【October 2016 No.389】Executive Council Meeting Focuses on Relief Fundraising, Planned Events, and Future Direction
The seventh Executive Council meeting of the present two-year (39th) Kyodan General Assembly period was held July 4-5 at the newly renovated Japan Christian Center building, which recently finished its earthquake resistance upgrade. All 30 members were present. In his report, General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo reported that as of June 30, a total of 14,557,000 yen had been contributed to the Kumamoto Earthquake Fund from Japanese sources, and 2,996,500 yen had come in from overseas donations. Likewise, he reported on the plans for commemorating the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation under the theme of “Moving Forward Together while Holding to the Biblical Gospel.” The beginning commemorative worship service is scheduled for June 22, 2017 at Fujimicho Church, to be followed by a national conference for junior and senior high school students at Megumi Chalet in Karuizawa, Aug. 9-11, and a church youth conference at Aoyama Gakuin University on March 21, 2018.
Also, before getting into the regular agenda, Assistant Office Manager Iida Aogu made a presentation on the upcoming International Youth Conference on the East Japan Disaster to be held at Kansai Seminar House in Kyoto. The four-day conference is to begin on March 28, 2017, with the theme of “Aiming towards a Society with Sustainable Energy Sources.” As a follow-up to the International Conference on the East Japan Disaster held in March 2014 in Sendai, it will focus on developing the next generation of leadership concerning these issues. About 20 participants from overseas will join about 30 from within Japan for this conference.
Kyushu District Moderator Umesaki Koji gave a report on the Kumamoto–Oita Earthquake. The district had hired the Vories Company to do an analysis of the damage to church buildings, with the result that of the 15 churches examined in Kumamoto, Oita, and Nagasaki, 3 were seriously damaged, 9 were significantly damaged, and the rest were only slightly damaged. However, in the ensuing downpours, there was also considerable water damage from leaks and flooding.
The Committee on the Future Concept of the Kyodan, established by the Executive Committee for this general assembly period, has met 14 times so far and submitted a 36-page report. The chairperson, Vice-moderator Sasaki Michio, gave a 30-minute presentation of the committee’s findings. Much of the discussion dealt with the analysis of Kyodan statistics as well as various proposals on how the Kyodan should relate to other organizations. Following acceptance of the report on the first day of discussion, the Kyodan’s core leadership (moderator, vice-moderator, and secretary) met by themselves to draft a proposal on how to deal with it. On the second day, following the regular agenda business, Moderator Ishibashi Hideo proposed that the report be returned to the committee for further work because references to debates outside the Kyodan had been pointed out during the previous day’s deliberations, so the report needs to be rewritten. This proposal was accepted by a majority vote, and the report was returned for rewriting. There was also a special Executive Council meeting held on Aug. 30 in which a goal of 180 million yen was set for fundraising for the rebuilding of churches and parsonages damaged or destroyed in the April 2016 earthquakes in Kumamoto and Oita. (Tr. TB) —Kato Makoto, executive secretary