Higashi Subdistrict in Tokyo Holds Protestant Christianity's 150th Anniversary Event for Children

“Gathering for Children: Commemorating 150 Years of Protestant Evangelism in Japan,” an event sponsored by Tokyo District’s Higashi Subdistrict, was held on the afternoon of Sept. 6, 2009 at Ginza Church and was attended by 308 people from 13 churches, including 120 children. The event was planned to commemorate 150 years of Protestant evangelism in Japan and to pass along to the children the task of evangelizing Japan for the next 200 years.
As the accompaniment to the opening hymn began the first part of the program, Hinohara Shigeaki appeared, and after directing the music with both hands, began a 50-minute lecture on the subject of “Life.” Dr. Hinohara, whose 98th birthday was coming up in one month, drew attention to his own vitality. He stressed that what is important are the things that are unseen. For example, our lives, given by God, are unseen. He spoke directly to the children, calling on them to live for others and to make the world a peaceful place. He had the children answer questions, write on a blackboard, and do role-playing. He kept the children’s attention with his skillful presentation. The adults, too, listened intently and sometimes laughed. All who were present learned from this “lecture on life.”
The second part of the program featured the introduction of the members from each participating church, a magic performance by Itoigawa Hatsuho from Ginza Church, a handbell choir performance by eight members of Bancho Church, and a ventriloquism performance by Ms. Harukaze Miyako, from the Logos Ventriloquism Club. The spectators watched intently, cheered loudly, and by the time the program in the church sanctuary was over, everyone felt totally relaxed and at home.
For the third part of the program, the participants moved to the fifth and sixth floors, where each church group sat at a separate table and ate homemade snacks prepared by Ginza Church members. Shortly after four o’clock, they began to return home.
For the children, it was a valuable and enjoyable opportunity to learn that there are many other children (comrades) in the church. The children listened intently to Dr. Hinohara. Hopefully, his lesson, along with the other events of the day, will remain in their hearts for a long time.
Blessed by the Lord’s protection and blessed by the cooperation of the people from each participating church who brought children to the event, the churches of the subdistrict were able to deepen their fellowship by focusing on the children. It was truly a suitable gathering to celebrate the 150th anniversary. For this, we are thankful. (Tr. KT)
–Nagayama Nobuo,pastor
Ginza Church, Higashi Subdistrict, Tokyo District
From Shinpo (Kyodan Times)
*Hinohara Shigeaki was born in 1911 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He graduated from the Medical School of Kyoto University in 1937. In 1941, he began work as a doctor at the Internal Medicine Department of St. Luke’s International Hospital. Since then, he has held positions as the head of the Internal Medicine Department, acting director, director, and at present serves as the chairperson of the Board of Directors and honorary director of St. Luke’s International Hospital, chairperson of the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s Nursing School, and chairperson of the Board of Directors of Life Planning Center Foundation incorporated. In 1998, he was recognized as an honorary citizen of Tokyo metropolis. In 1999, he was recognized as a Person of Cultural Merit. In 2005, he was awarded a decoration in recognition of his contribution to culture. From an early stage, he pointed out the importance of preventive medicine, made efforts to promote terminal care, and made contributions to education in medicine and nursing. He invented the term seikatsu shukan byo (lifestyle diseases) to refer to diseases that were commonly known as seijin byo (adult diseases). He has always been a frontrunner in the medical field in Japan. Even now, at 98 years old, he continues to be active as a doctor. In September 2000, in pursuit of his goal of passing along to the next generation the experience that he has cultivated during his lifetime and the lessons of the past, he recruited people who were healthy and independent even after reaching 75 years of age and formed the group shinrojin no kai (New Organization For Elderly People). In the spring of the same year, he had begun to write a series of articles called ikikata jozu (How to Live Well) for the magazine Iki Iki. This series is still very popular. At this time, there are over 200 books.
 「日本プロテスタント伝道一五〇年子どものつどい」(東京教区東支区)が、九月六日午後、銀座教会に、一三教会三〇八名(内、子ども一二〇名)が集い開催されました。
 この行事はプロテスタント日本伝道一五〇年を覚え、次なる二〇〇年に向けた伝道の働きを子どもたちへ託すことを目指して企画したものでした。
 第一部の讃美歌の伴奏が始まると日野原重明(ひのはらしげあき)先生が会場に現れ、両手を挙げての指揮、続いて「命」についての五〇分間の授業を展開してくださいました。一ヶ月後に九八歳になられるご自身の活力をアピールしながら、大切なものは目に見えないこと、神様から与えられている命も見えない、他の人のために生き、世界中が平和になるようにと、子どもたちに直に問い掛け、答えを求め、黒板に書かせ、演技させ、子どもの関心を引き付けながらの見事な展開で、大人を含め緊張と笑いの中で、会場全体が一つになって学んだ「命の授業」でした。
 第二部は、教会毎の出席者の紹介、マジック(糸魚川初穂(いといがわはつほ):銀座教会員)、ベルクワイアの演奏(番町教会八名)、腹話術(はるかぜみやこ姉:ロゴス腹話術研究会)の実演に目を見張り、歓声を揚げてすっかり寛いで礼拝堂での集会を終わりました。
 第三部は、五・六階に移り教会別のテーブルで銀座教会手造りのおやつを戴き、四時過ぎ、それぞれ帰途につきました。
 子ども達にとって大勢の仲間が教会には居ることを知る貴重で楽しい機会となりました。緊張して聞いた日野原先生のお話しなどこの日のことが、何時までも心に残るよう願っています。
 子どもたちを中心に、支区内諸教会の交わりが深められたことは、主の守りと、参加された各教会の保護者・引率者のご協力の賜物で、一五〇年を記念するにまことに相応しいつどいであったと感謝しています。
(銀座教会牧師 長山信夫)(教団新報)