【December 2016 No.390】Students Recall Experiences During Youth Mission 2016

From Aug. 13-20, a joint Kyodan and Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Youth Mission event was held under the co-sponsorship of the Kyodan’s Commission on Ecumenical Ministries and Committee on Education. This year, youth from Taiwan came to Japan to explore the theme “Let’s share Jesus Christ together.” Along with Japanese youth, we visited the Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus, and participated in the Tohoku District Junior/Senior High Camp in Inawashiro and the National Christian Youth Alliance retreat in Karuizawa. There were seven participants from Taiwan and seven from Japan.

 

First we went to Sendai, where we visited the towns of Arahama and Yuriage and saw the current conditions of these disaster-stricken areas. Together we prayed for their rapid recovery. After visiting the Tohoku area, we went to the town of Inawashiro in Fukushima and participated in the Tohoku District Junior/Senior High Camp. During the camp, Kataoka Terumi, a member of Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church and a representative from the Tohoku District Nuclear Disaster Relief Task Force, IZUMI, spoke to the group about the nuclear disaster, emphasizing how parents want to protect their children. Following the lecture, the Taiwanese youth shared the problems of nuclear power in Taiwan. We then visited Kirisitan (hidden Christian) remains in the area and learned about the history of Christianity in Japan 400 years ago.

 

On Aug. 17, a typhoon blasted through, but we were able to arrive in Karuizawa to participate in the National Christian Youth Alliance retreat. On the second day of the retreat, Kyodan missionary Nag Woon-Hae spoke of his work in Korea. Then at the evening worship, Chang Ya-Chun, one of the Taiwanese participants, shared her faith and told us how Jesus had brought change in her life through the witness of a missionary from the U.S.

On Aug. 19, the last day of the Youth Mission event we returned to Tokyo and met General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo. He told us of how his own experience as a young person at a retreat had led to his call to ministry and how he has continued to serve Jesus. Both Japanese and Taiwanese youth were encouraged by his witness. Together in Christ, we were able to create wonderful memories and, surmounting our history, make good friends through this joint mission program.

—Sho Khi-Kho, second-year student,

Taiwan Theological College and Seminary

 

*          *          *

I was richly blessed by God through this Youth Mission event. It was a time of rich fellowship that went beyond the boundaries of denomination and nationality. I was able to learn much from the messages of pastors and participants, and each part of the program helped me encounter God.

Because this camp was the first time for me to visit the East Japan Disaster area, the lecture at Inawashiro on nuclear energy was very impressive. I was overwhelmed by fear as I heard information that I had not known and was confronted with the fact that I had made no effort to get that information. News regarding nuclear energy has gradually declined and, while living in Tokyo, my own awareness had practically disappeared. Along with a renewed sense of the danger of nuclear energy, I became keenly aware of the danger of forgetting what we know about it. As we confront this issue, we need to consider what God is trying to tell us and continue to pray about it. It has been a pleasure to meet other members through this experience, and I thank God for the deep fellowship we have had with one another. Through our devotionals and free time together, we were able to think and share about the church and God. We talked about our studies and our families, about our world and politics. There were no boundaries as we shared and prayed together. Even if our churches and countries differ, I strongly feel that we are all members of God’s family, even though we are now separated.

 

As the last part of our program, each group shared an action plan for what they would do as Christian youth following our return home. We were to do this in the context of our individual faith, church, and setting. Rather than simply keeping what I have learned at this camp to myself, I have a renewed desire to share the joy I feel in God with those who surround me. I am convinced that God continues to work wherever we are and will use each of us as his instruments. Finally, along with thanksgiving for God’s blessings throughout this experience, I want to express my thanks to all who were a part of the planning, preparation, and support of this Youth Mission event. (Tr. JS)

 

—Uchida Ayumu, Omiyamae Church

Second-year student, Tokyo University of Foreign Studies

                                From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4848

ユースミッション2016 蔣 記剛(Sho Khi-Kho)

8月13日 から20日にかけて、教育委員会主 催、世界宣教部共催の日本基督教団(UCCJ)と台湾基督長老教会(Presbyterian Church in Taiwan)の日台ユースミッションが行われました。今年は 台湾青年が日本を訪問し、共に東北教区被災者支援センター・エマオを訪問し、東北教区中高生キャンプ(猪苗代)と軽井沢での全国教会青年同盟修養会に参加しました。今度のテーマは「共に主イエスをシェアしよう!」でした。 台湾から7名、日本から7名の出席でした。

は じめに、日台青年たちは仙台に行って、荒浜と閖上(Yuriage)を訪問し、被災地の現況を見に行きました。一緒に 一日も早く被災地が復興するようお祈りしました。

東 北の訪問の後、福島の猪苗代に行って、東北教区中高生キャンプに参加しました。キャンプ中、会津放射能情報センターい ずみの 代表である片岡輝美さん(日本基督教団若松栄町教会)が原発事故に関する講演をして下さいました。親として、自分の子供たちは自分で守ると述べておられました。 講演後、台湾青年も台湾原発の問題について分ち合いました。その後、猪苗代キリシタン史跡を巡り、400年前の日本キリスト教の歴史を学びました。

17日に台風が突撃しましたが、無事に軽井沢に辿り着き、全国教会青年同盟修養会に参加しました。修養会の2日目 には、日本基督教団のナグネ(Nag Woon-Hae)宣教師が韓国でのご自身の働きをお話して下さいま した。そして、夜の礼拝では台湾青年の張雅鈞(Chang Ya-Chun)姉が、自らの信仰はアメリカの宣教師によって、イ エス様に変えられたものであることを証しました。

ユースミッション最終日の19日に、東京へ戻り、長崎哲夫総幹事にお会いしまし た。長崎総幹事は、ご自身が青年の頃に参加した修養会の経験を通して、献身の決意をし、主イエスに今まで仕えていることを証してくだ さいました。日台青年共に励まされました。今回の日台ユースミッションで、主イエスにあって、日台青年はよい思い出を作り、歴史を越 えたよい友達に出会えました。

 

 

 

今回のユースミッションを通して、私は神様からたくさんの恵みをいただき、教会や国境を越えた素敵な 交わりのときが与えられました。先生方のメッセージやプログラム一つ一つから多くのことを学び、神様と向き合うことができました。

私にとって東日本大震災の被災地を訪れるのはこのキャンプが初めてだったため、猪苗代での原発に関す るレクチャーは特に印象深いものでした。自分の知らなかった情報の恐ろしさに圧倒され、今まで知ろうとしていなかった自分にも気づか されました。原発に関する情報を耳にする機会は徐々に減っていき、東京で暮らしているうちに頭の片隅へと追いやられていたのです。改 めて原発の恐ろしさと、それを忘れてしまうことの恐ろしさを痛感しました。この課題を通して神様が何を語ろうとしているのかを考え、 祈り続けていかなくてはならないと思いました。

またこのキャンプで他のメンバーと出会い、深い交わりを持てたこと は本当に嬉しく感謝なことでした。デボーションや自由時間には、教会や神様のこと、勉強・家族のこと、そして政治や世界のことまでい ろいろなことについてシェアし祈り合うことができました。教会や国籍は違っても、神様の家族であるということを離れている今も強く感 じます。

プログラムの最後には、それぞれの場所に帰ったあとクリスチャンの青年としてどう行動していくかとい うことを、自分の信仰・教会・社会(世界)の三つの視点から考えてシェアする、アクションプランのグループ発表を行いました。この キャンプで学んだことを自分の内に留めるだけでなく、周りに神様の喜びをシェアしていくという思いを新たにしました。これからも神様 がそれぞれの場所で働いてくださり、一人一人が神様の器として用いられていくと確信しています。最後に、このキャンプのために準備し 支えてくださった方々、そして守ってくださった神様に心から感謝したいです。

大宮前教会

東京外国語大学2年 内田歩(うちだあゆむ)
(教団新報4848号)

【December 2016 No.390】A Half-Century of Working With Nihongo (Japanese Language)

by Timothy D. Boyle, retired missionary Penney Farms, Florida

As a newly retired missionary and ongoing translator and copyeditor for the Kyodan Newsletter, I have been asked to reflect back on my years in Japan. I first began studying Japanese as a junior in college as part of a program at the East-West Center in Hawaii in 1967. Becoming a missionary and spending most of my adult life in Japan was not yet on the radar screen, but that is where God was leading me behind the scenes. I was sent as a “J-3″ (3-year-term missionary to Japan) in 1971 to Sapporo in Hokkaido, and it was there that I sensed a call to the ministry. I returned to the US with my new wife, Yuko (Juji), in 1974 (Yuko is her given name, but she has gone by the nickname of Juji since her youth. Her maiden name was Kurosu, which sounds like the English word “cross,” which in Japanese is “juji.”), and then we returned as regular missionaries in 1982 first to Hokkaido, then to Tsukuba Science City, where we spent the bulk of our ministry, and finally to Kansai area, where I served two years at the Buraku Liberation Center and 6.5 years at Kwansei Gakuin University.

 

There are many highlights I could share (along with a few “lowlights” I would rather not), but since this has to be short, I will just briefly introduce two. Just about the time we went to Tsukuba in 1986, Juji began having trouble with her muscles and was diagnosed with a rare neuromuscular condition called Isaacs’ Syndrome. (Well, actually, that would qualify as a “lowlight”!) This has resulted in regular stays in the hospital for treatment ever since, which has opened up numerous opportunities for her to minister to fellow patients. One was a young lady by the name of Yuki, who had a malignant brain tumor. Juji became good friends with her and her parents. Yuki loved Christmas lights, and Juji was able to get special permission for Yuki to be brought by ambulance to the church on Christmas Eve, first to see the lights and then for the choir to sing for her prior to the candlelight service. Before she died about five weeks later, she indicated that she would like to become a Christian. We were able to bend the rules Tsukuba University Hospital had about religious activities in the hospital, and so I was able to baptize her right there in her hospital bed. Her parents were so moved by the experience that they too wanted to receive baptism and follow Christ.

 

As Yuki’s father was a high-ranking prefectural government employee, there were many who came to Yuki’s memorial service, where I gave the message. It was held in a big funeral hall, which would normally have a Buddhist ceremony. But this was to be a Christian ceremony, and so the stage was set up with a large, floral cross. My goal in the message was to get the over 500 people in attendance to think about what “filial piety” towards their true “parent” is. Oyakoko is an integral part of Japanese culture, where duty towards one’s parents is emphasized. The English translation, “filial piety,” is not a phrase Westerners normally use, but it really flows right out of the fourth commandment: “Honor your father and mother.”

 

Yuki had been a daughter who demonstrated such “filial piety” towards her parents, and so I wanted to emphasize that while showing such respect and devotion to one’s earthly parents is very good, there is one thing that in the end is even more important—that of showing oyakoko to our true oya (parent), namely the God who created each of us in his own image. Funerals, along with weddings, are perhaps the points of contact with the general population who have no background of Christianity where we have the greatest opportunity to plant seeds that the Holy Spirit can use to draw people to Christ. I have no way of knowing whether God has used that particular event to play a role in drawing some of those people there to Christ, but I think it likely that he has or will, as I am aware of many anecdotal accounts of Japanese coming to faith through seeds planted by sensitive messages at Christian funerals.

 

Along this same line, I have always endeavored to find linguistic and cultural points of contact that can serve as vehicles for communicating the gospel of Jesus Christ to Japanese in as natural a way as possible. The other highlight I want to mention is the book I put out first in Japanese and later in English on how the makeup of so many of the Chinese characters that Japanese use in their language perfectly illustrates biblical truths. The publisher of the original 1994 Japanese version came up with the title that translates in English as Bible Stories Hidden In Chinese Characters, and 5,000 copies were printed in two editions. This is quite a large number for Japanese Christian books, but it is now out of print. I self-published the original English version several year later, and just last year put out an updated version under a new title, The Gospel Hidden In Chinese Characters. It includes the Chinese readings as well as the Japanese so as to have a broader appeal. I hope some day to be able to rewrite the Japanese version and make it available again.

 

As I close this brief article, I want to say that while I feel I have been able to make important contributions to the mission of Christ’s church in Japan, I can add my voice to that of many other missionaries I have heard who all testify that we have received so much more than we have been able to give during our years of working with the Japanese people. That no doubt will continue to be true in the future, as we plan to return to Japan every summer to spend time at our cabin at Lake Nojiri in Nagano.

日本語との半世紀の付き合い

ボイル・ティモシー、引退宣教師

 

引退した宣教師として、また、(英語の)教団ニュースレターの翻訳者と編集者の一人として、日本に於ける私の人生を振り返って、記事を書くことになりました。日本語を勉強し始めたのは大学3年生の時、ハワイ大学付属の東西文化センターのプログラムに参加したことです。当時は宣教師となって、それ以降の人生の大部分を日本で過ごすことは全く考えていませんでしたが、知らない内に神が私をその道に導いていました。1971年に「J-3」と呼ばれていた3年間の短期宣教師として、札幌に派遣され、そこで牧師と成る使命を感じました。1974年に結婚し、新しい連合いと一緒にアメリカに帰りました。雄子にとっては、初めてアメリカに渡ることになったが、8年後正式な宣教師として再び北海道に戻り、その次につくば学園都市に移り、21年間宣教活動をしました。そして、最後に、関西に引っ越し、部落解放センターで2年間と関西学院大学で6年半働きました。

数多くの思い出がありますが、スペースが限られているので、2つだけを紹介します。1986年につくばに移った頃、雄子は筋肉の病気にかかり始めたのです。後には、「アイザクス症候群」と診断されましたが、これは非常に珍しい難病で、筋肉が硬直する病気です。結果として、治療のため毎年入院する必要があります。こうして、いろいろの患者と接触し、キリストの愛を示しながら彼らを支える多くの機会が生まれて来ました。その中の一人は脳腫瘍を患っていた若い女性でした。有紀さん、そして彼女の両親と親しくなりました。有紀はクリスマスのイルミネーションが好きで、クリスマスイブに救急車で教会に来られるように働きかけ、特別な許可を得ました。燭火礼拝の前に、聖歌隊が集まり、彼女のために特別なコンサートをしました。5週間後、彼女が亡くなる前に、クリスチャンとなり洗礼を受けたいと私たちに伝えました。筑波大学病院では、宗教活動は一切禁じられていますが、特別に許可を得られ、病室で洗礼式を行ないました。両親もこれに感動し、自分たちも洗礼を受けて、キリストに従う事を決心しました。

宣教活動の中で、この同じ概念を適用しようと努めて来ました。それは、日本人がイエスキリストの福音をなるべく自然な形で受け入れられるように、その意味が伝わっていく言語的文化的接点を求めて来ました。これに関わるもう一つの宣教活動ハイライトは私が書いた本のことです。「漢字に秘められた聖書物語」と題したこの本は1994年に出版され、その後に英語版をも自己出版という形で出しました。数多くの漢字の部首の意味とその字の全体的な意味を考えると、聖書的な真理をうまく例証するということを解説する内容です。日本語版は5000部印刷され、随分前に売れ切れとなりました。キリスト教関係の本としては、かなり多い数だそうです。最初の英語版の在庫もなくなり、去年、それを書き直して、新しい形で出版しました。題をも変更し、「漢字に秘められた福音」にしました。そして、英語を読める中国人も使いやすいように、解説する感じの中国語の読みをも付けました。今度は、新しい日本語版をも作りたいと思っています。

この短い記事の締めくくりとして残したい言葉は、日本におけるキリスト教会の宣教活動に貢献できたとは言えても、他の宣教師が証言するように、日本の皆様に与えたことより受けた方が遥かに多かったと思います。これからも同じことになるのではないかと思います。というのは、野尻湖のキャビンに毎年の夏を過ごしに戻ってくる計画だからです。

 

 

【December 2016 No.390】Karuizawa Church: Its Unique Community and Ministry

The city of Karuizawa is a famous summer resort in Nagano Prefecture where people go to escape the heat. Nowadays, Karuizawa is invaded by shoppers looking for outlet shopping malls and by tourists from overseas. No one can deny that the center of the bustle is Karuizawa Ginza, a street lined with many famous stores. Karuizawa Church is located on that street. Many famous tourist attractions, such as Karuizawa Tennis Club and St. Paul’s Catholic Church, are concentrated in one small area. Karuizawa Church itself is set back away from the street, so perhaps that is why the building is wrapped in a quiet tranquility—quite the opposite of the hustle and bustle of the street in front of the building. In June 2016, the Reverend Matsumura Saori began serving as the interim pastor of the church.

 

Well over a century ago, the church was started by Daniel Norman, a missionary sent by the Methodist Church of Canada, later the United Church of Canada. The church building was finished in 1905, and the kindergarten was founded in 1916. Architect William M. Vories, who also founded The Omi Brotherhood, Ltd., designed the buildings.

 

Alexander Croft Shaw of the United Kingdom’s Society for the Propagation of the Gospel in Foreign Parts is believed to have laid the foundation for Karuizawa’s development as a summer resort, but it was Daniel Norman together with William Vories who built on Shaw’s work to develop the church. The front of the sign at the entrance to the church says, “Kyodan Karuizawa Church.” However, the back of the sign says, “Karuizawa Union Church of Christ.” Just like the Union Church that is next door to Karuizawa Church, the name “Karuizawa Union Church of Christ” speaks of the fact that since the time the church was established, it has been an interdenominational church and has opened its doors to missionaries and Christians from several different denominational backgrounds.

 

This interdenominational tradition has continued until the present time. When summertime comes, there are people who cross denominational lines to attend worship, such as Hoshino Tomihiro, who sojourned for a long time in order to compile collections of art and poetry. Some members say things like, “Because our child is sick, we really like the abundance of natural beauty in Karuizawa, so we bought a villa and have started living here,” or “I was baptized when I was a student, but I have had to relocate so many times because of my husband’s work, so I have been away from church for such a long time. My husband likes the mountains of Nagano, so we chose Karuizawa as our retirement home.” There are also many people who say that they transferred from another church because they were drawn to the environment of Karuizawa.

 

Among the people here, there are some like Masaki Ryuji. He left his job in Tokyo and became the leader of Karuizawa Symphonic Chorus, which performs joint concerts with another chorus group from Ishinomaki, a city that was devastated by the East Japan Disaster. Of course, there are also those who have lived in Karuizawa all their lives. “A long time ago, many middle school and high school students were coming. I have been involved in Karuizawa Church since I was a student,” recalls Ichimura Naoko, who served as the director of Karuizawa Kindergarten until seven years ago.

 

The Reverend Furuya Hironori, who at the time of the interview was the pastor of Karuizawa Church, commented, “Many people visit our church, some for a short time and others for a long time. Our church is located in a summer resort, so I think it should be a place of spiritual rest for pastors and members of other churches.”

 

Karuizawa Kindergarten has cooperated for many years with nearby Kutsukake Gakuso in order to take on the important mission of child education. It has been almost 100 years since Karuizawa Kindergarten first opened. Kutsukake Gakuso is a group home for children from ages 2 to 18 who, for one reason or another, are not able to live with their families. The children can live with the staff members. The home was founded during World War II and has been cooperating with Karuizawa Church ever since the end of the war. The management of Kutsukake Gakuso is carried out by Kobokan, which has the official status of social welfare corporation. Kobokan was founded in 1919, and its purpose is to put into practice social welfare based on the teachings of Christianity. The headquarters are in Sumida Ward, located in Tokyo.

 

“These days there are more and more parents and children who have difficulty forming relationships because of psychological problems. There are more children who cannot live in their own homes due to a variety of circumstances. This is a home for such children. I hope that it can be a place of healing for family relationships,” says Nohara Kenji, director of Kutsukake Gakuso, about its mission. “There are more and more cases that cannot be handled at child consultation centers. We work together with the church like the wheels of a car work together,” says Uno Aogu, a staff member.

 

A childcare professional takes the children to church every Sunday. This activity is part of the Christian nurturing program that is in line with the ideals of Kobokan. The staff members also testify of having been supported by the church. Ando Miwako, who formerly worked at Kutsukake Gakuso, says, “A long time ago, the Reverend Takamori Shigemitsu used to come from the church to Kutsukake to lead a Bible study on Wednesday evenings. Listening to him was like rowing a boat while exhausted. But that experience led to my baptism.”

 

Because Karuizawa is a summer resort, there is a big difference between the number of worship service attendees in the summer and the number of attendees in the winter. At the same time, as mentioned earlier, the size of the church is also affected as people move into the area and transfer membership to Karuizawa Church from other churches. Such unique circumstances mean that this church faces unique challenges. Through education, Karuizawa church is involved in mission work that is targeted to match this unique local community. (Tr. KT)

 

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), April 2016 issue

       (Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko)

p5

 

 

 

北陸新幹線が開通してから便が増え、首都圏からの足が一層便利になった軽井沢。日本を代表するこの避暑地に、近年では大規模なアウト レット目当ての買い物客や海外からの観光客が押しかけるようになった。そのにぎわいの中心はなんといっても名店が軒を連ねる「軽井沢 銀座」通り。教会はその道沿いに建つ。一帯には軽井沢テニスクラブや聖パウロ教会などの有名観光スポットが集中する。

取材に訪れたのは紅葉の名残りがまだ美しい昨年の晩秋。人混みで通り過ぎそうになったが、小さな看板が教会の場所を教えてくれた。会 堂は一歩奥まっているせいか、表の喧騒とは逆に静寂に包まれていた。近江兄弟社の創立者であり、建築家でもあるウイリアム・M・ ヴォーリズの設計である。

この日はたまたま幼児祝福礼拝の日。教会学校の生徒や隣接するダニエル・ノーマン記念学園「軽井沢幼稚園」の園児、長年協力関係にあ る児童養護施設「興望館沓掛学荘」の子どもたちが元気な姿を見せる。

説教に立った古屋博規牧師はその子どもたちに、「今から百数十年前に神さまはノーマン先生をこの地に送って教会を建ててくださいまし た。その神さまによって愛されていることを忘れず、心も体もしっかりと守っていただきましょう」と、教会の歴史を振り返りつつ語る。

ノーマン先生とはカナダ・メソジスト教会(のちのカナダ合同教会)派遣のダニエル・ノーマン宣教師のこと。同師の手によって教会は 1905(明治38)年に、幼稚園は1916(大正5)年に創設された。

軽井沢発展の基礎を築いたのはイギリス海外福音伝道会のアレキサンダー・クロフト・ショーだと言われるが、その後に続いたノーマン宣 教師や前述のヴォーリズもまた功労者である。

教会の玄関に掲げられた看板の表には「日本基督教団軽井沢教会」とあるが、裏には「軽井沢合同基督教会」とある。隣接するユニオン チャーチもそうだが、軽井沢教会も設立の当初から超教派の教会として、さまざまな教派的背景を持った宣教師や信徒に開かれていたこと を物語る。

実は、この伝統は今に引き継がれている。詩画集の製作のために長期逗留する星野富弘さんのような人が、夏場ともなれば教派を超えて礼 拝に訪れる。また、会員の中にも、「子どもが病気のため、緑が豊かな軽井沢が気に入って別荘を買い、住むようになりました」「学生時 代に洗礼を受けましたが夫の仕事の関係で転勤が続き、かなり長く教会から離れていました。山が好きで信州が気に入っている夫と、終の 住処として軽井沢を選びました」と、軽井沢の環境にひかれて他教会から転会してきたと語る人も多い。

中には真崎隆治さんのように東京に仕事を残しつつ、軽井沢シンフォニックコーラスの団長となり、東日本大震災の被災地・石巻市の合唱 団と合同演奏会などをしている人もいる。もちろん、地元出身の信徒も。「昔は中高生がたくさん来ていました。学生のころから軽井沢教 会との関わりがありました」と語る市村直子さんは7年前まで軽井沢幼稚園の園長を勤めていた

こうした教会のあり方について古屋牧師は、「教会には短期・長期でいろいろな方が訪れます。避暑地にある教会として、信徒や牧師のた めの魂の静養の場所になればと思っています」と語る。また、開園100年を迎える軽井沢幼稚園と、近隣にある沓掛学荘との協力を通し て長年取り組んできた児童教育も大事な使命と考えている。

沓掛学荘は満2歳から18歳までの、家族と一緒に生活できない子どもたちが職員とともに暮らす子どもの家。戦時中に創設され、戦後 は軽井沢教会と協力関係を持ちながら歩んできた。運営主体の社会福祉法人興望館は1919年に福祉実践のために、キリスト教主義に基 づいて設立され、東京の墨田区に本部がある。

施設長の野原健治さんは沓掛学荘の使命をこう語る。「最近は心の問題で関係がうまく結べない親子が増え、いろいろな事情で自分の家で 暮らせない子どもが多くなりました。ここはそんな子どもたちの家として、家族とのつながりが回復される場となることを願っていま す」。また、施設のスタッフ宇野仰さんは「児童相談所では対応できないケースが増えています。教会とは車の両輪の関係です」と語る。

事実、毎週日曜日に保育士が子どもたちを引率して教会に通うのも、興望館の理念であるキリスト教保育の一環としてである。かつて沓掛 学荘に勤めていた安藤美和子さんは、「昔、教会の高森茂光牧師が水曜日の夜に沓掛で聖書研究会をしてくれました。疲れて舟をこぐ状態 で聞いていましたが、受洗へとつながりました」と、職員も教会に支えられてきたことを証しする。

軽井沢は避暑地ゆえに夏と冬の礼拝出席者数の差が大きい。他方、前述のように転入会者もいる。こうした特有の課題を負いつつ、教会は 教育を通して地域に密着した宣教を行っている。(信徒の友2016年4月号)

【December 2016 No.390】”Kids’ Diner” Becoming a Nationwide Movement

Recently, the relative poverty rate for children in Japan is rising, and of the 34 members of OECD (The Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) Japan ranks 10th, which is higher than the OECD average. The relative rate of poverty among children being raised in single-parent homes is the highest among all members (according to the data for 2014). Poverty and parents working outside the home causes poor nutrition, which has led to the establishment of the “Kids’ Diner” movement that is starting to spread throughout Japan. We share below parts of an article about this movement that was introduced in the Kyodan periodical Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend). (KNL Editorial Section)

 

In May 2016, a voluntary group of Yokohama Konandai Church in Kanagawa Prefecture started the Santa (Claus) Kids’ Diner at the suggestion of one if its members, Yoshida Noboru. He found supporters among the church members and, to make it more accessible, rented a space separate from the church. Yoshida was able to acquire the use of a multipurpose room with kitchen facilities free of charge from the Konandai Care Plaza of Konandai Ward, a place where he had already been involved in volunteer activities.

 

When the church engages in such an activity, it must be approved at a congregational meeting, but in order to get things started as soon as possible, it was decided to create a separate organization called the “Santa Kids’ Diner” and a steering committee from the church was established with the authority to carry out this project. The members included the minister, Yoshida, and five other members and associates of the church. When seeking support from the larger community, a worker at the ward office suggested that Konandai Ward was generally a well-off area and that he was unaware of any children in need, but the leader of the local neighborhood association offered support and declared that as long as there are single-parent homes, there is the likelihood of such children being in the area. In the end, this project received the support of both the neighborhood association and the Social Welfare Council.

 

The Konandai Care Plaza also sponsored the project and serves as the place to contact for information, helps distribute fliers at local elementary and junior high schools, as well as putting the fliers on municipal bulletin boards, including them in neighborhood bulletins, and even placing them in supermarkets. Yoshida and the others notified the Ward’s Sanitation Division of who the food hygiene supervisor would be and asked staff to sample every meal. Church member Nakamura Tomoko, who is an experienced cook, serves as the supervisor, creator of the menu, and kitchen leader.

 

All together there are six volunteers, including four from the church, the oldest of whom was Nakamura Takako who is 90 years old. In the beginning they decided to open the kitchen only once a month. The cost for each time, not including the cost for seasonings, was ¥5,000 for 30 meals, with 10 to 20 percent of the ingredients donated by church members. There is a small income from the fee and offerings from the church, but the overall cost has been in the red. Other than dishes, everything had to be provided, and Pastor Nakazawa Yuzuru has kept it all in the manse. And it was a given that there should be no indication of religion in a public place.

 

At the opening, which took place on May 6, 2016, enough food for 30 people was prepared; 14 children came, but food was provided for guardians and newspaper reporters as well. Three elementary school students came together after seeing the poster in a supermarket. Another elementary school student came alone. Kato Yuko, who was at the reception desk, learned anew the fact that some children eat their evening meal alone and shared how she was happy to receive such children at the cafe. From June, meal tickets were divided into those for infants, children, and adults, and more food was added. Yoshida told all the adults that “it was important to watch the children and see who was not eating and report it to the appropriate organization.” After 5 pm, previous users, parents with children, and groups of elementary school students kept on coming. The 30 meals that had been prepared were all gone by 6:30 pm. But no one left right after eating. Children meeting for the first time made friends, and parents also connected and conversed with one another.

 

Many people think of Kids’ Diner as a way to fight poverty, but the volunteers working here see another function as well. “There is an economic side and a mental side to poverty. Mothers also need a place like this to communicate, to help each other heal, and to encourage one another. If parents can smile, it will have a positive influence on the children as well.” Of course, how to help children without access to adequate food to connect with the program is also a concern that must be addressed.

 

From July, the Kids’ Diner has started receiving financial support from the ward, and the steering committee is working towards establishing an NPO, hoping that the diner might also become a place where children can play or study free of charge. For that reason they are seeking greater understanding of their work at the kitchen and praying together as they proceed towards their goal. (Tr. RW)

 

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend) September 2016 issue

                 Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

昨今、日本の子どもの相対的貧困率The relative poverty rateが高くなり、OECD加盟国34カ国中、10番目に高くOECD平均を上回っている。 大人が1人で子どもを養っている世帯の相対的貧困率は、OECD加盟国中最も高い。(2014年度資料よ り)。貧困や親が仕事に出ていることで、食生活が乱れ、栄養が摂りにくい子ども達の食生活を案じた人々による「こども食堂」 の取り組みが全国で始まっている。信徒の友誌の記事から、一部を紹介する。(KNL編集部)

 

神奈川県の横浜港南台教会では、会員の吉田登さんの発案で、2016年5月に「サ ンタこども食堂」を始めた。吉田さんは、教会員の中から数名の賛同者を得て、地域に受け入れられやすいように、ま ずは教会の外に 会場を借りることにした。吉田さんがボランティア活動で訪れていた港南区の港南台地域ケアプラザから、調理室付きの多目的ホールを無 償で貸してもらうことになった。

 

 

教会が主体になって行う場合、総会で承認を得る必要があるが、早く始めるために、教会外部に任意組織として「サンタこども食堂運営委員会」を設立。メンバーは牧師と、吉田さんを含む教会 員と求道者で計7名。地域との連携では、区 役所では「港南台は比較的裕福なエリアだから、そういう子がいるとは認識していない」と担当者から言われたが、地元自治会の会長が賛 同し、「ひとり親家庭がある以上、そうした子もいるはずだ」と説得した。最終的には自治会や社会福祉協議会の 協力を取り付けることができた。

 

港南台地域ケアプラザも共催として問い合わせを担当し、チラシを近隣の小・中学校に配布したり、町の掲示板や回覧板、スーパーにも掲 示するなど協力してくれた。吉田さんらは区の衛生課への食品衛生管理者の届け出を提出し、毎食*検食も行うことにした。食品衛生管理者であり、献立の作成者、調 理場のリーダーが、調理師経験がある教会員の中村ともこ登茂子さんだ。最年長90歳の中村たかこ孝子さんはじめ4人の教会員を含む6人のボランティアがいる。まずは月に一度の開催から始めることにした。1 回の開催でかかる金額は、調味料などを除き30食で約5000円。教会員からの献品は使用する食材の1、2割ほど。わずかな参加費と教会員からの献金もあるが、財政的には赤字である。食器類以外のものは全て自分たちで調達し、すべて中沢 牧師が牧師館で預かる。公共施設である会場では宗教色は出さないのが大前提である。

5月6日の開会式で用意した食事は30食。やって来た子どもは14人だったが、保護 者や取材記者などにも提供した。3人で来た小学生は、スーパーの掲示を見て来たという。1人で来た小学生もいた。受付をしていた 加藤夕子さんは「事情はわからないが、1人で夕食を食べなければいけない子がいる事実をあらためて知った。そういう子が食堂に来 てくれてうれしい」と話す。6月には、 食券は「幼児」「こども」「大人」の3種類で食事の量を変えた。吉田さんは「子どもを観察し、食べられていなさそうな子を見つけるの が大事。もしそうなら、しかるべき機関に連絡を取れるから」と大人たちに告げた。17時を過ぎると、前回も利用したという親子連れや小学生のグループなどが続々とやって来た。用意した30食は18時半過ぎにはなくなった。ほとんどの 人たちは、食べ終わってもすぐには帰らない。初対面の子どもたちが打ち解けるだけでなく、ここでは親同士も話が弾む。

 

 

こども食堂は子どもの貧困対策として捉えられることが多いが、ボランティアの一人は、別の役割が見えてきたと言う。「貧困には経済的 なものと精神的なものがある。お母さんたちにも、こうした所がコミュニケーションの場になれば、癒やし合ったり励まし合ったりでき る。親が笑顔になれば、子どもにも良い影響を与えていくと思う」。一方で、本当に食に事欠く子がどうしたら来てくれるのかが課題でもある。

 7月からは区の助成金を得られることになった。運営委員会はNPO法 人化を検討する一方、こども食堂が子どもの遊び場や無料の学習塾などの居場所にもなればと考えている。そのためにも、こども食堂の働 きがさらに理解されるよう、祈りつつ歩んでいく。 

川上善子KNL編集委員長まとめ(信徒の友9月号より)

【December 2016 No.390】Union Japanese Church of Westchester: Its Ministry and Challenges

by Nishikawa Akimitsu, pastor Union Japanese Church of Westchester, New York City

Union Japanese Church of Westchester began a worship service in the Japanese language in September 1989. While receiving support from the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the United Methodist Church (UMC), it was given a place to hold services at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, where it has continued to do church work as an interdenominational church.

 

New York State is in the middle of the Atlantic coastline and ranks third in population among the states and 27th in area. In the United States, New York City is located in the southeast end of the state and is the city with the largest population (approximately 8 million people). Our church is located in the outlying suburbs about 40 to 50 minutes by car north of Manhattan, the center of New York City. Scarsdale, in Westchester County, is a town with abundant natural beauty and affluent families.

 

In general, it can probably be said that missionary work among expatriates in New York is tied to and inseparable from world economics. During the period of economic growth in Japan, many enterprises in New York expanded, and the number of Japanese resident workers increased, resulting in vigorous activity by Japanese-language churches. At present, the number of resident Japanese people is slowly decreasing and being replaced by many Chinese and Hispanic people.

 

The number of Union Japanese Church members has also slowly decreased for several years now, and without the aid of its support group in Japan, the continuing existence of the church is precarious. In the midst of all this, having gone through several months of waiting for approval of a missionary visa, I arrived at my post in December 2014 as the Reverend Asada Yoko’s successor.

 

Due to visa concerns, ministerial changes do not go smoothly in churches outside Japan, and they often experience periods of being without a pastor, as our church did for a year and had to start again. Thus, many of the meetings other than the worship service had been suspended. Soon after arriving at my post, I reopened the house meeting in the Trumbull area in Connecticut. Nearly all the participants at the Trumbull meeting are non-Christians, but because it is a very homey gathering, the numbers are slowly beginning to increase.

 

Following the reestablishment of the house meeting, I also reopened the Bible study. However, church members are few in number, and nearly all are working. So we hold Bible study after the “Living in America” class at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church on Thursday mornings, and I have begun an introductory Bible class aimed at the Japanese persons who attend. Fortunately, the time for it immediately follows the “Living In America” class. So a few persons have started to attend, and we are continuing to have good fellowship.

 

Including these kinds of meetings, there are three Japanese-language churches serving in Westchester District: Union Japanese Church of Westchester, New York Japanese Church, and Metropolitan Japanese Ministry. Since they are all small, we wondered if there was not something the three churches could do cooperatively, so they started holding an interdenominational exchange worship service. (At present, Japanese-American United Church members, Japanese Christian Church of Greenwich members, and Japanese Christians from the Queens area are attending).

 

Japanese-language churches on the outskirts of New York State, with the exception of Manhattan Japanese American Church, are struggling with membership and financial hardships. The reason is that the majority of participating families reside in New York for a short period and then return to Japan. Likewise, those permanent residents who have ties to the church (and house meetings) are also beginning to attend English worship services.

 

At the same time, many of the U.S. denominations are proposing to cut their support because there is little result from evangelism among Japanese people. That alone would cause a crisis among the Japanese-language meetings that are also struggling to continue while facing membership and financial issues.

 

However, looking back at history and realizing that many of the Christians of the Meiji Era who came in contact with Christianity while studying abroad in the U.S., did wonderful work following their return to Japan, I feel that the evangelistic work mainly done here should definitely not be stopped, even if it does not substantially connect with church development. I request you, by all means, to please remember to pray for our church and for each of the Japanese-language churches outside Japan and to join with us in supporting them. (Tr. RT)

ユニオン日本語教会牧師 西川晃充

ユニオン日本語教会Union Japanese Church of Westchesterは、1989年の9月に日本 語による礼拝を始め、米改革派、米合同メソジスト派の支援を受け、ヒッチコック長老派教会Hitchcock Presbyterian Churchに場所を提供していただいて教会活動を続けている超教派の教会です。

ニューヨーク州は、大西洋岸中部にあり、人口では全米第3位、面積では第27位の州です。この東南端に、アメリカ合衆国で人口最大の都市(約800万人)として知られるニューヨーク市があります。

私たちの教会は、このニューヨーク市の中心マンハッタンから北へ車で40分~50分ほど移動した郊外にあります。そこは、ウェストチェスター郡スカーズデールScarsdale, Westchester Countyという場所で、自然が豊かで富裕層が多く住む町です。

ニューヨークでの宣教(海外宣教全般にも言えることかもしれませんが)は、世界経済と不可分に結びついています。日本の経済成長期にはニューヨークに多くの企業が進出し、それに 伴い多くの日本人駐在員が増え、結果的に日本語教会の働きは活発化いたしました。そのため、現在は日本人は徐々に減少し、中国や ヒスパニック系の方々が多くなっているのが現状です。

このような中にあって、ユニオン日本語教会も教会員が徐々に減少し、日本の支援会の支えなくしては教会の存 続が危ぶまれる状況がここ数年続いております。

このような中、数か月の宗教ビザの認可待ちの期間を経て、浅田容子Yoko Asada牧師の後任として2014年12月に私が着任させていただくことになりました。

海外の教会はビザの関係で牧師交代スムーズに行かず、無牧期間を経ることが多くありますが、私たちの教会も 1年間の無牧の時を経ての再スタートでしたので、礼拝以外のいくつかの集会が閉じられておりました。

そこで、着任後すぐにコネチカット州トランブルTrumbull地区の家庭集会を再開しました。このトランブル集会は、ノンクリスチャンの方々がほとんどの集会ですが、と てもアットホームな集会であったため、少しずつ人数が増え始めました。

また家庭集会に続き、聖書研究会も再開いたしました。ただし、教会員の人数が数名のみにであり、そのほとん どが仕事をもっておられるため、木曜日の午前中にヒッチコック長老教会行われているLiving in Americaの終了後に聖書研究会を行うようにし、そこに参加する日本人向けに入門バイブルクラスとして始めました。幸 い、時間がLiving in America終了後ということで、数名の方が参加くださるようになり、楽しい交わりを継続できております。

こうした集会に加え、ウェストチェスター郡の3つの日本語教会(ユニオン日本語教会Union Japanese Church of Westchester、ニューヨーク日本語教会New York Japanese Church、メトロポリタン・ジャパニーズ・ミニストリーMetropolitan Japanese Ministry)のそれぞれが小さい教会であるため、3教会が連携して何かできないものか、と考え、3教 会が連携して行う超教派の交流礼拝もスタートいたしました(現在は、日米合同教会Japanese American United Church、グリニッジ福音キリスト教会Japanese Gospel Church of Greenwich、クイーンズ地区の日本人クリスチャンの方々も参加くださって います)。

ニュヨーク州周辺での日本語教会(集会)は、マンハッタンの日米合同教会Japanese American United Churchを除いていずれも人的財政的困難な抱えています。それは、ここニューヨークに短い期間滞在して帰国する駐在 員家族が出席者の大半であることに加え、教会(集会)の核となる定住者もまたアメリカの英語礼拝に出席するようになりつつあるためです。

こうした中、アメリカの教派の多くは、日本人宣教は実りが少ない、という理由から支援の打ち切りを申し出て きており、ただでさえ人的財政的困難を抱える日本語集会が存続の危機を抱えています。

しかし、歴史を振り返る時、明治期の中心的クリスチャンの多くが米国留学時に福音に触れ、帰国後日本で素晴 らしい働きをしたことを考える時、ここでの宣教が主として帰国者に仕える働きのため実質的な教会形成に繋がらないものであったと しても、決して途絶えさせてはいけない働きであるように感じております。

ぜひとも私たち教会、そして海外の一つひとつの日本語教会のために覚えてお祈りくださいますと共にご支援い ただけますようお願い申し上げます。