【February 2017 No.391】Six Years From That Day: Loan Repayments by Quake-stricken Churches Begin Now

A Culmination of Ou District Churches’ Reconstruction: Dedication Ceremony of Esashi Church, the last church to receive support from the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Projects Headquarters

                                                                                                                                    by Ohara Muneo, moderator Ou District

 

Nearly six years have passed since that earthquake. March 11, 2011, 2:46 p.m. was the time when disaster-stricken churches started to become restrained toward one another. The earthquake gave rise to a tsunami, which caused tremendous damage to churches along the coast. News of these events was reported in various media. Due to the magnitude of damage along the coast, some other areas were overlooked. They were not forgotten, but churches in the inland areas of Ou District could not raise their voices, even though many had suffered severe damage. As district moderator, I traveled directly to the disaster areas in an effort to gain a detailed understanding of the earthquake damage and to listen to the voices of church members. Immediately after the earthquake, we formed an Emergency Support Committee under the Standing Committee and began relief and support activities.

 

Miyako Church and Shinsei Kamaishi Church were both hit by the tsunami. The most heavily damaged of the inland churches (Senyama Ichinoseki, and Esashi), would receive long-term support from the Emergency Support Committee. We determined that the Kitakami, Tono, Sannohe and Shunan Churches, which were also damaged, could be handled by support from within the district. Based on these assessments, we immediately provided financial aid to start short-term support work. Ofunato Church had no structural damage but experienced human suffering, so we also provided support to individuals at this and other churches in the names of the Kyodan and Ou District.

 

Repairs and reconstruction of churches and ministers’ homes moved ahead, based on the decisions made by disaster-stricken churches.

•Senmaya Church acquired land, relocated, and rebuilt, and celebrated dedication of the new sanctuary on Aug. 30, 2013.

•Shinsei Kamaishi Church held a thanksgiving service on Aug. 27, 2014, for the completion of repairs.

•Ichinoseki Church performed extensive repair work on its church building, and this was completed on April 25, 2015.

•Miyako Church, which also acquired land, relocated, and rebuilt, held its dedication service on March 11, 2016, the fifth anniversary of the earthquake.

•Esashi Church purchased an adjacent property and house and then made renovations to create a manse. Its dedication service was held on Nov. 3, 2016.

 

This dedication service marked completion of the last project to receive support through the all-Kyodan relief program for churches impacted by the East Japan Disaster. Throughout this period, the prayers and gifts from within the Kyodan as well as from overseas churches have supported us. We thank you from the bottom our hearts.

Churches suffering relatively light damage have completed all repairs and restoration work with aid from within Ou District and through self-help projects. Among the churches suffering major damage, Shinsei Kamaishi Church was able to complete payments by using its own available funds (including the earthquake offering) and relief funds from the district and therefore borrowed no funds.

 

The following churches started their rebuilding projects with their own funds and district relief funds as well as with relief grants and loans from the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Headquarters.

•Senmaya Church used 25 million yen in grants and ¥25  M yen in loans from the Disaster Relief Headquarters, and repaid the ¥25M loan in two years.

•Ichinoseki Church, which similarly required repairs, received through the headquarters ¥3.9M in grants and ¥3.9M in loans.

•Miyako Church, which erected a new building, used ¥40M in grants and ¥40M in loans from the headquarters, a ¥20M loan from the district, and an additional ¥70M in commercial bank loans.

•Esashi Church also received ¥33.5M in grants and ¥33.5M in loans from the headquarters.

 

All of these churches celebrated the completion of their reconstruction work with gratitude, but naturally the burden of loan repayments weighs heavily. In particular, the two churches with small membership, Miyako and Esashi, must make repayments over the next 20 years, so every church member is redoubling their efforts. Ou District must maintain a support framework to continue assistance for these churches. Please remember them in your prayers.

 

I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the countless churches and believers in districts all across Japan whose support has made it possible to continue assistance until now, with special recognition of the Korean Christian Church in Japan’s Kanto District, the Presbyterian Church of Korea, Child Fund Japan, and the Kyodan’s Hokkai District and Tokyo District’s North Subdistrict.

Additional Comment by Executive Secretary Kato Makoto

 

I have heard many people say that Iwate Prefecture is as big as Shikoku Island. To use another comparison, the time required to drive from Esashi Church, where Ou District Moderator Ohara lives, to Ofunato Church is about the same as from Brussels, Belgium to Cologne, Germany. From Esashi Church to Miyako Church might be about the same as from Brussels to Paris.

 

In the 16 months after the March 2011 disaster, while I served as executive secretary of the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Response Headquarters, I traveled to the Tohoku disaster region over 100 times. Each time I visited Esashi Church, I was shown how the cracks in its sanctuary were growing. Leaving his own church to the last, Pastor Ohara literally dashed around Iwate Prefecture, attending to the needs of each church and flock. It is hard to imagine the degree of his toil without knowing the size of Iwate. I pray for God’s continued blessings upon the restored churches, as well as upon Pastor Ohara. (Tr. DM)

あれから6年、被災教会は今    これから返済 がはじまる

  ≪奥羽教区会堂再建の総括 教団東日本大震災救援対策本部の最後の支援教会 江刺教会の 献堂≫

奥羽教区総会議長 邑原宗男

あの地震からもうすぐ丸6年が過ぎようとしています。2011年3月11日午後2時46分、この時刻を 境に被災教会同士で遠慮が始まりました。地震と共に、津波が発生し、沿岸地域の教会は、甚大な被害を受けました。そのニュースはあら ゆるメディアでとりあげられました。あまりに甚大な被害の沿岸地域の故に、そのことで忘れられた地域があったのです。忘れられたので はなく、奥羽教区内の内陸部に位置する教会も相当数が大きな被害に遭遇していましたが、大きな声をあげることができないでいました。 教区総会議長としては、被災状況の詳細な把握をすることに努め、直接被災地に出かけては、教会員の声を聴くことにしました。地震直 後、直ちに常置委員会のもとに緊急支援委員会を設置して、救援・支援活動に入りました。

宮古(みやこ)教会、新生釜石(しんせいかまいし)教会は津波被災。千厩(せんまや)教会、一関(いち のせき)教会、江刺(えさし)教会は内陸部の地震被災には緊急支援委員会として長期支援すること。さらに北上(きたかみ)教会、遠野 (とおの)教会、三戸(さんのへ)伝道所、秋南(しゅうなん)教会には、被害はあったが教区の支援で対処できると判断し、直ちにお見 舞いをもって短期支援を実行しました。大船渡(おおふなと)教会には建物被害はなく津波による人的被害で、他の教会をも含め個人に対 しても教団と奥羽教区の名によりお見舞いをしました。

被災教会の決議に基づいて、礼拝堂・牧師館の修復・新築は進められました。千厩教会は、土地取得・移転 新築し、2013年8月30日献堂式を挙行しました。新生釜石教会は、2014年8月27日修築完了感謝礼拝を奉げました。一関教会 は、礼拝堂の大幅修復工事をし、2015年4月25日完了しました。宮古教会は、土地取得・移転新築し、2016年3月11日献堂式 を挙行しました。江刺教会は、2014年12月建物付きの隣地を購入し牧師館としてリフォームしました。2016年11月3日礼拝堂 の献堂式を挙行しました。この献堂式は、教団全体の東日本大震災被災教会支援活動の最後の支援事業となりました。このために教団全体 からの祈りは勿論、海外の教会の支援に支えられました。心より感謝いたします。

各教会の再建復旧工事で比較的軽微なものは教区の支援と教会伝道所の自助努力で完了しました。

大規模被災となった各教会のうち、新生釜石教会は自己資金(地震見舞金を含む)と教区の援助金で支払い を完了し借入金はありません。

また、以下の教会は自己資金と教区援助金のほかに、教団救援対策本部からの支援金と借入金を受けて再建 事業を進めました。千厩教会は本部支援金2500万円と借入金2500

円を用い、借入金については二年で返済しました。同様に修復しました一関教会は本部支援金390万円と借 入金390万円。新築の宮古教会は本部支援金4000万円と借入金4000万円、市中銀行借入金7000万円、教区借入金2000万 円。江刺教会も本部支援金3350万円と借入金3350万円により再建事業は感謝のうちに完了しました。しかし借入金は返済が当然の こととしてのしかかってきます。特に少数の現住陪餐会員で、宮古教会と江刺教会は20年間の返済を担っていかなければなりませんの で、教会員一同一層の努力を重ねています。これらの教会への支援体制を奥羽教区として継続することが必要です。ご加祷ください。

在日大韓基督教会関東地方会、大韓イエス教長老会、チャイルドファンドジャパン、北海教区、東京教区北 支区はじめ全国各教区の多くの教会並びに信徒の方々の支援により支援活動は継続されてきましたことを感謝申し上げます。

 

補足(注?)Comment from Kato Makoto, Executive secretary

良く言われることだが、岩手県は四国ほど広い。感覚的な表現で申し訳ないが、邑原宗男教区議長のおられ る江刺教会から大船渡教会までは、ベルギーのブリュッセルからドイツのケルンくらいの車での移動時間である。江刺教会から宮古教会ま ではパリくらいであろうか。私は2011年3月の東日本大震災後、1年4か月震災対策本幹事として東北には100回近く行った。江刺教会に伺うたびに、少しずつ広がった会堂の「ひび」を見せていただいた。邑原議長はご 自分の教会を一番後回しにし、広い岩手県を文字通り駆けずり回ったのである。そのご苦労は岩手の「広さ」を知る者しか実感できない。 献堂された教会と先生のお働きの上に更なる神様の栄光が現されますよう祈ります。(加藤誠)

【February 2017 No.391】Trip to Visit Missionaries in the U.S. Includes Attendance at EMS General Meeting in South Africa

by Kato Makoto, Kyodan executive secretary

I. The United States

I visited missionaries sent to the U.S. by the Kyodan, Nov. 19-26, 2016.

1. New York, Nov. 19-22

On Sunday, Nov. 20, I attended a 10:30 a.m. worship service held at Union Japanese Church of Westchester. After the service, I had an interview with Rev. Nishikawa Akimitsu, a missionary. Nishikawa will finish his term of service in March 2017, but after his resignation from Union Japanese Church of Westchester, his hope is to stay with his whole family in New York.

 

After the interview with Nishikawa, I had another interview with the board members of Union Japanese Church of Westchester. The church cannot hire a full-time missionary. However, they are moving towards searching for a missionary who can work part-time. In the evening, I visited Amy Nyland, executive minister of the Regional Synod of New York of the Reformed Church in America. We discussed future support of Union Japanese Church of Westchester.

 

On Nov. 21, I attended the committee meeting of the “Special Ministry to the Japanese” camp, held by the Japanese American United Church. The Japan side announced that next year (2017) is the final year it will recruit participants.

 

2. California, Nov. 22-24

On Nov. 22, I traveled to Los Angeles and stayed at the home of a missionary, Rev. Kuyama Yasuhiko.

 

On Nov. 23, I visited retired missionary Rev. Ito Hidemi. I also visited Faith United Methodist Church.

 

In the morning of Nov. 24, I joined the young people of Centenary United Methodist Church in making free Thanksgiving meals for the neighborhood facilities. After that, we delivered the meals to Japanese people who live in an apartment building for low-income persons and had a time of fellowship. Kuyama is working with Boys Town, which is a non-profit corporation started by a Catholic priest that is well-known all over the U.S. He works to encourage children with developmental disorders and their parents and guardians. This kind of work is also beginning to spread to Japan.

 

In the afternoon of Nov. 24, I flew to San Francisco and visited the parsonage of Rev. Yoshioka Yasutaka, a missionary sent to Sycamore Congregational Church in El Cerrito. A Thanksgiving party was held at the parsonage, and 30 people participated, including children. Yoshioka’s children are attending Sycamore Kindergarten, and that fact led some parents and guardians of the kindergarten children to participate in the party. Two people are planning to be baptized and four joined on Christmas! Yoshioka has used his soccer skills to form a club. A musical group has been assembled at the church, mostly for young people, and he is active in the group as a rapper. All of these activities are opportunities for evangelism.

 

II. South Africa

I visited Stellenbosch, a town in South Africa, in order to attend the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) General Meeting, Dec. 4-11. There were 68 participants, including 10 EMS staff members. As for participants from Asia, 9 came from Indonesia, 4 from Korea, and 1 from Japan.

 

The Rev. Dr. Frank Chikane, currently a pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA in Naledi, Soweto, is the president of the AFM. He was a deputy secretary of the Cabinet during the presidency of Nelson Mandela, and secretary of the Cabinet during Mbeki’s and Motlhanthe’s presidencies. Dr. Chikane lectured on Public Theology, which was the theme of the meeting.

 

EMS is involved in planning and supporting at least 70 mission-related programs in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The content of the work of EMS was presented at the general meeting. The financial report, the planned program for 2017 and 2018, and the proposed budget were approved. (Tr. KT)

アメリカ・南アフリカ出張報告      2016年12月18日 加藤誠

1, 2016年11月19日(土)~26日(土)に米国に派遣されている宣教師方を訪問した。

1)ニューヨーク 19日~22日

20日(日)は午前10時半から持たれているユニオン日本語教会礼拝に出席した。礼拝後に西川晃充宣教師と面談。西川牧師の任期は2017年3月で満了となるが、ユニオン日本語教会辞任後もニューヨークに家族で残ることを希望。西川 宣教師との面談後、ユニオン日本語教会の役員と面談。教会としてはフルタイムでの宣教師は招聘できないが、ハーフタイムな可能な宣教師を 探す方向である 

夕方にはReformed Church of Americaのニューヨーク教区のAmy Nyland主事を訪問。今後のユニオン日本語教会のサポートについて協議。

21日(月)14:00~ 日米合同教会で開催されたSpecial Ministry to the Japanese キャンプ委員会に出席し 日本サイドは来年を最後の年にして参加者を募ることを報告。

2)22日(火)ロサンゼルスへの移動日 久山康彦宣教師宅泊

・23日(水)伊藤秀美隠退宣教師訪問。 Faith合同メソジスト教会訪問

・24日(木)午前、センテナリ合同メソジスト教会にて青年たちとサンクスギビングに近隣の施設に無料で届けるお弁当作りに参加後、日本人低 所得者用アパートに届けて交わりの時を持つ。

久山宣教師はカトリックの神父が始めたボーイズタウンという全米で知られる非営利法人の働きに加わり、発達障 害の子どもたちと保護者への働きかけを行っており、その働きは日本でも広がりをみせ始めている。

・24日午後、サンフランシスコに飛びエルセリートにあるシカモア組合教会に派遣されている吉岡恵生宣教師を牧師館に訪問。牧 師館ではサンクスギビングのパーティーが開かれ子供を含めて30名が参加。シカモア幼稚園に吉岡宣教師の子どもが通っていることを通して、園児の保護者が パーティーに参加。クリスマスには2名が受洗、4名 が転会!吉岡宣教師はサッカーの 特技を生かしクラブを結成。教会では青年を中心にバンドを組みラッパーとして活動。すべて伝道に役立てている。

1. 南アフリカ出張

2016年12月4日~11日には、EMS(Evangelical Mission in Solidarity)総会に出席するため、Stellenbosch in South Africaを訪れた。

・参加者は68名(含EMSスタッフ10名・アジアからはインドネシア9名、韓国4日本1名の参加)。

・主題講演はRev. Dr. Frank Chikane on Public Theology

Rev. Dr. Frank Chikane is currently a pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA in Naledi, Soweto, and the president of the AFM. He was a Deputy Secretary of Cabinet during the Presidency of Nelson Mandela, and Secretary of the Cabinet during Mbeki’s and Motlhanthe’s Presidencies.

・EMSはアフリカ、中東、アジア における70以上の宣教プログラムを企画・支援 している。総会ではその内 容が紹介され会計報告と、2017年、2018年のプログラム及び会計予算が承認された。

【February 2017 No.391】70th Anniversary of LARA Celebrated

Church World Service Japan coordinated an event with 130 attendees on Nov. 30, 2016 at Waseda Hoshien’s Scott Hall in Tokyo entitled “The Message of LARA for Today, 70th Anniversary of LARA Forum.” “LARA” stands for “Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia” and was a program approved by President Harry Truman to facilitate the provision of “LARA goods,” such as clothes, shoes, and food to the Japanese people by churches and other organizations in North America. From 1946 until 1952, roughly one-sixth of the Japanese people, about 14 million, received aid, worth about 40 billion yen. Such aid was also provided to Korean people.

 

During the opening ceremonies, former Kyodan General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo, as a representative of the Kyodan, which at that time was made up of all Protestant Churches, and by extension as the representative of all Japanese, expressed his gratitude to the leaders of the organizations making up LARA. These included the Reverend George Ernest Bott (Church World Service), Esther B. Rose (American Friends Service), Father Michael J. Mackilop (Catholic War Relief Service), as well as 13 other church and civic group organizations that joined in the effort: the Church World Service affiliates of the various North American Protestant denominations, the American Friends Service Committee, the Catholic War Relief Service Committee, the Salvation Army, the YMCA and the YWCA, the American Federation of Labor, the Congregation of Industrial Organization, the Brethren Service Committee, the Girl Scouts, the Lutheran World Relief, the Unitarian Service Committee, and the Christian Science Service Commitee.

Yamada Kanji, chairman of the Board of Directors, Japan Church World Service, emceed the program, which began with a video introduction of LARA. This was followed by presentations by representatives of the USA and Japan: the Reverend John L. McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service, and Miyamoto Kazumu, principal of Bott Memorial Home, who focused on the spirit of LARA and how it was based in the Christian faith and the Bible.

 

Part 2 of the program consisted of a panel discussion by five representatives of humanitarian organizations, led by CWS Japan Director Komino Takeshi. The panel members were: Saiki Mitsue, director of Japan Church World Service; Katayama Nobuhiko, national director of World Vision Japan; Yamamoto Masaki, chief director of Hope House; Shimada Shigeru, general secretary of the National Council of YMCAs of Japan; and Kokai Chang Hikari, representative director of Wesley Zaidan, all of whom spoke passionately of their individual perspectives.

 

The program concluded with a time of fellowship in Scott Gallery, located in the basement of Scott Hall. It was a wonderful opportunity for us all to reflect back on the spirit behind the LARA program and to think about how Christian churches and other organizations can best conduct humanitarian aid in today’s world. (Tr. TB)

 

— Nagasaki Tetsuo, former general secretary

_____________

A movie on LARA’s history can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.cwsjapan.org/lara.

2016年11月30日早稲田奉仕園スコットホールで、CWS Japan(チャーチ・ワールド・サービス・ジャパン)他5団体共催によって「今伝えたいララからのメッセージ-ララ70周年記念フォーラム」が参加者130名を得て開催された。 「ララ」は、「Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia」の頭文字をとって呼ばれた通称である。「脱脂粉乳」や「ララ物資」等、戦争世代の誰もが知る、北米諸教会・団体の支援活 動を、トルーマン大統領が認可した民間の「アジア救援公認団体」である。 1946年から52年まで当時の日本人の6分の1に当たる1400万人が恩恵に浴したと言われ(円換算にして約400億円相当)、日本及び韓国への救済事業である。 開会挨拶で、長崎哲夫前教団総幹事は、教団はもとより国内全教会人・日本人を代表して同事業の指導者ジョージ・E・バット博士(CWS)、エスター・B・ローズ女史(米国フレンズ奉仕団)、ミカエル・J・マキロップ神父(カトリック戦時救済奉仕団)をはじめ北米プロテス タント各派合同の教会世界奉仕団・フレンド派・カトリック・救世軍・YMCA・YWCA・米労働総同盟・産業別組合・ブレズレン・ガールスカウト・ルーテ ル・ユニテリアン・クリスチャンサイエンス等、13の教会・団体に対して謝 辞を述べた。 プログラムの総合司会は日本キリスト教奉仕団理事長の山田貫司氏が務 め、第1部として、ララ物資記録動画が上映された後、CWS代表ジョン・マッ カラー牧師とバット博士記念ホーム園長宮本和武氏とによってララの精神がキリスト教信仰と聖書に基づくことが語られた。 第2部では、パネルディスカッションが小美野剛CWS Japan事務局長の司会で、ララの公平・裏方・尊敬・自発性・分かち合い等の精神をめぐって片山信彦ワールド・ビジョン事務局長、 小海光ウェスレー財団代表理事、齋木満惠日本キリスト教奉仕団理事、島田茂日本YMCA同盟総主事、山本雅基き ぼうのいえ理事長5氏による熱い発言があった。  会の終了後は、早稲田奉仕園スコットホールの地下にあるホールで和やかな交流会が持たれ、また違った雰囲気で、各々の交 流が行われた。ララの精神を振り返り、キリスト教諸教会および諸団体の今後の人道支援の在り方を考える良い機会となった。 (長崎哲夫報)

【February 2017 No.391】Working Together in Mission in Yamagata Subdistrict

by Tachibana Mitsuyo, pastor Yonezawa Church

 

From the year 2003, Kaminoyama and Yonezawa churches in Ou District’s Yamagata Subdistrict have been supported through the Cooperative Mission Solidarity Fund by being served as “yoked churches.” This is a way of supporting small-scale churches, moving from the idea of one church supporting one pastor to joint support by the subdistrict and the district. In this way, within Yamagata Subdistrict, we are afforded many opportunities to discuss the issues of solidarity fund churches as we have regular reports in such venues as the subdistrict assembly, the subdistrict council, and the ministerial association. I feel that the emphasis is starting to move from what has heretofore been mainly district-level leadership to a system of support centered in the subdistrict as a whole.

 

Concretely, up to last year, the religious affairs teachers of Yamagata Gakuin High School served as guest preachers twice a month at Kaminoyama Church. The subdistrict officers and subdistrict women’s society members also visited the Yonezawa and Kaminoyama churches to participate in their worship services, nurturing good interactions. Through this, both the laity and pastors avoided isolation and accordingly were encouraged. From this year, subdistrict pastors as well as lay members are taking part in the services at Kaminoyama Church, where there had been only a small number of worshippers and in this way giving support. Thus to the present, the weekly worship services of Yonezawa Church and Kaminoyama Church have been covered.

 

However, there are various issues involved with serving small-scale churches as a charge. Unavoidably, there is a bias in the priority of ministerial care for the church near where the pastor resides. Where the number of persons is few, due to the weakness of the latent energy of the church body, the fact that both churches might fail together cannot be denied. I think, at that point, the solidarity of the backing of the entire subdistrict and the accumulation of prayers is important. While looking for a form of solidarity that is fitting to that subdistrict, I think the entire subdistrict needs to continue its joint ownership of the issues of small-scale churches. And I think the stance of churches receiving financial aid must be to grapple seriously with the goal of financial independence.

宣教共働プラン現況報 告(山形地区)

米沢教会 立花三世

2003年度より山形地区では上山教会と米沢教会が、兼牧により宣教共働連帯金を受給しております。これは、一教師一教 会支援と言うものから、教区と地区との連帯により小規模教会を支えようというものです。これにより山形地区においては、地区総会、地 区協議会、地区牧師会等において、必ず連帯金受給教会の課題について報告、話し合いの機会を持つようになり、従来の教区主導の支援か ら、地区全体で支援するという体制が強化されつつあることを感じております。

具体的には、昨年ま で、山形学院高校の教務教師の先生方が中心となり、月2回の上山教会の説教を担当してくださいました。地区役員の方々、地区教会婦人会の方々 も礼拝出席と問安を兼ねて米沢教会・上山教会を訪問し、良き交流を重ねて下さいました。これにより信徒も教師も孤立することなく、励 まされている次第です。今年からは、地区の教会の教師また信徒の方々が礼拝出席人数の少ない上山教会を礼拝参加というかたちで応援し てくださっています。こうして今まで米沢教会、上山教会の毎週の礼拝が守られて来ました。

しかし、小規模教会 の兼牧にはいろいろな課題があります。どうしても牧師の居住教会に牧会の比重が偏ります。人数が少ないということは、教会自体の底力 が弱いということで、両方の教会共倒れということも否めません。そこで、地区全体での背後の連帯・祈りの積み重ねが重要であると思っ ています。その地区にふさわしい連帯のかたちを探りつつ、小規模教会の課題を地区全体で続けて共有していただけたらと思っています。 また、受給教会の姿勢として、やはり自立を目標に本気で取り組まねばならないと思っています。

【February 2017 No.391】Sharing Burdens and Joys

by Nitta Kyohei, pastor of Inawashiro, Aizubange, Kawageta and Aizuhongo churches

 

It is striking that for many churches, the sharing of joys and burdens is not the ordinary reality. Since April 2015, the Rev. Takahashi Makoto and I have been responsible for sharing the pastoral care of four churches: Aizubange Church, Aizuhongo Church, Inawashiro Church, and Kawageta Church. We alternate Sunday worship services with morning and afternoon services at two churches each, and both pastors attend the administrative board meetings of each church.

 

Serving four churches is quite bewildering, but I have been given many insights that I would not have understood by serving only one church. Each of the four churches is struggling with differing types of issues and difficulties. Through publishing the church bulletin as well as sharing information when issues are raised during tea-drinking time, we “share our pain.” And, from time to time, we hold a common administrative board meeting, working together on a plan for solutions.

 

Of course, we do not just share our pains. There is active participation in the events that each church is promoting, and four times a year there are joint worship services, held in rotation at each church, when we mutually see each other’s faces. Recently as well, when a special guest was invited to one of the churches, we held a joint worship service and shared our joys together. The issues or joys of one church are not limited to that one church; instead we are working at developing a relationship of mutual sharing and bearing.

 

I do not think that the Lord Jesus desires the kind of relationship revealed by such attitudes as “If it’s good for my church, that’s enough” and “Even if another church is hurting, it doesn’t bother me.” We are involved in a new experiment as we grope our way forward, but I believe that a way will be given to us, without fail, as we walk together with the four churches, holding hands. (Tr. RT)

 

—From Senkyo Tohoku (Tohoku District News), No. 172

(会津地区)
重荷と喜びを分かち合う 新田 恭平

「一つの教会に一人の牧師がたてられる。」それが当たり前でないという現実を多くの教 会が突きつけられています。

2015年4月から会津坂下・会津本郷・猪苗代・川桁の4教会を、私と髙橋真人)牧師で担う共同牧会が 行われています。主日礼拝は、午前と午後で2教会ずつ交互に担い、 各教会の役員会には両教師揃って出席します。

私自身、4教会を牧会することに戸惑いはありましたが、一教会を牧会するだけではわからない、たくさんの気付きが与 えられているように感じています。

4教会それぞれに異なる類の課題や困難を抱えています。それを、各教会の週報への記載 や、礼拝後のお茶呑みの時間に話題に挙げることで情報を共有し、「痛みを分かち合って」います。また、時には合同役員会を開き、打開 策を練り合っています。

もちろん分かち合うのは苦しみだけではありません。各教会が主催する行事に積極的に参 加し合うようになり、また、各教会持ち回りで年4回合同礼拝を行い、互 いに顔を合わせます。先日も1つの教会で特別なゲス トを招く際、その礼拝を合同礼拝に当て、共に喜びを分かち合いました。1つの教会の課題や喜び を1つの教会に留めるのでなく、互いに分かち合い担い合う関係の構築に励んでいます。

「うちの教会さえ良ければそれで良い」、「他の教会が痛んでいても、気にしていられな い」主イエスは、そんな関係を求められていないと思っています。

こ れまでにない試みで日々模索している現状ですが、必ず道は備えられると信じ、4教会手を取りながら歩んでいます。(宣教東北172号 より)