【February 2018 No.396】Consultation on Missionaries from Korea Convened in Japan

 Representatives of three churches in Korea and two churches in Japan gathered at the Doshisha Biwako Retreat Center in Shiga Prefecture, Nov. 27-28, 2017 for a consultation on missionaries, the fourth such conference. Attendees discussed assignments of missionary personnel who are sent to serve in Kyodan churches from the Presbyterian Church of Korea, the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, and the Korean Methodist Church. Because of their involvement with the Kyodan through the work of teachers and missionaries, the Korean Christian Church in Japan also participated in this meeting.

 The consultation has previously convened three times in Japan and Korea. Agenda items include confirmation of procedures concerning the sending and receiving of missionaries, reports on the number of missionaries sent and received, and the current status of the missionaries’ work.

 Those attending the Nov. 27-28 meeting included one missionary personnel representative from each of the three Korean churches, KCCJ General Assembly Chairman Kim Jong-Hyun and three other KCCJ pastors, Kyodan General Assembly Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi and Kyodan Executive Secretary Makoto Kato. Missionary Choi Jang-Soo served as interpreter for the attendees.

 After a review of the contents of previous discussions, reports dealing with the sending and receiving of missionaries were presented, and participants discussed the matter of ongoing assignments. Sometime after 2018 there will be a missionary conference centered on missionaries sent to the Kyodan from these three Korean denominations and the Korean Christian Church in Japan. (Tr. DM)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

 11月27~28日、第4回韓国3教会と日本2教会の宣教師に関する実務者会議が同志社びわこリトリートセンターにて、開催された。

 これは、大韓イエス教長老会、韓国基督教長老会、基督教大韓監理会の韓国3教団(教会)から、教団の教会等へ派遣される宣教師の人事に関する諸課題を検討する会議である。また、教団は、在日大韓基督教会との間においても教師や 宣教師の人事交流があることから、同教会もこの会議に加わっている。

 これまで、韓国と日本において3回の会議が開催されており、各教団(教会)における宣教師の派遣および受け入れに関する手続きの確認、派遣宣教師および受入宣教師の数と働きの現状等の報告がなされている。

 今回は韓国3教会より、宣教師人事担当者各1名が出席し、日本からは、在日大韓基督教会から金鐘賢総会長ほか3名、教団から雲然俊美教団書記と加藤誠世界宣教担当幹事が出席した。また、通訳は崔長壽宣教師が担当した。

 会議においては、これまでの協議の内容を確認した後、各教団の宣教師の派遣および受け入れの状況の報告がなされ、さらに、継続して検討している課題について協議した。

 2019年以降、韓国3教団及び在日大韓キリスト教会から教団に派遣されている宣教師を中心にした宣教師会議を開催する予定である。

 次回会議はPCKが準備をし、2018年3月8~9日、韓国において開催される予定である。(「教団新報」より加藤誠まとめ)

【February 2018 No.396】An Eventful Visit to the Christian Evangelical Church in Indonesia

 On Dec. 4, 2017 I left for a seven-day journey to visit the headquarters of the Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa, located on the northern tip of the Indonesian island of Sulawesi. I was accompanied by Rev. Akiyama Toru, chair of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, and Rev. Fukushima Sumio, chair of the Kanto District Commission on Ecumenical Ministries.

 Due to a one-hour delay in our departure from Haneda Airport in Tokyo, we had very little time for the transfer to our domestic flight to Manado. Local staff of the airline were there to guide us, but we were told not to expect the transfer of our checked luggage. It was no joke. We told them that this was their responsibility, and after further deliberation they increased personnel, found our luggage, put it and us in a taxi, and we got to the domestic terminal. However, arriving at the terminal, we found that our gate was number 26 of 28 gates in the terminal. In other words, we walked–or rather half ran–at least one kilometer to our gate. When we finally arrived at the gate, we were exhausted.

 The next day we left Manado and followed a mountain road about 25 kilometers north to the town of Tomohon. We were surprised at the number of churches we saw. In other words, most of the people living in the villages must be Christians. Even as we returned at the close of the day, we saw young people gathered at the various churches we passed, enjoying themselves. The church there is the center of community life.

 Tomohon is a highland town. It is no surprise that there is only one hotel. However, there is a Bible School where 1,000 students are studying. The church also has a hospital as well as a factory for processing coconuts where 40 students are being trained. In short, the church is giving birth to industry there.

 As we were returning to the hotel after a fruitful consultation at the CEC headquarters, the telephone rang. It was the travel agency, informing us that our original flight for the next day had been canceled and that the new flight would be at 11 a.m.

 The next day, as we were riding the car that had been hired for our trip to the airport, we received another telephone call from the travel agency, informing us that the morning flight had also been canceled. As a result, we rushed through the lobby of the domestic flight terminal and waited in line for a taxi, where 100 taxis were lined up, to go to the international flight terminal. In the end, we were able to return to Haneda Airport as scheduled, but this was much more of an adventure than we had expected. (Tr. JS)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

From Niji no Tayori, Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

 

エールにならないエール⑬~トラベルはトラブル~

 インドネシアのスラウェシ島北端の町トモホンにあるミナハサ福音基督教会本部を、世界宣教委員長の秋山徹牧師と関東教区世界宣教委員長の福島純雄牧師と共に12月4日から7日の旅程で訪問した。羽田出発便が1時間遅れたことにより、マナド行国内便の乗継に余裕がなくなった。現地航空会社スタッフが案内してくれたが、預けた荷物を諦めろと言う。冗談ではない。そちらの事情でしょう、と交渉すると係員が増員され、無事荷物も手にしてタクシーで国内便ターミナルへ。ところがその立派なこと!ゲートが28あり私たちのゲートは26、つまりたっぷり1キロは歩く、いや小走りする。登場ゲートに着いた時にはほとんど涙目である。

 翌日、マナドからトモホンまでは山道を25キロほど北に進む。驚くのは教会の多さである。つまり村民全員がキリスト者なのであろう。日も暮れた帰り道、通り過ぎてゆくあちこちの教会では、青年たちが集まり楽しそうであった。教会がコミュニティーの中心なのである。

 トモホンは高原の町である。ホテルが一軒しかないのも頷ける。ところが神学校には1000人が学ぶ。教会の病院があり、ヤシの木を加工する工場では職業訓練を行い40名の生徒が学ぶ。つまり教会が産業を生み出している。本部での充実した懇談を終え、ホテルへの帰り道電話が鳴る。旅行会社からで、翌日の便がキャンセルになり、午前11時の便になったと言う。翌日、手配の車に乗っていると再び旅行会社からの電話で、午前の便もキャンセルになったとの事。再び国内線ロビーを走り抜け、タクシーを100台!順番待ちして国際線へ。最終的には予定通り羽田に帰着できたが、いつもに増して今回は綱渡りであった。(「虹のたより」より 加藤誠)

【February 2018 No.396】Nurturing Faith through “Gospel Email”

by Horioka Makiko, president Hokuriku Gakuin Junior and Senior High School

Youth Director, Ishikawa Subdistrict Youth League, Chubu District

 The ministers in Ishikawa Subdistrict have been sending out “Gospel Email” for over two years, since July 2015. This is an attempt to deliver the Gospel by email every day.

 Until now I think the most frequent style of church evangelism has been: “Please come to us. If you do that you can hear the Gospel.” So people who are able to go to church on Sunday morning will receive the Gospel; but can people be expected to understand the Gospel by themselves if they are unable to attend church? The leaders of the young adult groups considered this question and began an experiment: “Let’s try to take the Gospel to those who cannot attend church and nurture our own everyday life of faith as well.”

 The Gospel Email is sent to young adults on the mailing list of those expressing a desire to receive it. Normally, it is sent each morning during the six-day period of Monday through Saturday. A message from the district ministers or from a speaker invited by the young adults’ training session is sent to each young adult’s smart phone or cell phone. The message is intended to be 1) short, 2) made for that one day, and 3) speaking the Gospel to the young people in that district. At this point, there are about 50 young adults receiving the email.

 At present, “delivery” itself is most important, so the process has not reached the point of the sender and the receiver (a person who received the email) sharing their thoughts. There has been a period of give-and-take, but the number of contributors is limited. And if the content of the writing is long, preparation becomes complex, so the group is concentrating on “delivery.”

 Essentially, there is joy in hearing the Gospel together with others, so we are hoping that in the future, even outside the tool of email, an opportunity will be created for young people to talk about the Gospel daily. A freshness of new ideas is needed to move beyond the mere tediousness of sending the email in order to continue and have the strength to deliver the Gospel. Nevertheless one day at a time, they are continuing to spread the gospel. (Tr. RT)

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), November 2017 issue

 

信仰に養われて生きるために

堀岡満喜子

ほりおか まきこ/中部教区石川地区青年会担当教師、

北陸学院中学校・高等学校校長

* * *

 石川地区の牧師たちは、2015年7月から2年以上にわたり「福音メール」を配信しています。福音を毎日メールで届けるという試みです。

 これまで教会の伝道は「ここまで足を運んでください。ここでなら福音を聴くことができます」というスタイルが多かったように思います。しかし教会に足を運ぶことができる人、日曜日の午前中に教会に行くことのできる人には福音が与えられるが、それがかなわなければ、自力で何とかしなければならないという姿勢でよいのだろうか。青年会担当者たちはそう考え、「教会に来ることのできない人にも、また自分たちの毎日の信仰が養われるためにも福音を運んでいこう」という試みを始めたのです。

 福音メールはこれを受け取るという意志を示した青年たちのメーリングリストに送ります。月曜日から土曜日の週6日間、基本は朝。青年たちのスマートホンや携帯電話に、地区の牧師、青年修養会に招いた講師などからのメッセージを送ります。

 ポイントは ①短く、②その日1日に向かって、③地区の青年たちに福音を語りかけることです。今では、50名ほどの青年がメールを受け取っています。

 現在は「届けること」に重点があり、発信する側と受け取る側、あ るいは受け取った人同士が感想を分かち合うところには至っていません。少しやりとりをした時期もあったのですが、書き込みをする人が 限られたり、書き込まれる内容が多すぎると煩雑になったりするので、「届けること」に徹しています。

 本来、福音には交わりの中で聴く喜びもあるわけですから、将来的にはメールというツールの外でも、青年たちが日常的に福音について話し合う機会ができてくることを願っています。

 課題はマンネリ化してきたことです。ただ送られてくる……という 退屈さを超えて、新鮮に福音を送り続けるための新しいアイディアと福音を届ける力を必要としていますが、1日、1日と福音の配信を続けています。(「信徒の友」2017年11月号より)

【February 2018 No.396】Laypersons with a Priestly Calling: Guiding Newcomers

by Ogasawara Akihiro, member Ofunato Church, Iwate Prefecture, Ou District

 I entered Tohoku Gakuin University in 1980 and through God’s guidance joined the men’s glee club, where I had my first contact with hymns and religious music. I also studied the Bible, but only for class credit, without believing in God’s teaching; so as I approached graduation, I put my Bible and hymnal on the back of my bookshelf.

 On March 11, 2011, the giant tsunami caused by the Great East Japan Earthquake descended on the Sanriku coast of Iwate Prefecture, and both the house in Kamishi where I grew up and my house in Rikuzen Takata were washed away. I could not even cry at the sight of the hellish scene before my eyes.

 In the whirl of the first year-and-a-half afterwards, my body and mind did not function normally, and I continued to experience insomnia. Somehow I was able to do my job, though completely exhausted when I got home, so I distracted myself with alcohol. I commuted to Kyoto to pray at shrines and also prayed at temples, but even when I did that, after ten days or so, I felt the same as before.

 One day, I went to Tsuchizawa Church in Hanamaki to pick up some relief supplies. My wife’s parents often performed ventriloquism there as volunteers. When I told the pastor that my Bible had been washed away, she gladly gave me one of the church’s Bibles and hymnals. When I got home I casually opened the Bible, and the first thing that jumped out at me were the words in Matthew 6:25-34 “do not worry.”
 
 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, or about your body, what you will wear. . . . So, do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today’s trouble is enough for today.” (NRSV)

 At that moment I heard the Word of God. I felt strongly, “I need to go to church!” and I could not stop crying. Ofunato Church warmly welcomed someone like me into their church. I started attending services with my wife, who had been baptized in her youth, and eventually I too was baptized.

 A little more than a year later, a man with whom Ofunato Church Pastor Muraya Masahito had previously served as a volunteer probation officer started coming to church. With a record of more than 10 offenses, he was out of prison on parole. Pastor Muraya then asked my wife and me if we would help guide him as he prepared for baptism. It is the custom at Ofunato Church for members to take the lead in preparing others for baptism. Nevertheless, we were flabbergasted to receive this request when we had only been attending the church for a little over a year. However, if it is God’s mission, you cannot refuse, so we accepted.

 This man had a home and a wife and children, but he was living in a room in the church. Pastor Muraya looked after him every day, and from time to time I would go to the church and talk about the Bible and other things with him. He was a hard worker, doing routine tasks around the church like cutting grass and clearing trees and bushes on the hill behind the church. He even helped at an NPO in the city. You would often see him reading the Bible, and at Christmas he made a detailed plan for the church illumination lights. I even bought a radio and gave it to him so he could listen to the Christian broadcast FEBC every evening. He deepened his understanding of the contents of the Bible, and his preparation for baptism seemed to be going smoothly. If he successfully completed his period of parole, his sentence would be complete. However, when he had only a few days left in his parole, he ran away with a woman he had met at his workplace. He was quickly found and sent back to prison. After that, he finished his sentence, but he never came back to the church.

 What happened to the positive attitude he seemed to have had? My wife and I wondered if there had been something wrong with the guidance we gave him, and we spent our days questioning God about this. But this was not the end. Now the church is involved with a boy on temporary release from a juvenile correctional facility. At the same time, someone who had been shepherded through preparation for baptism by other church members was baptized on Pentecost Sunday in 2017.

 Pastoral care or preparation for baptism are not only the job of the pastor. Ordinary members also have roles as laypersons, jobs that only laypersons can do. We are not transferred as pastors are, so we can continue to guide those who come to church for the first time. We are to become “the salt of the earth” and believe in God and that we are certain to bear fruit. With this in mind, I want to continue to reach out to new people who come to church. Amen. (Tr. DB)

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend),

October 2017 issue

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

 

祭司とされた、信徒として 新来会者を導く

小笠原明寛おがさわら あきひろ/岩手・大船渡教会員

 私は1980年に東北学院大学へ入学し、神さまの導きで男声合唱団グリークラブに入団し、初めて賛美歌や宗教曲に触れました。聖書も勉強しましたが単位を取るためだけで、神さまの教えを信じることはなく卒業を迎え、聖書も賛美歌も本棚の奥にしまってしまいました。

 2011年3月11日、東日本大震災大津波が三陸沿岸に襲いかかり、生まれ育った岩手県釜石市の実家と、陸前高田市の自宅が全流失しました。目の前に広がる地獄の光景に涙も出ませ んでした。

 無我夢中の1年半が過ぎたころ、体と心に不調が現れ不眠が続きました。仕事はなんとかこなすものの、帰ってくればぐったりで、酒で紛らわせる日々でした。京都に通い神社参り、お寺参りをしましたが、10日もすれば元に戻ります。

 そんなとき、妻の両親が腹話術のボランティアでよく通っていた花巻市の土沢教会に、(わたしが)支援物資をもらいに行きました。牧師に聖書を流してしまった事情を話すと、快く教会の聖書と賛美歌を分けてくれました。家に帰って何気なくパッと開き最初に目に飛び込んできたのはマタイによる福音書6章25節以下の「思い悩むな」でした。

 「だから、言っておく。自分の命のことで何を食べようか何を飲もうかと、また自分の体のことで何を着ようかと思い悩むな。……だから、明日のことまで思い悩むな。明日のことは明日自らが思い悩む。その日の苦労は、その日だけで十分である」

 まさに神さまの御言葉が聞こえた瞬間です。教会へ行かねばならん!と確信し、涙が止まりませんでした。大船渡教会は、こんな私をたいへん温かく迎え入れてくださいました。若いときに洗礼を受けていた妻と共にせっせと通い、私も受洗しました。

 1年あまりが過ぎたころ、大船渡教会の村谷正人牧師が保護司としてお世話をしていた男性を教会で引き受けるこ とになりました。前科10数回、仮釈放期間中とのことでした。そして村谷牧師より、彼の受洗の準備として私たち夫婦に導きの手伝いをしてほしいとお話があったのです。大船渡教会では、信徒が中心となって受洗の準備をするのが慣例です。それにしても教会に通いだしてまだ1年余りの私たちにこのような話があるとは。びっくり仰天です。しかし神さまのミッションとあらば断ることなどあり得ません。引き受けました。

 その男性には家も妻子もあるとのことでしたが、教会の一室に住まうことになり、村谷牧師が日々の世話をし、時間をみて私が教会に通い聖書の話などをしておりました。彼は教会の雑務、境内地の草刈り、裏山の雑木伐採などよく働いてくれました し、市内のNPO法人へも出かけて働いていました。聖書をよく読んでいる様子も見られ、クリスマスには教会をイルミネーションで飾る計画を具体的に進めていました。毎晩キリスト教放送局FEBCの放送を聞くようにと、私がラジオを買ってプ レゼントしたりもしました。聖書の内容も理解を深めて、受洗の準備も順調と思われました。仮釈放期間を無事に終えれば、彼は「出所」です。しかし、あと数日で終わろうとしていたとき、職場で知り合った女性と一緒に逃亡してしまったのです。すぐに見つかり刑務所に逆戻りとなりました。その後は刑期を満了したようですが、教会へは近づこうともしません。

 あの積極的な姿勢は何だったのか、私たち夫婦の導きが不適切だったのか、神さまに問いつつ日々を過ごしております。が、これで終わりではありません。今は少年院を仮退院した少年が教会と関わっています。一方で他の教会員が受洗準備会を担った方が、今年のペンテコステに洗礼を受けました。

 牧会や受洗準備は牧師だけの働きではなく、信徒にも信徒の役割があり、信徒にしかできない働きがあります。牧師のように転任がないので、教会に来られた方を導き続けることができます。「地の塩」となり神さまを信じ、必ず実を結ぶことを信じて、これからも教会に来られる新しい方々と接していきたいと思います。アーメン。
(「信徒の友 2017年10月号」より KNL編集委員長 川上善子まとめ)

【February 2018 No.396】20 Years of Mutual Care Ministry

by Suzuki Mikio, member Nishi-chiba Church, Chiba Subdistrict, Tokyo District

 Mutual Care Ministry is a program of Nishi-chiba Church that provides care for the elderly. Preparation for this program was carefully done through workshops and questionnaires before it was launched in 1997. It marked its 20th year in 2017. At the beginning, the services were limited to 1) visiting people in their places of residence,2) helping with household chores, and 3) helping with travel to and from hospitals and clinics.

 These services were provided to those who applied for them, with the church being reimbursed for the actual expenses for items 2) and 3) above. We were a volunteer organization of 45 people, including 12 committee members, and we continued to think about the meaning of these activities. Our booklet Mutual Care was written around that time with Galatians 6:10 printed on the cover: “Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” This idea is the basis of our ministry.

 I can recall receiving these words of encouragement from Rev. Gudrun Scheer, the missionary who served as the pastor of this church and who directed its ministry from the beginning. “Some people distance themselves from the rest of the group because they are afraid of becoming an inconvenience. However, love, service, and sharing in fellowship are at the heart of what the church is all about. By putting these into practice, both those who receive care and those who give care come together as the family of God and become the driving force of evangelism. The best volunteers are those who request care. Those who request care give something to live for, and give joy to those who give care. Those who feel that they are just useless are actually God’s gift to the rest of us.”

 There is a coordinator who chooses and sends volunteers to those who apply for care. The present coordinator is the fourth person to hold that position. Our organizational structure has been improved by doing such things as appointing a committee chairperson whose main roles are leading committee meetings, preparing workshops, and negotiating with other organizations.

 A committee meeting is held once every three months. First, we hear reports about the care given and discuss any problems there might be. Second, we discuss the content of workshops. Third, we make sure we really understand the circumstances of elderly people. From the beginning, these words were inscribed upon the hearts of the committee members: “There is a limit to the goodness of people. If we rely on people alone, we will all fail together. No matter what, we must have Jesus standing among us.”

 Missionary Scheer presented lectures at least ten times. We also have workshops once or twice a year, led by a specialist either from inside or outside the church. This learning experience is open not only to the approximately 60 volunteers but also to all church members. We study such topics as:

1. Specific directives on how to visit people in their places of residence, help with housekeeping and travel to and from hospitals, and read to people over the telephone;

2. How the public eldercare system works, and the situation of public eldercare in general;

3. The reality of the emotions, bodies, and lifestyles of elderly people;

4. The spirit of mutual care; and

5. Various activities that can delay aging.

 We have implemented these various activities, making adjustments along the way. Recently the volunteers themselves are progressively getting older, so we are diligently researching the fifth topic above.

 For the church worship service and other meetings, “protective assistance” has also been added. Recently, public nursing has become a complete system. Taking into account the fact that the volunteers are also getting older, help with housekeeping and help with going to and from the hospital is our response only when there is an emergency. Basically, the help we provide is in the form of introducing people to places like the regional comprehensive support center.

 Currently, the main activity is visiting people in their places of residence. Most of the people who receive care are residents in a facility. Volunteers always ask them how they are doing, listen to what they say, sing their favorite hymns with them (the popular hymns being “Jesus Loves Me” and “What A Friend We Have In Jesus”), and pray with them. The cognitive functions of some people have declined, but we remember that they are companions who at one time participated in church activities together with us. Volunteers visit them and listen, even if it is something they have heard many times. Volunteers all experience the joy that comes from putting your face close to someone, holding hands, and praying together.

 Sometimes volunteers also talk with family members of the elderly people and with the other people in the facility. We keep in mind that visitation by church members plays an important role in connecting our church with the families and with the facility.

 This ministry has continued for 20 years, and the effect of its fruit has spread throughout our church. Awareness has formed among church members to inquire about each other’s health. In every home meeting as well as in groups of elderly men and groups of elderly women, friends check up on each other. This has become the most important part of the reports during the regular monthly meetings.

 There will be more and more people who, even though they want to come to church, cannot attend because of their advancing age. We must never forget even one such companion. At all times, every step of the way, we want to put love into practice so that each one will be inside the church’s circle of fellowship until the end. To do that, we continually receive encouragement from the Great Shepherd Jesus Christ, who leads us. We pray that our ministry can go forward humbly. (Tr. KT)

From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), November 2017 issue

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

 

相互ケア活動の20年

鈴木幹雄 すずき みきお/西千葉教会員

 西千葉教会の高齢者ケアの取り組み「相互ケア活動」は、学習会やアンケートを通して入念に検討をし1997年に発足しました。今年で20年になります。スタート時の活動は、①問安、②家事援助、③通院援助に絞り、申し込み制。②③は実費をもらうこととしました。教会における信徒同士のこの活動の意味を問いつつ、12名の委員を含む45名のボランティア組織でした。

 当時作成した「相互ケアのしおり」の表紙には、「今、時のある間 に、すべての人に対して、特に信仰によって家族になった人々に対して、善(原語は愛の奉仕)を行いましょう」(ガラテヤ6・10)が掲げられています。この思いが活動の原点です。

 本教会の教師として活動を初期から指導してくださったシェーア宣教師から、「迷惑をかけるのではないかとの理由で群れから遠ざかってしまう人がいるが、教会は愛・奉仕・交わりの分かち合いが中心 だ。神の家族としてこれを実践することで、ケアを受ける人、する人が共に宣教の力となる。ケアを願う人は、する人に生きがい・喜びを与える最上のボランティアだ。〈邪魔者〉になったと思っている人は、神の〈賜物〉なのだ」と励ましをいただいたことを思い出します。

 ケアの申込者に、ボランティアを選定・派遣するコーディネーター(調整役)は現在4代目です。委員会運営、研修会準備、対外交渉を主とする委員長を置くなど、組織改善を実施しました。

 委員会を3カ月ごとに開き、①ケア内容の報告、その際の問題点の話し合い、②研修内容の検討、③高齢者の状況把握などを行います。委員会は当初から「人間の善意には限界がある。それに頼るなら共倒 れになる。どうしても、私たちの間にイエスさまが立ってくださらなければ……」の思いを肝に銘じています。

 シェーア宣教師は10数回の講義をして下さいました。その他、教会内外の専門家による年に1、2回の研修会が持たれました。60名前後のボランティアのみならず、教会員全体に開かれた学びとしています。①問安、家事・通院援助、電話朗読の具体的方法、②公的な介護の仕組み、一般の介護事情、③高齢者の感情・身体・生活などの実態、④相互ケアの精神、⑤老化予防のための諸活動など、変化をさせつつ実施してきました。最近ではボランティア自身の高齢化が進んできたため、 ⑤の研修に力を入れています。

 教会の礼拝・諸集会での「みまもり介助」も加わっています。公的な介護が充実してきている昨今です。ボランティアも高齢化してきた実態を踏まえ、家事援助、通院援助は、緊急時のみの対応とし、基本的には地域包括支援センターなどを紹介する形を採っています。

 現在の主たる活動は問安です。ケアを受ける人の多くは施設入居者となりました。安否を問いつつ話に傾聴し、愛唱賛美歌(「主われを愛す」「いつくしみ深き」が人気)を共に歌い、祈りを捧げます。認知機能が低下している人もいます。 しかしかつて教会生活を共にした仲間です。訪ねていき、何度も聞いたことのある話であってもしっかりと聞き、顔を近づけ手を取って祈り合える幸いをボランティアは共に喜んでいます。

 ご家族や施設の方々とお話しすることもあり、教会メンバーの訪問は教会とご家族や施設をつなぐ役目を果たすこともあることを心に留めています。

 20年の長きにわたってなされてきた実績が教会内に浸透しています。各家庭集会の仲間内で、また高齢の男性・女性グループの中でも互いの安否を問い合う意識が形成されてきており、毎月の例会で報告事項の重要な部分を占めるようになりました。

 高齢化が進み、教会に来たくても来られない状態の人たちが多くなるでしょう。一人の仲間も決して忘れない、最後まで教会の交わりの輪の中にいられるよう、あらゆるとき、場をとおして実践していきたいものです。そのためにも、先立つ大牧者イエスさまの励ましをいただきつつ、本活動を粛々と進めることを願っています。
(「信徒の友 2017年10月号」より)