【December 2015 No.385】Missionaries Who Laid the Foundation for Joshi Gakuin

Joshi Gakuin began as Presbyterian Mission Female Seminary, which was founded in 1870 by Julia Dodge Carrothers. Julia was born in the United States in 1845 as the daughter of Richard Dodge, a Presbyterian pastor. Pastor Dodge was a friend of Abraham Lincoln’s in his days as a lawyer in Illinois and served as a military chaplain after Lincoln became president.

 

In April 1869, Julia married Christopher Carrothers in West Virginia. He was scheduled to come to Japan as a missionary of the Presbyterian Church’s Board of Missions. In June of that year, right after the opening of the transcontinental railroad, they traveled across country to the West Coast and departed from San Francisco at the beginning of July. They arrived in Yokohama three weeks later on July 27.

 

In fact, it seems that Julia herself had a strong desire to do mission work in Japan. In The Sunrise Kingdom, published in 1879 after her return to the U.S., she wrote: “The people on shipboard were not favorable to [the] missionary enterprise in Japan. They said that it was contrary to the treaty, and that missionaries had no right to go, as such, to Japan at all. We thought differently, and looked above the treaty to One who has commanded his disciples to go into all the world.”

 

From Yokohama, they moved to Tokyo in mid-October. The following year, in June 1870, Christopher Carrothers and David Thompson jointly rented land at number six in the Tsukiji foreign settlement in Tokyo, and in October a missionary house was completed. It was in this house that Julia began teaching English to female students, and this was the start of Joshi Gakuin. Julia was a well-educated person, also proficient in Greek and German, and it is said that with very little assistance, save for the aid of an interpreter, she also taught natural science, history, biology, moral education, grammar, arithmetic, geography, English conversation, and English composition.

 

However, because Presbyterian Mission Female Seminary was not an officially approved mission board school, in 1873 two women missionaries, Kate M. Youngman and Mary Parke, came to Japan for the purpose of educating females and founded The Girls Boarding School in a different building on the same property. After that, relations between Julia’s husband and other missionaries became strained, and in the end he resigned his missionary post in 1876 and headed for Hiroshima to be an English teacher. As a result, Julia had to close her school. Finding this an unfortunate development, a follower of Julia’s husband, Hara Taneaki, invited Maria T. Pitcher True to Hara Jogakko in the Ginza area of Tokyo, and the students moved to this school.

After teaching at Hara Jogakko for four months, Julia went to Hiroshima but in 1877 returned to her family in the U.S. There she published two books as well as one other in Japan. She died in 1914.

 

Kate M. Youngman, The Girls Boarding School teacher, founded the volunteer group “Kozensha” within the school, taking as her challenge “How can we practice the spirit of Christ in society?” The group remains active to this day. The Girls Boarding School moved and changed its name to Shinsakae Jogakko (Graham Seminary), and in 1878 teachers and students from the already closed Hara Jogakko joined them. Later, Shinsakae Jogakko merged with Sakurai Jogakko, which had been founded in Tokyo’s Chiyoda-ku in 1876, and became Joshi Gakuin in 1890. It is said that the name “Joshi Gakuin” was decided on at a meeting of missionaries in Tokyo who felt that the merger of the two girls’ schools would allow them to invest more money in the new school, and this led to the creation of the current university-level courses.

 

A number of small streams came together into one big river called “Joshi Gakuin.” And at the center of it all was Maria Pitcher True. True came to Japan in 1874. With the belief that Japanese education for women should be in the hands of the Japanese, True became the architect of the foundation of Joshi Gakuin, standing in the shadow of Japanese teachers from Hara Jogakko, Shinsakae Jogakko, Sakurai Jogakko, and then Joshi Gakuin. In addition, True was searching for the kind of education that was needed for Japanese women, and within the school for girls, she set up a training program for nurses and a department of early childhood education as well as a school that allowed women to study while they were working. In addition, she helped start girls’ schools outside Tokyo, similar to extension campuses, and sent graduates there to be teachers.

 

In 2013, a plaque was put up at True’s grave in Aoyama Cemetery. Together with the faded English epitaph on her tombstone were engraved True’s dates (1840-1896), biographical information, and a portion of a talk True gave in 1887. “Be women who feel the pain of neglecting to do your duty and help others as though you have the power to do so.” These words are still the goal of education at Joshi Gakuin. (Tr. DB)

 

—Kajiwara Eriko, Joshi Gakuin Archives

主の約束を信じて─James Curtis Hepburn

明治学院 学院長

 小暮 修也

明治学院は 年に創立された。

明治学院の創立者の一人であるJ.C.ヘボン博士がアメリカのペンシルベ ニア州ミルトンで誕生したのが1815年、今年は生誕200周年になります。

ヘボンの母は外国伝道に関心を抱いて『ミッショナリー・ヘラルド』という宣教師向けの雑誌を購読し、ヘボンも小さい頃からそ の雑誌をよく読んでいたとのことです。16歳でプリンストン 大学の3年に編入し、そこでラ テン語、ギリシャ語、ヘブル語を習得しましたが、これが日本語訳聖書をつくる際に、役立つことになるのです。ヘボンは、さらにペンシ ルバニア大学医学科に入り、1836年には医学博士の学位を授与されました。卒業後、開業医をしていたヘボンは、生 涯の伴侶であるクララ・メリー・リートと出会い、東洋に福音を伝える使命感を確かめ合って結婚いたします。そして、1841年、米国海外伝道協会の要請を受け、新婚旅行を兼ねてシンガポールに旅立ちま す。シンガポール、アモイ、マカオに滞在しますが、クララが健康を害したため、ニューヨークに帰国します。1846年にニューヨークで再び開業しますが、人柄と治療の確かさで4つの病院が繁盛し、当時、ニューヨークで五本の指に入るほどの大金持ちであったと言われています。

そのヘボンは、1883(明治16)年、68歳の時に、次のような手紙を記しています。

 「かつてわたしが、 この未知の国に向かって行こうとして、ニューヨークでの富と楽しみと栄達のあらゆる望みを振り捨てたときに、多くの人々は、私を愚か 者だとあざ笑いました。けれどもわたしは一時たりとも、そのことを後悔したことはありません。これに対してのわれらの主の約束は、わ たしの場合には、満たされてなお余りあります。主は実に私に対して恵み深く、親切であり、またいつくしみ深くありました。ですから、 わたしは主の助けによって死ぬまで主に仕えてきたのです。こうした奉仕のうちに年老いていくことは、何と嬉しいことではありません か。」(た かや高谷みちお道男編訳『ヘボン書簡集』岩波書店、1959年)

 1859(あんせい安政6)年に宣教医として来日したヘボンは、庶民の使う日本語に関心を持ちました。ラテン語、ギリシャ語、ヘブル語、マレー語、中国 語をすでに習得していましたが、日本語は難しかったようです。特に、英米人の参考となる辞書がなく、まず辞書作りを目ざしました。ヘ ボンは散歩に手帳を持ち、いつも「コレハ、ナンデスカ?」と聞き、手帳に書き留めていたと言います。このようにして日本語を編集し、1867(けいおう慶応3)年に『和英語林集成』(A JAPANESE AND ENGLISH DICTIONARY 1867 )という本格的な和英・英和辞典が完成します。この『和英語林集成』は版を重ねますが、 (三版の)表記がヘボン式ローマ字として世界各国の人の発音可能なものになるのです。

1886(明治19)年に三版の版権をまるぜん丸善に譲り、その代金 二千ドルをヘボン塾から発展した明治学院に寄付し、これにより明治学院に初代ヘボン館が建てられます。

また、「何とかして一日でも早く日本人の手に聖書を持たせたい」と願い、ヘボン、S.R.ブラウン、ジェームズ・バラ夫妻、タムソン、D.C.グリーン、おくの奥野まさ昌つな綱、高橋五郎らが協力して聖書の翻訳作業を進めます。そして、1880(明治13)年に新約聖書、1887(明治20)年に旧約聖書の翻訳が 完成します。さらに、1873(明治6)年の「キリシタン禁制 高札撤去」後の1874(明治7)年、晴れて18名で横浜長老公会を設立します。これが現在の横浜し

ろ路教会で、シロとは「救い主」の意味があり、ヘボン夫妻の母教会Shiloh Churchから取られた名前と言われています。

このような目覚しい働きをしたヘボンですが、弟にあてた手紙で「自分はただ普通の能力と学識をもった一個の人間にすぎない。 他の人がなし得ないようなことは何もやっていないのです」と謙虚に記しています。

【December 2015 No.385】Meiji Gakuin Co-founder James Curtis Hepburn— Believing in the Lord’s Promise

This year marks the 200th anniversary of the birth of Dr. J.C. Hepburn, one of the founders of Meiji Gakuin, which was established in 1863. He was born in Milton, Pennsylvania in 1815.

 

Hepburn’s mother was interested in overseas mission work and used to read The Missionary Herald, a magazine for missionaries. Thus, from a young age, Hepburn grew up reading it. At the age of 16, he went to Princeton University for three years, where he studied Latin, Greek, and Hebrew. These proved helpful when he later worked on translating the Bible into Japanese. Hepburn also entered the faculty of medicine at the University of Pennsylvania and received an M.D. degree in 1836. After graduation and while practicing medicine, he met Clara Mary Leete, who was to become his lifelong partner. They were married after confirming that they both felt a calling to share the gospel in the Orient. In 1841, they were accepted as missionaries by the Board of Foreign Missions of the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.A. and, as part of their honeymoon, traveled to Singapore. They spent time in Singapore, Amoy, and Macao but Clara became ill, and they ended up returning to New York. In 1846, Hepburn began practicing medicine again in New York, and his personality and skillful treatment caused his practice to flourish in all four hospitals where he worked. As a result, he became known as one of the richest men in New York.

 

In 1839, at the age of 68, Hepburn wrote the following letter.

 

“Year ago, when I was thinking of coming to this little-known country, I threw away all hope of finding wealth, pleasure or high position in New York and was laughed at and called a fool by many. But I have never, for even an instant, regretted my decision. The Lord has kept his promise, and I am filled to overflowing. The Lord has shown grace, kindness, and deep love to me. With the Lord’s help I will serve the Lord until death. Is it not a joy to continue to serve even as we grow older?” Hebon shokan shu (Letters of J.C.Hepburn)*

 

When he came to Japan as a medical missionary in 1859, Hepburn showed an interest in the Japanese language spoken by the common people. He had already learned Latin, Greek, Hebrew, Malay, and Chinese, but he found Japanese difficult. There was no dictionary for North American or British people, and so he saw making a dictionary as one of his first tasks. He carried a notebook with him and wrote down the name of everything he saw after asking the people how to say it in Japanese. He edited the information and completed A Japanese and English Dictionary in 1867. The dictionary was republished several times, and in the third edition the Romanization that Hepburn developed enabled people all over the world to pronounce Japanese.

In 1886, Hepburn sold the third edition’s copyright to the Maruzen Publishing Company for $2,000 and contributed that to Meiji Gakuin, which had grown out of the Hepburn school. This money was used to construct the first Hepburn Hall.

 

Hepburn also wanted to put the Bible into the hands of Japanese people as soon as possible, and so with the help of Samuel Robbins Brown, Mr. & Mrs. John Craig Ballagh, David Thompson, Daniel Crosby Green, Okuno Masatsuna, and Takahashi Goro, he began work on a translation. In 1880 the New Testament, and, in 1887, the Old Testament were both completed. Also, after the edict banning Christianity was lifted in 1873, the Yokohama Presbyterian Church was finally and joyfully established in 1874 with 18 members. This is the present day Yokohama Shiro Church. The characters for “shiro” literally mean “pointing the way,” and thus has the meaning of “savior.” It is thought to have come from the home church of the Hepburns in the United States, which was “Shiloh Church.”

In a letter to his younger brother, Hepburn, who had done such amazing work, writes humbly, “I am just one person with no more than ordinary knowledge and ability. I have done nothing that anyone else could not have accomplished.” (Tr. RW)

 

—Kogure Shuya, chancellor

Meiji Gakuin

 

*This is an English translation of the Japanese translation of the original words, taken from a book entitled Hebon shokan shu (Letters of J.C.Hepburn), 1959, edited by Takaya Michio.

主の約束を信じて─James Curtis Hepburn

明治学院 学院長

 小暮 修也

明治学院は 年に創立された。

明治学院の創立者の一人であるJ.C.ヘボン博士がアメリカのペンシルベ ニア州ミルトンで誕生したのが1815年、今年は生誕200周年になります。

ヘボンの母は外国伝道に関心を抱いて『ミッショナリー・ヘラルド』という宣教師向けの雑誌を購読し、ヘボンも小さい頃からそ の雑誌をよく読んでいたとのことです。16歳でプリンストン 大学の3年に編入し、そこでラ テン語、ギリシャ語、ヘブル語を習得しましたが、これが日本語訳聖書をつくる際に、役立つことになるのです。ヘボンは、さらにペンシ ルバニア大学医学科に入り、1836年には医学博士の学位を授与されました。卒業後、開業医をしていたヘボンは、生 涯の伴侶であるクララ・メリー・リートと出会い、東洋に福音を伝える使命感を確かめ合って結婚いたします。そして、1841年、米国海外伝道協会の要請を受け、新婚旅行を兼ねてシンガポールに旅立ちま す。シンガポール、アモイ、マカオに滞在しますが、クララが健康を害したため、ニューヨークに帰国します。1846年にニューヨークで再び開業しますが、人柄と治療の確かさで4つの病院が繁盛し、当時、ニューヨークで五本の指に入るほどの大金持ちであったと言われています。

そのヘボンは、1883(明治16)年、68歳の時に、次のような手紙を記しています。

 「かつてわたしが、 この未知の国に向かって行こうとして、ニューヨークでの富と楽しみと栄達のあらゆる望みを振り捨てたときに、多くの人々は、私を愚か 者だとあざ笑いました。けれどもわたしは一時たりとも、そのことを後悔したことはありません。これに対してのわれらの主の約束は、わ たしの場合には、満たされてなお余りあります。主は実に私に対して恵み深く、親切であり、またいつくしみ深くありました。ですから、 わたしは主の助けによって死ぬまで主に仕えてきたのです。こうした奉仕のうちに年老いていくことは、何と嬉しいことではありません か。」(た かや高谷みちお道男編訳『ヘボン書簡集』岩波書店、1959年)

 1859(あんせい安政6)年に宣教医として来日したヘボンは、庶民の使う日本語に関心を持ちました。ラテン語、ギリシャ語、ヘブル語、マレー語、中国 語をすでに習得していましたが、日本語は難しかったようです。特に、英米人の参考となる辞書がなく、まず辞書作りを目ざしました。ヘ ボンは散歩に手帳を持ち、いつも「コレハ、ナンデスカ?」と聞き、手帳に書き留めていたと言います。このようにして日本語を編集し、1867(けいおう慶応3)年に『和英語林集成』(A JAPANESE AND ENGLISH DICTIONARY 1867 )という本格的な和英・英和辞典が完成します。この『和英語林集成』は版を重ねますが、 (三版の)表記がヘボン式ローマ字として世界各国の人の発音可能なものになるのです。

1886(明治19)年に三版の版権をまるぜん丸善に譲り、その代金 二千ドルをヘボン塾から発展した明治学院に寄付し、これにより明治学院に初代ヘボン館が建てられます。

また、「何とかして一日でも早く日本人の手に聖書を持たせたい」と願い、ヘボン、S.R.ブラウン、ジェームズ・バラ夫妻、タムソン、D.C.グリーン、おくの奥野まさ昌つな綱、高橋五郎らが協力して聖書の翻訳作業を進めます。そして、1880(明治13)年に新約聖書、1887(明治20)年に旧約聖書の翻訳が 完成します。さらに、1873(明治6)年の「キリシタン禁制 高札撤去」後の1874(明治7)年、晴れて18名で横浜長老公会を設立します。これが現在の横浜し

ろ路教会で、シロとは「救い主」の意味があり、ヘボン夫妻の母教会Shiloh Churchから取られた名前と言われています。

このような目覚しい働きをしたヘボンですが、弟にあてた手紙で「自分はただ普通の能力と学識をもった一個の人間にすぎない。 他の人がなし得ないようなことは何もやっていないのです」と謙虚に記しています。

【December 2015 No.385】Discriminated-against Buraku Coalition Meets in Germany

by Torii Shinpei, delegate                                                                                                   Buraku Liberation Center

 

The discriminated-against Buraku in Japan, the Dalit of India (outcasts), and Germany’s Sinti Roma held a conference, Sept. 24 -27, 2015, at the Christian Studies Institute on the outskirts of Stuttgart, Germany to create international solidarity. This occurred through the invitation and sponsorship of the Southwestern Germany Christian Gospel Council, a committee of the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS).

 

The Buraku Liberation Center sent Mizuno Matsuo and I, Torii Shinpei, to Germany as delegates. Mizuno Matsuo is the first intern from the BLC and is currently working at the Tokyo office of the Buraku Liberation League. I am a teacher at Omi Kyodaisha Elementary School, but I also have heavy responsibilities as the chairperson of the Steering Committee at the Buraku Liberation Center.

 

The conference began every morning with worship and continued with sharing about the historical backgrounds of each community together with the realities of discrimination each face. To this was added reports as to how education is being directed towards providing solutions to these issues, all with the goal in mind of deepening our mutual understanding. More than anything else, however, at this time of marking 70 years since the end of World War II, it was a great blessing to deepen the joint bonds of respect for human dignity that transcends nationality.

 

Having taken part in this international conference, I have several thoughts.

1) I am grateful for EMS’s concern and the invitation coming from that.

 

2) Related to this concern, due to EMS’s gift of funds, as the forerunner of this conference, there is a connection to the joy of issuing the Japanese-English bilingual publication of the Buraku Liberation’s sermon collection, Let There Be Light on Humanity, for which I am grateful.

 

3) In the midst of a long history of the continuing condition of discrimination and the church’s struggle to deal with this, I think coming to understand that the Dalit of India, Germany’s Sinti Roma, and the discriminated-against Buraku of Japan have areas in common as well as quite different situations is very important for future thinking about international solidarity.

 

4) Also, I sensed that this kind of work would be an incentive to further the responsibility being shouldered by the Kyodan’s Buraku Liberation Center.

 

5) Finally, it was a great privilege to gather together with priceless persons, such as the family of Bobby, Sinti Roma’s guitarist; Paul Schneiss, who formerly served as a Kyodan missionary, and his wife Kiyoko; and all the staff of EMS. I am earnestly thinking that I want to continue to kindle the flames of solidarity in the Lord from here on as well. (Tr. RT)

部落解放センター ドイツ訪問

日本の被差別部落とインドのダリッド(アウトカースト)、そしてドイツのシンチ・ロマSinti Romaが国際的な連帯をつくろうと2015年9月24日から27日 にかけて、ドイツのシュタットゲルト郊外のキリスト教研修施設で協議会を行った。これはEMS(Evangelical Mission in Solodarity)の主催・招聘によるものである。 部落解放センターは水野松男さんと私、鳥井新平を代表としてドイツに送ってくださった。水野松男さんは部落解放センターの第一回研修生 で、現在は部落解放同盟東京都連で働いている。私は、近江兄弟社小学校で教員をしながら、部落解放センターの活動委員長の重責を担わせて いただいている。 協議会は毎朝、礼拝からはじまり、それぞれの歴史的経緯や差別の実態、それにむけての教育における取り組み等の様子が報告と対話を織り交 ぜながら進められ、お互いの理解を深めることができた。なによりもまず、戦後70年の節目のこの時に、国を超えて人間の尊厳を尊重し合う連帯の絆を深められたことは一番の恵みで あった。今回の国際会議に出席していくつかの思いをもった。
1)EMSのご配慮により招聘されたことへの感謝。
2)このことは、今回の会議に先駆けてEMSの 献金により、部落解放説教集「人間に光あれ」の日英両文が出版できたことの喜びにつながり、有り難い。
3)インドのダリッド、ドイツのシンチロマ、日本の被差別部落と長い歴史の中で差別を受け続けている状況と教会におけ る取り組みなど、共通する部分とかなり状況が違う部分とを理解することができたということは、今後の国際連帯を考える上でとても大切なポ イントだと思った。
4)そしてそのような働きを今後も教団部落解放センターが担っていくという責任とやり甲斐を感じた。
5)最後に何ものにも代え難い人との出会いは、大きな収穫だった。シンチロマのギタリスト、Bobbyの家族、以前教団の宣教師として働かれた ポール・シュナイツさんと清子さん、EMSの スタッフの皆さん。主の交わりにあってこれからも連帯の火を燃やし続けたいと切に思った。(鳥井新平報)

【December 2015 No.385】Workshop on Preaching Encourages New Pastors

A joint Summer Workshop of the Task Force on Evangelism Promotion was held in conjunction with the “C-course Assembly” assisted by the Commission on Ministry, Aug. 11-13, with Tokyo Union Theological Seminary providing the meeting place.

 

“C-course” refers to ministerial candidates covered by Article 3, Section 6 of the ministerial examination regulations. C-course is for candidates not attending a seminary or theological school. This workshop was for C-course examinees and for those who have been licensed five years or less. The total number is believed to be almost 300 people, with 28 of them participating in this workshop. Including staff, there were a total of 45 people in attendance.

 

The focus of this year’s workshop was on preaching, something that had not been done for five years. Koizumi Ken, Associate Professor of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, gave a three-hour lecture entitled “Discovering and Overcoming the Challenge of Preaching.” Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo’s lecture, “Preaching that communicates the faith based in the atonement,” examined the central challenge of preaching. Also, Professor Ishikawa Ritsu of Doshisha University Department of Theology lectured on “How to Read the Bible,” through which participants learned about the attitude that preachers should have as well as some tactics for Bible reading. In addition, Narita Iushi, pastor of Banjo Church, took up the concrete challenge of how to read and preach from the Gospel of John in his lecture, “The Gospel of John as Inspiration for a sermon.”

 

In the evening, retired instructor Kato Tsuneaki gave a lecture entitled ”Living message makes people alive,” in which he described his own experiences as a preacher. Also, in his lecture on “Building the Church through preaching,” Pastor Ogushi Makoto of Chiba Hokuso Church spoke of his church planting experience, when he was first broken by the Word of God and then healed.

 

During the case study, sermons by well-known preachers were anonymously introduced and then analyzed and evaluated. This was followed by a lively discussion and exchange of opinions. The comments given were based on each person’s viewpoint about what a sermon is. During the short time of this discussion, the participants felt released from the daily pressure of preaching. However, it also became very clear that many participants have been suffering from a complex about preaching sermons.

 

During the morning and evening worship services, Pastors Ojima Seishi and Osumi Keizo gave the participants encouragement and comfort.(Tr. KT)

 

—Miyamoto Yoshihiro, pastor

Numazu Church, Tokai District

From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4827

第6回夏期研修会

 

 

 

8月11日から13日にかけて、伝道推進室主催・教師委員会後援の「第6回夏期研修会(合同開催第9回Cコースの会)」が東京神学大学に会場を提供してもらい開催された。

この研修会は、教師検定規則第3条6項による者(いわゆるCコース及びその受験者)と准允後 5年までの者の研修会である。その総数は300人弱いると思われるが、参加者は28名。スタッフを含め総勢45名であった。

主題は5年ぶりに「説教」を取り上げ、「説教の課題の発見と克服」と題して、東京神学大学小泉健准教授による3時間に及ぶ講演があった。

しかし、それだけではなく、説教の中心課題を見据えるために「贖罪信仰を語り伝える説教」と題して石橋秀 雄教団議長に、また、「聖書の読み方」と題して同志社大学神学部石川立教授の講演を受け、参加者は説教者としての姿勢と聖書を読む工夫を学んだ。更に、具体的にヨハネ福音書を どのように読み、説教するかの課題のために「説教の源泉としてのヨハネ福音書」と題して成田いうし牧師(磐上)の講演も行われた。

牧会夜話では、加藤常昭隠退教師によって「生きた言葉、生かす言葉」と題して説教者としての自身の原体験を、また、大串眞牧師(千葉北総)によって「説教による教会形成」と題して、開拓伝道の中で御言葉によって打ち砕かれ、立ち上がらされた 経験を語ってもらった。

ケース・スタディでは、よく知られている説教者の説教(複数)を、名を伏せて批評してもらった。活発な意 見が交わされ、各自の説教観からの批評が集中した。このことは参加者が、日頃、自分が説教をすることの重圧から解放されるひと時と なったが、説教に対するコンプレックスを抱えている現実があることをも浮き彫りにした。

朝夕の礼拝では、今回も小島誠志、大隅啓三両牧師から慰めを受けた。(宮本義弘報) 新報4827号

【December 2015 No.385】National Laity Conference Held After 65-year Lapse

The Conference of the Kyodan National Laity Organization was held June 9 at Fujimicho Church in Tokyo, thus reinstituting a previously existing but disbanded organization.

 

After thoroughgoing preparation, the Kyodan National Laity Organization was reorganized. With a joyous desire to share the good news and celebrate communion together, 212 people, including 26 ministers, gathered. This was sponsored by the Kyodan National Laity Organization and supported by the Taskforce on Evangelism Promotion.

 

The last meeting of the former organization was held 65 years ago, in April 1950, at Fujimicho Church and Tokyo Union Theological Seminary. The All–Japan Laity Conference was organized in 1941, the year the Kyodan was founded, and was called the Christian Laity Conference. After World War II, in 1947, delegates from each Kyodan district formed an organizing committee, with the aim of promoting fellowship, training, and cooperation among Kyodan laity. Its most notable contribution was the creation of a cooperative church building fund and radio evangelism, but in the 1960s it gradually became inactive, and by 1970, it had ceased to exist.

 

Prior to the reestablishment of the national organization, lay members of Tokyo District created the Tokyo Laity Organization in 2002. At each Kyodan Annual Conference, they met and held preparation meetings. In 2009, a laity conference to commemorate 150 years of Protestant evangelism in Japan was held. This all led to 130 people agreeing to be the organizing members of the new National Laity Organization at a “Lay Fellowship Meeting” held in October 2014.

 

At the center of this call for the National Laity Organization was the desire to share the grace of receiving Holy Communion. At the meeting on June 9, Fujimori Yuki, pastor of Fujimicho Church, led a Communion Service. Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo and Yamakita Nobuhisa, a former Kyodan moderator, gave greetings as guest speakers, stating that a burning spirit of evangelism among the laity is the hope of the Kyodan. Akudo Mitsuharu, pastor of Takinogawa Church in Tokyo, said in his presentation that the hope for the reconstruction of the church is that the laity will positively carry out their task as “priest, prophet, and supporter of the King.”

 

I heard that the reason the meeting was held on a weekday during the day was in hope that pastors would be able to participate. However, to raise and support the next generation, meetings on Saturday or evenings should be considered so that laypersons in all kinds of situations can participate.

 

Mochizuki Katsuhito, president of Kyodan National Laity Organization and Member of Kamakura Yukinoshita Church in Kanagawa District, comments as follows:

 

By the year 2030, it is predicted that the population of Japan will decrease to 110 million. Forty percent of the resident communicant members are 70 or older, and so it is predicted that in 7 years Kyodan membership will have declined by 12% and after 15 years by 17%. Likewise, 20% of churches are presently without a full-time pastor. It is not God’s will to have the church decline like this, and so it is in the midst of this trial that this National Laity Organization was founded. As we sing “Victory in the Life of the Resurrection,” it is our fervent desire to work together with our pastors to fulfill the mission of the Church. (Tr. JT)

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)

September 2015 issue

「全国信徒会」半世紀ぶりに開かれる

6月9日 火曜日、東京・富士見町教 会を会場に、「教団全国信徒会結成第1回 信徒大会」が行われた。これは一度失われた組織が再結成された。

周到な準備あっての再結成

 「福音伝道に喜びをもって、みんなで集まって聖餐を祝お う」との呼びかけの下、当日は全国より212名(う ち牧師26名)が 参加した。主催は日本基督教団全国信徒会、後援は教団伝道推進室。 教団における「全国信徒大会」の開催は、1950年4月 に富士見町教会と東京神学大学を会場に行われて以来65年 ぶりのこととなる。

 「教団全国信徒会」の歩みは、教団成立の年の1941年 秋に結成された「日本基督教信徒会」にさかのぼる。戦後、各教区選出の信徒会設立委員により、47年 に再組織、以来「教団所属信徒間の親睦修養並びに協力を図ること」を目的として活動が続けられた。「会堂共済組合」や「ラジオ伝道」 への貢献は特筆すべきことであったが、60年 代に入ると低迷。70年 には実体が失われてしまった。

 全国信徒会再結成に先立って、「東京信徒会」が東京教区信 徒有志により2002年に結成された。同会は06年 より教団総会の度に「信徒交流の集い」を準備運営し、09年には「日本伝道150年 記念信徒大会」を開催した。そうした積み重ねの中で、昨年10月 の「信徒交流の集い」において、130名 の発起人により「全国信徒会再結成」が宣言されるに至った。

教会再建の一翼を担う

 信徒大会の中心には「聖餐の恵みにあずかること」を据えた いとの願いから、藤盛勇紀牧 師(富 士見町教会)に よる司式で聖餐礼拝が行われた。石橋秀雄教団総会議長、山北宣久前 教団総会議長が来賓としてあいさつに立ち、「伝道に燃える信徒の群れの新しい出発は教団の希望」との期待を語った。その後、阿久戸光 晴(牧師(東京・滝野川教会)が講演で、「祭司として、預言者として、王の職務を支える者 として」の役割を信徒が積極的に担っていくことに、教会再建の希望があると結んだ。

 平日昼間の開催となったことについて、牧師の参加をも得て 進めたいとの思いがあったと聞く。しかし、次世代を担う信徒の育成、交わりの形成へと進めるためにも、土曜日や夕刻からの開催など、 あらゆる層の信徒が結集できるような工夫をしていくことが課題と言えるだろう。

「主にある喜び」を運びたい

望月克仁教団全国信徒会会長(神奈川・鎌倉雪ノ下教会員)

2030年 問題では日本の人口が1億1000万 人に減ると言われています。教団現住陪餐会員の70歳 以上の構成比は現在40% に達し、信徒数は7年 後には12% 減、15年 後には17% 減と予測されます。無牧の教会が2割 に達しようとしていますが、教会の衰退はみ心ではありません。この試練の中で全国信徒会が立ちあがりました。「復活の生命の勝利」を 高らかに賛美し、福音宣教のために牧師を助けて元気に戦い抜きたいと祈り願います。信徒の友編集部 (信徒の友9月 号より)