Executive Council Focuses on Evangelism and Earthquake-related Issues

The 4th Executive Council meeting of the 37th General Assembly Period (10/2010-10/2012) was held at the Kyodan headquarters in Tokyo, Oct. 17-18, with all 30 members present. Council members include representatives from 16 of the 17 districts nationwide. The meeting was opened with worship led by Nagasaki Tetsuo, who spoke about the close relationship between evangelism and fundraising/relief operations, both in the past and in the present, based on II Cor. 8:9.

General Secretary Naito Tomeyuki’s report generated considerable discussion concerning the issue of earthquake retrofitting of the Japan Christian Center building, and a proposal was made concerning that issue. As a result of the, preliminary examination of the building done recently, various questions and opinions continued to be raised in regards to future options, such as rebuilding or moving to a different site, and a task force was established to continue the deliberations. The names of the six members of this task force were announced on the second day, and the committee is to be called the “Subcommittee on the Issues Surrounding the Japan Christian Center Building.”

It was reported that the joint conference of financial officers from each district and executives from the Kyodan headquarters had deliberated the reduction or temporary elimination of annual assessments for the districts affected by the March 11 earthquake, as well as the establishment of a council on the distribution of support funding for district activities. With respect to the National Christian Council in Japan, there were many questions concerning the fundamental issues of its activities, its relationship to the Kyodan, and the financial assessments it is requesting. There were strong criticisms leveled against the way the NCCJ operates.

The following motion came from the Committee on Evangelism. “In response to requests from numerous Kyodan churches, we propose that a Board of Evangelism be established within the Kyodan structure. This is based on the need to have a budget for evangelism and a full-time position that would take responsibility for ongoing research and planning for evangelism within the Kyodan as a whole. Thus we propose two motions: first, to continue looking into the possibilities of establishing a Board of Evangelism, and second, to move towards restructuring the Kyodan so that the Committee on Examining Evangelistic Strategies would become the new Board of Evangelism.”

As this relates to the Kyodan’s annual income and expenditures budget, the moderator of Kyoto District expressed the need to “keep the total budget for salaries of the secretaries, etc., as low as possible.” To this, Ito Mizuo, chairperson of the Commission for the Examination of Financial Reports, replied, “It is not easy to cut into the salary budget, as it cannot be handled with flexibility.”

The Research Institute on the Mission of the Church reported that work on rethinking the “Basic Principles of Mission,” that had been temporarily interrupted by the need to finish the publication Handbook of Faith, has now been restarted. At present, the process of establishing the table of contents, writing the guidelines, and deciding the basic outline of the basic principles of mission has been finished, and the completion of content is underway. Questions were asked about the guidelines, and the discussion focused on the semantics of the terms “mission” and “evangelism” as well as on issues surrounding the concrete applications of the basic principles.

On the second day, deliberations centered on the report from the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters and the items related to dealing with the earthquake and tsunami damage. With respect to the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters, vice-chairperson Okamoto Tomoyuki reported on the Symposium Preparation Committee and the 11246* Prayer Meeting, as well as on the damages suffered within the four affected districts, the steps being taken, budgets, etc. Executive Secretary Kato Makoto also reported on relief efforts, including the volunteer activities of the Tohoku District Relief Center (Emmaus), the increasing number of requests for volunteers in Ishinomaki Tsukiyama, support activities for the Tono Suicide Prevention Center, and steps being taken to support those affected by radiation resulting from the Fukushima Dai-ichi Nuclear Power Plant accident. The damages suffered within the four affected districts were spelled out in a summary list. Those in Kanto District were particularly detailed, with total damages to all the churches and related kindergartens, together with Asian Rural Institute, totaling 1.8 billion yen ($23 million). The total number of churches damaged in the four districts was 66. (Tr. TB)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

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*Editor’s note. The numbers 11246 refer to the date and time of the earthquake: March 11 at 2:46 p.m.

 

第4回常議員会報告

報告者 加藤 誠

  第37総会期第4回常議員会が、10月17,18日、教団会議室に於いて、常議員30名全員の出席と、17教 区中16教区議長の出席をもって開催された。議事に先立ち長崎 哲夫議員による開会礼拝が持たれた。コリントの信徒の手紙Ⅱ8章9節より、昔も今も伝道と募金・救援が密接に結びついていると語られた。

総幹事報告を巡っては、キリスト教会館の耐震工事について提案がなさ れた。過日行われた簡易診断の結果により、建て替え、移転等の将来的展望に関わる質問や意見が続き、対策員会を設けることとなった。翌日 には6名の委員の名前が発表され、名称も「会館問題小委員会」となった。

全国財務委員長会議報告では、被災教区の負担金減免について審議され た事と、教区活動連帯金配分協議会が開催された事が報告された。日本キリスト教協議会(NCC)については、活動の現況、教団との関係、負担金につ いてなど、根幹に関わる事柄に及ぶ質疑がなされた。特にNCCの姿勢に批判的な意見が強く述べられた。

伝道委員会からは以下の提言がなされた。「教団には諸教会の要望に応 え、伝道のための予算を持ち、更に長期的な研究や計画を作成し実施できる、教団全体の伝道体制に対し責任と継続性を持つ部署が必要であ る。その意味で伝道局の必要性を確認した。今後は、伝道局設置の可能性について継続的に検討することと、伝道方策検討委員会へ伝道局設置 を含める機構改正を伝道委員会から要望することの2点を決定した。」

教団の歳入歳出予算に関連して、「特に幹事等の人件費を抑えるべきで はないか」との京都教区議長の意見に、伊藤瑞男予算決算委員長は「人件費は簡単には削れない。柔軟に対応出来ない性質がある」と答えた。

宣教研究所からは、「信仰の手引き」発行作業によって中断していた 「宣教基礎理論」の見直し作業を再開しているとの報告があった。現在の状況は、目次立て、ガイドラインの作成、宣教基礎理論に盛り込む主 要項目の決定を経て、原案作成中である。「ガイドライン」についての質問があり、宣教と伝道という言葉の問題、基礎理論の具体的な適応の 問題に議論が集中した。

二日目には「救援対策本部報告の件」と「震災対応に関する件」が併せ て上程され、審議された。救援対策本部に関しては、主に岡本知之副議長より「シンポジウム準備委員会」「11246祈りの時」の報告があ り、また、被災地域を有する4教区からの被害状況及び対応、会計等の報告がなされた。震災対応に関しては、加藤誠幹事より、東北教区被災 者支援センター(エマオ)におけるボランティア活動、石巻築山ワークのボランティア要請が増加していること、また遠野自殺防止センター活 動支援、福島第一原子力発電所事故による放射能被害への対応などの報告があった。被災した4教区の報告については、被害状況が一覧により 詳細に報告された。特に関東教区からは、被害額合計は、教会・伝道所、幼稚園・保育所、アジア学院を入れると10億8千万円に及ぶとの報告があった。尚、4教区の被災した教会数は66教会である。