Executive Council Prepares for the 38th General Assembly

The 6th Executive Council meeting of the 2011-12 General Assembly biennium was held at the Kyodan headquarters, July 9-10, and was attended by 27 of the 30 members. The opening worship service, led by Furuya Haruo, was followed by the report of General Secretary Naito Tomeyuki. He explained that the initial hearing of the law suit filed by Kitamura Jiro against the Kyodan was held on April 26, with presentations of the lawyers before the judge to be made this fall. (The suit stems from Kyodan action to revoke Kitamura’s ordination for not adhering to Kyodan regulations related to persons qualified to take communion while he was serving as pastor of Momijizaka Church in Yokohama. He is filing suit to have the revocation overturned as well as seeking damages of 10 million yen.) Naito also reported that ordained clergy not appointed to a local church and for whom a current address is unknown are being dropped from the rolls, in accordance with Article 128 of the Kyodan’s Bylaws.

 

With the exception of Okinawa District, the district assembly reports from the other 16 districts were received, and for the first time, the Kyodan representative who had attended each district assembly gave a brief report on what had been observed. Kyoto District had refused to seat the Kyodan representative at its assembly, so an explanation was requested. District Moderator Inoue Yuichi explained the peculiarities of Kyoto District and described the process behind the standing committee’s inability to approve the request, although it had been proposed by the district executive committee (moderator, vice-moderator, and secretary).

 

The proposal to establish an Evangelism Promotion Office, which had generated a great deal of interest, was formally adopted, and the fact that it was proposed by Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo is particularly noteworthy. The proposed organizational structure is that of an office director and a promotion committee of three members, with an executive secretary assigned to oversee it. The budget calls for one million yen for holding meetings and from three to five million yen for operational expenses, all to be funded from offerings. The program will consist of the planning and implementation of “evangelistic caravans,” the production of evangelistic tracts, the sending of speakers to evangelistic meetings, the advising of local churches about their own evangelistic programs, and the training of clergy and laity through such activities as seminars. Ishibashi Hideo was elected to chair the Implementation Committee, which will function until the next General Assembly in 2014, with Iwata Masamichi, Kita Kiyoshi, and Sugahara Tsutomu as members.

The committee examining the system of Kyodan subsidies for district activities proposed that the present system be terminated and a new system of “evangelism subsidies” be established to encourage local church evangelism. After discussion, it was moved that deliberations be continued for the next two years, with a decision to be made at the 2014 General Assembly. The motion was passed with the approval of 15 of the 24 members.

 

As the term of General Secretary Naito Tomoyuki will end soon, the Kyodan Executive Committee nominated Nagasaki Tetsuo as the candidate to replace him. The standing committee will present him for approval at the upcoming 38th General Assembly.

 

Higashitani Makoto, chair of the management committee for the Buraku Liberation Center, reported the deliberations since the previous Executive Council meeting on the proposal to change the regulations governing the BLC, and the proposal was approved for presentation to the General Assembly.

 

Concerning the Commission on Mission’s proposal to establish a counseling office for clergy and their families, there was considerable discussion on the issues of providing an appropriate place and insuring confidentiality. Based on the various opinions expressed, it was moved to return the matter to the committee for further development of the plan and presentation of a more detailed proposal.

 

The organizing committee for the 2014 General Assembly reported on its preparations, including the schedule, use of the facilities, and personnel to serve in various capacities. Elections are to be carried out in accordance with Articles 7 to 9 of the Kyodan’s Bylaws, without holding preliminary elections. Executive Council members are likewise to be elected without preliminary elections, but instead by secret ballot with multiple choices.

 

The final two topics of discussion were 1) the issue of achieving reconciliation between the Kyodan and Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, based on the importance of promoting evangelism and the training of clergy, and 2) the issue of consistency and order in regards to the sacraments of baptism and communion, as delineated in the Kyodan’s Constitution and Bylaws. These motions were approved by majority vote to be presented to the upcoming 38th General Assembly as agenda items from the Executive Council. (Tr. TB)

 

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

第6回常議員会報告

第37総会期第6回常議員会が、7月9日から2日間、教団会議室で30人中27人出席で開催された。古谷治雄常議員により開会礼拝が行われた後議事に入り、まず総幹事報告が行われた。内藤 留幸総幹事は北村慈朗氏が教団を被告とした裁判は、4月26日に第一回法廷が開かれ秋から口頭弁論に入るとの経過説明がされた。住所不明の無任所教師については、教規128条により別帳、除籍の手続き入ることが報告された。 教区総会報告では沖縄教区を除く16教区議長が報告を行い、今回初めて問安使側も感想を述べた。問安使を拒否した京都教区に対して説明が求めら れ、井上勇一京都教区議長は京都教区の特徴を説明し、教区三役は受け入れを提案したが常置委員会の決定には至らなかった経緯を述べた。 これまでも大きな関心が寄せられていた「伝道推進室の設置」が決議された。提案者が石橋秀雄教団議長になっ ている点が注目される。議案では、伝道推進室の組織について、室長1名、推進委員3名、担当幹事が加わる。予算については会議費として100万円、実行費用として300から500万円が想定され、その費用は献金で賄うことが示された。実務内容については、伝道キャラバンの企画・実施。伝 道トラクトの作成、伝道礼拝・集会等の講師派遣、諸教会の伝道相談への対応、教師・信徒への研修が謳われている。教団総会までの任期の伝 道推進室準備委員には石橋秀雄(室長)、岩田昌路、北紀吉、菅原力が選出された。 教区活動連帯金検討委員会から「従来の教区活動連帯金を廃止し、教区、教会の伝道を推進するための『伝道資金』を設け」る教規施行細則を新設することが提案された。意見交換の後、2年後の総会を目指して継続して審議する動議が出され、24名中15名の賛成で継続となった。 内藤留幸総幹事の任期満了に伴い、教団三役より新たな総幹事候補として長崎哲夫氏が推薦された。第38回教団総会へ常議員会提出議案として提案されることになる。 「日本基督教団部落解放センター規約変更に関する件」が上程され、部落解放センター東谷誠運営委員長は前回 以降の経緯を説明し、採決の結果、規約変更案は承認された。 宣教委員会より提案された「『牧会者とその家族のための相談室』設置に関する件」については、「面談の場所の確保」や「守秘義務」について様々な意見交換がなされた。それら の意見をふまえて新たな案を得るため「差し戻し」の動議が出されて承認され、宣教委員会での再度の協議、立案を求めることになった。 教団総会準備委員会からは、議事日程、奉仕者、議場の使用方法についての準備状況が示された。選挙方法は予 備選挙を行わず教規7条から9条に従って行われる。常議員選挙についても予備選挙を行わず、全数連記で本選挙のみ行われる。最後の2件の議案は「日本伝道の推進と教団の教師養成の重要性をふまえ、教団と東京神学大学との関係を回復する件」と 「『信仰告白』と『教憲・教規』における洗礼と聖餐の〈一体性と秩序〉とを確認する件であった。賛成多数により原案を第38教団総会に常議員会提案の議案とすることを可決した。(加 藤誠幹事)

註:北村裁判

未受洗者への配慮を理由に教団から免職の戒規処分を受けた北村滋朗氏(前紅葉坂教会牧師)が免職の無効を地位 確認および1000万円 の慰謝料を求めて提訴した裁判