【February 2016 No.386】Typhoon-caused Flooding Inundates Church and Kindergarten in Ibaraki Prefecture

by Iizuka Takuya, director

                                                                                                                              Mitsukaido Church Volunteer Center

                                                                                                            Pastor, Ryugasaki Church

 

On Sept. 10, 2015, flooding from heavy rain concentrated in the area of Joso City in Ibaraki Prefecture claimed the lives of eight people. Added to the loss of life was the loss of houses carried away by torrents of water and the flooding of countless homes.

 

Mitsukaido Church and Futaba Kodomoen Preschool and Kindergarten, which is connected to it, also suffered considerable damage from the flooding. The rain that fell on Sept. 10 broke through a river dike and flowed into the lower areas of the district where the church and nursery are located. The depth was reported to have reached 120 centimeters (almost 4 feet) by dawn on Sept. 11. Flooding reached 30~40 centimeters above the floor of the church, while it reached 50 centimeters above the floor of the parsonage. Mud and debris were removed; floors and walls were washed; and everything was cleaned. The carpeting inside the sanctuary was removed, and the flooring was cleaned and sanitized. New carpeting has been put down, and the sanctuary has been made ready for use again. Many things damaged by water had to be discarded.

 

After the water had receded, those affected gathered at Mitsukaido Church on the evening of Sept. 13, 2015, and after discussion decided together to establish the “Mitsukaido Church Volunteer Center.” Subsequently, volunteers have helped in the cleaning and disposal of waste at the church, the preschool and kindergarten, and in the homes of church members and others affected by flooding. The pastors of Mitsukaido Church, Kato Hisayuki and Kato Kiseko, relocated to Mitsukaido Elementary School following evacuation orders on Sept. 11 but were able to return to the parsonage on the evening of Sept. 14.

 

The flood came just after construction had begun on the new Futaba Kodomoen Preschool and Kindergarten building. Three of our buses and two automobiles cannot be used due to flood damage. Washing, sanitation, cleaning, and putting things in order are now our daily tasks. However, our most important challenge is restarting our nursery program.

 

Added to this, of course, is the continued work of addressing the damage suffered in the homes of our church members, our staff, and families connected to our preschool and kindergarten. There is also the continued work of cleaning, arranging, and dealing with the disposal of debris. We are steadily moving toward restoration, but completion will require a bit more time.

 

As a result of the flooding, people have lost family members and homes. As a church and nursery suffering from our own loss, we are striving to walk together with our neighbors who are also suffering. As a church and preschool sharing this pain and challenge, please hold us in your prayers. (Tr. JS)

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)

November 2015 issue

 

『信徒の友』2015年11月号p24-25

茨城・水海道教会 二葉こども園

台風禍の大水害で教会と園舎が浸水

水海道教会ボランティアセンター統括主任、竜ヶ崎教会牧師 飯塚拓也

 9月10日 に茨城県常総市を中心に大雨が襲い、死者8名 (9月16日 現在)が出たほか家屋の流出、床上浸水など多くの被害をもたらしました。この大水害によって水海道教会と関連施設の二葉こども園が大きな被害を受けました。10日 に降った大雨の水が、11日 の未明より教会と園がある一帯の低地に流れ込み、場所によって最大で120cmに まで達したそうです。

水が引いたあとの13日夕方に、関係者が水海道教会に集まって話し合い、同教会に「水海道教会ボランティアセンター」を設置することを決定しました。以降、 ボランティアが教会と二葉こども園、教会員・関係者宅の清掃と片付け、廃棄物の運搬にあたっています。加藤久幸・加藤輝勢子牧師夫妻 は、11日 の避難指示以降、近くの水海道小学校に避難していましたが、14日の夜より牧師館に戻りました。

教会は会堂が床上30~40cmまで、牧師館は床上50cmま で水に漬かったので床や壁を洗い、泥や汚れをふき取って清掃しました。礼拝堂内部の床はカーペットを全面撤去し、業者が21日~22日 にかけて消毒と清掃をした後、新たにカーペットを敷き直してようやく使用できるまでになりました。水に漬かった物のうち、廃棄せざる を得ない物が相当あります。

二葉こども園は新園舎建築の着工直後でした。それが、3台の園バスと2台 の乗用車が水の被害によって使用不能となりました。園舎の清掃と消毒、洗浄、片付けの毎日ですが、何より保育の再開が大きな課題です。

そのほかにも教会員や教会関係者の家、こども園スタッフや関係者の家にも、相当の被害があります。清掃、洗浄、片付け、廃棄処理の必要があります。徐々に復旧が進んでいますが、完了にはもうしばらく時間がかかる予定です。

今回の水害で家族を亡くされた方や家を失った方がいます。このような被災を受けた地域にあって、自らも被災した教会とこども園が地域 と共に歩もうとしています。痛みと課題を共にする水海道教会と二葉こども園のために、どうかお祈りください。(信徒の友11月号)

【February 2016 No.386】Japanese-language Ministry—Its Importance in the U.S.

by Yoshioka Yasutaka, Kyodan missionary

Sycamore Congregational Church

Sycamore Congregational Church was founded in 1904 in El Cerrito, California by Pastor Okubo Shinjiro and several Japanese students who were studying in the U.S. It was originally a church “by Japanese and for Japanese” and had only a Japanese-language worship service. However, as the number of nisei (second-generation Japanese) and sansei (third-generation Japanese) increased, an English-language worship service was added, as English was the first language of these people. Now, the pastor of the English-language section is a full-time position, with the Japanese-language pastor being only part-time. The English-language section also plays a more central role in the church, bearing the responsibility of managing the church.

 

In the local community there are several other churches for people of Japanese descent. However, the Japanese-language section of many of these churches has been discontinued because although there is a need for Japanese-language ministry, the churches cannot afford to hire a pastor for the Japanese-language section. Even Sycamore Congregational Church can hire only a part-time pastor for the Japanese-language section. In spite of the difficult financial reality, I believe that because this church has been given the opportunity for Japanese-language evangelism, the scope of its mission should be broadened.

 

Actually, my work is not limited to Sycamore Church. There are people who, though they belong to the kind of Japanese church I mentioned earlier, still seek opportunities to use the Japanese language. They gather together once a month and have a time of Bible study in Japanese. I am invited there to explain the Bible, and the participants look very happy as they spend time studying. It is the one and only time during the month that they can join in prayer, sing hymns, and enjoy the word of the Lord in their native language. How important it is for people to turn to God using a language that is familiar to them! Again, I am thankful for fellowship outside of church, and I also realize the significance of doing mission work in the Japanese language while in the U.S.

 

At present, the Japanese section of Sycamore Congregational Church has about 20 people who participate in the worship service every week. Of that number, one third are members of the church, one third are non-Christians, and one third are children. Because a university is located nearby, there are many people who have come from Japan for research for a short term of one or two years. Some of them have never been to a church in Japan but see the sign written in Japanese on the front of our church while they are in the U.S. Others come because they are just looking for a community of Japanese people. However, these people go back to Japan again in one or two years, which causes us to feel lonely. Although for a short time the church becomes very active, when many people return to their home country, we even experience some anxiety. However, amazingly, it seems that whenever someone returns to his or her home country, a new person shows up at our church.

 

One member described our church with these words: “Our church is one that invites many, sows seeds of the gospel in many, and sends out many.” I think that is really true. There are people who never encountered Christ in Japan but are wondrously led by God to encounter this church, come to know Christ, and then return to Japan. Some people receive baptism here and then transfer their membership to a church in Japan. Others return to Japan and later report to us that they have been baptized. When such things happen, I really feel that Sycamore Congregational Church has been given a special mission.

 

It has been just half a year since I was appointed to this position. I still have a lot to learn about the culture and history of both the U.S. and the Japanese Americans. However, one thing is clear to me. Japanese-language mission is still necessary in this land. I used to think that a missionary is someone who learns the language of the location where he or she is sent and then does mission work. However, mission is more than just that. When one is in a foreign culture, there are things that become attractive because those things are in the language of the land where one was born and raised but not in the language of the place where one is now. There are people who are drawn to such things. I think exposure to the gospel is like that. Why do people who have never encountered the gospel in Japan, encounter the gospel when they come here? One reason is that while they are in a foreign culture, they hear the language of the land where they were born and encounter the gospel as they are experiencing excitement and nostalgia.

Please remember us in your prayers and pray that the Lord will bless and guide Sycamore Congregational Church and use us so that our work will be even more fruitful. We also will remember the churches of the world in our prayers.

(Tr. KT)

 

シカモア組合教会日語部牧師 吉岡恵生

  米国カリフォルニア州エルセリート市にあるシカモア組合教会は、1904年に大久保真次郎牧師と数名の日本人留 学生によって創立されました。かつては日本人による日本人のための教会として日本語礼拝のみを行っていましたが、英語を第一言語とする2世3世が増えてくると、英語礼拝も行うようになりました。今では英語部牧師はフルタイム、日語部牧師はパートタイムで招聘を受けており、規模的にも英語部が中心となって教会運営を担っています。

 この地域には他にもいくつかの日系教会がありますが、多くの教会が日語部牧師を経済 的に招聘できず、既に日語部を閉鎖しています。日本語のニーズはあっても、経済的に日本語の牧師を招聘できないのです。シカモア教会 も日語部牧師はパートタイムでしか招聘ができず、この厳しい流れを感じますが、それでもなお日本語伝道の機会が与えられている教会として、より幅広く宣教をなしていかなければならないと考えています。

 実際、私の働きはシカモア教会だけにとどまりません。先に述べたような日系教会に属 しながらも日本語を求める方々は、月に一度共に集まり日本語での聖書研究の時を持って いるのです。私はそこへ招かれて聖書の説き明かしをするのですが、彼らはとても嬉しそうにその時を過ごしています。彼らとっては月に 一度だけ、親しみ深い母語で祈りを合わせ、讃美歌を歌い、御言葉を味わえるのです。慣れ親しんだ言葉で神と向き合うことがどれほど重要なことなのか。改めて、教会を超えた交わりを感謝すると共に、アメリカの地で日本語での宣教をなしていくことの意義を知りました。

 シカモア教会日語部は、現在20名ほどで毎週の礼拝を守っています。その内3分の1が教会員、3分の1がノンクリスチャン、そして3分の1は子どもたちという構成です。近くに大学がある関係で、1~2年の短期間で日本から研究に来られる方が多くいます。この方々の中には、日本では教会に行ったことがない にもかかわらず、アメリカに来て教会前に掲げてある日本語の看板を見たり、何かしら日本人コミュニティを求めて教会に来てくださる方 もいます。けれども、そうした方々は、また1~2年で日本に帰ってしまうのです。それは、とても寂しいことです。一時教会が盛り上がっても、帰国する方が 多くいると不安を覚えたりもします。しかし不思議なことに、誰かが帰国すると、また新たな方が教会に来てくださるのです。

 ある教会員は、この教会を次のようにたとえました。「私たちの教会は、たくさんの方 を招き、たくさんの方に福音の種を蒔き、たくさんの方を送り出す教会だ」と。本当にその通りだと思います。日本ではキリストに出会う ことがなかった方々が、不思議な導きでこの教会と出会い、キリストに出会って、また日本に帰って行くのです。こちらで洗礼を受け、日 本の教会に転会される方もいれば、日本に帰国してから洗礼を受けたと報告をして下さる方もいます。私は、この教会のあり方に、シカモ ア教会に与えられた特別な使命を感じています。

 私はまだ着任から半年を迎えたばかりです。まだまだアメリカや日系アメリカ人の文 化、そして歴史を学ばなければなりません。しかし、今唯一明確であることは、この地にはまだ日本語による宣教が必要であるということ です。宣教師というのは本来、遣わされた現地の言葉を習得し、そこで宣教をなしていく存在であると考えていました。しかし、それだけ ではなかったのです。現地の言葉ではなく、生まれ育った故郷の言葉だからこそ、異文化の中で輝く何かと出会う人がいる。福音もそうだ と思うのです。日本では福音に出会うことのなかった人が、こちらに来て福音に出会うのはなぜか。その理由の一つは異文化の中で生まれ 故郷の言葉を聞き、その懐かしさと感動の中で福音に出会うからなのです。主がシカモア組合教会の歩みを祝し、私たちの働きを更に豊か に用いて下さるように、どうぞ祈りにお覚え下さい。私たちも、世界中の教会を覚えて祈っています。

【February 2016 No.386】Charles E. Garst: Disciples of Christ Missionary to Japan

The educational institution that became Seigakuin University and its schools was founded by missionaries from the Disciples of Christ denomination in the U.S., first as a seminary in 1903 and as a school in 1906. One of the first missionaries of that denomination to arrive in Japan was Charles E. Garst, who arrived in 1883 at age 30.

 

Prior to that, he had graduated from the famous U.S. Army Military Academy at West Point, which he had not originally planned to enter. Initially, Garst attended Iowa State University, where he studied agriculture for two years, after which he went to work in that area. However, his ability and outstanding character were quickly recognized, and he was recommended to the U.S. Army Military Academy. At that time, Garst’s father was a doctor, but since there were eight children in the family, he was not very well off financially. This fact, plus quite possibly, because Garst was recommended to West Point at the young age of 19, he decided to go ahead and enter the Academy.

 

However, during his four years at West Point, he experienced two significant happenings. The first was his beloved mother’s death. She was from Ireland and had a very strong Christian faith—so much so that she had originally been hoping for him to become a minister. The second event was a transformation of his religious faith. Garst was strongly influenced by the Reverend Isaac Errett’s Christian movement, which asserted that there were too many denominations within the faith and called for the unity of Christianity throughout the world. So Garst decided to become a soldier of Christ instead of committing to military life. Yet, since there was a regulation requiring all West Point graduates to serve in the U.S. Army for eight years, upon graduation Garst proceeded to fulfill his obligation for military service. At the same time, though, he also prepared to become a missionary, “a soldier for Christ.” Then, having married a woman with the same heart for Christian service, in 1883 Garst and his wife set out for Japan with the Smiths, another missionary couple.

 

Upon their arrival, the Garsts undertook Japanese language studies in Yokohama for six months, after which they and the Smiths determined to go to Akita Prefecture, a region in northern Honshu where there was no prior missionary presence. However, since Akita was a remote area and was still steeped in the old, traditional customs of Japan, they experienced many hardships. They were constantly under the gaze of curious Japanese, struggled with archaic forms of the language, and found that they had run up against a formidable social barrier in the form of prejudice against Christianity. Not only that, they also encountered an unsanitary environment infested with fleas and mosquitoes. Furthermore, as a result of living under such harsh conditions, the next year the couple who had traveled to Akita with the Garsts experienced a tragedy, in that George Smith’s wife, Josephine, passed away, leaving behind an eight-year-old daughter. Yet, how these missionaries were enduring such difficulties was noticed and gradually began to make a deep impression upon people, such that the Garsts’ work eventually began to be accepted: so much so, in fact, that their four years in Akita became fruitful indeed.

 

After this time, in order to broaden the range of their activities, Garst and his wife moved to the town of Tsuruoka in Yamagata Prefecture, where they worked for a further four years. Afterward, having gone back to the United States on furlough for one year, the Garsts returned to Japan with another missionary family in 1893, this time settling in Tokyo and proceeding to evangelize all around Japan. Meanwhile, Charles Garst was not only involved in Christian evangelism but also frequently critiqued the political and taxation systems then in place. In regard to taxation in particular, he called himself “Tanzei [single-tax] Taro” and promulgated a “single-tax theory” in order to eliminate the unfairness of the system. Many politicians and social activists on the General Counsel sympathized, and Ito Hirobumi evaluated Garst’s work highly, declaring, “The West has never once sent a gift greater than Charles E. Garst.” Unfortunately, the heavy amount of work he was involved in began to take its toll on Garst’s health, which had already been weakened by various serious illnesses during his time in Akita. Regrettably, Garst passed away on Dec. 28, 1898, at the age of 45. He was buried at Aoyama Cemetery in Tokyo, where his gravesite remains to this day.

 

Many inspirational quotations from Garst remain; yet his most famous one was spoken just before his death. When asked by his wife if he had made a will or not, he replied, “My life is my message.” These words are a testament to the fact that Charles E. Garst, simply through the power of the life he lived, was a person who effectively conveyed the Christian message to the Japanese people.(Tr. EO)

 

 

— Kikuchi Jun, chaplain

Seigakuin University

 

「ディサイプルス派の最初の宣教師C. E. ガルスト」

 学校法人聖学院は、アメリカのディサイプルス派の宣教師たちに よって生み出されましたが、その最初の宣教師の一人、チャールズ・E・ガルストを紹介したいと思います。

ガルストは1883年 に日本にやって来た宣教師です。このとき、ガルストは30歳でした。ガルストは、日本に来る前は、ウェスト・ポイントというアメリカの有名な陸軍士官学校を出た軍人でしたが、ガルストは自分から進んで士官学校に入った人ではありませんで した。初めは、アイオワ州立大学で2年間農学を学び、その後その方面の仕事をしましたが、ある時その能 力と人柄を認められて陸軍士官学校に推薦されることになったのです。当時、ガルストの父親は医者をしていましたが、8人兄弟であったため、経済的にあまり豊かではありませんでした。お そらく、そういうこともあって、ガルストは19歳で推薦されるまま士官学校に入学することになっ たのです。

しかし、その4年 間の士官学校時代に、ガルストは2つの重大な出来事を経験することになりました。一つは、母親の死で す。母親は、アイルランドの出身で、非常に信仰心が厚く、ガルストには牧師になることを期待していました。もう一つの出来事は、宗教 的信念の変化でした。ガルストは、当時さまざまに分裂していたキリスト教世界を再び一致させようという運動をしていたアイザック・エ レットの呼びかけに深く共鳴するようになり、軍人として立身出世するよりも、キリストの一兵卒として、キリストと人類のために仕えた いと思うようになったのです。しかし、士官学校を卒業した者は8年間軍務に服さなければならないという規則がありましたので、ガル ストは卒業後8年間軍務に服し、その間宣教師になる準備をしたのです。そして、同じ志を持つ女性ローラと結婚し、1883年、もう一組の宣教師夫婦であるスミス夫妻と共 に、日本にやってきたのです。

その後、ガルスト夫妻は、半年ほど横浜で日本語の勉強をしてから、まだ宣教師が入っていない東北の地、秋田を選ん で、スミス夫妻と共にそこに行くことになりました。しかし、当時の秋田はまだまだ辺境の地で、古い日本の風習がそのまま残っていた地 域でしたので、多くの苦労を経験しました。人々からは好奇の目で見られ、また難解な日本語に悪戦苦闘し、さらにキリスト教に対する偏 見という大きな社会的壁にぶつかりました。そればかりか、ノミや蚊といった不衛生な環境にも苦しめられました。そして、そうした困難 な生活の中で、一緒に秋田に行ったスミス宣教師の妻ジョセフィンが、その翌年、8歳の娘を残して病死するという悲劇が生じました。しかし、そうした 宣教師たちの生き様は、徐々に人々に深い感銘を与えることになり、ガルストたちの働きは次第に受け入れられていったのです。そして、 秋田での4年間の生活は実に実り多いものとなりました。

その後、ガルスト夫妻は、さらに活動の範囲を広げるために、山形県の鶴岡という町に移り、そこでさらに4年間活動します。そしてその後、休暇で1年アメリカに帰りますが、1893年、 再び家族と共に日本に戻り、今度は東京に居を構えながら、全国を伝道して回ったのです。その間、ガルストは、キリスト教の伝道だけで はなく、政治や税制についてもしばしば重要な発言をし、特に税制に関しては、自ら「単税太郎」と名乗って「単税論」を唱え、税の不公 平をなくすよう努力しました。また多くの政治家や社会活動家の相談役にもなりました。伊藤博文は、そうしたガルストの働きを高く評価 し、「西洋は未だかつてチャールズ・E・ガルストに勝る贈物を送ったことがない」と語ったほどでした。しかし、そうした多忙な働きの ために、健康を著しく損なってしまいます。それには、秋田時代から何度か重い病に見舞われ、次第に健康を損なっていたことも影響して いました。そして1898年12月28日、 日本の地で45歳の生涯を閉じることになったのです。今でも、そ のお墓は、東京の青山霊園にあります。

ガルスト宣教師は、感銘深い言葉をたくさん残していますが、亡くなる直前に、遺言はないかと妻から尋ねられた時、 こういう言葉を語っています。それは、「My life is my message」 という言葉です。その遺言が示すように、ガルスト宣教師は、正にその生き様そのものを通して、日本人にキリストのメッセージを語った人であったと言えます。

(聖学院大学・大学チャプレン 菊地 順)

【February 2016 No.386】Message From General Secretary: Eifukucho Church in Tokyo Dedicates New Building

One Sunday evening late last fall, I attended the dedication ceremony for the new facilities of Eifukucho Church in Tokyo. The church had decided to close the kindergarten it had run for years and sell the land in order to build an elegant building to house its sanctuary, meeting rooms, and an upstairs parsonage. The fact was that the number of children in the area had precipitously declined, so it was becoming difficult to finance the operation of the kindergarten. There were, however, many voices of protest from the community, as more than 3,000 signatures of parents and former graduates of the kindergarten were gathered to appeal the decision. As a result of this difficult situation, there were also a few members of the church who left.

 

The church has had a long and complicated history of more than 130 years, including a move from its original location in central Tokyo to its present site to rebuild after World War II. In its almost 70 years of operating the kindergarten, the people of the area knew the church more by the name of “Kohitsuji (Lamb) Kindergarten” than as Eifukucho Church, and the successive pastors, who also served as the kindergarten principal, worked hard to provide a good foundation for education of the local populace.

 

While I personally have never served a church with an attached kindergarten, I have heard the reports of many who have, and so I have a few thoughts on this topic. First of all, it is the church that operates the church kindergarten and not the other way around. Nevertheless, such a kindergarten cannot be considered separately from the church, and often it is a symbiotic relationship that requires each to help the other to survive. That, however, necessitates there being a large number of young children in the area. As that was no longer the case, the pastor’s role as head of the kindergarten could no longer maintain sufficient influence and respect in the community. Now the church is faced with a different task, that of operating only as a church to serve the spiritual needs of the people. (Tr. TB)

 

—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary

 

総幹事室より

晩秋の或る主日夕、東京・永福町に幼稚園の持続を断念して、その敷地を売却し、瀟洒な会堂・集会室・牧師館のみを新築をした永福町教会の献堂式に出席した。教会は、地域に次第に少数化する幼児の実情と教会幼稚園としての経費に徒ならぬもの有りと判断して廃園の決断をしたのだ。ところがそれに異を唱える保護者と卒園者ら 三、〇〇〇余名の人々 の猛烈な反対署名運動が起こった。それらの動きに呼応して教 会を離れた信徒も数名 はいた。教会に戦後都内から現在地に移転した経緯があり、合 わせれば一三〇年を越す重厚な教会史と格式を有しつつも現在地で七〇年近く継続さ せた幼稚園経営によって、地域は教会というよりも、「小羊幼稚園」の呼称で親しまれたのも確かだ。そのために、歴代の牧師・園長は相当の努力をもって必要な教 育を 些かも恥じることなく 行った。わたしは、幼稚園付教会に赴任したことはないが、それらの報告を聞きながら、思うことが幾つかあった。教会幼稚園の経営主体は教 会に あり、幼稚園あっての 教会ではない。だが、この伝統の教会にも幼稚園とは切り離せ ない繋がり、場合に よっては互いに助け合わずにはいられない相互依存の時代もあっ ただろう。それは押し 並べて地域に子どもたちが大勢いてのこと。牧師も牧師だけで は、園長の名をもって する影響力や尊敬も集めることは不可能だった。今や教会は、 教会一本で人々の心に どんな痕跡を残すのか、新たな戦いが始まった。

【February 2016 No.386】Taiwan Hosts International Workshop on Disasters

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and the Council for World Mission (CWM) jointly sponsored a workshop entitled “Emergency Preparedness and Response” at Nanshan Educational Center in Taichung City, Taiwan, Nov.10-13, 2015. Supported by the ACT (Action by Churches Together) Alliance, the conference was attended by 34 participants who, for the most part, lead departments in their respective churches that handle communication with overseas churches. They came from all over Asia and the Pacific islands, including India, Taiwan, Malaysia, South Korea, Japan, New Zealand, Tonga, Vanuatu, and Papua New Guinea.

 

The conference consisted of several lectures given by Ms. Alexandra Segura from ACT and Mr. Sudipta Singh from CWM, together with case studies of actual disaster responses presented by the participants from the various churches represented, along with Bible studies. Though I had heard about ACT in various contexts related to donations towards relief work in disasters occurring around the world (as such donations from the Kyodan generally go through ACT), it was very helpful to be given a more in-depth introduction to the work of ACT, and we came away with a deeper understanding of the emphasis placed on its biblical foundations. As a part of the program surrounding the lectures, we were separated into small groups tasked with formulating responses to various problems within a limited time frame, as a way of fostering cooperation. There were Bible studies on each of the three mornings, led by Dr. Jione Havea from Tonga, who teaches Old Testament at a university in Australia. Using the stories of Elijah from I Kings and II Kings, along with Psalm 137, and viewing them from the standpoint of natural disasters, he also added a very interesting testimony of the historical experience of being under colonial rule. These studies led to some very interesting discussions in the small group sessions.

 

On the second day of the conference, we took a one-hour bus trip to the training center of the National Fire Agency of the Taiwanese Ministry of the Interior, located in Zhushan Township of Nantou District. This is where highly skilled firefighters in Taiwan go to attend a one-year training course to prepare them to work in a variety of disaster settings. There we watched a video in which the director introduced the activities of the training center, with a fascinating report on the support of NGOs in the aftermath of Typhoon Morakot in 2009. This included the work of the PCT in its role in helping the indigenous people who were impacted by the disaster.

 

This conference on disasters was the first time for the PCT to hold such an international workshop. Its purpose was to share in the mutual pain of disasters as members of the one body of Christ and then to build solidarity among the participant churches so that we can help each other in times of need. (Tr. AKO)

 

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

台湾国際会議

加藤 誠

 2015年11月10日(火)から13日(金)まで台中市南山教育センターを会場にして、台湾基督長老教会(以下PCT)とCouncil for World Mission(以下CWM)の共催、ACT Alliance(以下ACT)の後援により「Emergency Preparedness and Response」(緊急支援を要する災害への備えと応答)と題するワークショップが開催された。参加 者は34名でインド、台湾、マレーシア、韓国、 日本に加え、ニュージーランド、トンガ王国、バヌアツ、パプアニューギニアなどの太平洋諸国から、海外教会とのコミュニケーションを 担当する者が主であった。

 会議はACT本部からの講師とCWNからの講師による講義と各教会の実際の災害対応例、聖書研究から組み立てられていた。教団事務局ではしばしばACTの名前は聞くが、(教団社会委員会では海外災害募金をだいたいACTを 通して献金しているので)その組織と働きについて時間をかけて紹介されたことは有益であった。特にその活動の根本に聖書の言葉があることが強調された。講義の中では応答として小グループに分けら れ、講師からの異なる質問に限られた時間で協力して回答することが求められた。聖書研究は3回、午前中に行われた。講師はトンガ王国出身でオーストラリアの大学で旧約聖書を教えていることから、列王記のエリヤや詩編137編を災害の観点から取り上げ、しかも南太平洋諸国の植民地化歴史なども交えながらの講義であったため興味深かった。勿論ただ聞くだけでなく、小グループに分かれてのディスカッションと発表の機会が与えられた。

 二日目の午後はバスで一時間ほどの南投県竹山にある内政部消防署訓練センターに出かけた。ここは台湾全土から選りすぐられた消防士が一年間、あらゆる災害を想定した設備を用いて訓練を受ける施設である。そこで私たちは所長からまず映像で活動の紹介をされたが、驚くべきことに2009年の台風被害のNGOからの援助の代表として、PCTがいかに被災した原住民の代弁者となり支えとなったかが紹介されたのである。

 今回はPCTにおいても「災害」をテーマにした初めての国際的なワークショップであった。目的は同じキリストの体として共に痛みを覚えつつ、連携して助け合う関係を作ることにある。