【February 2017 No.391】Sharing Burdens and Joys

by Nitta Kyohei, pastor of Inawashiro, Aizubange, Kawageta and Aizuhongo churches

 

It is striking that for many churches, the sharing of joys and burdens is not the ordinary reality. Since April 2015, the Rev. Takahashi Makoto and I have been responsible for sharing the pastoral care of four churches: Aizubange Church, Aizuhongo Church, Inawashiro Church, and Kawageta Church. We alternate Sunday worship services with morning and afternoon services at two churches each, and both pastors attend the administrative board meetings of each church.

 

Serving four churches is quite bewildering, but I have been given many insights that I would not have understood by serving only one church. Each of the four churches is struggling with differing types of issues and difficulties. Through publishing the church bulletin as well as sharing information when issues are raised during tea-drinking time, we “share our pain.” And, from time to time, we hold a common administrative board meeting, working together on a plan for solutions.

 

Of course, we do not just share our pains. There is active participation in the events that each church is promoting, and four times a year there are joint worship services, held in rotation at each church, when we mutually see each other’s faces. Recently as well, when a special guest was invited to one of the churches, we held a joint worship service and shared our joys together. The issues or joys of one church are not limited to that one church; instead we are working at developing a relationship of mutual sharing and bearing.

 

I do not think that the Lord Jesus desires the kind of relationship revealed by such attitudes as “If it’s good for my church, that’s enough” and “Even if another church is hurting, it doesn’t bother me.” We are involved in a new experiment as we grope our way forward, but I believe that a way will be given to us, without fail, as we walk together with the four churches, holding hands. (Tr. RT)

 

—From Senkyo Tohoku (Tohoku District News), No. 172

(会津地区)
重荷と喜びを分かち合う 新田 恭平

「一つの教会に一人の牧師がたてられる。」それが当たり前でないという現実を多くの教 会が突きつけられています。

2015年4月から会津坂下・会津本郷・猪苗代・川桁の4教会を、私と髙橋真人)牧師で担う共同牧会が 行われています。主日礼拝は、午前と午後で2教会ずつ交互に担い、 各教会の役員会には両教師揃って出席します。

私自身、4教会を牧会することに戸惑いはありましたが、一教会を牧会するだけではわからない、たくさんの気付きが与 えられているように感じています。

4教会それぞれに異なる類の課題や困難を抱えています。それを、各教会の週報への記載 や、礼拝後のお茶呑みの時間に話題に挙げることで情報を共有し、「痛みを分かち合って」います。また、時には合同役員会を開き、打開 策を練り合っています。

もちろん分かち合うのは苦しみだけではありません。各教会が主催する行事に積極的に参 加し合うようになり、また、各教会持ち回りで年4回合同礼拝を行い、互 いに顔を合わせます。先日も1つの教会で特別なゲス トを招く際、その礼拝を合同礼拝に当て、共に喜びを分かち合いました。1つの教会の課題や喜び を1つの教会に留めるのでなく、互いに分かち合い担い合う関係の構築に励んでいます。

「うちの教会さえ良ければそれで良い」、「他の教会が痛んでいても、気にしていられな い」主イエスは、そんな関係を求められていないと思っています。

こ れまでにない試みで日々模索している現状ですが、必ず道は備えられると信じ、4教会手を取りながら歩んでいます。(宣教東北172号 より)

【February 2017 No.391】Comment on the Incident of Multiple Knife Attacks at the Care Facility for Disabled Persons in Sagamihara by Yoshizawa Shin, chair Kyodan Committee on Social Concerns

On July 26, 2016, a knife attack incident took place in Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Prefecture at a residential care facility for persons with disabilities operated by the prefecture. An intruder with a knife entered the facility and attacked sleeping residents, one after another. Within a day it was confirmed that the perpetrator, who killed 19 people and injured 26, was a former employee. Of all the murder cases that have happened in Japan since the end of World War II, this one involved the largest number of victims. Acquaintances say the attacker had been repeating misguided and prejudiced statements that were based on eugenic thinking, and the media reported that he continued to make such statements even after his arrest. The incident has spread waves of sadness and distress to many people. The chair of the Kyodanfs Committee on Social Concerns issued a statement on this incident, as translated below. (KNL Editorial Committee)

 

———————————————————————————

 

Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.

(Psalm 150:6)

Be fruitful and multiply… (Genesis 1:22)

 

All beings with life are born with God’s blessing, for it is within God’s blessing that all life is interconnected. Within the linkages between life and life, human beings can live. This is why we sing, “Let everything that has breath praise the Lord.” A society that does not place life first will collapse. In a world where economy, not life, comes first, where life is disregarded, relationship is destroyed, human dignity is put at risk, and hatred and anger is spread to the world. Today the world is in the midst of such pain.

We have become completely accustomed to evaluating people according to scores, grades, and degrees of accomplishment. In this climate there is a danger that we will lose the ability to recognize life’s value. As human beings we are not in a position to decide who should be allowed to live and who should not.

 

The Bible teaches that every person is alive by the will of God, the Creator of all things in heaven and earth. If God chose to use God’s own abilities as the standard for judging us, none of us would be worthy of life before God. We are alive by God’s forgiveness and mercy. All people in this world are under God’s love, equally. People cannot be the judge of whether one lives or dies, including oneself.

 

God gives to each person a unique life. Within that unique life, everyone experiences times of joy, times of sadness, times of hardship. I believe God gives meaning to each of our lives.

In the very early hours of July 26, 2016, a multiple stabbing incident took place at Tsukui Yamayuri En, a welfare facility for persons with disabilities located in Sagamihara City in Kanagawa Prefecture. Within a day it was confirmed that 19 people had died, and a further 26 had suffered injuries of varying degrees.

The people who were attacked in this incident are victims of a society poisoned by an economy-first value system. It is a distressing incident that demands repentance from us, who have created such a society.

 

I pray from my heart for God’s deep comfort upon the people who suddenly lost a beloved family member and remain in deep sorrow and grief and also for God’s healing upon those who were injured.

One welfare caregiver who visited Tsukui Yamayuri En to lay flowers said, with teary eyes, “It’s regrettable that something so terrible happened at a facility with such a cheerful atmosphere. We interact with them not as ‘disabled,’ but as people.” This tragedy, which turned a cheerful facility into a picture of hell and produced many victims, has caused shock not just in Japan but also around the world.

Let us pray together for the families of victims, who are still in deep shock and pain, and for the staff and other persons associated with Tsukui Yamayuri En.

 

I hope that all people may come to know correctly the God of Jesus Christ so that through this, they may know that every person is in God’s love, learn to love and pray for one another, and aim toward an inclusive society in which all people encourage each other as we walk together. (Tr. DM)

—Yoshizawa Shin, chair

Kyodan Committee on Social Concerns

August 9, 2016

2016年7月26日、神奈川県相模原市にある県立の障害者福祉施設で大量の殺人事件が起こった。刃物を持った侵入者が、次々に入居者達を 襲ったの である。元職員の犯行で、同日中に19人の死亡が確認され、26人が重軽傷を負った。 第二次世界大戦後の日本において発生した殺人事件の中で、犠牲者の数が最も多い事件となった。職員であった頃の犯人は、優 性思想に基づいた、誤ちと偏見のある発言を繰り返していたと言われ、逮捕されてからも同様のことを発言していると、 報道されている。 この事件は、多くの人々に悲しみと嘆きの波紋を投げかけた。教団社会委員会は、 以下のようにコメントを出した。(KNL編集部)

――――――――――――――――――――――

相模原障がい者施設殺傷事件に際して

2016年8月9日

日本基督教団社会委員会委員長 芳澤  信

「息あるものはこぞって主を賛美せよ。」(旧約聖書 詩編150篇6節)「産めよ、増えよ」 (旧約聖書 創世記1章22節)

 すべて命あるものは神の祝福の 中に生まれます。神の祝福の中 で「命はつながりにおいて生きる」ことができます。命と命の つながりの中で人間は生きることができます。それ故「息あるものはこぞって主を賛美せよ」と歌われます。 命が第一にされない社会は破綻します。命ではなく、経済が第 一にされ、命が軽んぜられる世界は、このつながりを破壊し、 人間の尊厳が冒され、憎しみと怒りが世界に広がります。今世 界はその痛みの中にあります。

私たちは普段、点数や成績や能力、その成果の大小などによっ て人 を評価することに慣れ切っています。そのような中でいつの間 にか人の命の価値が見えなくなる危険性があります。誰が生きていていいのかと、誰が生きていてはいけないのかということについてま で、人は決めることはできません。

聖書は、人は皆、天地万物を創造された神の御心によって生きていると言ってい ます。もし私たちが、自分の能力を基準にされて神から見られるとしたら、誰も神の前に生きることはできないでありま しょう。神の赦しと慈愛により私たちは生きています。世の全ての人が等しくその神の愛の 下にあります。人は、自分自身を含めて、命の可否について判断を下すことはできないのです。

神は一人ひとりに固有な命を与えておられます。誰もがその固 有な 命の中で、時には喜び、時には悲しみ、時には苦しむのです。 その一つひとつの命に、神は意味を与えておられると信じます。

2016年7月26日未明、神奈川県相模原市緑区 千木良にある障がい者福祉施設「津久井やまゆり 園」で、刃物による殺傷事件が発生いたしました。同日中に19人の死亡が確認され、26人 が重軽傷を負いました。

今回の事件は経済 優先社会の価値観に毒された社会の犠牲者であり、このような社会にしてしまった私たちの悔い改めが求められる痛ましい事 件です。

突然にして愛する ご家族を失い、大きな悲しみと嘆きの中にある方々に神の深い慰めを祈ると共に、けがを負われた方々の癒しを心よりお祈り いたします。

津久井やまゆり園 に献花におとずれたある介護福祉士は、「明るい雰囲気の施設がこんなことになって残念です。私たちは障がい者ではなく人 として接しているのに」と目に涙を浮かべて話しました。明る い雰囲気の施設が地獄図となり、多くの犠牲者を出した悲劇は、日本のみならず世界に衝撃を与えています。

癒しがたいい衝撃 の痛みの中にある犠牲者のご家族、津久井やまゆり園の職員関係者の方々のために祈りを合わせたい。

願わくは、全ての人々が主イエス・キリストの神を正しく知る こと によって、神の愛の中に一人ひとりが置かれていることを知 り、互いに愛し合い、祈り合い、励まし合いながら歩む共生社会を目 指したいと願います。

 

【February 2017 No.391】Acting General Secretary’s Report: Administrative Changes Anticipated in 2017

There is still no one in the general secretary’s office. Following the resignation of former General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo at the end of his term, which coincided with the 40th (2016) Kyodan General Assembly, no one has been selected yet to fill the position. Moderator Ishibashi Hideo gave a formal apology to the assembly for being unable to select a replacement and then proposed that Executive Secretary of General Affairs Dohke Norikazu serve as acting general secretary. After various opinions were voiced, that resolution passed. In the two months since then, the general secretary’s office has quietly been awaiting its next occupant. When discussion of the situation arose at the recent Executive Council meeting, the first of the 40th Biennial General Assembly (GA) period, Moderator Ishibashi replied, “Not yet.” Therefore, unless a special Executive Council is called, the position will remain open until at least the next meeting of the council, scheduled for July.

 

Even though the position of general secretary remains unfilled, the everyday operations of the Kyodan headquarters, the Board of Publications, and the Board of Pensions continue. Of the various things that would be done by the general secretary, those that can be accomplished at the office level are first discussed in the joint meeting of the various secretaries. Important decisions are then passed on to the core leadership of the Kyodan (moderator, vice-moderator and secretary) for final resolution. This is particularly so in areas involving relationships with non-Kyodan entities both domestically and abroad. When it comes to the operations of the other two boards, the Board of Publications and the Board of Pensions, as executive secretary of general affairs, I (Dohke) work with each of their boards of directors by attending their meetings to insure their smooth operation. However, it is our hope that the next person to serve as general secretary will be found soon.

 

Of the items related to Kyodan operations decided at the first Executive Council meeting of this GA period, held Dec. 12-13, 2016, Chief Financial Officer Kera Yuji, who has served in this position for three terms (12 years), will be stepping down at the end of March 2017. He was instrumental in computerizing the finances of the Kyodan during a period of turmoil in the handling of finances. Thus, we are all very grateful to God for his faithful service. Momose Kazunari, a layman who has served for more than 30 years as an accountant in the Board of Publications, will be his successor and will begin his four-year term on April 1. We are thankful to have such an appropriate successor.

During this present GA period, there are a total of ten task force committees operating under the Executive Council. The “Task Force on the Future of the Kyodan,” which was established during the previous (39th) GA period, was replaced by a new one entitled the “Committee on Evangelism Strategy.” It, however, is not simply a committee designed to think about evangelistic strategies but one that considers these with structural and financial reforms in mind. As the average age of Kyodan membership increases due to the aging population, the overall strength of the church in terms of numbers and finances weakens. Thus, there is a need to consider how evangelistic outreach can be most efficiently accomplished within this present context. The work of the three boards that make up the Kyodan headquarters, the branch office in Osaka (the Buraku Liberation Center), and the various agencies, such as Christian centers, are critical to this task. The operations of the Kyodan offices are, of course, different from the business world, which focuses on profits. We are, after all, a faith community, and so the Kyodan offices operate within that context as we engage in and support evangelism. For instance, the staff of all three boards meets together each morning, with each person taking turns in leading the morning prayers and worship. It is so important to begin each workday with prayer and to end it with thanksgiving. (Tr. TB)

 

—Dohke Norikazu,

executive secretary of general affairs,

acting general secretary

道家紀一(総幹事事務取扱)

 

“がらん”とした総幹事室が続いています。日本基 督教団第40回教団総会において前の総幹事、長崎哲 夫が任期満了で退任した後、後任の人選が行えませんでした。総会議長石橋秀雄は、人選に至らなかったことを議場に謝罪し、総務幹事道 家紀一を「事務取扱」として選任することを議場に問いかけ、様々な意見がなされる中で、決議しました。それから約2ヶ月、総幹事室 は、次の住人を、静かに待っています。先の40総会期第1回常議員会では、議事日程で質問が出たものの、「未だ人選に至らず」と石橋議長は答えました。 直近の常議員会は7月ですから、少なくとも、臨時常議員会でも開かない限り、総幹事は不在となります。

総幹事は不在ですが、事務局、出版局、年金局は、それぞれの日常業務を行っています。これまで総幹事が 決裁して来た事項の内、比較的事務局レベルで決済できる案件は幹事会で協議しています。重要な決済については、幹事会で協議した後 に、三役(総会議長、総会副議長 総会書記)に諮っています。とくに、教団以外の国内外の諸教会(教派)や諸団体との関係について は、三役に決済を依頼しています。事務取扱を担っている総務幹事道家は、他の二つ部局(出版局・年金局)の理事会に出席して、三局の 業務が円滑に行われるように努めています。しかし、一日も早く、次期総幹事が人選されることを祈っています。

2016年12月12-13日に行われた第1回常議員会で決議されたことで執務機関に関連することは、3期12年に亘って財務幹事を務めて来た計良祐時幹事が、2017年3月末をもって退任することです。教団の財務処理が混乱する中、コンピューター化の導入に大きな力を尽 くした幹事です。これまでの働きを主にあって感謝したいと思います。財務幹事の後任には、出版局で30年以上に亘って長く経理の職務を担って来た百瀬一成氏を、2017年4月1日より4年任期で任用することが決まりました。信徒の財務幹事となります。相応しい方を迎えられ 感謝しています。

 

今総会期は、常議員会の下に10ヶの特設委員会が設置されましたが、39総会期に設置された「教団将来構想検討委員会」を引き継ぐ仕方で、新たに「教団伝道対策検討委員会」が設 置されました。単に「伝道方策」を考える委員会ではなく、教団の機構改正や財務について検討する委員会になると考えています。少子高 齢化の影響で教会の教勢が落ちて行く中にあって、どのように効率的に教団全体の伝道体制を整えてゆけるか。事務局を中心とした教団三 局、大阪分室(部落解放センター)、各センターの働きが求められます。教団の事務執行体制は、合理性と利潤を追い求める企業とは異なりま す。信仰共同体としての教会の働き(伝道の業としての事務執行)です。毎朝、三局の職員は、幹事と職員とがローテーションによる司会 を務め、日毎の糧にしたがって、朝の礼拝をささげています。祈りをもって始業し、感謝をもって終業する一日を大切にしています。

 

 

 

【December 2016 No.390】A Christmas Message “Light in the Darkness”

by Umesaki Koji, moderator Kyushu District

 

As the 2016 Christmas season draws near, I would like to share with you some of the unprecedented events I experienced in our district during this year, and about the “light in the darkness” that I saw with my own eyes.

 

On April 14, at 9:26 pm, the Kumamoto region was stuck by a tremendous earthquake, measuring 7.0 on the intensity scale and 6.5 in magnitude (richter scale). The violent quake came with no warning, and people spent that terrible night in fear and confusion. When the full extent of destruction was finally revealed in the first light of day, we naturally felt bewildered. But somewhere in our hearts we were already thinking about what must be done first, or what needed to be cleaned up first. In other words, everyone was thinking, “The earthquake is over.” “There might be some aftershocks, but they will gradually end.”

 

We live in an earthquake-prone country, but no one anticipated that the sudden violent earthquake, which caused such devastation, might be followed by another, even greater, tremor. Yet this is exactly what happened 28 hours after the first quake, at 1:25 am on April 16. The second earthquake measured 7.0 in intensity and 7.3 in magnitude. Furniture and utensils that had just been painstakingly picked up and returned to their places exploded across rooms once more. Many homes that had thankfully withstood the first shock suffered heavy damage or collapse in the second.

 

This immediately made people aware that the situation was truly unpredictable. All of our trusted, experience-based earthquake rules were suddenly swept aside. Also swept aside were the fruits of our initial recovery efforts, which were achieved by rousing ourselves with great effort. “Every effort is useless.” Many people felt dispirited, losing their will to fight like a boxer matched against a far superior opponent.

 

Churches, members, and pastors were all tossed about and impacted by this giant force, just like every other building and people. But the work that was done by pastors in the earthquake region in the first days after the two powerful tremors was truly remarkable. Even though they were themselves victims of the disaster, they set aside the needs of their own families to search out church members, offer them comfort and encouragement, and try to meet their needs. They also provided crucial life supplies to the many people who came to disaster shelters or opened their own doors to welcome, serve, and comfort displaced neighbors. These efforts surpassed all bounds of expectation.

 

One of these pastors was particularly worried about a church member, an elderly woman, who lived alone. He was able to confirm her safety after the first big tremor, but could not reach her after the second. He drove toward her place through streets still rippling from aftershocks and reached her high-rise building, only to find the elevators stopped. He raced up to her apartment on the 10th floor, came back down with her on his back, then carried her to his house. This pastor was already in a state of psychological and physical exhaustion, but he could not help but run into a dangerous building to assist someone else.

 

In another case two church members, a husband and wife, became trapped in a room that somehow had escaped collapse while the rest of the house crumbled. Their home was in the most heavily affected part of town, which was quite far from their church. Roads were badly damaged and people assumed their neighborhood could not be reached. But their pastor packed food and water onto a motorbike and, by weaving through debris and finding alternate routes, found his way to their home. After this, he returned to them many times to offer encouragement. The supplies he took them were the very same things that he needed at his house, where water service had stopped and food was in short supply.

 

When I recall the many actions of these pastors, who “while suffering themselves, reached out to the suffering,” I feel strongly that these were all the works of “those who know the One who came.” It is precisely because they receive life from the One who could not abandon suffering people, and who came to be wounded and abandoned while ultimately bringing people to forgiveness, that they had no choice but to “while suffering themselves, reach out to the suffering.” The gift of Christmas was revealed through them, in all its pain and beauty.

 

The destruction from the earthquakes is still very serious, and the impact will continue to be felt for a long time. There is no light visible yet at the end of the tunnel of sorrow and pain, so the darkness is still deep. But there are people who have been given life by the Light who came into the darkness. These people, like the pastors above, inherit the beautiful commission and continue the work. (Tr. DM)

「闇の中の光」

 

九州教区総会議長 梅崎浩二

 2016年のクリスマスを迎えようとするこの時に当り、私は、九州教区総会議長として、今年、教区内に経験した未曾有の出来事に 於いてこの目で見た「光」、「闇の中に輝く光」について皆様に報告したいと思う。

4月14日21時26分、熊本地方は震度7、マグニチュード6.5と いう凄まじい揺れに襲われた。何の前触れもなく突 如として起った激しい地震に、人々は怖じ惑いつつ恐怖の一夜を過ごすこととなった。やがて日の光に照らし出さされた惨状を目にしては、途 方に暮れる思いを抱いたのは当然であったが、一方では心の何処かで、何から手を付けて片付けるべきかと思案もしていたのであった。つま り、“地震はこれでおしまいだ”と誰しもが思っていたのだ。“あとに余震が続いても、徐々に収束してゆくだろう”と。

突然に起こり、激しい被害をもたらした大きな揺れに次いで、それをも超 える規模の揺れに襲われるなどとは、地震国と云われるこの国の住民にとってさえ思いも寄らぬことであった。だが、先の一撃から28時間後、16日1時25分にそれは来たのである。震度7、マグニチュード7.3。あの驚くべき一撃を上回る規模の激震であった。傷心のうちにも片付けた家具や什器 は再び吹っ飛んで散乱し、何とか持ちこたえてくれた、と安堵して眺めた家屋は倒壊・壊滅した。

人々は、最早、真に予測のつかない事態の中に置かれていることを思い知ることとなった。自らの頼る地震についての経験則は 一蹴され、悲しむ自らの心を鼓舞しつつ為した復旧の業も一蹴された。“何をしても無駄”。多くの人々は、さながら遥か格上の相手と対戦さ せられたボクサーの如く、戦意喪失と虚脱のうちに立ちつくす外なかったのである。

教会堂も、教会員も、そして牧師達も、他の全ての建造物や人々と同じ く、この巨大な力に翻弄され、傷つけられざるを得なかった。だが、2度の激震に相次いで襲われた震災発生初期、被災地域の牧師達の働きは 将に献身的なものであった。牧師達は、自ら被災者であるにも拘わらず、自らや家族の要を措いて、信徒を探し尋ねては慰め励まし、必要を充 たすべく努め、また避難所に身を寄せる多くの人々に貴重な生活物資を提供し、或いは近隣の被災者を受け入れて世話をし、安心させるよう限 界を超えるような努力を傾けたのである。

或る牧師は、一人住まいの高齢女性信徒のことが気がかりでならなかっ た。地震第一波の後にはその健在を確認出来たが、二度目の揺れ以降、連絡がつかないのである。彼は、道路が波打つかとさえ思われる揺れの 中を彼女の住まいへと向かった。高層マンションである。電気は無論、止まっており、エレベーターは使えない。10階まで階段を駆け 上った彼は、この女性信徒を負ぶって再び階段を降り、牧師館に彼女を運び入れた。この牧師は心身疲労の中にあったが、危険な建物に飛び込 んででも、この様にしないではおれなかったのである。

他の事例である。全損家屋の、なお圧し潰されずに辛うじて残った一室に 身を寄せる信徒夫妻があった。その住いは特に被害の激しい、教会からは離れた地区に在った。道路は著しく損傷しており、その地区に至る術 はないと目されていた。しかし、牧師はバイクに水や食料を積み込むと、脇道・う回路を探りながら遂に彼らの許にたどり着き、以後、繰り返 し訪ねて支え、励まし続けたのである。彼が運び続けた物は、水道も止まり、食料にも事欠く牧師館に住む彼にとって、喉から手が出る程に必 要な、その物であった。

数多く現わされた“傷ついておりながら、傷ついた者へと向う”牧師達の 働きを振り返る時、それらが全て“来て下さった御方を識る者の働き”であったことを強く思わされている。人の抱える悲惨を見捨てることが 出来ず、心痛め、傷つきながら、遂に人の許へと、然も傷つけられて捨てられる為に来て下さった御方に生かされているからこそ、彼等は“傷 ついておりながら、傷ついた者へと向”わではおれなかったのだ。クリスマスの恵みは彼等を通してその痛ましくも美しい形を顕したのだ。

震災の被害は今も深刻であり、これからもその影響は長く続く。悲しみと 痛みのトンネルに出口は見えず、従って闇は深い。だが、闇の中に来て下さった光に生かされている者達が居る。その者達が、かの牧師達の尊 く、美しい業を継いで今、働き続けている。

【December 2016 No.390】2016 Kyodan General Assembly Reelects Current Officers

The 40th Biennial Kyodan General Assembly was held at the Hotel Metropolitan in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Oct. 25-27. Of the 400 delegates minus the 10 from the Okinawa District who failed to register for the assembly, 366 delegates were registered as present at the beginning of the assembly. As this represented a quorum, the assembly began as scheduled. However, the absence of the Okinawa District delegates continued to be a sore point, as Okinawa District has elected to keep its distance from the Kyodan.

 

There were 32 mandatory items on the agenda along with 19 non-mandatory items. The first item was that of recognizing the deliberation schedule, and Moderator Ishibashi made several proposals on how to deal with a number of the agenda items. For instance, since Article 12 of the constitution mandates that any proposed constitutional revisions be made public at least three months prior to the General Assembly, agenda item 42 on the revision of Article 9 and related bylaws could not officially be brought forth—a situation for which he offered an apology. However, the proposer of the revision, Kyushu District Moderator Umesaki Koji, stated that since this was a provision that had been passed by the Kyushu District Annual Assembly, not dealing with it at all would leave matters dangling. The agreement after deliberation was to print the proposal in the church newspaper Kyodan Shinpo, and with that provision, the proposal was tabled.

 

Another issue was the call to establish a place for thorough discussion on the communion service within the Kyodan as well as to rescind the removal of Kitamura Jiro’s ministerial credentials. The Kyodan leadership, however, stated that this proposal could not be carried forward because the final decision had already been rendered in accordance with the rules of discipline. While voices of protest echoed through the hall, the decision to end discussion on this topic was passed. Likewise, the agenda item to restore the 1.2 million yen that had been cut from the Solidarity Fund for Mission in Okinawa was discussed together with the agenda items related to finances, but it was not adopted at this time.

 

This effort to combine related agenda items at the beginning of the proceedings has only been done in the last few assemblies. As there are over 50 proposals to deal with in three days, such streamlining of the process is vital, and the result was evident in the pace and management of the discussion among various points of view.

The election of the core leadership for the next two-year term was held, and all three members were reelected: Moderator Ishibashi Hideo for his fourth term, Vice-moderator Sasaki Michio for his second term and Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi for his fourth term. This was followed by the election of the other executive council members, with 10 of the 27 members (5 clergy and 5 laypersons) being replaced. Thus, several members who have worked diligently for the restoration of the Kyodan to normalcy have now passed the baton to a new generation. They will be working with the core leadership to deal with the numerous issues that challenge the Kyodan as it faces an important crossroad—most importantly in the area of finances and the necessary restructuring that accompany this.

 

One task not accomplished at this assembly was that of naming a replacement for General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo, who has resigned from his post. For the time being, General Affairs Secretary Dohke Norikazu will serve as acting general secretary, but hopefully a new person can be found to fill this important post soon. The new head of the Board of Publications, Shindo Atsushi, is a 30-year veteran of the Board of Publications’ staff, and this is the first time that a staff member has been elected to that position. He will carry out the important function of publication evangelism.

 

It is not an exaggeration to say that the Kyodan has entered an era of changed emphasis, one that stresses cooperative evangelism. My prayer is that this 2016 Kyodan General Assembly Period will be one in which we step out in faith, believing in the promise of II Cor. 12:10, “For when we are weak (for Christ’s sake), we are strong.” (Tr. TB)

—Dohke Norikazu, executive secretary of general affairs

Acting General Secretary

「第40回日本基督教団総会を終えて」

日本基督教団 総幹事事務取扱 どうけ道家のりかず紀一

 第40回日本基督教団総会が、去る10月25日~27日にかけて、池袋・ホテルメトロポリタンで開催された。議員定数400名-ただし沖縄教区選出議員10名は未登録―のうち、開会時に366名の出席者の登録を確認、定足数を満たしており、総会は開会された。沖縄教区が教団と距離を置いて、議員 の選出がないことが続いていることは大きな痛みである。

扱われる予定議事は、法定議案が32議案、法定外議案が19議案であった。冒頭の議案1「議事日程承認に関する件」では、いしばし石橋議長より幾つかの議案の取扱いの提 案がなされた。議案42「教憲9条を改正し、伴って関連教規条項を改正する件

は、教憲12条に「教憲改正の場合は総会の3箇月前に公表する

と定められているにも関わらず、公表することができず、上程できない事態に至ったことについて率直に謝罪 が述べられた。しかし、提案者である九州教区総会議長のうめさき梅崎こうじ浩二議員より「教区総会決議に基づく議案なので、全く扱われなかったということではお さまりがつかない」との発言があり、協議の結果、「新報に議案を掲載し、併せて謝罪文も掲載すること」を条件に、上程されないことが 承諾された。

また、議案33と議案44の「北村慈郎教師の免職処分撤回を求め教団内に聖餐の在り方について慎重かつ十分な議論する場の設置を求 める件

は教憲に抵触する議案であること、戒規施行細則に従って「最終審判」が出されているこ とを理由に上程できないことを宣した。議場からは反発の声が上がったが、上程しないことで承認された。さらには沖縄関連議案である 「沖縄連帯金120万円を元に戻す」議案は、財務関連議案で扱われることになった。

総会の冒頭で議事の整理が行われるようになったのは、ここ数総会期である。三日間で50を超える議案を扱うには、このような議 案整理が必要であり、いろいろな意見もある中で、議事運営を滞りなく進めることにおいて一定の成果が見られ始めた、といえようか。

1期2年の任期を終えた三役(議長 副議長 書記)の選挙が行われ、いしばし石橋ひで秀お雄、ささき佐々木み美ちお知夫、くも雲しかり然とし俊み美が再選された。石橋議長と雲然書記は4期目となる。佐々木副議長は2期目とな る。続けて行われた常議員選挙は、三役再選とは異なり、27名中10名(教職5名 信徒5名)が入れ替わった。教団の正常化に尽くして来た何人かの議員がその働きを終えて、次の世代に 交代する時期に来ているといえる。再選された三役と共に、大きな曲がり角に来ている教団の様々な課題への取り組みを担って行くことに なる。特に財政問題とそれに伴う機構改正は必須なことであり、待ったなしである。

このような状況であるが、今総会では退任したながさき長崎てつお哲夫総幹事の後任を選任するに至らなかった。総務幹事どうけ道家が暫く事務取扱を務めることにな る。一日でも早く新しい総幹事が選任され、事務局の体制を整えたい。出版局長には、出版局職員歴30年を超えるしんどう新藤あつし敦が選任された。職員からの選任は初めてのことである。出版伝道の重責を担うこととな る。

今日、教団は立場を越えて伝道協力する時代に入ったといっても過言ではない。「弱い時 にこそ強い主

(コリントⅡ12:10)を信じて歩み出す「第40総会期」であることを祈る。