【June 2017 No.393】International Youth Conference Considers Sustainable Energy Issues

by Iijima Makoto, executive secretary Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Projects Planning Headquarters

The International Youth Conference on “Aiming to Realize a Sustainable Energy Future,” hosted by the Kyodan in Kyoto March 28-31, was a very significant event in the ongoing efforts to consider issues associated with nuclear power generation and energy consumption, in the following three respects.

1. The conference was held in Japan, which has experienced radiation exposure three times—in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima.

2. Not only did the conference clarify problems of nuclear power generation from a variety of viewpoints, it provided suggestions about how to realize a sustainable energy society in the future.

3. The conference, which was planned and implemented by youth leaders, gave birth to the possibility of a network that is rooted in the church and based on shared awareness among Christian youth from 12 countries, including not just Asian countries but also Canada, the USA, and Germany. There were 110 participants, with 20 from overseas.

These points are explained further below with corresponding numbers.

1. In 1945 Japan suffered the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, after the East Japan Disaster on March 11, 2011, also experienced the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. We therefore bear a special duty, now more than ever, to alert the world to the grave effects of radioactive contamination on our lives. At this conference we did not limit ourselves to speaking out; we were able to invite youth from other countries that listened earnestly to our voices and were willing to engage in new challenges with us.

2. The conference made it clear that the nuclear power plant accident of 2011 caused irreparable harm and dire situations in the following ways.

   1) There are people who cannot return to their homes due to high levels of radiation.

   2) Not only has mandatory evacuation destroyed local communities, differing viewpoints on radiation risks have also caused division in families and among friends.

   3) Harmful effects on the health of children resulting from radioactive contamination are growing more serious with the passage of time.

Such problems were illustrated through the use of meticulous materials, and the situations and initiatives in other countries were also introduced. Through this, participants were also made aware of how important it is for us to adopt sustainable energy options into our daily lives; for example, going “off-grid.”*

3. The fact that this conference was planned over a period of one year and was carried out by young people is very meaningful not only for the future of the Kyodan but also for the Christian community in Japan. As we look forward with anticipation to the rich relationships that may develop among the youth who gathered, including those from abroad, we in the Kyodan must ask ourselves what we can do to foster such relationships.

Fellowship can take many forms. The special characteristic of the fellowship experienced at this conference was that participating youth discovered the importance of collaborating across denominational boundaries while remaining firmly grounded in the Gospel faith. Also noteworthy is the fact that 16 of the Kyodan’s 17 districtswere represented at the conference. (Okinawa sent no delegate.) It is encouraging to know that the Kyodan can come together like this to engage a single issue as one body.

Aside from the closing day’s plenary session, where we discussed and adopted a final statement, the conference was an intense event that featured 20 lectures and presentations in 21/2 days. The young organizers did a wonderful job of implementing the program. We can say that this youth conference inherited the spirit of the Kyodan’s first international conference, held at Sendai in 2014, and bore fruit beyond our expectations.

The tasks that lay ahead of us are: (1) to ensure that the issues of nuclear power transmitted from Japan will be deeply and widely received abroad and (2) to work with overseas partners who sent youth to this conference to host in those countries, on a rotating basis, a series of conferences focused on nuclear power issues.

With heartfelt prayers to the God of history, this concludes my report on the conference. (Tr. DGM)

*Going “off-grid”: Disconnecting from the power distribution network (“grid”) of major electric power companies by installing and using one’s own power-generation facilities.

「国際青年会議in京都―エネルギー持続社会の実現に向けて」報告 (飯島信)

京都で4日間にわたって行われた「国際青年会議in京都―エネルギー持続社会の実現に向けて」(日本基督教団主催)は、原発とエネルギー問題を考える上で3つの大きな意味を持つ会議となった。それは、

(1)ヒロシマ・ナガサキ・フクシマと言う3度の被爆を経験した日本で行われたこと。

(2)原発の持つ問題点が様々な視点から明らかにされただけでなく、未来のエネルギー持続社会実現に向かう示 唆が与えられたこと。

(3)青年の世代による運営がなされ、アジアのみならず、カナダ・アメリカ・ドイツなど世界12カ国のキリスト者青年による問題意識の共有、教会を基盤としたネットワーク作りの可能性が生まれたこと。

以上である。以下、順次会議の意味を振り返り、確認したい。

 

(1)    について。

1945年のヒロシマ・ナガサキへの原爆投下、そして2011年の3・11東日本大震災による東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の原発事故によって、私たちは戦争の悲惨さだけではなく、放 射能汚染が私たちの生活に与える深刻さを、これまでより一層声を大にして世界に発信する責務が与えられている。今回の国際青年会議は、2014年の国際会議に続く私たちの2回目の原発問題の発信の場であった。そして、それは、ただ発信するにとどまらず、私たちの発信を真摯に受け止 め、この問題を共に担うことが期待された海外からの若者を招いて行われたのである。

 

(2)    について。

3・11の原発事故は、以下の点で、取り返しのつかない悲惨な現実を生み出していることが会議を通して明らか にされた。

➀放射線量が高い故に、故郷に二度と帰る事の出来ない人々がいること。

②強制避難によって地域社会が崩壊したのみならず、放射能の問題をめぐる意見の相違が肉親・親族の間に深刻な分 断をもたらしていること。

③放射能汚染による子どもの健康被害が年を追って深刻になっていること。

これらの問題が綿密な資料をもとに確認されただけでなく、他の国々の取り組みも紹介される中で、オフグリッド (注)など持続可能エネルギーを生活の中に取り入れて行くことの大切さが改めて認識された。

【注:自前の発電設備によって大手電力会社の送電網(グリッド)から外れること。】

 

(3)    について。

今回の会議が、約1年の歳月をかけて、青年たちによって準備・運営された事実は、日本基督教団のこれからだけでなく、日本のキリ スト教界の将来にとって重要な意味を持つ。特に、国を超えて生まれた青年たちの交わりが今後いかに豊かなものに成長して行くか、そのため に日本基督教団として何が出来るのかが問われている。

 

交わりには様々な在り方がある。その中での今回の交わりの特色は、参加した青年たちが、福音主義信仰の土台の 上に、各個教会の枠を超えて協働の大切さを受け止め合えたことにあるだろう。特に今回の会議に、日本基督教団全17教区中、沖縄を除く16教区が青年代表を派遣した事実を見ても、教会・教区の枠を超え、日本基督教団が一致して一つの課題に向き合う ことの出来た事実が知らされるのである。

会議は、最終日の声明文採択の時間を除き、2日半で20の講演と発表が行われた過密なプログラムであった。しかし、青年達は見事なまでに会議を運営して行った。こう して行われた国際青年会議は、2014年に仙台で行われた日本基督教団初の国際会議を継承し、予想をはるかに越えた実りをもたらしたと言える。

課題は、日本から発信された原発問題が、さらに深く広く海外で受け止められ、今回参加した国々が、原発問題を 主題にした青年会議を次々に持ち回りで開催することである。

歴史の主なる神の導きを心から祈りつつ、会議の報告に代えたい。

【June 2017 No.393】East Japan Disaster Sixth Annual Memorial Worship Service

by Kato Makoto, executive secretary

In March 2017, Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) personnel, namely, Rev. Dr. Kerstin Neumann (Head and Deputy General Secretary of the Department of Mission and Partnership), Rev. Solomon P. Benjamin (Liaison Secretary for East Asia and India), and Dr. Carola Hoffmann-Richter (EMS member) visited Japan. The purpose of their recent visit was to attend the anniversary meeting that was to be held in remembrance of the East Japan Disaster—to attend it on the date that the disaster occurred (March 11) and at the actual place it happened—and further, to meet leaders of the various Japanese churches and institutions affiliated with EMS and deepen their friendly relationship with them.

From March 10 to 13, I accompanied them as we followed an itinerary that took us to Sendai, Ishinomaki, Fukushima, and Asian Rural Institute (ARI). Since Secretary Neumann and Secretary Benjamin joined in the work of EMS last year, this was their first visit to Japan. As a former EMS mission co-worker, member Hoffmann-Richter had previously spent eight years in Japan, working primarily in the Kansai area. This time she came to Japan to provide translation and serve as a guide. At 2 p.m. on March 10, we met at the Kyodan Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus in Sendai to hear presentations by Tohoku District (which has shouldered the burdens of  Emmaus), the Aizu Radiation Information Center, and the Kyodan Tohoku District Nuclear Disaster Relief Task Force, Izumi concerning their work. Following these presentations, the ensuing discussion period was marked by a lively exchange of opinions.

On the morning of March 11, we moved to Ishinomaki to observe directly what is currently being done in the disaster area. At Ishinomaki Yamashiro-cho Church, from 2:30 in the afternoon, we participated in the East Japan Disaster Six-year Memorial Worship Service, which was sponsored by Tohoku District. Rev. Sato Masashi, who had been sent by the Kyodan to serve as a director of Emmaus, delivered the sermon.

On Sunday, March 12, we moved to Fukushima Church, where we participated in another worship service commemorating the sixth anniversary of the East Japan Disaster. Rev. Hoshina Takashi, pastor of Fukushima Church, gave a sermon entitled, “Especially in Weakness.” He is also vice-moderator of Tohoku District and head of the Izumi Room of the Kyodan Tohoku District Nuclear Disaster Relief Task Force (which deals with radioactivity issues).

Late afternoon on the same day, we visited ARI in neighboring Tochigi Prefecture and shared in the dinnertime fellowship. We stayed in the guest room; however, the construction of the building was different from that found in Germany, and the coldness of the night in Nishinasuno caused some difficulty. The next morning, we participated in the morning program. After experiencing various farm chores, we had breakfast and shared in the morning worship service led by missionary Jonathan McCurley, who comes to us from the United Methodist Church. There are no students there at this time of year, so this gave us an opportunity to hear from the staff concerning ARI’s programs.

On March 13 we met with Kyodan Moderator Rev. Ishibashi Hideo and a number of other pastors and executive secretaries at the Japan Christian Center. After that we visited the Korean Christian Church in Japan, the National Christian Council in Japan (which is in the same building as the administrative offices of the Kyodan), and in the afternoon, the Tomisaka Christian Center.

Later EMS personnel visited the Kansai region; (I did not accompany them for this portion of their schedule in western Japan). On March 18 they completed their scheduled activities and returned to Germany. (Tr. DM)

EMS代表団の日本訪問

Kato Makoto, executive secretary加藤 誠

2017年3月に、EMSの カースティン・ノイマン副総幹事、ベンジャミン・ソロモンアジア担当幹事、カロラ・ホフマンーリ ヒター議員が、来日した。今回の目的は東北大震災記 念日当日の3.11の 現地記念集会に出席することと、(日 本の) EMS加 盟教会・団体の指導者に会い、より親密な関係を深めることであった。

10日から13日までの、仙台、石巻、福島、アジア学院への旅程に、(私 は彼らと)同 行した。ノイマン副総幹事とソロモン幹事は昨年にエムスの働きに加わったため、初来日であった。カロラ議員はかつてEMSの ミッション・コワーカーとして、主に関西を中心に8年間滞在され、今回は通訳兼案内として来日された。3月10日 は仙台の被災者支援センター・エマオにおいて午後2時から東北教区が担う被災者支援センター・エマオ、会津放射能情報セン ター、東北教区放射能問題支援対策室いずみの活動についてのプレゼンテーションが行 われ、その後活発な意見交換が行われた。

3月11日は午前中に石巻に移動 し、被災地域の現在の取り組みを学ぶフィールドワークを行った。午後2時半からは石巻山城町教会で行われた東北教区主催東日本大震災6周年記念礼拝に参加し た。説教は佐藤真史牧師である。彼は被災者支援センター・エマオにディレクターとして教団より派 遣された。12日 (日曜)は福島教会に移動して東日本大震災6周年記念礼拝に参加した。説教は保科隆牧師(福島教会牧師・東北教区副議長・放射能問題支援対策室いずみ室長)説教題は「弱いときにこそ」。同日夕方にはアジア学 院を訪問し夕食の交わりに参加。ゲストルームでの宿泊となったが、ドイツとは家の造りが違い、西那須野の夜の冷え込みは予想外に厳し かったようである。翌朝は朝のプログラムに参加。それぞれ農作業を体験した後、朝食、UMCか ら派遣されているジョナサン・マッカーリー宣教師による朝礼拝に参加した。学生のいない時期ではあったが、かえってスタッフから じっくりとアジア学院の方針を聞く機会が与えられた。

13日は、東京のキリスト教 会館でまず、日本基督教団総会議長石橋秀雄牧師以下数名の牧師・幹事と懇談した。その後、在日大韓基督教会,National Christian Council in Japanと同館内の事務局を訪問し、午後は富阪キリスト教センターを訪問した。私は関西のスケジュールには同行しなかったが、EMSの 皆さんはその後関西を訪問し、18日 に全てのスケジュールを終えて、ドイツへ帰国された。

【June 2017 No.393】Prayer Meetings ‡U. Lay Leadership of Church Prayer Meetings

by Taino Keiko, member

                                                                                                              Kawakami Church, Ehime Prefecture

Kawakami Church was founded by a U.S. missionary in 1909 as a place for the Japan Methodist Church to hold lectures. At the time of its founding, there were already many Christian farmers. Pastor Matsuda Suzuo, appointed in 1947 just after World War II, got involved by providing land for the establishment of Galilee Home, which is part of Airin-en Special Nursing Home for the Elderly. This facility is a social welfare corporation, which at that time was still rare in farming towns. For a long time, he operated a kindergarten named “Olive Garden.” It closed ten years ago, but until then it had contributed greatly to community welfare and education. After his death in 1983, there were intermittent periods in which there was no pastor, and then the baton was passed to Pastor Mori Kenshiro, Pastor Imai Makio, and Pastor Hirosawa Mikio. Since 2015 the church has been experiencing its third period without a pastor. At present, Pastor Ota Tatsuo of Matsuyama Eiko Church in Ehime Prefecture is overseeing the church, which is a small congregation of 17 resident communicant members. He comes to hold worship services and attend church board meetings. Kawakami Church is also assisted by other pastors in the subdistrict.

I was baptized when I was 22 years old at Iimorino Church in Hyogo Prefecture. I transferred to Kawakami Church when I got married 54 years ago. I thought, “I want to marry someone with whom I can go to church.” That was the reason I married a Christian man. However, his family operated a dairy farm with 40 to 50 cows. It was all we could do to observe Sunday worship. It was about ten years ago when I was finally able to go to the prayer meetings. I am now 79 years old. Even during periods when there was no pastor, Kawakami Church maintained its prayer meetings, never once canceling them. Prayer meetings used to be held on Wednesday nights; then about 50 years ago it was moved to the afternoon, and now it is held from 10 to 11 a.m. There have been fewer attendees as time has passed because members have died or stopped coming for other reasons. Including myself, there have been three people who have always attended. Even so, there is never any talk of discontinuing the prayer meeting. We are continually encouraged by the words of Ueda Noriko, who is now 92 years old and still active as a Sunday school teacher. She says, “As long as there are people who can gather together, even if it is only one or two people, I want to continue the weekly prayer meeting.”

When Pastor Ota took on the role of overseer of the church, we considered moving it to the afternoon so that he could also participate. However, because there would have been someone else who could not attend, we decided to continue holding it in the morning, as a prayer meeting for the laity. For the first half of the prayer meeting, we study the Bible. We are presently studying the books of the Chronicles. The person whose turn it is to lead reads the Bible passage ahead of time, and then comes and shares his or her thoughts with everyone. Though there are many sad things happening in today’s world, as we study this subject, we think about what Jesus is saying to us now, and we all discuss it together. After that, we follow a booklet issued by Shikoku District called “Inoro Shikoku no Kyokai” (“Churches of Shikoku, Let’s Pray as One Body”). We pray for Kawakami Church, for the people connected to it, for the many children who gather in the facilities related to the church, and for each other.

Whenever I think, “Today there is a prayer meeting,” it is very encouraging for me. In life, there are many unpleasant things, but if you go to church and pray, God will listen to everything. Since my husband died I have been living alone, but it is reassuring to realize that God is with me so I am not really alone. Whenever all three of us look at each other and feel the same way about something, we are thankful and say, “It is so good that we were able to come to the prayer meeting today.” Our prayer meeting is also a place to confirm such blessings from God.

Although Kawakami Church is small, in 2014 we were able to construct a new building. The old church, built in 1934, was a two-story wooden structure that had badly deteriorated. It was also inadequately retrofitted to withstand earthquakes. It had reached the limit of how much repair could be done to stop the rain from leaking in. The church was on a mountainside, where transportation was definitely inconvenient. A long time ago, the road in front of the church building was also the main road that ran through the center of town, so there was a lot of traffic. However, since then a bypass and a highway have been constructed, and the circumstances are completely different.

We decided to rebuild, using our fund of 20 million yen that had been saved by the church for 40 years, adding donations from churches all over the country. We relocated to level ground. We had prayed for this for 40 years, and it became a reality. We were blessed because when the church was founded, missionaries had prepared for us a large sanctuary for worship and a parsonage. Proceeds from the sale of the large plot of land and the buildings could be used for covering the cost of repaying the debt. We are thankful for God’s wondrous guidance. (Tr. KT)

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), January 2017 issue. Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

受け継がれる教会の業

無牧教会で信徒が担い続ける祈祷会

愛媛・川上教会  田井野圭子(Taino Keiko)  たいの けいこ/川上教会員

川上教会は日本メソヂスト教会の講義所 として、アメリカ人の宣教師により1909年に創立された教会です。創立時は農業を営む信徒が多くいました。戦後の1947年に赴任 した松田鈴雄(Matsuda Suzuo)牧師は、まだ農村では珍しかった社会福祉法人愛隣園特別養護老人ホームの ガリラヤ荘設立に土地提供などをとおして関わりました。オリブ園という幼児園も長く営み、こちらは10年 前に閉園しましたが、地域福祉と教育に貢献してきました。松田牧師が83年 に亡くなってからは、無牧の時を挟みながら森研四郎(Mori Kenshiro)牧師、今井牧夫(Imai Makio)牧師、廣澤幹夫(Hirosawa Mikio)牧師とバトンが継がれ、2015年 よりは3度 目の無牧を経験しています。現在は代務の大田辰夫(Ota Tatsuo)牧師(愛媛・松山栄光教会牧師)が来て礼拝の御用をし、役員会に出席して くださっています。分区の先生方にも支えられています。現住陪餐会員(resident communicant members)17名の小さな教会です。

私は、兵庫県の飯盛野教会で22歳 のときに洗礼を受け、54年 前に結婚と共に川上教会に転会しました。「一緒に教会に行ける人と結婚したい」という理由でクリスチャンである夫と結婚したのです が、婚家は牛40~50頭 を飼う酪農家。日曜日の礼拝を守るのが精いっぱいでした。祈祷会に出られるようになったのは10年 ほど前からです。今は79歳 です。川上教会の祈祷会は無牧のときも含めて、一度も休むことなく続けられてきたそうです。水曜日の夜に行われていましたが、50年 ほど前に昼に移動し、現在は午前10時 から11時 までです。会員が亡くなるなどして年々出席者が少なくなり、常時出席しているのは私を含めて3人です。しかしそれでも祈祷会をやめる という話にはなりません。92歳 で、今も現役のCS教 師をしている上田倫子(Ueda Noriko)さんの「1人でも2人でもいいから、集える人がいる限り、祈祷会を続けて いきたい」という言葉に励まされ続けています。

大田牧師が代務になったとき、午後に移 せば牧師も参加できるということで検討しましたが出席できなくなる人が出るために、信徒だけの祈祷会として午前に続けることにしまし た。祈祷会の前半は聖書の学びです。今は歴代誌を学んでいます。当番が事前に読んできて皆と感想を分かち合います。悲しいことの多い 時代ですが、この学びをとおしてイエスさまが今の私たちに何を語り掛けてくださっているのかを考えながら皆で話し合っています。その 後は、四国教区が発行している小冊子『祈ろう四国の教会』に従って教区の教会のために祈り、また川上教会とそれに連なる人たちのた め、関連施設に集う多くの子どもたちのため、お互いのために祈ります。

私にとって、「今日は祈祷会がある」と いうことは大きな励みです。人生、いろいろと大変なことがあります。でも教会に行って祈れば、神さまが全部聞いてくださるのです。夫 を亡くして今は一人暮らしとなりましたが、一人ではない、神さまがいてくださるのだと思うと心強いのです。同じ気持ちの3人が顔を合 わせるたびに、「今日も祈祷会に来ることができて本当によかった」と感謝しています。祈祷会とはそのような恵みを確認する場でもあり ます。

川上教会は小さな教会です。しかし2014年 に新会堂を建てました。1934年 に建てられた木造2階建ての旧会堂は劣化が激しく、耐震性もありませんでした。雨漏りの補修も限界を迎えていました。山の中腹にあ り、交通の便も決してよくありません。昔は会堂の前を通る道が村の中心道路で往来も多かったのです。しかし、バイパスや高速道路がで きて事情がすっかり変わってしまいました。

そこで、教会では40年間蓄えてきた資金2000万 円に全国の教会からの献金を合わせて建て替えることとし、平地に移転しました。40年 来の祈りが実現しました。幸いに教会創立時に宣教師により広い礼拝堂、牧師館が備えられ、その土地建物の売却金を借財の返済費用に充 てることができました。不思議な神さまの導きに感謝しています。(インタビュー・文=信徒の友編集部)

【June 2017 No.393】Testimonies Featured at the 2017 Missionary Conference

by Takada Teruki, staff Kyodan General Office, Tokyo

A three-day missionary conference was held at the base of Mt. Fuji at Torchbearers Yamanakako from Monday, March 20 (a holiday), with the theme, “Joy at the Household of God” (Acts 2:42-47). Including missionary families and Kyodan staff, a total of 37 persons attended, among whom 23 were missionaries.

The Site: Torchbearers Yamanakako

The Torchbearers, which originated after World War II from the mutual friendship between the churches of British Wales and Germany, was founded for the purpose of opening Bible camps throughout the world. The one in Japan is a retreat established in an area located one kilometer from the shore of Lake Yamanaka and made to resemble closely the forests of Germany and the countryside of Canada. The wooden building felt soothing to me. The fragrance and heat of the wood burning in the fireplace warmed not only the participants’ bodies but also their hearts. This was different from a hotel or a Japanese inn. The immediate feeling of “narrowness” sensed by those who came—that very cozy closeness of space—shrank the distance between the participants, and relaxed relationships were instantly formed. In the midst of this cozy atmosphere, free of tension, the messages at the worship services and the testimonies reverberated deep within our hearts, and we experienced a noticeable rise in our ability to concentrate.

The Schedule

The message at the opening worship service on the first day was offered by Pastor Imaizumi Nobuhiro of Mukonoso Church (in Hyogo, near Osaka), and following a delicious supper, we split into small groups to introduce ourselves and pray for one another. It snowed from the morning of the second day. That morning, testimonies were given by Elizabeth Mbundu and Karen Strydom, teachers at Kyoai Gakuen High School, and following breakfast, under the direction of Kyodan Executive Secretary Kato Makoto, there was a treasure hunt and a ping-pong tournament. During individual free time that afternoon, we went to a nearby hot spa and other places. The evening campfire was canceled due to snow, but instead we warmed up the meeting room and held a candlelight service during which Nishinasuno Church (in Tochigi) Pastor Ban Hyung Wook and Sheila Norris, a teacher at Kwassui Women’s University (in Nagasaki), gave testimonies of their personal struggles of evangelizing in Japan.

From the morning of the third day, the weather was fine. The program began with the testimony of Uotsu Church (in Toyama) Pastor Ruth Ester Waehrer, followed by a worship service commemorating deceased missionaries led by Kobe Jesus Band Church Pastor Claudia Genung-Yamamoto and a communion service, with Rev. Thomas Goetz of Hokusei Gakuen University (in Sapporo) officiating. During the final meeting, the next year’s planning committee was chosen. Then Rev. Akiyama Toru, chair of the Kyodan’s Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, gave the message at the closing worship service. Throughout the entire meeting, Josephine Kimura of Ferris Girls’ High School (in Yokohama) provided the music.

The Participants

From Hokkaido in the north to Kyushu in the south, attendees were able to gather together from throughout the country. First-time participants were Mrs. Carol Imaizumi from Mukonoso Church, Rev. and Mrs. Lee Meng Jer from Tokyo Taiwan Church, Rev. Lin Mei-Ying from Saitama Chinese Worship Mission Church, missionary Karen Strydon of Kyoai Gakuen Gakuen, and Yuka, the adopted daughter of missionaries Jonathan and Satomi McCurley. There was sparse participation by missionaries from Korea and Taiwan and only Akiyama Toru, moderator of Kanto District, who also serves as chair of the Committee on Ecumenical Ministries, represented the Kyodan districts.

The Special Blessings of this Missionary Conference

I have worked in the Kyodan Office for the past ten years, but I have never before experienced as great a blessing as I did at this missionary conference.

1. The site was separated from daily life, a place free from our regular work and interpersonal relationships.

2. On the contrary, the institution was in the middle of nature, and when you tuned your ears to God’s Word, strangely it was a place where that Word reverberated in your heart.

3. Again, this time especially, there was a blessed chance to hear the testimonies of senior missionaries who had given their lives and struggled for a long time during their mission work in Japan. Sheila Norris’s testimony about her work of teaching and overcoming difficulties particularly struck my heart.

For this reason, participants soon opened their hearts, and as if they had been acquaintances for many decades, they were mutually able to deepen their trust relationships. It was a heart-cleansing experience.

 

The Planning Committee

What we must not forget about the missionary conference is the existence of the planning committee. On the last day of the 2016 Missionary Conference, held in Sendai one year ago, the following four persons were chosen and have borne that heavy responsibility:

1. Rev. Imaizumi Nobuhiro (United Methodist Church), Mukonoso Church),

2. Rev. Timothy Appau (All African Baptist Fellowship, Asian Rural Institute),

3. Rev. Chang, In-Hye (Korean Methodist Church), Hizume Church), and

4. Ms. Devora Umipig-Julian (UMC, Yoyogi Uehara Church).

At the initiative of Secretary Kato during the first consultation held in the Kyodan conference room in July 2016, the place, theme, and Bible passages were decided. Then while staying overnight at the site of Torchbearers Yamanakako, the committee proceeded to draft the schedule as well as to decide the division of responsibility. During the five days prior to the conference, when we were so busy with preparations, the flexible coordination of Devora Umipig-Julian was particularly helpful, for which I am very grateful. (Tr. RT)

2017年3月20日(月・祝日)から3日間、富士山の麓、トーチベアラーズ山中湖にて宣教師会議を開催した。テーマ“神の庭にある喜び(使徒2:42-47)”の下、宣教師の家族や教団スタッフを含め37名(内、宣教師は23名)の参加を得た。

 

1.トーチベアラーズ山中湖

第二次世界大戦後、英国ウェールズとドイツとの間で、互いの教会の友好のために始まったトーチベアラー ズは、聖書キャンプを開催するための施設を全世界に建設してきた。日本のそれは、山中湖畔から1キロの別荘地にあるリトリート施設。 その地は、ドイツの森やカナダの自然を彷彿とさせる場で、木造の建物は柔らかく感じられた。薪をくべた暖炉の匂いと温かさが、利用者 の体だけでなく心をも温めてくれた。ここはホテルや旅館とは異なる。入居時には正直“狭い”と感じたものの、そのこぢんまりとした空間の狭さが、参加者同士の距離を縮めてくれ、すぐに打ち解けた関 係を築くことができた。また緊張感から解放されているこの豊かな空間の中では、礼拝で聞く説教や証しがよく心に響き、集中力が格段に 増すのも体験できた。

 

2.スケジュール

初日、武庫之荘教会・今泉信宏牧師の説教で開会礼拝をささげ、手作りの美味しい夕飯の後、小グループに分かれて自己紹介し、互いのため に祈った。2日目は早朝から雪が降っていた。朝は共愛学園高校のElizabeth Mbundu先生とKaren Strydom先生の証し。朝食の後には加藤誠幹事の指導で宝探しと卓球大会。午後は自由時間で各々、近くの温泉などに 出かける。夜のキャンプファイヤーは雪で中止となり代わりに室内で部屋を暗くしてキャンドルサービス。西那須野教会の潘炯旭(Ban Hyung Wook)牧師、活水女子大学のSheila Norris教授が、自らの日本宣教の取り組みについて証しをした。3日目は朝から快晴。魚津(Uotsu)教会Ruth Ester Waehrer牧師の証しで始まり、神戸イエス団(Kobe Jesus Band)教会Genung Yamamoto Claudia牧師による逝去宣教師を覚えての記念礼拝、北星学園大学Thomas Goetz牧師による聖餐式、まとめ会では次年度の企画委員を決め、閉会礼拝の説教は世界宣教委 員長の秋山徹(Akiyama Toru)牧師が担った。全体を通してフェリス女学院高校のJosephine Kimura先生が奏楽を担当した。

 

3.参加者

北は札幌・函館・弘前から西は長崎まで、全国から集まることができた。初参加は武庫之荘教会・今泉キャ ロル夫人、東京台湾教会・李孟哲(Lee Meng -Jer)宣教師ご夫妻、埼玉中国語礼拝・林美音(Lin MeiYing宣教師、共愛学園・Karen Strydom宣教師、そしてJonathan McCurley宣教師ご夫妻の養女(adopted daughter, Yuka)ゆうかちゃんであった。韓国や台湾からの宣教師の参加は少なく、教区代表者も世界宣教委員長を兼任する関 東教区秋山徹議長のみとなった。

 

 

4.今回の宣教師会議での特別な恵み

私はこれまで10年間、教団事務局で働いてきたが、今回の宣教師会議ほど、恵み深い体験はなかった:

①そこは日常から離れ、普段の仕事や人間 関係から解放された場であった。

②加えてその施設は、大自然の中にあり、神様の御言葉に耳を傾けると、不思議にその御言葉が心に響く場で あった。

③更に今回は特に、日本での宣教活動に長い間、人生を懸けて取り組まれた先輩宣教師の証しを聴く機会に恵ま れていた。私はNorris先生の、困難を乗り越えてのお働きの証しに特に心を打たれた。

こういう訳で、参加者はすぐに心を開き、あたかも数十年来の旧知の仲であるかのように、お互いへの信頼関 係を深めることができた。心洗われる体験となった。

 

5.企画委員

宣教師会議で忘れてならないのが企画委員の存在である。1年前、仙台で開催された宣教師会議2016の 最終日に選出された次の4名がその重責を担った:

Rev. Imaizumi Nobuhiro (UMC, Mukonoso Church), Rev. Timothy Appau (All Africa Baptist Fellowship, Asian Rural Institute), Rev. Chang, In-Hye (KMC, Hizume Church), Ms. Debora Umipig-Julian (UMC, Yoyogi Uehara Church).

加藤幹事のイニシアチブの下、2016年7月教団会議室での第一回打ち合わせ会にて場所・テーマ・聖書箇所を決定し、更に11月には開催地・トーチベアラーズ山中湖に赴いて宿泊の上でスケジュール組み立て及び役割分担を決めた。準 備活動が殺到する直前の5日間、特にMs. Debora Umipig-Julianの柔軟なコーディネーションが功を奏した。感謝している。

 

教団事務局職員 高田輝樹

【June 2017 No.393】Kyodan Executives Attend the PCT General Assembly in Taipei

by  Kato Makoto, executive secretary

The 62nd (2017) General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan was held April 18–21 in a large conference room at Mackay Memorial Hospital in Taipei. I attended at the invitation of the PCT as a Kyodan representative, together with Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo and Hayashida Yoshiyuki and his wife Kyoko, former missionaries to Taiwan. Following the opening worship service led by Rev. Suda Tada, moderator of the previous PCT General Assembly, those of us from overseas churches gave our greetings. First was Rev. Hayashida, presently the pastor of Uneno Church in Kawanishi, Hyogo, Japan. The Hayashidas had served the Japanese church in Kaohsiung, Taiwan, from 1983 until March 2017. The PCT covered their expenses to attend and gave them this opportunity to speak to the assembly. The fourth and final greeting was that of Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi, who expressed his deep gratitude to the PCT for exchanges with the Kyodan and particularly for its great support for the victims of the Great East Japan Disaster of March 2011.

One of the distinguishing features of the PCT is the large number of pastors of aboriginal ethnicity. As a result, the handbook used at the assembly included Scripture readings in Amis, Bunun and seven other representative native languages. The assembly itself was conducted in Mandarin Chinese, but one could hear the Taiwanese language being used as well. Delegates’ statements and remarks were limited to three minutes, and since the remaining time for each delegate was displayed on a screen above the platform, no one spoke overtime.

On the first day, the new moderator was chosen by ballot, with Rev. Chen Ming-Chin being elected. The main agenda on the second day was the ratification of the executive secretaries at the church headquarters, and while there was some heated discussion concerning that, the slate was approved. The new associate general secretaries chosen were Rev. Tsai Nan-Hsin and Rev. Eleng Tjaljimaraw, while Rev. Joshua Lian was selected to be the executive secretary for the Ecumenical and International Committee. Executive Secretary Ching An-Yen, who played such a vital role in the deepening of relations between the PCT and the Kyodan during the past four years will be stepping down at the end of June.

The PCT is deeply divided over the issue of sexual minorities. There was passionate debate with no unity evolving, so the matter is shaking the foundations of the denomination.

Our schedule was such that we needed to bid farewell on the third day of the conference, but former General Secretary Andrew Chang made arrangements for Ishibashi and myself to drive through the Keelung area of northern Taiwan together with Rev. Lee Mneg Jer and his wife, who were the former PCT missionaries to the Kyodan’s Tokyo Taiwanese Church. I was so thankful that we could have good fellowship on the way to the airport. (Tr. TB)

台 湾基督長老教会総会出席

報 告 加藤 誠幹事

 

 2017年4月18日(火)~21日(金)まで台北市Taipei Cityあるマカイ記念病院 大会議室を会場にして第62回台湾基督長老教会Presbyterian Chruch in Taiwan総会General Assemblyが開催された。教団からは石橋 秀雄教団総会議長、林田義行元宣教師・林田響子夫人、加藤誠世界宣教幹事が出席した。第61総 会期議長のSuda Tada牧師による開会礼拝後、海外の 来賓挨拶が行われた。トップバッターは林田義行牧師(畦野教会)であった。林田牧師夫妻 は2017年3月まで台湾の高雄で1983年 以来日本人教会を牧会された元宣教師である。今回はPCTが費用を全て負担して台湾に招 き、総会で退任の挨拶をする機会を与えてくださった。4番目、つまり最後の来賓挨拶は 石橋議長であった。石橋議長はこれまでのPCTとの交わりに感謝し、特に2011年3月に起きた東日本大震災で被災された方々への支援を感謝した。

台湾基督長老教会の特色の一つは原住民の牧師が多数存在することである。それゆえ総会ハンドブックには聖書箇所は阿美語、 布農(ブヌン)語 など9種 類の代表的な原住民語でも記されている。総会では原則北京語で 会話がされているようであるが、時に台湾語Taiwaneseが 聞こえてくる。議員の発言は最大3分。 講壇上のスクリーンに残り時間が表示されるため時間オーバーして発言する人はいなかった。

初日の選挙の結果、新議長にRev. Chen, Ming-Chinが 選出された。二日目の議事のトップは総会本部に所属する幹事の人事が発表され、激しい議論があったものの、承認された。新しく助理 (副)総幹事に任命されたのがRev. Tsai, Nan-Hsin とRev. Eleng Tjaljimarawで あった。世界宣教幹事にはRev. Joshua Lianが 任命された。4年 にわたって教団との関係を深めることに多大な貢献をされたRev. Ching An-Yeh幹 事は6月 末に退任される。

台湾基督長老教会は性的少数者の事柄で教団全体を揺るがすほど意見が二分化されている。今回もこの問題では白熱した議論が起きたが一 致した見解を得ることは出来なかった。

こちらのスケジュールの都合で3日 目に総会は失礼したが、フライト前にRev. Andrew Chang前 総幹事の計らいで、台湾北部の基隆Keelungへ のドライブに東京台湾教会派遣宣教師の李孟哲(Lee Mneg Jer)牧 師夫妻、石橋議長と共に連れて行っていただき、良き交わりの時が与えられたことを最後に感謝したい。