Taiwanese Churches Promote the Gospel in Japan
Takadanobaba Taiwanese Church
The Taiwanese church in Takadanobaba, Tokyo, was established through the
pioneering work and hardships of God’s faithful servant, Pastor Sho
Shuji. On April 2, 2008, the church celebrated its 30th anniversary with
joy and thanksgiving, giving praise to God. I myself took over as Sho
Shuji’s successor on October 6, 1991, and looking back now, I rejoice at
the way the elders and the whole congregation have single-mindedly
devoted themselves to spreading the gospel. In 1994, our church was
accepted into the Kyodan, and so, as well as starting to establish links
with other Taiwanese churches, it is natural that we are also able to
make good connections with Japanese churches.
In our international circumstances of living in Japan, and with a
responsibility for the spiritual well-being of our fellow Taiwanese, we
at Takadanobaba Taiwanese Church conduct all our gatherings in
Taiwanese. This is because for those of us residing or studying here, as
well as for visiting relatives and tourists who also come, it is
especially moving to praise, pray, hear God’s word, and have fellowship
through our Lord in our mother tongue, more so than when everything is
conducted in Japanese. We take this privilege very seriously, and see it
as a significant part of the existence of Taiwanese churches in Japan.
Here are some ways we are currently promoting the Gospel.
* Before the weekly Sunday service, in order to improve our hymm
singing, we spend ten minutes practicing hymns. Then after the worship
service, everyone reads a scriptural text aloud together.
* Twice a month, everyone who has attended worship stays for a Bible
study meeting and prayer meeting, in which we learn about sound faith
and seek power from our Lord in order to live strong Christian lives.
* The women’s circle has its regular meeting once a month, including
Bible study and prayer as well as times of testimony and activities,
such as lectures about health. These provide a varied program to which
non-Christians can also be invited.
* At Christmas and Easter, the whole congregation, led by the choir,
joins in services of praise.
* Four Taiwanese churches have joined together to form the “Sing-ni-hoe”
(fellowship) for elderly believers. This group holds regular meetings
four times a year, and also has lectures about health, classes on the
arts and culture, and other activities, such as cooking, trips, and
walks. These all contribute to the promotion of balance in faith and in
daily life, and help to attract non-Christians to church.
Our congregation is small, but we ask for the encouragement and prayers
of all our brothers and sisters in Christ in all the churches, and we
commit ourselves with you to untiring efforts for the spread of the gospel.
Chiba Taiwanese Church
The first service of worship of what has now become Chiba Taiwanese
Church was held in the home of a believer in Sakura in March 1992. In
those days, the group made repeated requests to various pastors of
Taiwanese churches in Tokyo to come and preach. Two years later, in
November 1994, after a private house in Nobuto in the Central District
of Chiba City was purchased and remodelled as a place of worship, the
group moved its meeting place from Sakura to Chiba. This was registered
as the Chiba Taiwanese Preaching Point (church) of the Kyodan, and the
dedication ceremony took place in March 1993. As no minister was
assigned to the preaching point at this stage, retired ministers from
Taiwan who were able to speak Japanese and who could come for short
terms of service were invited.
In January 2002, as the preaching point was celebrating the 10th
anniversary of its founding, Cho Sei Ko, a retired pastor of Ikebukuro
Taiwanese Church in Tokyo, was welcomed as minister. At that time, the
meeting place in Nobuto was hard to find and had no parking space, so
the members were constantly praying for a new place of worship. Very
soon after this, they learned of the present location in the Central
District of Chiba City, which is on a main road, with good access from
the station, and already has parking space for eight cars in the
building at street level. It seemed like the ideal place for a church.
The fact that, at the same time, a buyer appeared for the former meeting
place, spurred us to purchase the new church premises.
In order to provide the funds for the new church, in May 2002 many
people were contacted with requests for donations. In this way, with the
proceeds from the sale of the former premises and everyone’s donations,
it was possible to purchase the new church building. The name of the
building was changed from “City Building” to “Chiba Christian Center,”
and the following month the first worship service took place on the 7th
floor. With the cooperation of the Kyodan, Pastor Chang So En was
invited to come from Taiwan in July 2007, and his installation took
place in September that year.
In April 2009, all the members of the Chiba Taiwanese Preaching Point
gave thanks as its status changed to that of a small-sized church of the
Kyodan, and its name changed to Chiba Taiwanese Church. We currently
meet for worship at 11 a.m. every Sunday, with Bible study and Sunday
School from 1 p.m. Such groups as the choir and the Women’s Circle are
also active. It is cause for thanksgiving that more than 20 people
regularly attend worship.The members of the congregation are mostly
people from Taiwan who are residents in Japan for reasons of work or
study, who are naturalized Japanese citizens or permanent residents
here, or who have come to live in Japan because of international
marriages. As a Taiwanese church situated in Japan, every three months
the minister of the local Japanese church is invited to come and preach,
and worship takes place in Japanese. There is also a lecture on culture
once a year, events to introduce Taiwanese culture, and various
activities through which the church seeks to promote exchange with local
residents. (Tr. SN)
–Ishihara Chokai, pastor of Takadanobaba Taiwanese
Church, North Subdistrict, Tokyo District
KNL editorial committee member