【February 2017 No.391】Six Years From That Day: Loan Repayments by Quake-stricken Churches Begin Now

A Culmination of Ou District Churches’ Reconstruction: Dedication Ceremony of Esashi Church, the last church to receive support from the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Projects Headquarters

                                                                                                                                    by Ohara Muneo, moderator Ou District

 

Nearly six years have passed since that earthquake. March 11, 2011, 2:46 p.m. was the time when disaster-stricken churches started to become restrained toward one another. The earthquake gave rise to a tsunami, which caused tremendous damage to churches along the coast. News of these events was reported in various media. Due to the magnitude of damage along the coast, some other areas were overlooked. They were not forgotten, but churches in the inland areas of Ou District could not raise their voices, even though many had suffered severe damage. As district moderator, I traveled directly to the disaster areas in an effort to gain a detailed understanding of the earthquake damage and to listen to the voices of church members. Immediately after the earthquake, we formed an Emergency Support Committee under the Standing Committee and began relief and support activities.

 

Miyako Church and Shinsei Kamaishi Church were both hit by the tsunami. The most heavily damaged of the inland churches (Senyama Ichinoseki, and Esashi), would receive long-term support from the Emergency Support Committee. We determined that the Kitakami, Tono, Sannohe and Shunan Churches, which were also damaged, could be handled by support from within the district. Based on these assessments, we immediately provided financial aid to start short-term support work. Ofunato Church had no structural damage but experienced human suffering, so we also provided support to individuals at this and other churches in the names of the Kyodan and Ou District.

 

Repairs and reconstruction of churches and ministers’ homes moved ahead, based on the decisions made by disaster-stricken churches.

•Senmaya Church acquired land, relocated, and rebuilt, and celebrated dedication of the new sanctuary on Aug. 30, 2013.

•Shinsei Kamaishi Church held a thanksgiving service on Aug. 27, 2014, for the completion of repairs.

•Ichinoseki Church performed extensive repair work on its church building, and this was completed on April 25, 2015.

•Miyako Church, which also acquired land, relocated, and rebuilt, held its dedication service on March 11, 2016, the fifth anniversary of the earthquake.

•Esashi Church purchased an adjacent property and house and then made renovations to create a manse. Its dedication service was held on Nov. 3, 2016.

 

This dedication service marked completion of the last project to receive support through the all-Kyodan relief program for churches impacted by the East Japan Disaster. Throughout this period, the prayers and gifts from within the Kyodan as well as from overseas churches have supported us. We thank you from the bottom our hearts.

Churches suffering relatively light damage have completed all repairs and restoration work with aid from within Ou District and through self-help projects. Among the churches suffering major damage, Shinsei Kamaishi Church was able to complete payments by using its own available funds (including the earthquake offering) and relief funds from the district and therefore borrowed no funds.

 

The following churches started their rebuilding projects with their own funds and district relief funds as well as with relief grants and loans from the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Headquarters.

•Senmaya Church used 25 million yen in grants and ¥25  M yen in loans from the Disaster Relief Headquarters, and repaid the ¥25M loan in two years.

•Ichinoseki Church, which similarly required repairs, received through the headquarters ¥3.9M in grants and ¥3.9M in loans.

•Miyako Church, which erected a new building, used ¥40M in grants and ¥40M in loans from the headquarters, a ¥20M loan from the district, and an additional ¥70M in commercial bank loans.

•Esashi Church also received ¥33.5M in grants and ¥33.5M in loans from the headquarters.

 

All of these churches celebrated the completion of their reconstruction work with gratitude, but naturally the burden of loan repayments weighs heavily. In particular, the two churches with small membership, Miyako and Esashi, must make repayments over the next 20 years, so every church member is redoubling their efforts. Ou District must maintain a support framework to continue assistance for these churches. Please remember them in your prayers.

 

I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the countless churches and believers in districts all across Japan whose support has made it possible to continue assistance until now, with special recognition of the Korean Christian Church in Japan’s Kanto District, the Presbyterian Church of Korea, Child Fund Japan, and the Kyodan’s Hokkai District and Tokyo District’s North Subdistrict.

Additional Comment by Executive Secretary Kato Makoto

 

I have heard many people say that Iwate Prefecture is as big as Shikoku Island. To use another comparison, the time required to drive from Esashi Church, where Ou District Moderator Ohara lives, to Ofunato Church is about the same as from Brussels, Belgium to Cologne, Germany. From Esashi Church to Miyako Church might be about the same as from Brussels to Paris.

 

In the 16 months after the March 2011 disaster, while I served as executive secretary of the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Response Headquarters, I traveled to the Tohoku disaster region over 100 times. Each time I visited Esashi Church, I was shown how the cracks in its sanctuary were growing. Leaving his own church to the last, Pastor Ohara literally dashed around Iwate Prefecture, attending to the needs of each church and flock. It is hard to imagine the degree of his toil without knowing the size of Iwate. I pray for God’s continued blessings upon the restored churches, as well as upon Pastor Ohara. (Tr. DM)

あれから6年、被災教会は今    これから返済 がはじまる

  ≪奥羽教区会堂再建の総括 教団東日本大震災救援対策本部の最後の支援教会 江刺教会の 献堂≫

奥羽教区総会議長 邑原宗男

あの地震からもうすぐ丸6年が過ぎようとしています。2011年3月11日午後2時46分、この時刻を 境に被災教会同士で遠慮が始まりました。地震と共に、津波が発生し、沿岸地域の教会は、甚大な被害を受けました。そのニュースはあら ゆるメディアでとりあげられました。あまりに甚大な被害の沿岸地域の故に、そのことで忘れられた地域があったのです。忘れられたので はなく、奥羽教区内の内陸部に位置する教会も相当数が大きな被害に遭遇していましたが、大きな声をあげることができないでいました。 教区総会議長としては、被災状況の詳細な把握をすることに努め、直接被災地に出かけては、教会員の声を聴くことにしました。地震直 後、直ちに常置委員会のもとに緊急支援委員会を設置して、救援・支援活動に入りました。

宮古(みやこ)教会、新生釜石(しんせいかまいし)教会は津波被災。千厩(せんまや)教会、一関(いち のせき)教会、江刺(えさし)教会は内陸部の地震被災には緊急支援委員会として長期支援すること。さらに北上(きたかみ)教会、遠野 (とおの)教会、三戸(さんのへ)伝道所、秋南(しゅうなん)教会には、被害はあったが教区の支援で対処できると判断し、直ちにお見 舞いをもって短期支援を実行しました。大船渡(おおふなと)教会には建物被害はなく津波による人的被害で、他の教会をも含め個人に対 しても教団と奥羽教区の名によりお見舞いをしました。

被災教会の決議に基づいて、礼拝堂・牧師館の修復・新築は進められました。千厩教会は、土地取得・移転 新築し、2013年8月30日献堂式を挙行しました。新生釜石教会は、2014年8月27日修築完了感謝礼拝を奉げました。一関教会 は、礼拝堂の大幅修復工事をし、2015年4月25日完了しました。宮古教会は、土地取得・移転新築し、2016年3月11日献堂式 を挙行しました。江刺教会は、2014年12月建物付きの隣地を購入し牧師館としてリフォームしました。2016年11月3日礼拝堂 の献堂式を挙行しました。この献堂式は、教団全体の東日本大震災被災教会支援活動の最後の支援事業となりました。このために教団全体 からの祈りは勿論、海外の教会の支援に支えられました。心より感謝いたします。

各教会の再建復旧工事で比較的軽微なものは教区の支援と教会伝道所の自助努力で完了しました。

大規模被災となった各教会のうち、新生釜石教会は自己資金(地震見舞金を含む)と教区の援助金で支払い を完了し借入金はありません。

また、以下の教会は自己資金と教区援助金のほかに、教団救援対策本部からの支援金と借入金を受けて再建 事業を進めました。千厩教会は本部支援金2500万円と借入金2500

円を用い、借入金については二年で返済しました。同様に修復しました一関教会は本部支援金390万円と借 入金390万円。新築の宮古教会は本部支援金4000万円と借入金4000万円、市中銀行借入金7000万円、教区借入金2000万 円。江刺教会も本部支援金3350万円と借入金3350万円により再建事業は感謝のうちに完了しました。しかし借入金は返済が当然の こととしてのしかかってきます。特に少数の現住陪餐会員で、宮古教会と江刺教会は20年間の返済を担っていかなければなりませんの で、教会員一同一層の努力を重ねています。これらの教会への支援体制を奥羽教区として継続することが必要です。ご加祷ください。

在日大韓基督教会関東地方会、大韓イエス教長老会、チャイルドファンドジャパン、北海教区、東京教区北 支区はじめ全国各教区の多くの教会並びに信徒の方々の支援により支援活動は継続されてきましたことを感謝申し上げます。

 

補足(注?)Comment from Kato Makoto, Executive secretary

良く言われることだが、岩手県は四国ほど広い。感覚的な表現で申し訳ないが、邑原宗男教区議長のおられ る江刺教会から大船渡教会までは、ベルギーのブリュッセルからドイツのケルンくらいの車での移動時間である。江刺教会から宮古教会ま ではパリくらいであろうか。私は2011年3月の東日本大震災後、1年4か月震災対策本幹事として東北には100回近く行った。江刺教会に伺うたびに、少しずつ広がった会堂の「ひび」を見せていただいた。邑原議長はご 自分の教会を一番後回しにし、広い岩手県を文字通り駆けずり回ったのである。そのご苦労は岩手の「広さ」を知る者しか実感できない。 献堂された教会と先生のお働きの上に更なる神様の栄光が現されますよう祈ります。(加藤誠)