by Kawakami Yoshiko, pastor Okubo Church, Tokyo District
Editor, KNL Editorial Committee
In January of this year, 2016, the Kyodan Newsletter (KNL) reached its 50th anniversary, with a total of 389 issues as of this October newsletter. It is distributed under the auspices of General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo, the person responsible for its publication, Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Ministries Kato Makoto, and the KNL Editorial Committee, with the help of a former editor, retired missionary Hazel Terhune. Currently there is a circulation of 500 copies, and in addition to current and retired missionaries both inside and outside the country and related churches overseas, it is also being sent to missionary sending boards.
Publication Details and the Role of KNL
At the December 1965 meeting of the Executive Council’s Standing Committee, an Information Center was established on a trial basis within the General Affairs Department, in recognition of a previous cherished desire for the Kyodan to have such a means of reporting. “Receiving overseas and national church news and sending Kyodan news overseas” became one of the projects within the work of the Information Center. Missionaries did most of the editing, and Issue Number One was published in January 1966.
This is a portion of the message that the Reverend Omura Isamu, general secretary at that time, inserted in the first issue. “It is 25 years since the Kyodan was inaugurated in 1941. We are deeply grateful that the Kyodan has developed through the generous cooperation and help from churches overseas in various phases of life and mission of the church. It is our great joy to announce to you that our ‘Kyodan News Letter‘ will be released, starting from this month, to the end that we might engage in positive dialogue with churches overseas and that ‘together we may share in the common life.’”(I John 1:3).
That first issue published reports that the Rev. Ariga Tetsutaro had been invited to the Second Vatican Council the previous year as a representative of the church in Asia and, in the first part of January 1966, Roman Catholic priests who had been invited to the Council were hosted (by the Kyodan) for a whole day to gather information for the article “The Vatican and the Kyodan.” It also included an article about “Danchi” (high-rise apartment complexes), which typified Japan following World War II.
The newsletter consisted of three typewritten, single-sided pages. The rate of publication was ten times a year until 1990, then six times a year until 2001, and since then five times. In the beginning, operating costs for the overall work of the Information Center were covered by subscription charges and funds from the Kyodan, together with substantial support from the Japan North American Commission on Cooperative Mission (JNAC), and from 1974 through 1980, from the church in Germany as well. Following the dissolution of JNAC in 2007, KNL’s financial support became completely Japan-based.
Article Series Representative of the Past
There was a great response to the series “Japanese Rites of Passage and the Mission of the Church,” which continued for a total of eight times from May 1987 through March 1988. While presenting the cultural customs that have become the rites of passage of Japanese people in general, the series introduced the concrete ways these were actually adopted and adapted by the church in accordance with its unique perspective.
Recent Distinctive Features
We are grateful for the warm support of overseas churches and organizations at the time of the 2011 East Japan Disaster and for the strengthening of exchanges between the Kyodan and overseas churches. Reports following the disaster have also been continuously presented, with special attention now being given to nuclear issues.
For a long time, under the Information Center Director, missionaries assumed the role of KNL editor. They are enumerated here by name and period of service, according to the Kyodan General Assembly’s historical materials.
January 1966 (first issue)-December 1976: Helen Post, missionary
January 1977-March 1979: Alden Ewart Matthews, missionary and Kyodan executive secretary
April 1979-April-December 1983: George Gish, missionary
January 1984-1988: Carolyn B. Francis, missionary
(She also took an additional post from May 1985)
Interim term: David Swain, missionary
January 1989-August 2004: Hazel Terhune, missionary
September 2004-March 2007: Kay Zebley, missionary
Following the reorganization of the Information Center after the Kyodan General Assembly in July 2007, an editor-in-chief was appointed.
April 2007-March 2009: Executive Secretary Ishimaru Yasuki
April 2009-March 2010: Executive Secretary Kato Makoto
April 2010 to the present: The Reverend Kawakami Yoshiko
Due to the newsletter’s constraints of space, the names of the many editorial committee members, persons in charge of the office, supporters, and translators over the years have been omitted, but we are grateful for their great work.
KNL in the Future
We want to continue the work of KNL as “taking part in the world mission of the Kyodan because it is a type of evangelism by means of words.” We also intend to follow those who have served with all their hearts by going still further to spread the news widely. (Tr. RT)
KNL編 集長 川上善子
教団ニューズレター（KNL） は今年2016年1月 に50周 年を迎え、この10月 号で通算389号 になった。発行責任者である長崎哲夫総幹事のもと、
＜発 行の経緯とKNLの 役割＞
代々 の広報センター委員長のもと、長い間、KNLの 編集主任は宣教師方の間で引き継がれていた。