【February 2017 No.391】Sharing Burdens and Joys

by Nitta Kyohei, pastor of Inawashiro, Aizubange, Kawageta and Aizuhongo churches

 

It is striking that for many churches, the sharing of joys and burdens is not the ordinary reality. Since April 2015, the Rev. Takahashi Makoto and I have been responsible for sharing the pastoral care of four churches: Aizubange Church, Aizuhongo Church, Inawashiro Church, and Kawageta Church. We alternate Sunday worship services with morning and afternoon services at two churches each, and both pastors attend the administrative board meetings of each church.

 

Serving four churches is quite bewildering, but I have been given many insights that I would not have understood by serving only one church. Each of the four churches is struggling with differing types of issues and difficulties. Through publishing the church bulletin as well as sharing information when issues are raised during tea-drinking time, we “share our pain.” And, from time to time, we hold a common administrative board meeting, working together on a plan for solutions.

 

Of course, we do not just share our pains. There is active participation in the events that each church is promoting, and four times a year there are joint worship services, held in rotation at each church, when we mutually see each other’s faces. Recently as well, when a special guest was invited to one of the churches, we held a joint worship service and shared our joys together. The issues or joys of one church are not limited to that one church; instead we are working at developing a relationship of mutual sharing and bearing.

 

I do not think that the Lord Jesus desires the kind of relationship revealed by such attitudes as “If it’s good for my church, that’s enough” and “Even if another church is hurting, it doesn’t bother me.” We are involved in a new experiment as we grope our way forward, but I believe that a way will be given to us, without fail, as we walk together with the four churches, holding hands. (Tr. RT)

 

—From Senkyo Tohoku (Tohoku District News), No. 172

(会津地区)
重荷と喜びを分かち合う 新田 恭平

「一つの教会に一人の牧師がたてられる。」それが当たり前でないという現実を多くの教 会が突きつけられています。

2015年4月から会津坂下・会津本郷・猪苗代・川桁の4教会を、私と髙橋真人)牧師で担う共同牧会が 行われています。主日礼拝は、午前と午後で2教会ずつ交互に担い、 各教会の役員会には両教師揃って出席します。

私自身、4教会を牧会することに戸惑いはありましたが、一教会を牧会するだけではわからない、たくさんの気付きが与 えられているように感じています。

4教会それぞれに異なる類の課題や困難を抱えています。それを、各教会の週報への記載 や、礼拝後のお茶呑みの時間に話題に挙げることで情報を共有し、「痛みを分かち合って」います。また、時には合同役員会を開き、打開 策を練り合っています。

もちろん分かち合うのは苦しみだけではありません。各教会が主催する行事に積極的に参 加し合うようになり、また、各教会持ち回りで年4回合同礼拝を行い、互 いに顔を合わせます。先日も1つの教会で特別なゲス トを招く際、その礼拝を合同礼拝に当て、共に喜びを分かち合いました。1つの教会の課題や喜び を1つの教会に留めるのでなく、互いに分かち合い担い合う関係の構築に励んでいます。

「うちの教会さえ良ければそれで良い」、「他の教会が痛んでいても、気にしていられな い」主イエスは、そんな関係を求められていないと思っています。

こ れまでにない試みで日々模索している現状ですが、必ず道は備えられると信じ、4教会手を取りながら歩んでいます。(宣教東北172号 より)