【June 2018 No.398】NCCJ Marks End of its 39th General Assembly Period

“Proceeding Together As We Follow the Directives of the Lord of the Cross”; “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.” (Matt. 16:24)

 It is with these words that the National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ) closed out its 39th three-year General Assembly Period (April 2015–March 2018). During this period, the NCCJ’s activities were focused through 14 committees that operated according to three scriptural principles:

1) Evangelizing together: “The time has come. The kingdom of God has come near. Repent and believe the good news!” (Mark 1:15);

2) Witnessing together within society: “Put your sword back in its place, for all who draw the sword will die by the sword.” (Matt. 26:52); and

3) Being in solidarity with our friends around the world: (Acts 2:7-11)

 In January of every year, the NCCJ participates in a Prayer for Unity Conference with the Roman Catholic Church as part of a program of the World Council of Churches. During these past three years we especially focused on the commemoration of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. This has been an opportunity for the Catholic Church as well to return to the roots of the faith, and with that in mind we held ecumenical prayer meetings as well. We also participated in the celebration commemorating the 60th anniversary of the founding of the Christian Conference of Asia, which was held in Myanmar, where we shared together concerning the issues facing the Church around the world while jointly committing ourselves to pouring our strength into the joy of communicating the Gospel.

 We also held meetings with Buddhists and other religious leaders through the World Conference of Religions for Peace Japan Committee and the Religious Conference on Article 9 (the article of Japan’s Constitution that declares Japan will not militarize itself). We joined the Religious Summit on Mt. Hiei held every summer at Enryakuji Temple in Kyoto, where we prayed for peace during the conference under the theme of “How Religious Leaders Should Deal With Terrorism and Violence.”

 The NCCJ itself is celebrating its 70th anniversary this year. Prior to the end of this fiscal year in March 2019, we are planning a mission conference, and to that end we have held three “pre-conferences” on the themes of mission, service, and worship. The NCCJ consists of a membership of 6 denominations together with 8 other Christian organizations and 16 associate member organizations, which makes for quite a variety. At its general assembly in March, 3 new associate organizations were added: Waseda Hoshien, Wesley Zaidan, and Church World Service. (The difference between a member and an associate member is whether the organization’s activities are limited in scope to one thing or not). We are so thankful for all of the prayerful support we have had from many people these last three years. Our hope is that even in this time of reduced apportionment giving from our member organizations, we will be able to continue our activities of unity in worship and diversity in witness. (Tr. TB)

—Aminaka Shoko, general secretary

38th and 39th NCCJ General Assembly Periods

Pastor (from April 2018)

Yokohama Myojo Church, Kanagawa District

 

「十字架の主の御言葉に聴き従いつつ、共に進む」

 「わたしについて来たい者は、自分を捨て、自分の十字架を背負っ て、わたしに従いなさい。」(マタイによる福音書16章24節)この聖句により日本キリスト教協議会(以下、NCC)の第39総 会期3年(2015年4月 -2018年3月)の歩みを終えました。活動基本方針 1.共に伝道しよう「時は満ち、神の国は近づいた。悔い改めて福音を信じなさい」(マルコ1:15)2.社会の中で共に証ししていこう「剣をさやに納めなさい。剣を取る 者は皆、剣で滅びる。」(マタイ26:52)”Put your sword back into its place; for all who take the sword will perish by the sword.” (Matthew 26:52)3.広く世界の友と連携していこう(使徒2:7-11)他に基づき、14の委員会を中心として活動が展開しました。

 毎年1月にWorld of Council of Churches WCC世界教会協議会の呼び掛けによりカトリック教会との一致祈祷集会を行い、この3年間は特に宗教改革500年 記念をも覚えて祈りました。カトリック教会にとっても信仰の原点に立ち帰る機会でありNCCが掲げるエキュメニカル(超教派)な祈祷会を行い ました。仏教者や諸宗教の皆様とは「世界宗教者平和会議日本委員会World Conference of Religions for Peace Japan Committee」「憲法9条 に関する世界宗教者会議Religious Conference on Article 9」 において協働しました。毎年夏には比叡山延暦寺にて「比叡山宗教者サミットThe Religious Summit on Mt. Hiei」 が開催され「宗教者はテロ・暴力にどう立ち向かうか」というテーマも含む会議において祈りつつ平和を願いました。アジアキリスト教協 議会ChristianConference of Asia(CCA)の60周 年記念会議はミャンマーで開催され、世界中にある課題を分かち合い福音伝道に喜びをもって力を注ぐことを共有しました。

 NCCは2018年に創立70年を迎えます。年度内の2019年3月頃に宣教会議開催を目指し3回のプレ集会を行い、宣教・奉仕・礼拝について分団協議も行いました。日本のNCCは教会協議会ではなく、加盟教会・教団は6、キリスト教団体は8、准加盟は16と多様です。3月の総会では新しく早稲田奉仕園、ウェスレー財団、CWS(Church World Service)が准加盟しました。(加盟と准加盟の違いは活動拠点が複数か否かです。複数の活動ブランチを持つか否か、activ branch?3年間多くの方の祈りに支えられたことを感謝します。加盟団体の負担金を減額した新総会期も礼拝で一致し、多様な証しによる活動が継続されるよう願います。

執筆者 網中彰子

(38-39総 会期 NCC総幹事、2018年4月~ 日本基督教団横浜明星教会牧師)