に、粘土質でない砂地で はいろいろな原因が重なり規制値を超えたところもあったものの、その周辺の田んぼでは、ほとんどが10ベクレル/キロ以下であったと いう。事故以来、福島県では、綿密な計算の上で農作業の指示を出している。国は2012年に、一般食品の暫定規制値を100ベクレル /キロとあらたに定めた。原発事故前の米の放射線量は0・03ベクレル/キロであったので、規制値以下でも以前と比較して高濃度の放 射性セシウムを含むお米が、一般の市場に流通しないか心配されているが、仮にお米が80ベクレル/キロある場合、業者は当然それを買 わない。そうしたお米は、研究機関や食品の放射能汚染の測定器を作る会社などが、調査や実験のために買い取ると言われている。現状で は、高濃度の放射性セシウムを含むお米が一般の食用米の市場に乗ることはほぼないと、彼女は言う。「福島の農家がものすごく神経質に なって農作物を作っていることを理解して、少しだけ安心してほしいのです。」

一方で、放射 能汚染の影響は周辺地域にも及んでいる。彼女は「私は、決して無闇に安心・安全だと思っているわけではありません。国の暫定規制値は 高いと考え、我が家では1ベクレル/キロを自主的な基準としています。子どもたちには、放射能がたまりやすい場所には行かないよう強 く言い聞かせており、日常生活で我慢させている面もあります。それでも、科学的な根拠や実態を知ることで、より心配をなくせるかもし れないと思っています。福島の農業はいま、放射能との闘いの最前線にあり、そこに立つ身として、自分も情報を発信していきたい、そし て、会津放射能情報センターに集まった人同士が、共に悩んで泣いて励まし合って闘っていけることを感謝したいと思います。」と語っ た。

(信徒の友2月 号より 川上善子KNL編集委員会委員長まとめ)

【June 2015 No.383】Planning Meeting Held for the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation

The Project Preparation Committee for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation held its second planning meeting on March 17 at the Kyodan headquarters. Moderator Ishibashi Hideo was away on official business in the Kansai area, but four committee members were in attendance as well as General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo, General Affairs Secretary Doke Norikazu, Executive Secretary for Mission Omishima Yoshitaka, and Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Ministries Kato Makoto. After approving the minutes of the previous meeting, Chair Okamura Hisashi introduced the new book, Arasoi kara Majiwari e (Kyobunkan, 2015), a translation of From Conflict to Communion, a joint publication of the Lutheran and Roman Catholic churches in commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. Members reflected on the history of the Reformation and reaffirmed the facts that Christianity was proclaimed in Japan through the Counter Reformation, that the Reformation sent the Puritans to a new continent, and moreover that the Reformation played a significant role in the spread of Protestant Christianity to Japan. In addition to commemorating the 500th anniversary as an opportunity for the Kyodan to praise God as a church founded on the tradition of the evangelicalism resulting from the Reformation, the committee reconfirmed its intention to put into place various activities that will mobilize people to dedicate themselves to and pray for Japan’s contribution to evangelism both at home and abroad.

The contents of the talks were as follows.

1. Nakajima Akihiko was chosen to be treasurer of the committee.

2. The contents of the “Memorial Project Plan” were deliberated. In addition to confirming the reason that the Kyodan is commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation and the purpose of associated projects, this first meeting of the committee deliberated two further items:

(1) To testify about the reformation Gospel to all of

Japanese society and to take advantage of this chance to

show to a wide audience that the Christian church is not

divided but is trying to come together, aiming for unity;

and

(2) To reaffirm the important role that the Reformation

played in the propagation of Christianity in Japan.

 

3.Details and plans for the memorial worship service were discussed.

4.Various opinions were exchanged concerning the future organization, procedures, and schedule for the Executive Committee. Commemorative events will also be held at the Kyodan General Assembly as well as in the district assemblies, in the hope that this will serve as a chance to be thankful for evangelism to Japan. (Tr. DB)

 

—Sugimori Yoko, Preparation Committee member

Member, Odawara Jujimachi Church

 

第二回 宗教改革500周年記念事業準備委員会

3月17日(火)、教団会議室において第2回 宗教改革500周年記念事業準備委員会が開かれた。

出席者は公務で関西出張中の石橋議長以外の委員4名 と、長崎総幹事、総務幹事、宣教部幹事、世界宣教幹事であった。前回議事録確認後、岡村委員長より宗教改革500周年を記念してのルーテル教会とカトリック教会による共同文書『争いから交 わりへ』(教文館、二○一五年、原題“From Conflict to Communion”)が紹介された。改めて宗教改革史を共に振り返り、〈対抗宗教改革〉によって日本にキリスト 教が宣べ伝えられたこと、宗教改革が清教徒を新大陸へ送り出し、さらに日本へのプロテスタント・キリスト教伝搬に重要な役割を果たし たことなどを再確認した。そして日本基督教団が「宗教改革の福音主義の伝統に連なる」教会として、宗教改革500周年を、神を誉め讃 える機会として記念すると共に、日本伝道、世界伝道への献身の思いと祈りを結集するために諸事業を行うことを再確認した。

協議内容は以下の通り。①当委員会の会計に中嶌暁彦を選出した。②「記念事業方針」の内容 について協議した。「宗教改革500周年記念」を日本キリスト教団が記念する理由と、諸事業を行う目的について、第一回委員会で確認 したことのほか、さらに次の2点を加えることとした。イ、日本の社会全体に向かって宗教改革的福音を証しし、キリスト教会が分裂では なく一致を目指して結集しようとしていることを広く示すチャンスとしてこの機会を生かす。ロ、宗教改革が日本のキリスト教伝搬に果た した重要な役割を再確認する。

③「記念礼拝」のあり方、準備について。④今後の実行委員会の組織化、手順及び日程等種々 意見交換をした。教団総会や教区総会においても記念行事を行い、日本への福音伝道を共に感謝する機会をもつことを考えていきたい。  (杉森耀子)

【June 2015 No.383】Ministerial Qualifications within the Kyodan

There are two levels in the Kyodan’s ministerial qualification process: “licensed preacher” and “ordained minister” (literally, “minister-in-full-standing”). Generally speaking, an “ordained minister” is called a “pastor,” and the administration of the sacraments of communion and baptism is limited to this level. So the process begins with a lay person first becoming a “licensed preacher” and then later becoming an “ordained minister.” The Kyodan’s Commission on Ministerial Qualifications is the entity that implements the examinations for both licensed preachers and ordained ministers.

 

One necessary qualification of eligibility to take the licensed preachers’ exam is to have been a Kyodan lay person for at least three years. Likewise, the applicant must be recommended by the pastor of his or her church or by the district (and to apply for ordained status, the person must also be recommended by her or his district). The specific exam that a candidate will take depends on which seminary that person has graduated from and whether all requirements have been met.

 

The details are listed in Article 3 of the ministerial examination regulations, but simply stated, those who have fulfilled all the requirements of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary Graduate School, Doshisha University Graduate School, or Kwansei Gakuin University Graduate School and have received a master of theology degree generally take the A-course exam. As they have been deemed to have completed all of the necessary course work the Kyodan requires, the exam consists of a sermon and testing on the Kyodan’s Constitution and Bylaws as well as on the legal status known as “Religious Juridical Person.”

 

The B-course exam is generally taken by candidates with undergraduate degrees from the theological departments of the three schools mentioned above or from other theological schools recognized by the Kyodan, including Japan Biblical Theological Seminary, Tokyo Bible Seminary, and The Theological Seminary for Rural Mission. Besides the items included in the A-course exam, exams on Old Testament theology, New Testament theology, Old Testament exegesis, and New Testament exegesis are added. Persons from other schools are considered on a case-by-case basis, with additional exams included, depending on the contents of the candidate’s studies.

 

There has been an increase recently in the number of people seeking ordination who have not attended a seminary or theological school; they are referred to as C-course candidates. Exams are given each year on specific aspects, and C-course candidates are required to pass all of these exams within a certain number of years after beginning the program.

 

 

Recently there has been an increase in the number of people seeking to be qualified as licensed preachers or ordained pastors who have not attended a seminary or theological school; they are referred to as C-course candidates. Exams are given each year on specific aspects, and C-course candidates are required to pass all of these exams within a certain number of years after beginning the program. The number of candidates for ordination as licensed preachers following graduation this spring (2015) is:

• 22 from Tokyo Union Theological Seminary Graduate

School,

• 5 from Japan Biblical Theological Seminary,

• 5 from Tokyo Bible Seminary,

• 4 from Kwansei Gakuin University Graduate School,

• 2 from The Theological Seminary for Rural Mission

• 1 from Doshisha University Graduate School, and

• 3 from other schools.

 

A candidate in any of the three courses who has passed all the exams is then licensed at the district assembly where he or she is located and becomes a licensed preacher. After completion of at least two years of ministry, she or he can then take the exams for becoming an ordained minister. There are no separate courses for these exams, so with only a very few exceptions, all candidates take the same exams. The requirements consist of a sermon, tests on the Kyodan’s Constitution and Bylaws and on the legal status known as “Religious Juridical Person,” a theological dissertation, and another dissertation on systematic theology as well as tests on Old Testament theology, New Testament theology, Old Testament exegesis, New Testament exegesis, and church history.

 

Everyone hopes to pass all the exams on the first try, but of course, some are unable to do that. Passing grades on each section of the exams, however, are valid for three years, and since these exams are offered in both spring and fall every year, a candidate who does not pass the exam for a particular subject is able to try again when the tests are offered six months later.

 

An interview is also conducted at both levels of the ministerial qualification process, and this is an important opportunity for the candidates to reconfirm their calling. When a candidate has passed all exams for ordained status and been approved by the Kyodan, she or he is voted on at the district assembly and, through the laying on of hands, formally becomes an ordained minister—in other words, a new pastor.

 

When an ordained person from another denomination applies to transfer his/her credentials to the Kyodan, the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications considers factors such as whether or not the Kyodan has a mission agreement with the denomination the candidate is transferring from and the candidate’s particular training to determine her or his admission as a licensed preacher or as an ordained minister and whether exams in any particular area are necessary. A candidate deemed for some reason to lack proper qualifications at the time of application is recommended to pursue the licensed preacher ordination level by taking the necessary exams.

 

These, then, are the various ways that a person can become a pastor in the Kyodan. There are likely differences in the process for becoming a pastor in the various overseas churches, but hopefully this gives KNL readers a general idea of the Kyodan’s procedures. (Tr. TB)

—Hattori Osamu, secretary

Commission on Ministerial Qualifications

Pastor, Banzancho Church, Okayama

Nishi-Chugoku District

 

「教団の牧師になるまでの過程」

今回は「教団の牧師になるまでの過程」について報告いたします。日本基督教団の教師 は「補教師」と「正教師」に分けられます。一般的には「正教師」を「牧師」と称しますので、牧師になるまでの過程と言えば、信徒から 補教師になり、そして正教師になるという過程を経ることを意味します。教団には教師検定委員会が置かれており、教師検定委員会によっ て、「補教師検定試験」「正教師検定試験」が実施されます。

「補教師検定試験」を受けることができるのは、日本基督教団で3年以上信徒であるこ とが大前提となります。また、所属教会の教師の推薦および教区の推薦が必要になります(教区の推薦は正教師試験でも必要となりま す)。実際の試験にあたってはどの神学校を終了、または卒業しているかで違いがあります。詳しくは教師検定規則第3条にありますが、簡単に言えば、東京神学大学大学院、同志社大学大学院、関西学院大学大学院を終了した者 が、一般的にAコース受験者と呼ばれ、各々の神学校で必要な学びは終了しているとみなされ、試験科目は「説教」と「教 憲・教規および宗教法人法」が課せられます。

一般的にBコース受験者と呼ばれるのは、東京神学大学神学部、同志社大学神学部、関西学院大学神 学部、教団立神学校の旧専修科(東神大の前進の学校で今はないため今回英訳は省きます)、日本聖書神学校、農村伝道神学校、東京聖書 学校、または教団が認可した神学校の本科(今は存在しないので今回英訳は省きます)を卒業した者たちであり、先の試験 科目に加え、「旧約聖書神学」「新約聖書神学」「旧約聖書釈義」「新約聖書釈義」が課せられます。「認可神学校を出ていない人には、Bコースに準じて取得単位により、試験科目が課されます。(まだ翻訳されていません)」

近年、神学校を経ないで牧師になることを希望される受験者が増えてきましたが、これ ら受験者は、いわゆる「Cコース」受験者と呼ばれます。Cコース受験は、年次ごとに受験科目が定められており、決められた年数の間に全ての試験に合格することが求 められています。

ちなみにこの春の補教師検定試験における各神学校の卒業者、修了者の割合は最終学歴 で見た場合、東京神学大学大学院22名、同志社大学大学院1名、関西学院大学大学院4名、日本聖書神学校5名、農村伝道神学校2名、東京聖書学校4名、その他3名(その他の学校で認められる単位をとった人2名、Cコース1名)でした。

いずれかのコースによって合格した者が教団の承認を得た後、教区総会の議決を経て准 允を受け補教師となります。補教師は2年以上伝道に従事した後に正教師試験を受けることが可能になります。また補教師であり、キリス ト教系学校の教師として2年以上働いた者については教師検定委員会の認定によって、試験を受けることができるようになります。

正教師試験にはコースの違いはなく、ごく一部の例外を除けば、全ての者が同じ試験を 受けることになります。試験科目は「教憲・教規および宗教法人法」「説教」「神学論文」「組織神学論文」「旧約聖書神学」「新約聖書 神学」「旧約聖書釈義」「新約聖書釈義」「教会史」となります。

一度ですべてを合格することを誰もが願いますが、全員がすべて合格点に達するわけで はありません。しかし、合格点を得た科目については3年間有効であり、試験は秋と春に行われるので、不合格科目があった場合には、半年後から再試験に臨むこと ができます。

また、補教師試験、正教師試験ともに面接も試験として行われています。面接試験は召 命を問い直す貴重な試験となっていることを追記しておきます。

こうして正教師試験に合格した者が、教団の承認を得た後、教区総会の議決を経て按手 礼を領し、日本基督教団の正教師、すなわち牧師となります。

最後に他教派からの転入について短く記します。他教派からの教師転入の場合には、教団と宣教協約を結んで いるか否か、どのような経歴であるかを総合的に判断して転入審査を行います。その判断によって、補教師転入、正教師転入のいずれかと なり、どの科目を受験するかは、教師検定委員会が判断することになっています。教師転入が認められなかった場合には、補教師試験を受 けることから始めるように勧めています。

教団の牧師になるまでの過程についてはおおむねこのような過程を経ることになります。各国それぞれの教 団、教派で差はあると思いますが、今回、日本基督教団の状況を報告できましたことを幸いに思います。教師検定委員会書記 服部修

【June 2015 No.383】The Resurrection of a Dying Church

by Shibata Fujito, pastor

Narashino Church, Chiba Prefecture, Tokyo District

 

Narashino Church had its beginning as Hirai Church in Tokyo’s Edogawa District. The building was destroyed during World War II, and the name of the church was changed with the move to Narashino in 1947.

 

Before WWII my parents were pastoring Iida Chiku Machi Church in Nagano Prefecture, where I was born. Afterwards my parents moved to Yokohama; they had just moved to Hirai to start a church the year the war began. During the Tokyo air raids on March 10, 1945, Hirai Church was completely destroyed, and with almost nothing but the clothes we were wearing, we moved to our current location in Chiba. That was April 8, 1945.

 

Narashino Church is about a 20-minute walk from Mimomi Station on the Keisei (railroad) Line. The entire area is now residential, but when we moved here, we were surrounded by pine trees. It was a quiet area where squirrels, rabbits, and weasels ran about freely, and egrets even nested in the trees.

 

Of course, there was no electricity, gas, or water service. For water we would go to the rice fields below us and bring water back in buckets balanced on a pole across our shoulders. At night we would use kerosene lamps for light. What we called our house was really a one-room shed that had been repaired. For our roof we used pine branches, and my father built a kitchen.

 

Temporarily, my father made a living by cutting down pine trees and selling stove wood. After cutting down the trees, that area was cleared and cultivated for growing sweet potatoes and upland rice for our food. In due time, my father was able to buy a dairy cow from a farmer in Narita, taking an entire night to walk it home. The milk was to provide protein for the children, but before long, mothers in the neighborhood were coming to buy milk. We added cows one at a time and eventually had a farm with over 50 cows.

 

After Hirai Church was destroyed, my father quickly registered the move and the name change with the Kyodan, and with Kyodan approval, Narashino Church was born in 1947. Having said that, the reality was that worship was held in the pastor’s home, and our family was the worshipping congregation. Christianity enjoyed a “boom” for a short time following the war, and during that time young people would come to worship occasionally, but we were really a church without a congregation.

 

The turning point came in 1980, the year my mother died. My uncle, Pastor Kimura Hachiro, began coming periodically and started the “Joseph Meeting,” which met once a month in our home. My father died two years later, and his dying wish was that Narashino Church would continue. Even though there was practically no church activity, I am sure that my father never lost hope in the resurgence of our church because he continued to pay church apportionments.

 

The opportunity for this hope to be realized came in 1988, when the prayer request of Narashino Church appeared in the May issue of “Shinto no Tomo” (The Believers’ Friend). It stated that the church was without a pastor and that the people hoped to be able to reestablish their church. We received mail from readers across the country, responding to our prayer request. With the encouragement of this response, the laity began anew to pray together for the resurgence of our church.

 

Fortunately, Chiba District Moderator Ando Hajime became the pastor of our church, while continuing his other responsibilities. As a result, our church not only had a name, we had become active again. Following Pastor Ando, we were able to continue weekly worship through the cooperation of pastors Katagiri Chiyo, Machida Hisako, and Machida Shizuo.

 

Soon we began preparations to call a full-time pastor. Although there were only four or five lay members, we built a new church by raising ¥10,000,000 ($100,000) through fundraising, the sale of church bonds, and our offering. Again in 1999, we built a parsonage with about the same amount of money. We did all this without borrowing anything from the bank. The lay members who know of the situation at the time continue to talk about it. “I thought it was a miracle that we could do something like that.” “There were so few of us that we could do nothing. Entrusting everything to God was all we could do.” However, we were still not able to call a full-time pastor. Through God’s guidance, I entered Tokyo Theological Seminary, was called to be the pastor here when I graduated in 1999, and have continued since then.

 

Our membership has grown from the 4 or 5 members at that time to 46 today. We were also able to establish a cemetery and get our legal status as a “religious juridical person.” We continue our ministry now with a strong awareness of our need to entrust everything to God in the midst of our weakness. “God will protect our church,” is a common expression of our congregation. As we continue to pass through troubling times, we welcome the encouragement from churches across the country, and feel nothing but thanksgiving for their help in bringing resurrection to our church. The Shintsudanuma Church and other neighboring churches have continued to be of help to us. “God has made everything beautiful in its time” (Ecclesiastes 3:11a). (Tr. JS)

—From Shinto no Tomo (The Believers’ Friend), April 2015

 

消えかけた教会の灯がよみがえった    柴田福嗣人しばた ふじと/千葉・習志野教会牧師

 

戦災で現在地に移転

習志野教会の前身は東京都江戸川区にあった平井教会です。戦争によって被災し、戦後の47年に習志野に移転して名前を改めました。

私の両親は戦前に長野県の飯田知久町教会で牧師をしており、私はそこで生まれました。両親はその後横浜 に移り、ちょうど太平洋戦争が始まった年に平井に移って開拓を始めました。しかし平井教会は45年3月10日の東京大空襲で全焼 し、私たちはほとんど着の身着のままで千葉の現在地にやって来ました。同年4月8日のことです。

習志野教会は京成線の実籾駅から徒歩で20分ほどのところにあります。一帯は住宅街になっていますが、移転当時は一面松林に囲ま れ、リスや野うさぎ、いたちが飛び跳ね、白鷺が群れをなして木にとまっているようなのどかな場所でした。

もちろん電気もガスも水道もありません。水は下の田んぼの揚水機からバケツに入れて天秤棒でぶら下げて 運び、夜は石油ランプで明かりをとる生活です。家といっても、人から物置小屋をもらって建て直した一部屋だけのもので、松の枝で屋根 を葺き、台所は父が建てました。

当座は松林の木を切って薪にして近所の人に売って生計を立てていましたが、木を切った後は開墾して畑に し、陸稲やサツマイモを植えて食糧としていました。やがて父は成田の農家から乳牛を一頭買い入れ、一晩中歩かせて連れて来ました。子 どもたちにタンパク質を与えるためでしたが、近所のお母さんたちが牛乳を買いに来るようになり、1頭、また1頭と増やしてとうとう50頭ほどの牧場になりました。

教会のほうはというと、平井教会が戦災にあうと父はすぐに教団に移転と名称変更の届けを出し、47年には第2種教会として認可されました。習志野教会の誕生です。とはいえ、実質は牧師 の自宅で牧師一家のみで礼拝を守っていたのです。戦後の一時期キリスト教ブームが起こって村の若者が話を聞きに来たこともありました が、実態は休止状態でした。

 

ただ神さまに委ねて

転機となったのは母が亡くなった80年です。叔父木村八郎牧師が定期的に訪れるようになり、近所に住む信徒を集めて月1回 の「ヨセフ会」という家庭集会をわが家で始めました。また父は翌々年に亡くなりましたが、教会の名前は消さないようにとの遺言があり ました。教会としての活動はなくても負担金を教団に払い続けていた父の思いの中には、いつか教会を再建するとの願いがあったのではな いかと思います。

こうした願いが実現するきっかけになったのが、88年に『信徒の友』の「日毎の糧」に掲載された祈祷課題です。それを読んだ全国の読者か らたくさんの便りが届きました。その便りに励まされて、集っていた何人かの信徒と一緒に教会再建の祈りを始めたのです。

幸い、当時千葉支区長だった安藤肇牧師が兼牧してくださることになり、名実共に習志野教会の活動が再開 されました。その後も片桐千代牧師、町田久子牧師、町田静夫牧師らの協力を得て、とにかく毎週礼拝を守ることができるようになりまし た.

やがて専任の牧師を迎えようということになり、わずか4、5人の信徒でしたが、募金と献金、教会債で1 千万円を集めて会堂を建築しました。また99年にもほぼ同額で牧師館を建てました。銀行からの借り入れはありませんでした。「奇跡 のように思いましたね。そんなことができるんだ、と」「信徒数人で何もできない私たちでしたから、神さまに委ねるしかありませんでし た」と当時を知る信徒は語っています。しかし結局牧師の招聘は実現せずに私が主の導きによって東京神学大学に入り、99年に卒業と同時に招聘されて現在に至ります。

4、5人だった会員は46人となりました。教会墓所も与えられ、宗教法人格も取得できました。何もできないから ただ祈って神さまに委ね続けて今日に至ります。「神さまがこの教会を守ってくださる」が皆の口癖でしたが、さまざまな苦難の道を通り ながら、全国の教会の励ましを受け、教会として復活させていただけたことはただ感謝です。新津田沼教会をはじめ、近隣の教会にも助け られました。

「神のなされることは皆その時にかなって美しい」(口語訳、伝道の書3・11)(信徒の友 4月号 より)