Kyodan Executives Visit Churches in North America

The Kyodan sent General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo and Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Ministries Kato Makoto on official visits to churches in North America that previously had related to the Kyodan through the former Japan-North American Commission on Cooperative Mission (JNAC). This opportunity was precipitated by the invitation of Xiaoling Zhu, area executive for East Asia/Pacific of the Common Global Ministries Board of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, to attend the Asia Pacific Forum, Jan. 29-30, in New York. Even though the Kyodan has concluded cooperative mission agreements with the Reformed Church in America and the Presbyterian Church (USA), communications with churches in North America following the 2004 dissolution of JNAC had weakened considerably, so this was a good opportunity to improve that situation. Likewise, it was also an opportunity both to express our thankfulness for their contributions to the relief effort following the East Japan Disaster as well as to request the various boards to send educational missionaries to Christian schools in Japan.

 

The Kyodan executives first called on the headquarters of the United Church of Canada in Toronto. General Secretary Kim Byung Ho of the Presbyterian Church of Canada and Heo Bae Kki, secretary of the Korean Christian Church in Japan, joined us for our visit, and we shared with each other the issues facing the respective churches.

 

As our arrival in New York, our next destination, was delayed one day because of heavy snow, we regretfully had to cancel our planned visits to the Anglican Church and some other appointments on the day before the Forum, but we were able to participate in the Forum as scheduled. The conclusion we reached was that it would be very helpful for the Kyodan to participate actively in the Asia Pacific Forum as it is a structure that can help replace the defunct JNAC. The common and urgent issue felt by all was how to nurture the next generation of leadership. As a step towards that goal, a large-scale youth conference (for 14 to 18 year-olds) is scheduled to be held, beginning July 26, 2016 in the United States, and we were requested to send ten youth from the Kyodan.

 

On Sunday Feb. 1, we attended the Union Japanese Church of Westchester’s worship service and had a time of fellowship with missionary Nishikawa Akimitsu, who started his new assignment at the end of last year, and with members of the church.

 

On Monday we visited the headquarters of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) in Indianapolis, Indiana, where we were hosted by Area Secretary Zhu. Surprisingly, the staff in the room next to the pension bureau specializes in investment, and it seems they are able to enjoy a profit equivalent to ten percent annual interest. We next visited the UCC headquarters in Cleveland, Ohio on Wednesday and then PC(USA) headquarters in Louisville, Kentucky on Thursday. The UCC headquarters is in a building directly connected to a hotel, which the church operates. However, the church intends to sell the building, including the hotel, within two years and move to a building that can be operated at less expense. The strategy is to use the money gained from the sale to promote mission work actively. (Tr. KY)

 

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

北米諸教会訪問記

 2015年1月25日(日)~2月7日(土)まで教団は長崎哲 夫総幹事と加藤誠世界宣教幹事を旧JNAC(日北米宣教協力 会)に関係していた北米諸教会の公 式訪問のため派遣した。きっ かけは共同世界宣教局東アジア担当幹事シャオリン・ズー牧師から1月29,30日にニューヨークで開催された「アジア・太平洋フォーラム」への参加を強く勧められたことにある。2004年のJNAC解散以降、PCUSA(Presbyterian Church in the United States)(米国長老教会), RCA(Reformed Church in America)(米国改革派教会)とは宣教協約を結びつつも北米諸教会との交流が希薄になっていた点を改善する良い機会であり、東日本大震災(East Japan earthquake)後 の献金の御礼とキリスト教主義学校への教育宣教師派遣依頼を行うことが各本部訪問の主な目的であった。

 最初の訪問先はトロントにあるUCC(米国合同教会)の本部で あった。カナダ長老教会と在日大韓基督教会(Korean Christian Church in Japan)から金柄鎬(Kim Byung Ho)総幹事と許伯基(Heo Bae Kki)書記が加わり、お互いの 教会の紹介と課題を共有した。

ニューヨークは大雪のため予定より一日遅れて到着した為、フォーラム前日に予定していた聖公会訪問等がキャ ンセルになったのは残念であったが、フォーラムには予定通り参加した。結論を言えば教団はJNACの代わり足り得る存在とし てアジア・太平洋フォーラムを認識しその交わりに積極的に入るべきである。各教派共通の、そして緊 急な課題である青年を育てるこ とが話し合われた。具体的には2016年7月26日から米国で大規模なユー スミーティング(14~18歳)が開催される予定であ り、教団からは10人の青年を派遣するよう要請された。

2月1日の聖日はニューヨーク北 部にあるユニオン日本語教会(Union Japanese Church of Westchester)の礼拝に参加し、昨年末に 赴任された西川晃充(Nishikawa Akimitsu)宣教師と教会員の方々との 交わりの時を持った。

翌月曜日はインディアナポリスIndianapolisにあるディサイプルズとクリスチャン・チャーチの本部を、ズー幹事の案内 で訪問した。驚いたのは年金局の隣に投資専門のスタッフルームがあり、年利10%に相当する利益を上げているとのことである。水曜日にはクリーブランドClevelandにあるUCC本部訪問、木曜日にはルイ ビルにあるPCUSAの本部を訪問した。UCC本部は経営するホテルと直結する構造だった。2年以内にホテルも含めたビ ルを売却し、より安い経費で運営できるビルに移るそうである。そこには浮いた差額をより積極的に宣教に用いようという戦略がみえた。 (加藤誠)