【April 2017 No.392】Districts Report on the Kumamoto-Oita and Tottori Earthquakes

. The Kumamoto-Oita Earthquake: Challenges for Kyushu District

Ten months have passed since the Kumamoto-Oita Earthquakes. (On Thursday, April 14, 2016 a destructive earthquake occurred.) The situation remains serious, but we in Kyushu District clearly feel the Lord’s hand amid the hardships. Our two main challenges are continuing support for disaster survivors in the region and providing aid to disaster-affected churches, congregations, and pastors.

   1. Support for Disaster Survivors in the Region

Kyushu District and the General Assembly of the Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) collaborated to establish the “Volunteer Center Elpis (“hope” in Greek) Kumamoto,” and our work there continues. At the time of establishment there were great numbers of disaster victims taking refuge in shelter facilities. We started up “Dream Café” within the shelter in Mifune-machi, which was being managed by the Kumamoto YMCA, and provided entertainment and a listening ear to the weary-hearted. Another popular activity offered by district pastors was a series of handcraft classes, some geared to children and others to adults. These activities continued until the shelter closed at the end of October.

On Dec. 14 we began to serve at the Minami-kinokura temporary housing complex (55 units). The trust we had built up in the preceding months has been a great help in this work. On Dec. 23 we held a Christmas gathering at this location. By request from the residents, the gathering featured a Christmas message by Elpis Director Kim Sung Hyo (pastor of KCCJ Kumamoto Church), a handbell concert by students from Fukuoka Futaba Senior High School, as well as a meal, sweets, and some cake to take home. Those who attended kindly said, “This wasn’t just like an ordinary party; it really moved our hearts.” We plan to continue to hold café events at several temporary housing complexes and, through these, we plan to provide a listening ear and support for daily living.

   2. Support for Disaster-Affected Churches

Fifteen district churches suffered structural damage from the series of earthquakes, and church members and pastors were also deeply impacted. As a district we provided early support of ¥200,000 to each church member whose home suffered damage, and we are taking steps to respond to the needs of our pastors, who have labored with such devotion from the very first days—for example, by making health maintenance programs available to them.

Regarding church buildings, we commissioned W. M. Vories & Company Architects Ichiryusha to assess damages. As a result we estimate the costs of repair and rebuilding will be ¥180 million.

It remains difficult to find a local building contractor who is available to perform the necessary repairs or to rebuild. The rainy season and several typhoons since the earthquakes have caused the cracks and distortions in walls to grow more pronounced. We pray earnestly for the earliest possible resolution of these issues.

For the above reasons, the Kyodan initiated and is now promoting the “Donation Campaign for the Support of Reconstruction of Churches and Other Buildings Impacted by the Kumamoto-Oita Earthquakes” (target amount: ¥180 million).

                  —Umesaki Koji, moderator, Kyushu District

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II. The Tottori Earthquake in Higashi Chugoku District

On Friday, Oct. 21, 2016, at 14:07, a strong earthquake occurred, the epicenter of which was in central Tottori Prefecture. At Kurayoshi City, the tremor was measured at magnitude 6 on the seismic intensity scale.

The three Kyodan churches in Kurayoshi were all significantly damaged. Kurayoshi Church developed several visible cracks in its walls, but we believe the damage was not severe. Agei Church experienced damage in many spots, including the collapse and cracking of concrete sections of its exterior wall as well as falling plaster and cracking of the interior walls. We anticipate that much repair will be needed here.

In terms of structural damage, Kurayoshi Fukkatsu Church suffered the greatest impact. The church’s perimeter wall and announcement board both collapsed; window sashes fell from the second floor; the main entrance door was toppled; plaster fell from walls; the floor was skewed; and many of the building’s doors are now creaking due to structural distortions. Temporary repair has been done with plywood and blue vinyl sheets, but the damage appears to be too severe for repair and continued use. We have gathered council members of the three churches to discuss the future.

Destruction was not, of course, limited to church buildings. The homes of many members of these churches also suffered major damage. And just when we were finally returning to “normal” daily life, the region was hit by two heavy snowfalls in the new year. This caused water damage at Kurayoshi Fukkatsu Church, where the damaged roof had been a concern since the earthquake. At the sight of numerous roofs covered with blue-sheets while awaiting repair, one cannot help but feel the anxiety of many people.

Amid this situation, it was decided that the congregations of Kurayoshi Fukkatsu and Agei churches will hold joint Sunday services from April. There is still a mountain of challenges facing us, but we hope to move ahead steadily.

(Tr. DM)

 —Okuda Nozomu, pastor, Agei Church, Higashi Chugoku District

[From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times).  Summarized by Kato Makoto, executive secretary.]

「熊本・大分地震」「鳥取地震」教区報告

「熊本・大分地震」から10箇月が経っ た。事態は尚、深刻だが、私共九州教区はこの苦難の中に、主の御手をはっきりと感じている。

九州教区の課題

課題は、地域の被災者 支援、被災教会・信徒・教職の救援、の2つである。

地域の被災者支援

九州教区と在日大韓基督教会総会が共同で「ボランティアセンター・エル ピス(Elpis)くまもと」を 設立し、この働きに当っている。発足時期が避難所に大勢の被災者が身を寄せつつある時だったので、熊本YMCAが管理する御 船町(

みふねまち)避難所でのカフェ開設「ドリームカフェ」による娯楽提供・傾 聴活動に取り組んだ。教区内教職による子ども・大人をそれぞれ対象とした工作教室も非常に好評で、活動は10月末の避難所 閉鎖まで忠実に続けられた。

仮設での奉仕は12月14日に南木倉 (みなみきのくら)仮設団地(55戸)から開始 したが、避難所で結んだ信頼関係が大きな助けとなっている。23日には同地で クリスマス会を開いた。住民の方々に請われて「エルピス」センター長の金聖孝(Kim Sung Hyo)牧 師(在日大韓熊本教会)がなしたクリスマス講話、来援の福岡雙葉学園(高校生によるハンドベル演奏に加え、食事や菓子、ケーキの贈り物もあり、「ただ騒ぐものとは違う、心に沁みる集まり だった」との感想をもらった。

今後も複数の団地でカフェ開設を軸に傾聴および生活支援活動を続けてゆ く予定である。

被災教会への支援

今次震災では15の教会がその 建物に被害を受け、信徒・教職もまた、その生活に大きな打撃を受けた。教区では、早期に信徒宅の被害1件当り20万円を支出 し、当初より献身的に働いて来られた牧師方には保養プログラムを提供する等の対応を進めている。

教会建物については「被災度区分判定」を一粒社ヴォーリズ建築事務所に依頼、その結果を基に補修・再建費用を1億8000万円と試算し た。

被災地では現在も尚、施工業者をつかまえることが難しい状況だが、壁の 亀裂も建物のひずみも震災以降の梅雨の大雨や台風の襲来を受けて、その傷の度合いを増している。一日も早い手当てをと願うや切なるも のがある。

このために教団が「熊本・大分地震被災教会会堂等再建支援募金」(目標 額1億8000万円)を呼び 掛けている。

(九州教区議長・梅崎浩二)

 

「鳥取地震」

2016年10月21日(金)14時7分、鳥取県中 部を震源とする地震が発生し、倉吉市内で震度6弱を観測し た。

倉吉市内にある教団に属する3教会もそれぞ れに大きな被害を受けた。倉吉教会は、建物の壁面に亀裂などが見られるが、大きな被害には至らなかったようだ。

上井教会は外壁コンクリート部分の剥落、亀裂、内壁の剥落、亀裂などが 多数あり、修理を要するものと考えられる。

教会建物に関して言えば、倉吉復活教 会の被害が一番深刻だった。外壁、掲示板の剥落、2階の窓のサッ シの落下、玄関扉の倒壊、壁のはがれや、床面のズレ、建物全体のゆがみによるものであろう扉のきしみなど多くの被害があった。現在は ベニヤ板、ブルーシートなどでの応急処置を終えているが、このまま修理して使い続けるということはかなり難しいだろうと考えている。3教会の役員が 集まって今後のことについて話し合う機会も持った。

もちろん建物だけではなく、連なる教会員の中にも大きな被害を受けた方 が多くいる。それぞれにどうにか日常を取り戻しつつあった矢先、今年に入って2度の大雪は、 かねてより屋根の傷みを指摘されていた倉吉復活教会でも雨漏り被害をもたらした。街中にまだまだ多くの残る未修理のブルーシート屋根 を見るにつけ、多くの方々の不安を思わざるを得ない。

このような状況の中、4月からは倉吉 復活教会と上井教会との合同 礼拝とすることも決断した。まだまだ多くの課題が山積しているような状況ではあるが、着実に進んで行きたいと願っている。

(上井教会牧師奥田望報)(新報より要約:加藤誠)