New Kyodan Retirement Home Replaces Two Former Facilities

by Sumiya Tamiko, chair
Nijino’ie/Shin’aiso Steering Committee
Nijino’ie/Shin’aiso, located in Tokyo’s Ome City, is a new retirement home formed by the merger of Shin’aiso and Nijino’ie, two preceding Kyodan facilities. The dedication ceremony for the home’s newly constructed B Ward was held on Sept. 27, 2010.
In 1957 Shin’aiso was created in response to the proposal of a member of Tokyo District’s Social Action Committee to build a retirement home for clergy and their widowed spouses. While pastors were raising funds, a property in the Tokyo suburb of Ome was donated. The facility was built there 50 years ago. During these years, management of the facility has been the responsibility of Tokyo District. Because at the time of its establishment most retired clergy lived on very small incomes and many struggled greatly to make ends meet, the provision of this housing met a significant need.
Nijino’ie (Rainbow Haven) ‘s history began at a gathering of church women from the six districts in the Kansai region in 1966, following a report of the dire conditions faced by elderly female clergy. It was decided that the miserable conditions of elderly pastors could not be overlooked and that there was a need to create a place in which pastors could continue to witness the joy of their faith until their final day. In addition, those gathered wanted to create a facility that church women would be able to use without hesitation. All in attendance were in agreement with this decision, and to make certain that the concern did not merely end as words of a statement, one of the attendees made a 3,000 yen donation. The follow-up work was delegated to the National Federation of Kyodan Women’s Societies (NFKWS), which was officially recognized by the Kyodan in 1968 as an autonomous organization. In 1973, after some difficulty locating property, Nijino’ie was founded outside Tateyama City in Chiba.
In accordance with the purpose of their construction, Shin’aiso primarily served pastors and Nijino’ie served church women. Donations came in from all over Japan and also from the United Methodist Church and Presbyterian Church USA in the United States, all of which were greatly appreciated.
Because, at the time, Japanese people were not familiar with Christianity and therefore did not understand it, it was often difficult for Christians to gain permission to rent space for their various Christian gatherings. Thus, Nijino’ie provided hope for those who were in need of such space. Being located near the temperate climate of the seashore and blessed with its natural surroundings, Nijino’ie has been used not only by women’s groups for meetings and retreats but also for church school events. During most years, the residents were able to enjoy and be encouraged by the over 800 visitors of a wide age range who made use of the facility. Also, the income generated by this usage helped support the maintenance of the facility.
As a ministry of outreach to the surrounding neighborhood, a Bible study for children was held on Saturdays. Roughly two dozen children –mostly from a nearby foster home and ranging from infants to teenagers– faithfully attended the weekly gatherings.
Holding worship services was another ministry. In 1984 a sanctuary was constructed. Once the cross was visible, neighbors came to worship together with the residents. Those neighbors who worshipped at the sanctuary in Nijino’ie were given the inspiration that enabled the founding of Nanbo Church in 1997. Because there had previously been a Kyodan church in Tateyama, one of the dreams of NFKWS when it began planning construction of the facility was that a new congregation would be established there. The realization of that dream has brought much joy to both the residents and believers living nearby. With the change of location of Nijino’ie, the children’s Saturday Bible study will now be held at Nanbo Church.
Entering the 21st Century, as the Kyodan faced both declining membership and aging congregations, support for both Nijino’ie and Shin’aiso declined to the point that it became difficult to finance the operation of the two facilities. In addition, Shin’aiso’s original building was aging and needed major renovations.
In February 2006 the moderator of Tokyo District deemed it necessary to consolidate the two facilites. In October 2007 the following four reasons were given for their merger into one building in Ome: ① declining church membership; ② danger of earthquake and natural disaster; ③ maintenance costs; and ④ personnel considerations. A committee composed of members of Shin’aiso and Nijino’ie had been formed to evaluate various options.
In October 2008 the Kyodan Executive Council approved the merger to create the consolidated Nijino’ie/Shin’aiso retirement home. Further, along with the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Protestant Mission in Japan a 50 million yen national donation campaign was conducted. With the additional donation of 75 million yen each by both Shin’aiso and Nijino’ie, the rebuilding of Shin’aiso with steel-reinforced concrete was made possible. The 27 residents reside, as appropriate, in units for either singles or couples that include an eating area, kitchen, bathroom, and laundry facilities.
In April 2010 Tokyo District, West Tokyo District, which became independent from Tokyo District in 1990, and the National Federation of Kyodan Women’s Societies began cooperative operation of the facility through a joint committee that seeks to ensure that the residents enjoy their lives there. Although currently various financial and operational challenges remain, the steering committee as well as the staff are endeavoring to continue to improve the facility. (Tr. AK-O)
新しいホーム「にじのいえ
このたび、新しい隠退教師と配偶者のためのホーム が、二つの施設の合併により誕生した。
東京・青梅市の、にじのいえ信愛荘である。 2010年9月27日には、新築されたB棟の献堂式が行われた。
 従来、日本基督教団には「信愛荘」と「にじのい え」という二つの隠退教職とそのお連れ合いのためのホームがあった。信愛荘は1957年、 東京教区の社会委員会に1委員から「隠退教職及び未亡人のために老人ホームを建設する運動をおこしては如何」との提案が あったことから始まった。牧師方の募金活動が行われ、東京郊外の青梅市に土地の一部寄付を受けて建設され、増築を重ねな がら昨年創設50周 年を迎えた。この間の維持運営はすべて東京教区の責任で行われた。創設当時は隠退教職にわずかな謝恩金しか贈られておら ず、生活に困られる方々があり、住宅が用意されたことの意義は大きかった
に じのいえは1966年、 関西6地区婦人委員研修会の席上、老齢の婦人教職の困難な状況が報告されことからその歩みが始まった。その場で「牧師方 の老後が不幸であったり、惨めであったりすることを看過できない。先生方が安心して働き、終わりの日まで信仰の喜びにあ ふれた生き方が証できるように施設を作りたい。併せて、教会婦人が遠慮なく使える集会所がほしい。」との意見が満場の賛同を得、このことが言葉だけで終わらないようにと1委員から3千円の献金がささげられた。このことは1968年 教団の機構改正で設立が承認され、教団内自主活動団体となった全国教会婦人会連合に引き継がれた。土地探しは難航した が、1973年、 千葉県館山市の郊外に「婦人献身者ホームにじのいえ」がを設立された。
建 築に当たって信愛荘は牧師を中心に、にじのいえは女性教会員を中心に全国募金をしたが、米国のメソジストや長老派の教会 から多額の献金をいただいたことは大きな助けであり、感謝であった。
 当時、キリスト教は日本ではまだ馴染 み
  にじのいえの対外的な働きの 一つに「土曜子ども聖書会」がある。主に近くにある児童養護設の子供たちを対象にした働きで、幼児から 高校生まで、20数名が毎週通い、熱心に聖書を学んだ。もう一つの働きは「にじのいえ集会」である。1984年に礼拝堂ができ、十字架が見えるようになると、近隣の信徒が入居者と共に礼拝 に出席されるようになった。やがて、外部から来られた方々の教会設立の希望が強くなったが、にじのいえ 集会は施設内の礼拝集団であり、教会になることができないため、1997年、近くに南房伝道所(現在は教会)を設立した。教団の教会の無い館山に教会を 作ることはにじのいえ設立当初からの婦人会連合の夢でもあった。また、入居者の牧師夫人は近くに籍を置 く教会が出来たことを大変喜ばれた。また、にじのいえの移転後、土曜子ども聖書会は南房教会に引き継が れた。
  2000年代になると教団の教会は会員の減少、高齢化、献金の減少に悩まされるように なった。信愛荘、にじのいえへの献金も減少し、運営に困難を覚えるようになった。また、信愛荘は初期に 建てた建物が老朽化し、建替える必要あることもあり、東京教区3役会では同じ教区内にあるにじのいえとの合併が検討された。
2006年2月、東京教区総会議長よりにじのいえに合併の打診がなされた。それを受けて、に じのいえは様々な面から検討し、2007年10月、①教会員の減少、高齢化による献金の減少。②所在地が自然災害の危険地帯で ある。③営繕費の増加。④職員確保の困難等の理由で、合併して青梅に移ることを検討することを決定し、 双方から委員を出して委員会を組織し、検討を重ねた。 
2008年10月、教団の常議員会の合併承認を受け、教団唯一の隠退教職ホーム「にじのいえ信 愛荘」となり、信徒活動として運営して行くことになった。更に、合併記念事業、日本伝道150周年記念事業として5,000万円の全国募金を行い、双方から各7,500万円を拠出し、信愛荘の旧館を鉄筋コンクリート2階建て(個室13、夫婦部屋1、食堂、厨房、浴室、洗濯室等)に建替え、入居者総数27名のホームとなった。東京教区、西東京教区(1990年に東京教区から独立)、全国教会婦人会連合の3団体が運営母体となって運営委員会を組織し、2010年4月から、入居者に喜ばれ、安心して生活していただけるホームを目指して新しい歩 みを始めている。現在、運営面、財政面に様々な課題があるが、運営委員、現地職員一体となって改善に努 めている。
にじのいえ信愛荘運営委員長
角 谷