Local Events Promote Deeper Japanese-Korean Relations

Nishi-Chugoku District
Nishi Chugoku District’s West Subdistrict held its 30th Joint Japanese-Korean Worship Service on March 14, 2010. The subdistrict has worked cooperatively with the Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) in Shimonoseki City since before the Kyodan and KCCJ established a mission covenant.
Two annual events are scheduled. The first is the joint worship service, held on the second Sunday of March. The second is a time of fellowship, including dinner, on the second Friday night of September.
This year, the 30th anniversary of our joint worship service was celebrated by inviting Pastor Choi Young Shin from Ube Church of the KCCJ, located in Ube, Yamaguchi Prefecture. He is also moderator of the KCCJ General Assembly. In total, 85 people from Kyodan churches in Shimonoseki and KCCJ Shimonoseki Church attended this event.
–Shinohara Mitsuru
Ozuki Church, Yamaguchi Prefecuture
Nishi Chugoku District
From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)
Ou District
On Sundays at Hanamaki Church, both Korean and Japanese are spoken. Even if people do not understand each other’s language, connections are still made. What happened at Pentecost is still happening here at Hanamaki Church.
About four years ago, in the spring, a young man who spoke little Japanese came to our church. That was the beginning of something big. Of the 30 members who now attend the service, 7 to 10 of them are students from Korea who are studying as exchange students at a nearby private university.
One person will ask his or her classmate to come along, then that classmate will ask his or her friend to join them as well. In that way, many students are gathering every week. Sharing the gospel seems to be a real joy for them. Some of the students are Protestants; others are Roman Catholics and even Buddhists. The other day, I was walking around town and heard a voice addressing me as “pastor” in Korean(mokusa-nim). I looked back and saw a woman I did not recognize. Pretending that I recognized her, I said, “Oh, I haven’t seen you in a long time. How are you?” She said, “I’ve never met you. I just saw you in photographs.” I blushed. I learned then that the students who come to church show others the photographs they take there and talk about the church with friends who have never attended.
The source of the students’ energy definitely comes from prayer. Even when they cannot attend the worship service, I see them coming to the church in the afternoons and praying. They also gather together on Wednesday nights and have prayer meetings.
When the number of Korean students increased, we convened a board meeting at Hanamaki Church. We decided that foreign students also deserve pastoral care. Since then, our church members have started praying for the students and have really begun to accept and embrace them. Of course, there are both cultural and generational differences at our church. Despite this, we are becoming one church.
Since there are both Korean students and Japanese church members, many different events are possible, such as a bazaar, cleaning, and a choir. It is not simply a matter of Korean students attending a Japanese church; Korean students and Japanese members are working together to make this church their home.
Last year in February, many of the foreign students went back home for spring break. Very few of them stayed in Japan. I said to one of them. “You must be missing your family.” They answered, “I have family
here as well.” It made me happy, knowing that the people at Hanamaki Church had accepted them as family.
In the Book of Ephesians, Paul wrote, “Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household.” (2:19, NIV) He talks here about what a real church is. We are experiencing the joy of our church being a place where people who are transcending nationality on this earth, yet sharing the same nationality in Him, join together.
This February, one of the foreign students went back to Korea to fulfill military service obligations. We sang the hymn “God be with you till we meet again” in both Korean and Japanese. I felt the Holy Spirit was uniting us as one when I heard one church member say, “Please remember, when you pray, that I am praying for you here in Japan.”
Nobody imagined that this could happen in only four years. We have experienced many great and wonderful things. Looking back, it was not just because someone did anything specific. Prayers have promoted evangelism and resulted in the formation of a church. Throughout these four years, I have had a sense of Pentecost, as though it was happening constantly. Is this because Hanamaki Church is special? No, it came to us through the Korean students. The great thing is that every church can experience what we have experienced. (Tr. DV)
–Yamamoto Katsuyuki
Hanamaki Church
Ou District
From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)
教団が韓国教会と宣教協約(covenant)を結ぶ以前から当分区では、下関市にある在日大韓基督教会 KCCJ(Korean Christian Church in Japan)と交流をしてきました。その大きなイベントが二つあり、一つは毎年三月第2主日の礼拝を共にすること、もう一つは、九月第二金曜日夜にそれぞれが用意した食事を囲んで持つ楽しい交流会です。
今年はすぐ隣の山口県宇部市にある在日大韓宇部教会牧師・在日大韓教会総会議長(Moderator of General Assembly) Choi Young Shin牧師を招いて合同礼拝30回の記念すべきときを祝いました。下関市にある教団の教会および在日大韓下関基督教会の教職信徒85名が出席しました。
山口・小月(Ozuki church)教会牧師 篠原満(Shinohara Mitsuru)
やまもと かつゆき/岩手・花巻教会牧師
 彼らの中にはプロテスタント教会出身の学生もいますし、カトリック教会の学生もいます。熱心な仏教徒という学生も来ています。先日、町を歩いていたら、ハングルで「モクサニム(牧師)」と言う声が聞こえました。振り返ってみると会った記憶のない女性がそこにいました。お調子者の私は、「おー! 久しぶり、元気だった?」と声をかけましたら、「会ったことはありません。写真でお見かけしました」と言われて赤面しました。同時に、教会に来ている学生がまだ教会に来たことのない友だちに、教会で撮った写真を見せて教会のことを話しているということを知りました。