Church in Korea Conducts Japanese Worship Services

Church in Korea Conducts Japanese Worship Services
by Tanaka Kaoru, pastor
Angyo Church, Kanto District
The Saemoonan Presbyterian Church of Seoul, founded by Horace Underwood in 1887, was the first organized church in Korea. At present, the congregation of 12,000 people averages 6,000 attendees at worship,served by 18 associate pastors, 6 assistant pastors, 8 missionaries, 9cooperative pastors, and 30 elders. In addition to serving as the president of the Presbyterian Church in Korea’s Seoul Presbytery, Senior Pastor Lee Sou-Young is also on the Presbyterian University’s Board of Directors. He formerly was a professor of Systematic Theology in the seminary at the university.
In the year 2000, Saemoonan Church began a gathering for Bible reading in Japanese, which was first led by Nag Woon-hae, a Kyodan pastor who was studying in Korea at that time. At the end of 2006 this gathering was brought to a close, and on the first Sunday in 2007 a weekly Japanese worship service was established that is now in its fourth year.
It is noteworthy that this is not a service merely for Japanese people but is rather an opportunity to bring together for worship both Japanese and Koreans who understand Japanese. In the past, Japan invaded its neighbors in Asia and forced its language on those nations. Moreover, there was a time when the use of Japanese was prohibited in Korea. The fact that Japanese and Korean people can worship together in Korea, where the memory of that history remains, is only possible through the realization of peace by those who have faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ.
Nag Woon-hae’s first reason for going to Korea was to study Korean
theology. In both Korea and Japan theology focuses on North America and Europe, and there is a need for Japan and Korea to learn from one another. Nag had thought that his study of Korean theology would engender mutual understanding between Japanese and Korean theology, resulting in increased interest between the two. With a scholarship from the Korean government, he was able to study not at public institution but at the Presbyterian University’s Graduate School. The Korean National Government Scholarship is given only to persons who achieve the highest scores on a difficult qualifying examination. Normally, such students study at a top national university (on a par with Tokyo University in Japan), but to use such a scholarship to study at the Presbyterian seminary, which is nothing more than a denominational school, is indeed exceptional.
Given the history between Japan and Korea, Nag ‘s second objective was to do something concrete to further peace and reconciliation. To succeed, he believed it was essential to base his efforts on a faith based on the love of God, the love that can create action. Thus, he learned the language as he ate, drank, and shared conversations with Korean people.
His third objective was to learn from the present reality of Korean
churches in order to transform the present reality of Japanese churches.The Korean churches are filled with vitality, and there is much to be learned. However, until now Japanese theology has focused its attention on the West. Learning from Korea would have a great impact on Japan,which would change the vitality of the church in Japan. This is why Nag chose to study in Korea.
Saemoonan Church accepted his request and supported his study at the Presbyterian University and his family in Korea, understood his passion,and made it their own. Pastors from several Kyodan congregations responded to his request for them to preach at the Japanese worship service. Along with 20 other pastors, Harita Makoto of Toriizaka Church,Yonekura Misao of Sapporo Church and Tanaka Kaoru of Angyo Church make yearly visits to preach in Korea, continuing the fellowship between Saemoonan Church and the Kyodan.
Despite all this, there is no formal relationship between Saemoonan
Church and the Kyodan. Nevertheless, last October Pastor Lee was invited to join the celebration of the 150th anniversary of Protestant mission in Japan. Hopefully, a more official relationship can be established in the future. (Tr.AK)
教団ニュースレター 「大韓イエス教長老会セムナン教会・日本語礼拝」
安行教会牧師 田中かおる
韓国ソウルにある大韓イエス教長老会The Presbyterian Church in Korea(統合派)に所属するセムナンSaemoonann Presbyterian church教会は、1887年にアンダーウッド宣教師(延世大学創立者)によって設立された韓国最初の組織教会である。現在、主日礼拝出席者約6000 名、会員数12000名、牧師18名、伝道師6名、宣教師8名、その他9名の協力牧師と30名の長老がいる。主任担任牧師は、李秀英(イ・スヨン)牧師で、大韓イエス教長老会ソウル中会長(議長)、長老会神学大学理事で、以前は教授(組織神学)の任も担っていた。
このセムナン教会において、2000年から「日本語で聖書を読む会」が発足。当時、日本からの留学生であった日本基督教団正教師・洛雲海(ナク・ウンヘ: 教団登録名)牧師が、この会を導くこととなった。この会が2006年末をもって発的に解消され、2007年1月最初の主日から「日本語礼拝」が誕生し、現在4年目に入った。この礼拝は、「韓国人であれ日本人であれ日本語を理解する人と共にささげる日本語礼拝」であって、「日本人礼拝」ではないことが、大きな特徴である。かつて日本がアジア近隣諸国を侵略し日本語を強要した歴史から、韓国において日本語を封印していた時代があったが、そのような国で日本人と韓国人が共に神の御前に立ち、共に礼拝をささげるということが起こってこそ、キリストの贖いを信じる者たちの真の和解と平和が実現する、という高い信仰の志を持って始められた礼拝である。
この信仰の志に共鳴し、日本からも複数の教団の牧師たちが日本語礼拝の説教応援に出向いている。定期的には、張田眞牧師(鳥居坂教会)、米倉美佐男牧師 (札幌教会)、田中かおる牧師(安行教会)が、毎年説教応援に訪韓している。その他、20名を越える教師が説教応援に駆け付けた。こうした説教応援を通して、セムナン教会と日本基督教団の諸教会との交わりが発展的に継続されている。それにも関わらず教団とセムナン教会とは正式な関係はなく、洛牧師は無任所教師扱いである。しかし実際には、昨年10月、日本伝道150周年記念大会にはセムナン教会主任牧師の李牧師と教会聖歌隊が招かれ、共に日本伝道150年を祝うことができた。今後は、何らかの正式な関係が生まれることが望まれる。

Tokai District Raises Potatoes to Raise Its Support Fund

Tokai District is situated in the center of Japan. Agriculture features high among its activities. About a month before the District General Assembly for the year 2009, the four members of the Tokai District Executive Committee (the chair, the vice-chair, the secretary, and the chair of the Committee on Evangelism) gathered at a farm owned by Yamamoto Masanobu, a pastor of Shinonoi Church and at that time also chair of the district Committee on Evangelism, to plant seed potatoes. Members of Shinonoi Church welcomed us, having made everything ready. The chair took a hoe and started digging. The vice-chair and the secretary placed on the ground halved seed potatoes sprinkled with ash and put some soil on them. Nearby, 70-year-old Pastor Yamamoto, sitting on a straw mat, watched with a smile on his face. He talks about “Easy Farming.” When we trust God, we will get a 700-kilogram harvest from 70 kilograms of seed potatoes. It started to make sense to me. Feeling the warmth of the spring sunshine, we enjoyed the rice balls and green tea, while breathing the delicious aroma of the green onions just harvested.
About four months later, on Aug. 3, volunteers who responded to the appeal of the new Executive Committee, came to the Yamamoto Farm to harvest potatoes. It has often been the case that onions and potatoes from the farm are offered to churches in the district, to help those in need. The produce, which could well be sold in markets, is distributed and sold at churches at less than half the market price. Unlike the previous day, when it had rained, it turned out to be an extremely hot day. We gained about 700 kilograms of harvest amidst the steam rising up from the wet earth, by digging the ground and shaking off the heavy soil every time we lifted up our shovels.
All of us, 20 persons including children, were deeply satisfied at the sight of mountains of potatoes, regretting at the same time the lack of exercise in our daily lives. After taking a bath at a nearby hot spring, a barbeque party was held in the garden of Shinonoi Church. Pastor Yamamoto, in fact, is an expert at making fresh soba (buckwheat) noodles. A member of his church made us soba noodles, which we enjoyed. He is soon due to open his own soba shop. Soba wheat is, of course, another product of the Yamamoto Farm. Young soybeans and corn were also harvested and served to us freshly boiled. We were lost for words to try to describe how tasty it was.
It might have been only a small part of the total Support Fund that Tokai District budgeted. However, I felt a great potential, seeing that volunteers were able to work together for a common purpose, not in some stressful situation but while enjoying themselves. Having a good time eating and drinking tea together, we talked about our dreams, which led to some tall stories, then on to a vision of evangelism. Pastor Yamamoto and some members of the Executive Committee are hoping to grow and distribute rice for the next project. (Tr. YY)
―Kato Makoto, pastor
Shizuoka Ichibancho Church, Tokai District
KNL Editorial Committee chair
Based on Shinpo (Kyodan Times)
 東海教区が必要とする謝儀互助資金額に較べたら、何ほどのことではではないかも知れない。しかし、皆が一つの目的ために汗を流して働くということ、しかも、それは悲痛なものではなく楽しいこと、そこに、大きな可能性が秘められているように感じた。美味しいものを食べながら、飲みながら、話題は当然ながら建設的な方向に向いて行く。夢を語り、ちょっとほら話も混じり、伝道の幻が生まれ、育てられて行く。山本牧師はじめ執行部有志は、次は是非米を作り現物支給したいと言う。静岡一番町教会 牧師 加藤誠(KNL編集委員長)

Higashi Subdistrict in Tokyo Holds Protestant Christianity's 150th Anniversary Event for Children

“Gathering for Children: Commemorating 150 Years of Protestant Evangelism in Japan,” an event sponsored by Tokyo District’s Higashi Subdistrict, was held on the afternoon of Sept. 6, 2009 at Ginza Church and was attended by 308 people from 13 churches, including 120 children. The event was planned to commemorate 150 years of Protestant evangelism in Japan and to pass along to the children the task of evangelizing Japan for the next 200 years.
As the accompaniment to the opening hymn began the first part of the program, Hinohara Shigeaki appeared, and after directing the music with both hands, began a 50-minute lecture on the subject of “Life.” Dr. Hinohara, whose 98th birthday was coming up in one month, drew attention to his own vitality. He stressed that what is important are the things that are unseen. For example, our lives, given by God, are unseen. He spoke directly to the children, calling on them to live for others and to make the world a peaceful place. He had the children answer questions, write on a blackboard, and do role-playing. He kept the children’s attention with his skillful presentation. The adults, too, listened intently and sometimes laughed. All who were present learned from this “lecture on life.”
The second part of the program featured the introduction of the members from each participating church, a magic performance by Itoigawa Hatsuho from Ginza Church, a handbell choir performance by eight members of Bancho Church, and a ventriloquism performance by Ms. Harukaze Miyako, from the Logos Ventriloquism Club. The spectators watched intently, cheered loudly, and by the time the program in the church sanctuary was over, everyone felt totally relaxed and at home.
For the third part of the program, the participants moved to the fifth and sixth floors, where each church group sat at a separate table and ate homemade snacks prepared by Ginza Church members. Shortly after four o’clock, they began to return home.
For the children, it was a valuable and enjoyable opportunity to learn that there are many other children (comrades) in the church. The children listened intently to Dr. Hinohara. Hopefully, his lesson, along with the other events of the day, will remain in their hearts for a long time.
Blessed by the Lord’s protection and blessed by the cooperation of the people from each participating church who brought children to the event, the churches of the subdistrict were able to deepen their fellowship by focusing on the children. It was truly a suitable gathering to celebrate the 150th anniversary. For this, we are thankful. (Tr. KT)
–Nagayama Nobuo,pastor
Ginza Church, Higashi Subdistrict, Tokyo District
From Shinpo (Kyodan Times)
*Hinohara Shigeaki was born in 1911 in Yamaguchi Prefecture. He graduated from the Medical School of Kyoto University in 1937. In 1941, he began work as a doctor at the Internal Medicine Department of St. Luke’s International Hospital. Since then, he has held positions as the head of the Internal Medicine Department, acting director, director, and at present serves as the chairperson of the Board of Directors and honorary director of St. Luke’s International Hospital, chairperson of the Board of Trustees of St. Luke’s Nursing School, and chairperson of the Board of Directors of Life Planning Center Foundation incorporated. In 1998, he was recognized as an honorary citizen of Tokyo metropolis. In 1999, he was recognized as a Person of Cultural Merit. In 2005, he was awarded a decoration in recognition of his contribution to culture. From an early stage, he pointed out the importance of preventive medicine, made efforts to promote terminal care, and made contributions to education in medicine and nursing. He invented the term seikatsu shukan byo (lifestyle diseases) to refer to diseases that were commonly known as seijin byo (adult diseases). He has always been a frontrunner in the medical field in Japan. Even now, at 98 years old, he continues to be active as a doctor. In September 2000, in pursuit of his goal of passing along to the next generation the experience that he has cultivated during his lifetime and the lessons of the past, he recruited people who were healthy and independent even after reaching 75 years of age and formed the group shinrojin no kai (New Organization For Elderly People). In the spring of the same year, he had begun to write a series of articles called ikikata jozu (How to Live Well) for the magazine Iki Iki. This series is still very popular. At this time, there are over 200 books.
(銀座教会牧師 長山信夫)(教団新報)

Hiroshima Nanbu Church "Cosmic Meeting" Ministers to Troubled Hearts

by Hamada Yuzo, pastor
Hiroshima Nanbu Church, Nishi Chugoku District
No wonder the present age is called “the age of depression.” An increasing number of people, approximately three million throughout the nation, are suffering from psychological disorder. People caught by depression find themselves maladjusted to their environment and alienated from society. They are desperately groping after a base on which they can rely. How can the Church respond to the mute cry of those troubled hearts burdened with the sense of isolation? How can we Christians identify ourselves with suffering people and live together with them? The following is an example of the effort to meet this urgent issue: the program of Hiroshima Nanbu Church in Nishi Chugoku District, as reported by the pastor, Hamada Yuzo, in Shinto no Tomo (Believers’Friend).
Hiroshima Nanbu Church holds its Cosmic Meeting every Wednesday afternoon from three to five o’clock. Around eight to ten people from within as well as outside the church get together and have a roundtable talk about illness, handicaps, and many other burdens we find difficult to cope with in our daily life.
In November 2005, soon after I was installed as the pastor of this church, my spouse, two other young church members, and I began a meeting in the parsonage with the intent of “establishing a place where we could express our troubles and weaknesses.” We named our group “Cosmic Meeting ” after the name of the church site, Ujina. The first Chinese characters of both Ujina and uchuu (“the universe” in Japanese) are the same “u,” which means “universe” or “cosmos.”
The name of the meeting suggests that when we are too much concerned about immediate actualities around us, we often find it difficult to maneuver, but when we regard ourselves from a cosmic viewpoint, we find it easier to look at ourselves more objectively. Though we may think we know about ourselves best, there are many things we do not really know about ourselves and cannot express completely to others. During our meetings, we explore each individual’s microcosm from the larger, macrocosmic perspective. We gradually rediscover ourselves with the help of our fellow participants and engage in the process of retelling our own stories.
The procedure for conducting the meeting is simple and easy. Anyone can do it. According to the manual sheet, the chairperson gives greetings and explains the procedure. The basic rule is that anyone can say anything without being interrupted and everyone listens without interrupting. (While someone is talking, we do not question or interrupt.) We do not repeat outside what we hear in the meeting. Then we start talking about ourselves according to the following four topics, one at one round: 1) our physical/psychological condition of the day or the week, 2) what was good during the week, 3) what was difficult during the week, 4) what can be improved. Each of us talks on the theme, making four rounds. We clap our hands each time the speaker finishes speaking. The meeting is closed after the sharing of any reports and information, if there is any. When there is extra time, we work on the program of SST (Social Skill Training). This is an exercise for improving human relationships through the exchange of information about difficulties concerning relationships and through the help of the participants and the dynamics of the meeting. The meeting, which first started with a small circle in the parsonage, has grown in just half a year to be an official church program.
The Cosmic Meeting does not aim to solve or remove the participants’ troubles and weaknesses. The meeting is an occasion to experience the richness of sharing each participant’s daily life of coping with his/her problems. Rather than problem-solving, the purpose of the program is to establish the church as a place where you can let down your guard as people from the larger community interact with church members and share together the various issues they face in life. I myself have certainly enjoyed being a member of this group. (Tr. FK)
–Summarized by Nishio Misao, member
Suginami Church, Nishi Tokyo District
KNL Editorial Committee
Based on an article in Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)
Hiroshima Nanbu Church’s Cosmic Meeting Manual
Chairperson: Let us begin today’s (date) meeting. I am
Chairperson __________.
Chairperson: We take turns talking on the following
topics, one topic at each round:
1.One’s physical/psychological condition of today or
this week
2.What has been good during the past week ( either
about ourselves or of our family members)
3.What was difficult during the week (about ourselves)
4.What can be improved
If you do not have anything to share, you can pass. This
meeting is just talking and listening without any
comments. Each person takes his or her turn. When
someone is talking, please listen quietly. Please be
careful not to repeat outside what you hear in this
Chairperson: Shall we begin our meeting? Would you
begin, _____san? Please tell us about your physical and
psychological condition today or during this week.
Chairperson: Would you tell us about what was good
during the past week?
Chairperson: Would you tell us about what was the most
difficult during the past week?
Chairperson: What is something you can improve?
Chairperson: Is there anything any of you would like to
report on or tell us all about?
Chairperson: We now conclude today’s Cosmic Meeting.
 現代は「うつの時代」といわれるほど、うつの人が増えています。日本全体では300万人存在すると推定されています。心を病むと、人々は社会の中で行き場を失い、孤立して、心のよりどころを求めます。教会は、心の病をはじめ、さまざまな生きづらさを抱えた人々と共に、どのように歩んでいくことができるのでしょうか。次に、具体的な取り組みをしている教会、西中国教区広島南部教会の濱田裕三(はまだ ゆうぞう)牧師が「信徒の友」で書いている一つの実践例を紹介します。
 この集まりは、私が赴任してきて間もない2005年11月に、私のパートナーと教会の二人の青年と四人で「苦労を語り、弱さを表現できる場を作ろう」と牧師館を会場にミーティングを始めました。教会所在地の地名「宇品(Ujina)」にこだわり、「宇宙(Uchu in Japanese)ミーティング」と名づけました。(宇品の
 ミーティングの内容と方法はきわめて単純簡単です。どこでも誰でもできるものです。ミーティング用シートを基にまず司会者が挨拶をし、進め方を説明して、このミーティングが言いっぱなし、聞きっぱなしの会であること(人が話しているときは質問や突っ込みを入れず黙って聞く)、話の内容を口外しないなどの最低限のルールを説明します。その後、①一週間か今日の体調と気分、②一週間よかったこと、③一週間苦労したこと、④さらによくする点、 以上のテーマを一つずつ順番に語り、四周します。一人が語り終えるたびに拍手をします。最後に連絡や報告をしてミーティングは終了です。時間があれば、SST(生活技能訓練=Social Skill Training)というプログラムを行います。SSTは、人間関係で困っていることを情報交換し、仲間の応援や場の力を借りてよりよい関係を築いていく練習方法です。牧師館でささやかに始めた会も、半年後には教会公式行事の一つに加えられました。
西尾操 杉並教会員、KNL編集委員(信徒の友より)
宇宙ミーテイング 広島南部教会
1, 一週間か今日の体調と気分
2, 一週間よかったこと(自分のことでも家族や友人のことでもかまいません)
3, 一種運間苦労したこと(自分のことです)
4, さらによくする点

Honoring the Name of Mary Isabella Lambuth

by Komi Nozomi, religious director
Seiwa Junior College, Kwansei Gakuin
During the time I was a student in the department of Christian Education at Seiwa College, we learned about the founding of the three schools that came together as Seiwa (Holy Union). I was especially impressed with one of the narratives. It is the story of one of the founders, Mary Isabella Lambuth (12.17.1832 – 6.26.1904) who, when she heard the appeal of a missionary to China at a meeting in her teens, is reported to have said, “I’ll give five dollars and myself.” These simple, passionate words affected not only a student like me, who heard them 120 years later, but also struck the heart of a young man there at that time, James William Lambuth, who was also aspiring to become a missionary to China. He asked to meet the young lady who had said these words, Mary Isabella McClellen. That was in October 1853. The two were married, and then in May of the following year, they departed on a ship from New York as missionaries of the Southern Methodist Church. After a voyage of four months, they arrived in China. Only two months later, on November 10, their first son, Walter Russell, was born in Shanghai. Walter Russell was later to become the founder of Kwansei Gakuin University in western Japan.
I imagine that it was no easy matter for the twenty-one-year-old Mary Isabella to experience her first pregnancy during the long sea voyage and her first trip to a foreign country, then to give birth in China. While James William was spending two weeks a month living with Chinese people, traveling by ship on journeys of evangelism, Mary, far from home and carrying a nursing baby, kept house. She gathered women and children, taught them jobs, evangelized them and cared for them. Writing to friends in America, she reported that “one month ago there was delivered into my hands and heart a darling boy. He is as cute as can be and our hearts are filled with thanksgiving to God. We are praying from our hearts that he will grow well and become a fine person who will faithfully follow Jesus.” Here we can see Mary’s strong faith that everything she had, her own life and the new life given to her, were gifts from God and should gladly be yielded to Jesus. This faith and Mary’s obedience to God remained throughout her life. Mary traveled back and forth between China and America many times. For a while, she left her young children in America. Even after she experienced the loss of her six-year-old daughter to scarlet fever, she continued to give her all to the evangelization of China.
In 1876, when Walter was fourteen, Mary sent an unusual letter to the foreign mission office in the U.S. “We think that Japan is where we ought to go. Sometimes Walter feels that Japan would be a good place to work…..’It is the right time and the right place.’ I think that this is a good watchword and one which I don’t want to forget.” The quiet acceptance of this vision, although there was still no possibility of planning to act on it, must have come from the love of a mother with deep faith.
Ten years later, after 32 years of mission work spent in medical evangelism in China, the Lambuths resigned. Mary was 53 and James 56. Both were fluent in the Chinese language, but they left China for Japan and arrived in Kobe on July 29, 1885. Three months later, the young Walter Lambuth arrived and two days later opened a reading room, which became the roots of Palmore Institute and Keimei Gakuin Junior and Senior High Schools. The family opened its doors, and thus the Kobe mission began.
In 1887, Mary moved from the foreign compound in Kobe to Yama 2-ban (now Nakayamate) in the city of Kobe proper. There, in a large room on the first floor of her home, she opened a home school for young girls. Besides teaching knitting, English, Western cooking and the Bible, she traveled to Hiroshima to assist Nancy Gaines and the Hiroshima Girls’ School and energetically supported mission in West Japan.
In 1888, Mary’s classroom added an assistant, Okajima Hatsune, and the Board of Evangelism (of the Southern Methodist Church) in the U.S. approved the change of name of the Kobe Girls’ School to the Lambuth Memorial Girls’ School. Mary’s husband James died in Kobe in 1892, and Mary returned to America for a time, but she returned to Soshu, China, where her daughter Nora and her husband were serving in mission. There, she died at the age of 71 and was buried in Shanghai.
Her work in Japan lasted only seven years, and it also included supporting her son Walter, who was weakened by sickness, as well as his wife Daisy and their children. However, in 1921, it was decided to join together the Hiroshima Girls’ School, the Nursery School Teacher Training Department, and the Kobe Lambuth Memorial Girls’ School, and a beautiful new school for the training of kindergarten teachers and women evangelists was built in Osaka on a 3,300-square-meter piece of land. According to a newspaper report at the time, this school was to be named Mary Lambuth Girls’ School in honor of this unique person.
The newspaper report read, “Mrs. J. W. Lambuth, who was sent by the Southern Methodist Church, U.S.A. in 1885, was an exceptional woman who, with a baby in one arm and a Bible in the other, proclaimed Christ and educated people. That this fine school could be built is due to her. It is in her memory and to honor her that this school is named.”
It was this school, named for Mary, which later became Seiwa Joshi (women’s) Gakuin and grew to be Seiwa College. In April 2009 it was combined with the school founded by Walter Lambuth, Kwansei Gakuin. Seiwa College continues to be a training place for child care professionals and educators. I believe that the faith, determination and youthful devotion of Mary has borne fruit that can be seen today. Joshua declared so resolutely, “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.” (Joshua 24:15), but to me this could be Mary’s voice speaking. My plea is that history will continue to honor her name. (Tr. GM)
 わたしが聖和大学(Seiwa College)のキリスト教教育学科の学生だったころ、聖和(Holy Union)の源流となる3つの学校の創設について聞いた中で、特に印象深い話がありました。創立者の一人であるMary Isabella Lambuth(1832.12.17~1904.6.26)が、10代の若い日に、中国宣教へのアピールがなされた集会で、”I give five dollars and myself”と語ったという話です。
 この一途で情熱的な言葉は、120年以上経ってそれを聞いた学生であるわたしだけでなく、語られた当時、同じく中国への伝道を志していたJames William Lambuthの心を強くうったのでしょう。彼は、それを語った女性、Mary Isabella McClellanに会いたいと願います。それがきっかけとなり、1853年10月、二人は結婚し、南メソジスト教会の宣教師として翌年5月にニューヨークを出航、4ヶ月の船旅の末9月18日に中国到着します。そのわずか2ヵ月後、11月10日に上海(しゃんはい)(Shanghai)で、後に関西(かんせい)学院(がくいん)(Kwansei Gakuin University)の創立者となる長男Walter Russellが誕生します。
 21歳の若いMary Isabellaにとって、初めての赤ちゃんをお腹に宿しての長い船旅、そしてはじめての異国、中国での出産は並大抵のことではなかったと想像します。その頃James Williamは、月のうち2週間は船に乗り、中国人と生活を共にして伝道の旅をしていました。メアリーは、異郷にあって乳飲み子を抱えて家を守り、その間に女性や子どもたちをあつめて仕事を教え、伝道し、世話をしました。そして彼女は米国の友人へこのように書き送っているのです。「一月ほど前に、わたしたちの心と手の中に、可愛い男の子を与えられました。とてもかわいくて、わたしたちは神様への感謝の心に満ちています。この子が立派に成長してイエスに従う忠実な僕になることが出来るよう心から祈っています。」ここには、彼女自身とそこから生まれた命、それらはすべて与えられたものであり、イエスに従うために喜んでささげたものであるという強い信仰が表されています。そしてこの信仰とイエスへの従順は、メアリーの生涯一貫して変わらないものでした。
 その後も、数度、米国と中国を行き来し、幼い子どもたちを一時米国に預けたり、6歳の娘を猩紅熱(scarlet fever)で亡くすという経験をしながらも、彼女は中国伝道にすべてを捧げていきます。しかしウォルターが14歳になった1876年、メアリーは外国伝道局に不思議な言葉を送ります。「日本はわたしたちの行くべき所のように思います。時々日本は、ウォルターにとってよい働き場所だろうと思います<略>『万事は適時に適所で』というのがよい標語で、これを私は忘れたくないと思います。」 まだ何の計画も到底考えられないときに静かに抱かれた幻であり、信仰深い母の愛の洞察だったのかもしれません。
 それから約十年がたち、実に32年間の中国での医療伝道を含めた宣教を突如辞任し、中国語も堪能だった二人(メアリー53歳とJW:老ランバス56歳)はそれらを捨てて日本に向かい、1885年7月29日に神戸に到着します。3ヶ月遅れてウォルター(若ランバス)が着き、2日後には後のパルモア学院 (Palmore Institute)や啓(けい)明女(めいじょ)学院(がくいん) (Keimei Gakuin Junior and Senior High School) のルーツともなる、読書館を開室し、家族あげての神戸での宣教が始まります。
 1887年、メアリーは神戸居留地から神戸市内の山二番(現在の中山手)に転居し、自宅の1階応接間で若い女性たちのための家庭塾を開き、編み物や英語、西洋料理、聖書を教え始めるほか、広島女学校(Hiroshima Girl’s school)のゲインズ(Nancy Gaines)を応援するため広島に向かうなど、精力的に西日本での宣教に取り組みます。1888年、メアリーの神戸の教室は、岡島(おかじま)初音(はつね)を補助者として与えられ、本国伝道局に認められて、神戸女子学校Kobe Girl’s school(神戸婦人伝道学校)のちにランバス記念伝道女学校と呼ばれるこことなります。メアリーは、その後1892年、夫JWを神戸で亡くし、米国へいったん帰国しますが、娘ノラ夫妻が宣教を続ける中国へ再度渡り、最後は中国蘇州で71歳で召天、上海に葬られたのでした。
 *(この学院は1885年に米国南メソジスト教会から派遣されたMrs. J. W.Lambuth ―彼女は片手に赤ちゃんを抱いて、もう片方に聖書を持って、キリストを伝え、教えた人で、このように立派な学院が建てられるに至ったのは、ひとえにこの人によるものであり、彼女の名を記念し、冠として、この学校は名付けられている。)
 こうしてメアリーの名前(ランバス)をつけた学校は、後に聖和(せいわ)女子(じょし)学院(がくいん) (Seiwa Joshigakuin)、聖和大学へと発展し、昨2009年4月にはウォルターの建てた関西学院と合併して、保育者と教員養成の場として、これからも歩いていくことになりました。メアリーの信仰と決意、若い日のあの献身が結んだ実の今日の姿だと思います。ヨシュアが決然と語った、「ただし、わたしとわたしの家は主に仕えます。」(ヨシュア24:15)の言葉が彼女の声として聞こえてくるようです。その名を冠した歴史を受け継いでいけるようにと願っています。
学校法人関西学院 聖和短期大学・宗教主事  小見(こみ)のぞみ