【October 2016 No.389】2016 Trilateral Conference Convened in Switzerland

Once every four years, the Schweitzer Evangelischer Kirchenbund (SEK), an alliance of Protestant churches in Switzerland, “mission 21” (the branch of SEK in charge of missions),  the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK),  the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea(PROK), and the Kyodan hold a joint conference referred to as the Trilateral Conference. This year, Switzerland was the host country, and the conference was held at the headquarters of Mission 21, which is in Basel.

 

Prior to the conference, on Sunday, July 3, I, executive council Kato Makoto visited Sasaki Ryoko, who in April 2016 was appointed as a missionary to the Cologne-Bonn Japanese Church. That day a joint worship service was held for the people of the whole region. As the worship service began after 11 o’clock in the morning, we were able to attend mass at the Cologne Cathedral, which was a worship service geared for families. I was impressed because the small chapel in the back was almost completely filled, and the priest actually seemed to be having fun as he gave the sermon.

 

That afternoon there was a “Straßenfest” (Streetfest), a festival that has become a traditional event celebrated before the summer break. There were about 20 booths, all of them managed by the churches, and they became a great place for fellowship. Without hesitation, Sasaki Ryoko used German words that she had recently learned and boldly attempted to make conversation with many people.

The Tri-national Conference was held in Basel, Switzerland from Wednesday, July 6 through Friday, July 8. The Committee on Swiss Church Relations, which is under the Kyodan’s Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, is responsible for the Kyodan’s participation in the Trilateral Conference. Chairperson Yokoyama Motoo and Secretary Hiroishi Nozomu participated together with Chung Naomi, a seminary student at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary who represented the youth, and Hironaka Yoshimi, a member of the executive office staff. The Kyodan has a mission agreement with the SEK but at present is not sending any missionaries. Because of that fact, a major issue for the Kyodan at this year’s conference was deciding what type of involvement the Kyodan should continue to have in the Trilateral Conference in the future. Following discussion about the situation of the churches in each country, there was a proposal to try something new: holding a youth gathering once every two years. The plan is to have a youth gathering in 2018 in Korea, the next host country, with six young people each to be sent from Switzerland and Japan. It was recognized that youth mission is a very important challenge for all three nations of the Trilateral Conference. During the two-country discussion that was held between the SEK and the Kyodan on the morning of July 8, the issue of the cost associated with sending missionaries to Switzerland was raised. When the Swiss delegation was asked about the cost, they replied that there would need to be a guarantee of eleven million yen per year. Upon hearing that answer, everyone was temporarily at a loss for words. (Tr. KT) —Kato Makoto, executive secretary

ケルン・ボン日本語教会訪問と三国間協議会参加

スイスのSEK( Schweizerischer Evangelischer Kirchenbund)(スイス・プロテスタント教会連盟)とその宣教団体であるミッション21、韓国のPCK(The Presbyterian Church of Korea), PROK(The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea)そして日本基督教団による 三国間協議会は基本的に4年毎に開催される。今回のホスト国はスイスであり、バーゼルBasleにあるミッション21(misson 21)の本部での開催となった。 それに先立って7月3日(日)ケルン・ボン日本 語教会に、2016年4月に赴任された佐々木良子(Sasaki Ryoko)宣教師をお訪ねした。

 

当日は地域の合同礼拝が行われた。礼拝開始が午前11時過ぎだったため、その前にケルン大聖堂(Cologne Cathedral)のミサに参加した。ファミ リーが対象の礼拝であったが、奥の小礼拝堂はほぼ満席で、司祭が実に楽しそうに説教していたのが印象に残った。

午後は夏休み前に恒例となった「Strassenfest」と銘打ったお祭りであっ た。20店舗ほどの屋台はすべて教会からの出店であり、良き交わりの場となっていた。佐々木宣教師 は習いたてのドイツ語で、臆することなく果敢にコミュニケーションを多くの方と図っておられた。

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スイスのバーゼルで7月6日(水)~8日(金)に三国間協議会は行われた。教団では、世界宣教委員会の下にスイス協約委員会があり、三国間協議会を担 当している。横山基生委員長と廣石望Hiroishi Nozomu, secretary書記、そして青年代表とし て東京神学大学の鄭なおみ(Chung Naomi)神学生、事務局からは廣中 佳実(Hironaka Yoshimi)職員が参加した。教団はSEKと宣教協約を結んでいるが、現在宣教師を派遣していない。そのため今後この三国間協議会を どのように続けていくかが、今回教団にとっての大きな課題であった。お互いの教会の実情を話し合った後で、新しい試みとして、2年毎の青年交流会が提案された。次回のホスト国である韓国で2018年にスイスと日本からそれぞれ6名ほどの青年を派遣し、交流会を持つという企画である。青年への宣教が三国間においても重 要な課題であることが認識された。8日午前に持たれたスイスと教団との二国間協議では、スイスに宣教師を派遣する場合の費用が 話題になった。一年で1,100万円の保証が必要であると のスイス側の返答に、一同しばし言葉を失った。(加藤誠)