Executive Council Notes Progress on Current Church Concerns

The 3rd Executive Council session of the 36th (2008) General Assembly Period met Oct.19-20. From the very beginning there was a lively interaction concerning whether to recognize calls for allowing observers to sit in attendance. Moderator Yamakita Nobuhisa explained, “At the first council meeting of this assembly period, we decided on a policy of allowing a moderate number of observers to attend.” The vote to permit the attendance of observers was 19 in favor out of the 28 delegates in attendance (with 2 absences). Likewise, questions concerning the focus of the debate at the previous meeting, namely the appointment of the executive secretaries, continued. Strong opinions were voiced concerning the need to avoid repeating the problems caused by the timing of the appointments and the voting on them individually as opposed to a block vote. General Secretary Naito Tomeyuki reported the decision of the Aug. 31 Executive Committee to appoint Fujimori Yuki, pastor of Fujisawakita Church in Kanagawa District, as the executive secretary of General Affairs and Doke Norikazu, pastor of Igusa Church in Nishi-Tokyo District as the executive secretary of the Commission on the Ministry and the Research Institute on the Mission of the Church. Their terms of office are until March 31, 2010.

Due to the fact that Seiwa College has decided to end its program of training students as Directors of Christian Education from this school year, it was decided to form a committee to look into the issue of the examination for the position of Director of Christian Education and how such personnel are to be trained in the future. Executive Council member Kishita Nobuyo was selected as chairperson of the committee, along with four other members of the Executive Council.

On the afternoon of the first day, the moderator of the Korean Christian Church in Japan, Choi Young-Shin, and its General Secretary, Hong Song-Wan, together with five other new KCCJ officers, paid a visit, being greeted with warm applause. Together, everyone pledged to further deepen cooperation and fellowship. There was also a report on the fundraising campaign to assist the churches that were damaged in the Noto Peninsula Earthquake, with additional efforts pledged to raise the remaining 23 million yen of the goal. Another report related to the various events surrounding the celebrating of the 150th Anniversary of Protestant Mission in Japan and the request for continued offerings in order to meet the complete budget. Also, copies of the “Proclamation of the Commemorative Gathering,” (quoted below), were distributed.*

The results of the fall ministerial certification examination, held Sept. 15-16, were reported, and the 56 persons who qualified for the status of ministers in full standing and the 7 who passed the examination for the status of licensed preacher were officially recognized. “The Research Institute on the Mission of the Church: A Progress Report” was presented regarding the development of two documents to be known as the “Basic Theory of Mission” and the “Basic Policies of Mission,” the formulation of which was carried over from the previous General Assembly Period. The plan is to present these before the end of this General Assembly Period, which ends in October 2010. Likewise, after a lively discussion following the report on the new “Kyodan Statement of Faith — a New Catechism,” the motion to move forward with its development was passed.

The report of the Commission on Finance focused on a draft plan to maintain better oversight of all income and expenses by linking the accounting for the General Office, the Board of Publications, the Board of Pensions, and the Buraku Liberation Center. There was also considerable discussion on the issue of the Solidarity Fund for Mission in Okinawa, and the proposed budget for 2010 was accepted. (Tr. TB)

–Ishimaru Yasuki, executive secretary
Based on article in Shinpo (Kyodan Times)