【December 2015 No.385】The God Who is Human

by Lutz Drescher Secretary,                                                                                         East Asia Liaison Desk                                                                                                   Evangelical Mission in Solidarity

 

The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him ‘Immanuel,’ which means ‘God with us.’” (Matt. 1:23)

 

It sounds like blasphemy to claim that the eternal, all-transcending God, who is far beyond everything we can ever think or imagine, is “human.” But this is exactly what happened at the very first Christmas more than 2,000 years ago. God became human.

 

God as the Child God showed himself not as a hero gifted with supernatural power but just the contrary. The Bible tells us that he became a small baby, utterly helpless, in need of love and care. “In need of love and care.” That’s not accidental; that’s God’s way of making it easy for us to love him. My experience while traveling through many countries is that wherever there is a small child, it brings a smile to the faces of the people; it makes them soft. The helplessness of small children generates tenderness and the wish to protect and to embrace. This is one of the ways in which the inconceivable God encounters us and enables us to love (him).

 

The God With Us God revealed himself in Christ Jesus and became fully human, sharing our life from the cradle to the grave, or in Christ’s case, to the cross. We only receive the full understanding of Christmas at Good Friday and Easter. The cross is the event in which we know that God is bearing and sharing in himself the wounds, the pain, the suffering of human beings. God is truly “Immanuel,” and thus really is “God with us.” When we look at the cross and Christ’s passion, we start to understand that God is not an apathetic God but a sympathetic and compassionate God. God is in solidarity with humankind. God himself is weeping wherever people weep, and he wants to be near to all who suffer. At Easter we celebrate the hope that suffering and death will not have the last word, that in midst of suffering there can be comfort, and that death is transformed into new life.

 

Three years ago our mission organization changed its name without changing its acronym: EMS. The “S,” which formerly stood for “Southwest Germany,” now stands for “Solidarity.” Instead of continuing as a regional mission society with partners in many parts of the world, the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity is now an international fellowship with 28 members in ten countries, the Kyodan being one of them. In this fellowship, we share our life concerns, we share sorrow and joy, we pray for each other, and we try to be in solidarity with each other.

 

The churches in the Middle East are extremely grateful for the donation they received from the Kyodan for their work with Syrian refugees. They received this gift as a sign showing them that people in Japan are concerned, are praying for them, and are in solidarity with them. Likewise, the members in the EMS fellowship, and especially the church in Wuerttemberg, were deeply shocked to see pictures of the devastation of East Japan Disaster. We have a special concern for the victims of radiation caused by the nuclear meltdown resulting from the tsunami.

 

When we visited the Tohoku Region three months after the disaster, we were asked: “Please don’t forget us when the CNN effect is over.” We still take this request seriously even today, and each one of the numerous visits of EMS staff and members and the moving encounters we have reminds us of this again and again. We remember those who have lost their loved ones. We feel with those who have lost their homes and especially with those who will not be able to return to the place where they and their ancestors once lived. Even after moving to new housing, in a way they remain “homeless.”

 

And we are deeply moved when we meet parents who worry about the effects that radiation exposure will have on the lives of their children. We pray for all these people and for those who are standing beside them to strengthen and comfort them. And last but not least, we are grateful to God that he has provided funds which enabled us to support the wonderful work done in Kamaishi, Ishinomaki, Sendai, and elsewhere.

 

All that we are doing together is a witness to the compassionate love of God Immanuel. It is a small sign that God is really with us and in solidarity with us. It may be that all we are doing is a way of celebrating Christmas and hoping for Easter all year long.

「見よ、 おとめが身ごもって男の子を産む。その名はインマヌエルと呼ばれる。」この名は、「神は我々と共におられる」という意味である。(マ タイ.1・23)

私達が考えたり、想像出来る全ての事をはるかに超 えた、永遠で全てを超越した神が“人間”であると主張することは、冒涜に聞こえるかもしれません。しかし, この事がまさに二千年以上前の最初のクリスマスに起こった事なのです。神は 人間となられました。

神の子としての神は、天から与えられた超自然的な 力を持ったヒーローとしてではなく全く反対の形で御自身を示されました。聖書は、彼は全く無力で、愛と保護を必要としている小さな赤ん坊 となったと私達に語ります。“愛と保護を必要としている”。それは偶然の出来事ではないのです:つまり、私達が彼を容易く愛せるようにと の、神様の取り計らいなのです。多くの国々へ旅をしている間の私の経験では、小さな子供がいる所はどこでも子供たちは人々の顔に笑顔をも たらし、人々にやさしさをつくりだします。小さな子供の無力さは、やさしさや、守ったり抱き締めてあげようという気持ちを生み出します。 此の事は、想像を超えた神が私達と出会い、私達が神を愛せるようにする道の一つなのです。

我々と共 におられる神は、イエス・キリストの中に御自身を現されました、そして ゆりかごから墓場まで、キリストの場合は十字架に至るまでですが、私達と同じように生き、完全な人間となられました。聖金曜日とイース ターにのみ、私達は、クリスマスの意味を完全に理解できるのです。

十字架の出来事において私達は、神が人間としての 傷、痛み、苦しみを神ご自身の中に背負い分かち合う事を知ります。

神は, 真に“インマヌエル”であり、そしてこの事により現実に“神は我々と共におられる”のです。我々は十字架とキリストの受難を見る時に、神は無関心ではなく思いやりがあり憐れみ深い方だと理解し始めま す。神は人間と連帯します。神ご自身は泣く者と共に泣き、そして全ての苦しむ人々に寄り添う事を望んでおられます。イースターには私達は 苦悩や死が最後の言葉ではないという希望や、苦悩の最中にも安らぎが有るという希望、そして死は新しい命に生まれ変わるという希望を称え ます。

三年前に私達の伝道組織は、EMSの頭文字は変え ずに名前を変えました。“S”は“Southwest Germany ” に由来していましたが、現在は “ Solidarity(連帯)”に由来しています。世界の多くの地域のパートナーとの地域の伝道集団として存続する代わりに,「連帯する伝道集団(Evangelical Mission in Solidarity)」は, 今や十か国、28のメンバー、教団もそのうちの一つですが、による国際的な 団体です。此の団体で私達は、我々の生命への関心、悲しみと喜びを共有し、お互いに祈り、そしてお互いの連帯に努めます。

中東の教会の群は、シリア難民の為に教団から受け た基金を大変感謝しています。彼らはこの贈り物を日本の関係者が彼らの為に祈り、連帯の印として受け取っています。同様にEMSのメンバー達、そして特にウイッテンベルグの教会は、東日本大震災の惨状の写真をみて大変なショックを受けました。私 達は津波による核芯の溶解(メルトダウン)に起因する放射線の被害者を特に心配しています。

私達が震災の三か月後に東北地方を訪れた時、私達 は「CNN放送による効果が過ぎ去っても私達を忘れないで下さい。」と問われました。私達は今もこの問を真剣に受け止め、EMSのスタッフやメンバーによる相当数の訪問の都度、心を動かす出会いがあり、私達にこの事を何度も思い起こさせます。私 達は愛する人を失っている人達を想い出します。私達は家や又特に彼らや彼らの先祖がかつて住んだ場所に二度と戻ることが出来ない人達を思 います。たとえ新しい家に移っても、ある意味では彼らは依然“ホームレス”なのです。

そして私達は放射線の被爆が彼らの子供達の命にま で及んでいる事を心配する両親に会うと深く心が動かされます。私達は全てのこの様な人達と、彼らに寄り添い勇気づけ慰める人達の為に祈り ます。最後に大切なことですが、私達は、釜石、石巻、仙台、その他の所で行われている素晴らしい活動を、私達が支援できるようにと、神様 が基金を与えてくださっている事を感謝いたします。

私達が共に行っている全ての事は、インマヌエルの 神の憐れみ深い愛を証ししています。神が本当に私達と共にいて私達と連帯しておられることの、小さな徴です。私達がしている事のすべては クリスマスの一つの祝い方であり、一年中、イースターを待ち望むという事なかもしれません。

【December 2015 No.385】Home for Pastors and Spouses Marks 5-years since Merger

Nijinoie/Shin’aiso is the Kyodan home for retired pastors and spouses. Five years have passed since the merger of Shin Aiso, founded in 1959 by Tokyo District, and Niji no Ie, founded in 1973 for retied women pastors and the widows of pastors in Tateyama, Chiba by the National Federation of Kyodan Women’s (NFKW) Societies.

 

The home is located in beautiful natural surroundings on the outskirts of Ome City in Tokyo. Pastors who dedicated their lives to mission, following the call of the Lord, can lead a peaceful life with their spouses here after retirement.

The home can accommodate 27 residents, and currently over 20 people are living there. The average age is 84, and the oldest resident is 93. As of this year, this 93-year-old man has been living at the home for 28 years. Recently he said, “My last church was in the Tohoku area, and one of the female members whom I baptized there was swept away and died in the tsunami at the time of the East Japan Disaster.” My fervent hope is that this pastor, who shepherded his flock through difficult times, will be filled with God’s comfort and rest in his retirement.

 

A day at Nijinoie/Shin’aiso begins with a worship service in the dining room before breakfast. On Sundays, worship is held in the chapel, with resident clergy or clergy from outside giving the sermon.

 

“Here, everyone is part of God’s family” are words that are often heard. Even though they are becoming older and worry about their health, residents receive conscientious care from the staff and spend their days peacefully. The monthly birthday party is a special occasion with a special menu and the singing of favorite hymns of the birthday celebrants, who also receive birthday cards from the director.

 

The operation is administered by a steering committee appointed by Kyodan from the Tokyo and West Tokyo districts and from the NFKW’s Societies, among others. Because the residents are specified, the home cannot receive public support and instead relies on contributions from churches, schools, groups and individual Christians throughout the country. (Tr. DB)

From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times) No. 4827

—Iizawa Hiroko, member

Nijinoie/Shin’aiso Steering Committee

「にじのいえ信愛荘」Nijino’ie/Shin’aisoは日本基督教団の隠退教職ホ―ムです。1959年、東京教区によって設立された「信愛荘」と、1973年、全国教会婦人会連合(National Federation of Kyodan Women’s Societies)によって館山市に設立された「にじのいえ」が合併 して5年が経ちました。

ホームは、美しい自然に囲まれた青梅市の郊外にあります。主から の召命に従い、生涯を宣教に捧げられた牧師とその配偶者が、隠退後の生活を平安のうちに過ごすことができるよう備えられました。

 

ホームは27名が入居でき、常時20数 名の方が生活しておられます。平均年齢は84歳、最高齢は93歳です。最高齢のこの方は今年で28年を過ごしておられますが、あの日、静かに語られました。「東日本大震災の時、最終任地の東北の教会で洗礼を授け た姉妹が津波で流され、天に召された」と…厳しい状況の中で伝道牧会に励まれた牧者の老後が、主からの慰めと憩いに満ちたものである よう心から願います。

 

荘での一日は、朝食前に食堂で持たれる礼拝ではじまります。日曜 日には、礼拝堂で主日礼拝が守られ、説教は在荘の教職と外部からの教職が担当します。

「ここは皆、神の家族です」とよくおっしゃいます。年齢を重ね、 健康不安を抱える中で、スタッフの誠実なお世話を受けながら、安らかに過ごしておられます。毎月行われる誕生会は特別メニューで、お 祝いの方の愛唱讃美歌を歌い、荘長からのお祝いカードなど、祝福に満ちた会となります。

 

にじのいえ信愛荘の管理運営は、教団が委嘱した運営委員会steering committee(東 京教区、西東京教区、全国教会婦人会連合、等)によってなされています。入居者を特定しているため、公的援助は受けられず、維持運営 は、全国のキリスト者、教会、学校、団体等からの献金によって支えられています。

この度、献金用の袋を用意しました。どうぞご利用くださいまし て、尚一層、ご支援の輪を広げていただけますよう、心よりお願い申し上げます。

(飯澤弘子報/教団新報4827号より)

「にじのいえ信愛荘」運営委員

【December 2015 No.385】Executive Council Considers Financial and Procedural Issues

The fourth Executive Council meeting of the present 39th Kyodan General Assembly biennial period was held Oct. 19-20 at Fujimicho Church in Tokyo, with all 30 members in attendance. General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo reported on the progress of the earthquake refitting of the Japan Christian Center, saying that it was scheduled to be complete by the latter part of February 2016. He also reported on the questions posed by Higashi Chugoku and Nishi Chugoku districts concerning “social insurance” (a range of insurance related to society, including health, unemployment, nursing care, etc.) In response, council member Okamoto Tomoyuki replied that it is mandatory for entities with “juridical person” (legal) status to take out such insurance, so the Kyodan must do so. Moderator Ishibashi Hideo replied that this would be done in consultation with General Secretary Nagasaki.

 

Aizawa Toyoshige, chair of the commission on finance, then gave an explanation of the 2016 Kyodan budget. Given the difficult financial situation of many churches, it was proposed that the apportionments be reduced from the previous year’s level by two percent, a total of 5.21 million yen. Likewise, many of the expenditures, including such items as support for other organizations like the National Christian Council in Japan, the World Council of Churches, and the Christian Conference of Asia, would be reduced by ten percent. In response to this, Vice-moderator Sasaki Michio, representing the core leadership, proposed an amendment to the effect that while the ten percent reductions were in general unavoidable, when it comes to support for international bodies, reducing the present total contribution of 974,000 yen needs to be reconsidered. He suggested that the direct contributions in the budgeted income, which is two million yen, could be increased to three million, with the core leadership taking the initiative to raise those extra funds. Aizawa supported this amendment, and after Moderator Ishibashi led some discussion on it, the proposed budget as amended was passed.

 

Other items reported on were the establishment of a committee to publish records of the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters for the East Japan Disaster, the totals of the fundraising in response to that disaster (10,157,558,567 yen within Japan and 402,866,286 yen overseas), and the plans for the International Youth Peace Conference to be held in Kyoto in March 2017.

 

Concerning the plans for celebrating the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, Preparation Committee Chair Okamura Hisashi reported on the overall plans, including the commemorative worship service and various events planned for children, students, youth, lay persons, and women. Likewise, he reported on plans for sending a delegation to overseas events.

 

Commission on Ministerial Qualifications Chair Takasawa Takumi reported on the fall examinations for ministers, saying that there were 61 applicants who sat for the exams to qualify as ministers in full standing, of which 36 passed and 25 did not. Likewise, 19 persons took the exams for licensed preacher status, of which only 4 passed, with 4 others not passing and 11 others still in process. Concerning the fact that about 40 percent of those taking the exams for full ministerial status did not pass, Takasawa stated that many could not reach the point total necessary to pass due to the numerous areas covered in the exams.

 

A debate about the process for receiving agenda items was sparked by the proposal of the standing committees of Kyushu and Nishi Chugoku districts that the Kyodan make a formal statement of protest on the restarting of the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kyushu. While it has been standard practice for the district standing committees to be able to present agenda proposals to the Executive Council, there was discussion about whether this was the proper way to do it. After much discussion, the topic was tabled. (Tr. TB)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

第39総会期第4回常議員会報告

 

第39総会期第4回常議員会は10月19,20日の両日、富士見町教会会議室で常議員30名全員が出席して開催された。

総幹事報告で長崎哲夫総幹事は、「キリスト教会館耐震・改修工事は2月下旬に完成の予定。社会保険に関して東中国、西中国教区から問い合わせがあった。」と報告した。岡本知 之常議員から「法的には法人格を持っていれば加入する義務がある。教団としてどう対応するか対処すべき」と の意見が出た。石橋秀雄議長は「総幹事と相談の上、対処する」と応答した。

「2016年度教団歳入歳出予算案に関する件」では、愛澤豊重予算決算委員長が予算案を以下の様に説明した。教会・伝道所の厳しい状況を踏まえ負担金を対前年度2パーセント(521万円)減とし、それに伴い、事業活動支出では、他団体(NCC,WCC,CCA)分担金を含め、多くの項目を10パーセント減とした。これを受けて佐々木美知夫副議長は、三役からの提案として、多くの支出項目での10パーセント減は仕方ないが、対外的なことには考慮が必要であり「他団体分担金974000円の減額はせず、収入の献金を200万円から300万円に増額し、三役が献金を募ることに務め、対応する」と述べた。この修正案を愛澤委員長も支持し、石橋 議長が議場に諮り、承認された。

震災救援対策本部は、記録刊行委員会立ち上げ、国際青年平和会議開催計画(2017年3月於京都)、募金総額(国内10億15758567円、海外4億2866286円)を報告した。

宗教改革500周年記念事業について岡村恒準備委員長は、基本方針、記念礼拝、こども、中高生、青年、信徒、女性諸大会開催、海外記念行事参加等の 計画を報告した。

教師検定について鷹澤匠委員長は、秋季検定試験においては正教師試験に61名が受験し、合格36名、不合格25名。補教師試験は19名が受験し、合格4名、不合格4名、継続11名であったことを報告した。正教師試験受験者4割が不合格になったことについて、鷹澤委員長は「複数科目で合格点に達しなかった受験者が多かった」と報 告した。

九州教区、西中国教区各常置委員会提案の「川内原発再稼働抗議声明」では、常議員会への議案提出手続きについて、教区常置委員会の議案提出をこれまで慣 例で取り扱ってきたが、これが妥当かが議論された。審議を経て議長預かりとなった。(加藤誠)

 

【December 2015 No.385】General Assemblies of the PROK and PCK Attended

by Sasaki Michio, Kyodan vice-moderator

 

I was given the opportunity to attend the general assemblies of both The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK) and The Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK) this past September. As both churches were celebrating their 100th anniversaries, it was a particularly auspicious time. Because the general assemblies of both churches overlapped, I could participate in both. I went to the PROK General Assembly at Youngghang Church in Wonju on Sept. 14 and 15 and then traveled to Sangdang Church in Cheongju to attend the PCK General Assembly on Sept. 16. Being 100th anniversary celebrations, there were many overseas guests at both events, with 60 at the PROK event and 80 at the PCK event. Both churches provided special programs for their guests, including workshops on nurturing the next generation of leadership, the issue of immigration in various regions, and reconciliation and unity. The themes at both general assemblies focused on the future of the worldwide church in light of its history up to this point.

 

Worship was a central part of both general assemblies, and the foreign guests were asked to participate in various ways, such as serving the elements at communion and giving greetings of peace. The worship services were indeed ones in which everyone participated. The centennial celebration worship service at the PCK General Assembly featured a choir of more than 700 people, which when added to those in the orchestra totaled about 800 performers praising God together with the congregation. The choir was made up of elders of local PCK church choirs from around the nation, and their combined voices were truly amazing. I was particularly moved by the procession of presbytery flags as they were marched in. In both cases, the celebration services were held in sanctuaries that could hold about 3,000 people, but due to the overflow crowds, additional seating had to be provided in other venues. Both general assemblies were carried out under the themes of peace, reconciliation, and unity, with these concepts being fully incorporated into the program and the sermons.

 

New moderators and vice-moderators were chosen at each general assembly, with Choi Pu-Ock and Kwon Oh-Ryun becoming the moderator and vice-moderator of the PROK and Chai Young-Nam and Lee Sung-Hee elected to those roles in the PCK. I was only able to listen to the proceedings at the PROK General Assembly for a short time, but I was impressed by the mutual trust and faith in God that the delegates showed even as they engaged in spirited debate.

 

As the distance between the locations of the two assemblies was rather far, it involved quite a bit of travel time, but I was also afforded the opportunity to visit some churches in the rural districts and to be exposed to the culture. I wish to express my deep appreciation to both churches, and I pray for God’s blessings on both of them. (Tr. KY)

「PROK/PCK総会出 席」

 

9月14-17日の日程で行われた 韓国基督教長老教会(PROK)と大韓イエス教長老会(PCK)のそれぞれ記念すべき第100回 総会に出席を許された。両教会の総会日程が重なっていたので、14-15日はウォンジュ(原州)ヨングァン教会で行われたPROK総会に出席し、16日 はチョンジュ(清州)のサンダン教会で行われたPCK総会に出席することと なった。第100回の記念総会であり、海外諸教会からのゲストもそれぞれの総 会で60名から80名 に上った。また両総会共にゲストのために特別なスケジュールを組み、次世代のリーダー育成、各地域での移民問題、和解と一致、等につ いてのワークショップを企画するなど工夫を凝らし、総会全体がこれまでの歴史を踏まえながら世界の教会の将来に向き合う内容となって いた。

また両総会の中心となる礼拝では海外諸教会からのゲストも様々な場面に用いられ、聖餐 式の配餐や平和の挨拶などにもあたり、全員で形作る礼拝の姿がそこにあった。PCK総 会の記念礼拝では総勢700人を越える聖歌隊が組まれ、オーケストラと合わせ ると約800人での賛美が為された。また全国からの長老で組織された聖歌隊の 歌声は素晴らしく、各老会旗の行進にも驚かされた。それぞれの記念礼拝は約3000人 を収容する礼拝堂で行われたが、人が溢れ、他会場も用意されたようであった。両教会共に平和、和解、一致というテーマを持った総会で あり、礼拝プログラムや礼拝説教にもその内容が豊かに盛られ、信仰の力に溢れた礼拝であった。

それぞれの総会で新しく選任された議長・副議長は、PROKがチェ・プオク議長、 クォン・オリュン副議長、PCKがチェ・ヨンナム議長、イ・ソンヒ副議長で あった。議事を取り扱う総会会場での傍聴もPROKで僅かの時間許されたが、 活発な発言が続く中、神への信仰と互いの信頼を基盤として議事が展開されており、感銘を受けた。

それぞれの総会会場が離れており、移動に時間も要したが、総会期間中に文化に触れる場 や農村部の教会訪問もあり、有意義な時となった。両教会に心から感謝し、主の祝福を祈るものである。(佐々木美知夫報)教団新報4829号より

【December 2015 No.385】Taskforce Visits Children’s Facilities in Tohoku Disaster Area

The March 11, 2011 East Japan Disaster caused much anxiety and hardship to many children and their families, which began, of course, with the damage caused by the earthquake and tsunami to both facilities for young children and the homes of their families. But another cause is the ongoing radioactive contamination from the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. In response to this, the Kyodan’s East Japan Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters has established a taskforce to respond to the difficulties faced by facilities for young children. This taskforce has been providing tuition support for preschoolers and assistance to preschools and daycare institutions that enroll children displaced by the disaster as well as subsidizing the costs of decontaminating the grounds. Additionally, the taskforce has been advising these institutions as to the kinds of public assistance that might be available to them. As a part of these efforts, these institutions have been visited to offer support and to further understand the issues they face.

 

On Sept. 16 and 17, we visited several preschools and daycare facilities in Tohoku District. As a group, this was the first time to visit IZUMI, the Tohoku Districts’ Disaster Relief Task Force, which is responding with support for the needs of those who are impacted by the radiation caused by the Fukushima Daiichi disaster. The problem of radiation is not limited to Fukushima Prefecture. The data is clear that contamination has created hotspots in the prefectures of Miyagi, Ibaraki and Chiba as well. We learned about the varying levels of radiation exposure as well as of the concern that parents show as they choose foods to feed their children.

 

We visited three facilities. One had been damaged by an earlier quake in 2007 and another had sustained damage due to flooding after heavy rains in the area just a week before our visit. Nevertheless, we were encouraged by the cheerful expressions on the children’s faces, particularly as they were engaged in their preparations for the yearly field athletic event. Another facility is located in a well-known tourist area, so efforts to decontaminate the grounds have been kept secret in order not to panic sightseers who might stop coming if they were aware of the levels of radiation in the area. That facility is deeply rooted in the community and is finding a way to continue in a trust relationship with its neighbors as it moves forward.

 

Looking to the future, it is clear that efforts need to be made to coordinate help for young children who are not enrolled in either a preschool or daycare center. Likewise, we need to increase our efforts to encourage facilities for young children that are not taking appropriate measures in response to the dangers of radiation to do so. (Tr. AKO)

 

—Kishi Norihide, pastor

Chiba Honcho Church, Tokyo District

東北教区幼児施設訪問

 

 

東日本大震災は多くの子どもたちとその家族とに不安を与えている。一つは地震と津波とによる幼児施設の建 物被害に始まる困難と子どもたちとその家族の被災である。もう一点は原発事故による今なお続く放射能汚染による不安である。そこで、 教団では、対策本部の下に被災幼児施設担当者会を設置し て、この課題に向き合っている。

同担当者会は今まで、建物のこと、また、避難した園児への保育料補助、一時避難した園児を受け入れた施 設への支援、除染費用の補助、被災職員への見舞金などを応援した。また、幼児施設ゆえに公的援助についての助言も行ってきた。そして また、幾たびとも諸施設を問安し、現状把握に努めてきた。

去る9月16~17日にも東北教区のいくつかの施設を訪問した。担当者会としてはじめて「いずみ」(東北教区放射能問題支援対策室)を訪れ、「いずみ」の取り組みについて 特に子どもたちに関わることについて話しをうかがった。福島のみならず宮城県南地区での甲状腺検査の状況、千葉、茨城のいわゆるホッ トスポットの地域でのデータなどに驚かされ、課題を共有した。また、保護者が食品について注意深く選択して子どもたちに与えている場 合と、そうでない場合との被ばく状況に違いが表れていることなど興味深い成果が表れていることを知らされた。

施設訪問は3つの施設を訪問した。ある施設は東日本大震災以前の2007年の地震でも被災し、また、訪問前の週の大雨でも地域が床上浸水などの被害を受けた地域である。しかし、 明るく子どもたちを見守り、特に運動会に向けて意欲的に取り組んでいる姿に励まされた。また、ある施設は、観光地に位置し、放射能被 害について公にできない痛みを抱えている。しかし、公にしないという約束のもとで、地域全体で園庭の除染作業が行われたことをうか がった。その施設が長い間、地域に根ざし、しっかりとした信頼関係のなかで歩んできた証詞に違いない。痛みの中でも絆が表れる一面で もあった。

今後の課題として、放射能数値の高い地域の子どもたちの「園外保育」のお手伝いを担当者会としてコー ディネートできないかということがあがっている。また、なお放射能被害について適切な対応ができていない幼児施設への意識啓発の使命 も挙げられる。(岸憲秀)