60 Years in Japan: “I Am Happy”

by Shirley M. Juten, retired United Methodist missionary
Former Professor, Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin Junior College

The training center of Izumi Church, Tokyo, is located in Kita-Karuizawa of Gunma Prefecture, a place famous as a summer resort. Quite a few members of other churches have probably camped there during the summer. Shirley Juten lives in a little house on the site. After almost 60 years since she was sent to Japan from the U.S., she shared about her dedicated life as follows.*

I was born and grew up in Minnesota, U.S.A. —a cold place where the temperature sometimes goes down to 30 degrees below zero in the wintertime. My parents, who served as officers of the Evangelical Church and principal of the church school, seemed to be proud of my becoming a missionary. I say “seemed,” for I, their daughter, was away in a foreign country and did not stay with them for more than a few weeks at a time, and even then, I only went home once every few years. They must have felt lonely. When I told them of my decision to become a missionary, however, they agreed with me, saying, “It is good to work for others.”

It was at a summer camp of the church when I was ten years old that I decided to be a missionary. Every night, we enjoyed a camp fire and ice cream that we bought at the refreshment stand. On the last night, a special meeting took place, but having missed the announcement of the meeting, I and a friend of mine appeared in rough clothes and with ice cream in hand, while everyone else was dressed up. Unable to hide the ice cream in our pockets, we could only embarrassingly swallow it down as quickly as possible.

At that meeting, the missionary asked the audience after the sermon: “Is there anybody who wants to become a missionary?” Looking around, I saw a few older children I respected holding up their hands. Wishing to erase the shameful feelings I had earlier, I too instinctively held up my hand. Consequently, everything started at that moment. I raised my hand just to be a good girl, but the gesture meant a promise to God. From that time, I prayed and prayed, continuing to ask myself if this was the will of God.

Even though I was still unsure while in high school, I entered a college that emphasized social welfare studies and majored in the Bible and Christian education in order to become a missionary. I got a job after graduating from college, but at last I convinced myself that it was God’s will for me to be a missionary. Immediately, I made contact with the mission board, and my mission in Japan was decided upon within three months. After completing graduate study in child education, I was on board a ship for Japan when I was 25 years old.

For 43 years, I taught Christian education and childcare. For the first five years, I gave lectures in English by way of an interpreter, but after that, being told to “do it myself,” I made the effort to lecture in Japanese. It was hard for me, but probably also hard for the students.
Most people never have the opportunity to enter deeply into a different culture and live there. I feel that I have been blessed with this opportunity, so I have enjoyed myself immensely on the job and in an environment closely connected with the Japanese people. Thus, I gradually became not just someone set apart, but their comrade. Even though I experienced difficulties, such as being forced to cancel the graduation worship during the time of student riots [in the 1970s], when I also served as Director of Christian Activities, I have never thought of going back to the U.S., even after I retired in 1996.

Since my retirement, I have lived in this small house in Kita-Karuizawa on the site of the training center of Izumi Church, Tokyo, with which I became associated when asked to hold a Bible class during my first days in Japan.

There is no church around here, and during the summer when people come to their cabins for vacations, we have held services at the training center these past 19 years. On the other hand, although those who live in my neighborhood and the local farmers are not Christians, I am now closely connected with them, for I have held Christmas celebrations with their children every year.

Because I have no car, many of my friends take me in their cars for shopping. I also often take busses and taxis. Although inconvenient—as well as a little expensive—my no-car policy brings me friendship with various people. A few years ago, when I suddenly felt sick and had to be hospitalized, some bus drivers and taxi drivers, wondering why I did not appear as a passenger, anxiously asked the police to check on my condition.

Because of my health, for a recent few years, I spend a couple of months in the summer in Kita-Karuizawa and the rest of the year in a Christian facility in Gunma Prefecture. I am thankful for the protected life in this facility. Being a foreigner, I stand out anyway, and so I think my presence among these people serves as a testimony of God’s love for them. (Tr. AY)

—Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)
*(A summary by the Shinto no Tomo)

日本 に遣わされて60年「幸せです」       Shirley M. Juten

ユナ イテッド・メソジスト宣教師,元東洋英和女学院大学短期大学部教授 

避暑 地として有名な群馬県の北軽井沢に東京・和泉教会の研修所がある。CSのサマーキャンプなどで利用したことのある他教会の信徒も少な くないのではないだろうか。その敷地内の小さな家に住む、宣教師のジュティーン先生。アメリカから日本に派遣されて間もなく六〇年に なる彼女の献身の証しを聞いた。(まとめ・編集部) 

私は アメリカのミネソタ州の、冬にはマイナス三〇度にもなる寒い地域に生まれ育ちました。両親は福音教会の役員や教会学校の校長をするな ど熱心な信徒で、私が宣教師になったことを誇りに思っていたようです。「ようです」というのは、娘が海外に行ってしまい、数年に一度 帰国しても十数日しか一緒に過ごせないこともあり、やはり寂しさのほうを先に感じていたようだからです。もっとも私が宣教師になりた いと話したときには「人のためになることなら大丈夫」と賛成してくれました。

宣 教師になろうと思ったのは十歳のときに参加した教会のサマーキャンプでした。毎晩、皆で売店で買ったアイスクリームを食べながらキャ ンプファイヤーを楽しんでいたのですが、最後の晩だけは特別な集会がありました。ところが、友人と私はそのお知らせを聞き逃してしま い、皆がきちんと着替えているところへ、アイスクリームを持ったまま朝からのラフな格好で行ってしまったのです。アイスクリームをポ ケットにしまうわけにもいかず、急いで食べてしまうしかなく、とても恥ずかしい思いをしました。

そ の集会では宣教師の話があり、最後に「宣教師になりたい人はいますか?」とその宣教師が皆に聞いたんです。周りを見ると、自分が ちょっとだけ尊敬している年上の子が数人手を挙げている。さっき、恥ずかしい思いをしたこともあり、咄(とっ)嗟(さ)に手を挙げました。そこから、すべてが始まりました。いい 子になろうとして手を挙げたのですが、「神さまに約束」をしてしまったわけですから、以来、それが神さまの御心であるかどう か問い続けながら祈りました。

高 校時代もまだ迷っていましたが、宣教師になるために社会福祉系の大学に入学し、聖書とキリスト教教育を専攻しました。卒業後は一旦就 職、その後やっと宣教師になることは御心だと受け入れることができるようになりました。すぐにミッションボード(伝道局)にコンタク トして、三ヶ月後には日本行きが決まりました。大学院で幼児教育を勉強した後、船で渡日したのは二十五歳のときでした。

東 洋英和の短大の保育科で四三年間、キリスト教教育や保育学を教えてきましたが、最初の一期(五年間)は通訳付きで講義しました。二期 目ではさすがに学校側から「もうご自分で」と言われ、日本語でがんばりました。かなり苦労しましたが、学生も苦労したと思います。

私 は異なる文化に深く入り、そこで生活することは普通の人にはなかなか経験できない、ある意味で特別な恵みだと思うので、日本人との関 わりが多い職場、生活環境を満喫しました。そうやって、特別な存在ではなく、だんだん仲間になっていきました。学園紛争のときには卒 業礼拝ができなくなり、宗教主任として苦渋を味わったこともありましたが、九六年に退職したあともアメリカに帰ることは考えませんで した。

退 職後は、来日当初に英語の聖書クラスを頼まれたことを機に関わりができた東京・和泉教会が所有する北軽井沢の研修所敷地内に小さな家 を建てさせてもらって、そこに住んでいます。

こ の近辺には教会がないので、昨年までの一九年間、夏場に別荘にやって来る信徒さんたちが集まり、研修所で礼拝を持ってきました。一 方、ずっとここに暮らしているご近所さんや農家の方々はクリスチャンではありませんが、毎年子どもたちを集めてクリスマス会をしてき たこともあり、今では深いつながりがあります。

私 は車を持っていないので、いろいろなお友だちが買い物に行くときに一緒に連れていってもらっています。あとはバスやタクシーもよく使 います。不便でちょっとお金もかかりますが、かえっていろいろな人との関わりができます。

数 年前、急に具合が悪くなって入院したとき、バスとタクシーの運転手さんが私が急に乗らなくなったので心配して、近所の交番の警察官に 頼んでわざわざ見に行ってくれた、なんてこともありました。

健康上の問題から、ここ数年は夏場の数カ月だけをこの北軽井沢で過ごし、あとは群馬県内 のキリスト教系の施設に暮らしています。施設での守られた暮らしにも感謝しています。どちらにいても私は外国人ですし、目立つ存在で す。だから、ただ、皆の中で「共に生きる」ということがひとつの証しになると思っています。(信徒の友)

Ministry in a Japanese Canadian Community

by Yoko Kihara, Kyodan missionary, Minister of the United Church of Canada Fraser Valley Japanese United Church
Surrey, British Columbia, Canada

I was appointed as a half-time minister at Fraser Valley Japanese United Church in Surrey, British Columbia in 2005. It was difficult to support the livelihood of my family, so my husband, two daughters, and I have been financially supported by friends in the Kyodan in Japan. The term of the first appointment was three years, but it was renewed, and thankfully our congregation has been receiving a United Church of Canada Home Mission Support Grant since 2010. Although our membership is shrinking, I am still continuing and developing the ministry in the Japanese-Canadian community here.

Christian mission began among Japanese people on the west coast of Canada in 1892, and the Japanese Methodist Church in Vancouver and on Vancouver Island were the first to be founded. There were seven Japanese United Churches on the west coast before World War II. When war broke out, Japanese-Canadian people living within 100 miles of the west coast were relocated, and they and their churches lost their property. Rev. William McWilliams, who had served as an overseas missionary in Japan for 21 years before the war, worked very hard to help Japanese-Canadian people in the internment camp during the war. One of his greatest contributions was providing high school education within the internment camp by calling on missionaries who had worked in Japan before the war and by caring for young Japanese-Canadian people spiritually. Thanks to the devotional work of McWilliams and other missionaries, many people were baptized in the internment camp and formed UCC Japanese-Canadian c hurches all over Canada.

At the end of the war, McWilliams came out of the internment camp with the Japanese-Canadian people and encouraged them to stay and to survive in Canada, since he knew there was starvation and confusion in Japan just after the war. In 1950, the British Columbian government finally permitted Japanese-Canadian people to go back to the coast, and McWilliams also moved to South Surrey, visited struggling Japanese people all over Fraser Valley, and formed four Home Gathering Groups. Thanks to his devotion and passion for ministry, many Japanese-Canadian first- and second-generation people were baptized. Fraser Valley Japanese United Church grew at it provided a community and a sense of home where people could share Japanese food with each other, learn English and the basic knowledge about being a Canadian citizen, and meet a caring pastor who guided them to the Christian faith.

After the 1980s, Canadian immigration policy changed, and as Japan developed economically, the number of immigrants from Japan drastically decreased. Many of the recent immigrants from Japan married non-Japanese people, so they no longer belong to the Japanese community. Therefore, our congregation is shrinking year by year and financially struggles to support even a half-time minister. I think it would have been an easy decision for me just to complete the three-year appointment and go back to Japan. But I felt a sense of calling to serve this tiny faith community, just as God had loved the people of Israel because of their small numbers and weakness (Deuteronomy 7). Also, our two children had adjusted to the Canadian culture of diversity and chose to stay here to complete their post-secondary education. Our family decided to apply for landed immigrant status, and I enrolled in the admission process to become a UCC ordained minister to continue the ministry in Canada. Both processes took about three years. I was accepted by the United Church of Canada as an ordained minister in June 2010, and my whole family was accepted as landed immigrants in November 2010.

During these processes, I met many young Japanese intermarried families in this area and learned that each family was partly isolated; had problems with their children’s education; and needed a place to meet, make friends, and hang out. We started an outreach gathering for children once or twice a month from July 2009, and usually 10 to 15 children and their mothers gather together. Those children and their families naturally participated in special services, such as at Easter and Christmas, and in special events, such as summer picnics and festivals.

Since the Fraser Valley Japanese congregation is peaceful and caring, and since its senior members enjoyed the children’s participation in services and other events as well as the interaction with young families, gradually the congregation and young families were united in a sense of community. Since the lives of children and young families are very busy today, we cannot expect every child to come every time. However, after the natural disaster in Japan on March 11, 2011, two single-parent families were evacuated from the nuclear disaster area and joined our children’s group. I found that everyone needs a sense of belonging and am grateful that our small community is serving others in need beyond our expectation.

We also started a seniors’ outreach gathering from July 2010 and invited isolated first-generation Japanese people. We meet once each month, and I lead easy physical exercises and stretches and also lead the singing of Japanese traditional songs and famous hymns. Then we have a potluck lunch, share with each other important information for seniors, and enjoy talking. Seniors living alone, without many opportunities to meet and eat together, look forward to attending the next gathering. About ten people regularly attend.

Seniors are generally losing things, such as good health, house, partner, abilities, so experience a sense of loneliness. I have realized that the loneliness and isolation of immigrant seniors involve much more than just that. Their children speak only English, have internalized Canadian values, and never live together with their parents. Although elderly Japanese-Canadian people somehow keep Japanese traditional values, never complain, and are very patient, they increasingly have trouble adapting to Canadian food, and many of them have difficulty in assisted living and care facilities. I think that how to support the lives of elderly immigrants in Canada will become a serious issue, and I believe that this small outreach ministry will contribute to the creation of a caring and supportive network for isolated Japanese elderly people in our community.

Although new immigrants to Canada are increasing, the United Church of Canada could not include these people, partly due to its liberal theology and the lack of cultural sensitivity. Many UCC churches share space with ethnic minority faith communities, not to reach out to them but to raise money for the maintenance of the building, and there are many problems and conflicts between two or three cultural groups. In 2006, the UCC General Council approved the proposal of a vision to become an “intercultural” church. To be “intercultural” means being non-judgmental, learning, celebrating, and understanding of different cultures in order to build reciprocal relationships and create a new and rich culture. After the vision was approved, I attended three national Intercultural Conferences and received racial justice training and training for intercultural ministry. Since Fraser Presbytery, to which Fraser Valley Japanese United Church belongs, set intercultural ministry and multigenerational ministry as strategic goals for its vision for mission in 2010, I have been expected to lead and enhance the intercultural ministry in Fraser Presbytery as one of the ethnic minority ministers.

In addition, Fraser Valley Japanese United Church has been financially supported by a UCC Home Mission Grant since 2010, so I need to contribute to the wider church in various ways. I visited a local congregation that is intentionally becoming an intercultural church and led intercultural workshops. I also organized a workshop within Fraser Presbytery, inviting a facilitator from Los Angeles, and formed a study group for the ministry. It takes time and energy to understand different cultures and to build a reciprocal and creative relationship, but it is also exciting and inspiring to enhance and to explore the ministry as I deeply know and think about how I was shaped in Japan and in my family, how I accepted the Christian faith, and how I am going to integrate Japanese traditional values and spirituality with North American Christianity through the intercultural conversation.

Today, every UCC Japanese church is aging and shrinking, and some of them are intentionally trying to become an intercultural church by embracing other cultural groups as well as the third- and fourth-generation of Japanese-Canadian people who married non-Japanese people. Although our congregation has few opportunities to join or participate in exchanges with other cultural people because of the language barrier, the rate of intermarriage of Japanese people is very high, and we try to include non-Japanese spouses and their parents in special occasions by having bilingual services.

Canada is a country that accepts many immigrants and refugees from abroad, and our environment is changing year by year. In former years, each cultural group formed its own communities and tried to avoid the cultural crush by keeping its distance. Now our children are living in a much more diverse situation than before, and we are enjoying various cultural foods and festivals. Some people and groups are intentionally trying to develop an understanding of each other that goes beyond the visible part of culture. In our community in Surrey, multi-faith conversation and interaction happens regularly. For example, people of various faiths gathered and prayed together for the people in Japan right after the disaster there on March 11, 2011. The leader of each faith group prayed for Japan in its own language, and I was deeply touched and felt that our people were being lifted up all over the world by prayers that transcend our differences.

I do not know how long we can continue the ministry in the Japanese-Canadian community here, but I trust God, who guided us and prepared the way for us until today. As Abraham and Sarah traveled in the desert without knowing where they were to go, we will continue our faith journey as a family of God, with hope given by God.

The Organized Long-term Sending of Volunteers The West Tokyo District Approach

Over the past year, congregations and districts in the Kyodan, together with their members as individuals, have been searching for the best ways both to give and to organize aid to the stricken areas and churches of the East Japan disaster area. As a part of our continuing coverage of the disaster response, we want to report on the unique approach of West Tokyo District, as detailed in a talk given by Makabe Iwao, pastor of Soai Church and chairman of the West Tokyo District East Japan Disaster Relief Committee.

In the West Tokyo District, a proposal was made by its core leadership immediately after the earthquake and tsunami to form a disaster relief committee, and this was formally enacted at the April 4 meeting of the district’s Commission on Mission. In addition to forming the East Japan Disaster Relief Committee, the commission also approved the sending of volunteers and the collection of relief funds.

Makabe pointed out three main reasons for this quick action. The first was that immediately after the disaster, on March 21, at a workshop sponsored by West Tokyo District, a report was presented in words and photos by photographer Momoi Kazuma, the speaker, about his visit to the disaster area just one day before. In addition, Kyodan Executive Secretary on General Affairs Fujimori Yuki, who had been sent to inspect the aftermath of the disaster, gave his report. Both of these reports had a great impact on the congregations.

The second reason for the quick action was the result of the report from Noda Taku, director of the Student Christian Fellowship, located within the district, who had been sent as a district pastor to the Tohoku District Disaster Relief Center ten days after the earthquake. His report on the situation and relief activities already in progress formed the foundation for the district’s response.
The third reason was the experience of previous relief efforts organized by West Tokyo District following past disasters, such as the Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake (1995 in Kobe) and the Chuetsu Earthquake (2004 in Niigata). There were still some unused funds collected for those efforts, so these funds were available for immediate use in specific ways in this emergency.

The first team of district volunteers went on April 25, and three additional teams were later sent, so that by the end of November 2011, more than 200 persons served in various ways in the disaster area. The volunteers were comprised of a wide variety of people, including clergy and lay members, along with students from mission schools, and even some with no Christian connection whatever. The funds to send the volunteers were supplied from within the district, and all together more than five million yen has been contributed to this effort. We can say that this shows the consciousness and concern of each individual of the district.

The specific work is being directed by the Center for Disaster Victims of the Tohoku District of the Kyodan. The places of service are in the Arahama area in Wakabayashi Ward in Sendai City. In the beginning, the work was centered on mud removal but has changed with time, as volunteers are now also helping with projects like house repair.

At first, it was not easy to break through the local people’s preconceptions of the Christian faith, so they were slow to warm up to the volunteers. But together with Noda’s persistent dialog with the people and the volunteers not only providing physical labor but also helping the victims work through their emotions, trust was gradually won.
Finally, the main concern now is the long-term continuation of the relief effort. “Nothing is more important than a long-term continuation of the work,” says Makabe. (Tr. GM)
Summarized by Nishio Misao, member
Suginami Church, West Tokyo District and
KNL Editorial Committee member
Based on a Kyodan Shinpo (Kyodan Times) article



東日本大震災の被害地域や教会支援のために諸教区・各教会・個人がなすべき役割を模索し、実行している。その中 で、極めて特徴的な働きをしている西東京教区の被災地支援の取り組みを、西東京教区東日本大震災支援委員会委員長の真壁巌(まかべ  いわお)牧師(相愛教会)の談話から紹介したい。

西東京教区では、震災直後に被災地支援委員会の設置が三役会で提案され、4月4日 に開催された宣教委員会で東日本大震災支援委員会が正式に設置された。同時に、被災地へのボランティア派遣と、募金開始を決定した。 このような、教区としての敏速な動きの背景には三つの大きな理由があると真壁牧師は指摘する。一つ目は、震災直後の3月21日に行われた西東京教区全体研修会で、講師の写真家桃井和馬(ももい かずま)氏が前日まで取材していた被災地の 様子を写真と共に報告、さらに、教団から派遣されて被災地を訪問していた藤盛勇紀(ふじもり ゆうき)総務幹事からも被害状況の報告 があり、参加者に大きなインパクトを与えたこと。二つ目は教区内にある、学生キリスト教友愛会(SCF)の野田沢(のだ たく)主事が西東京教区の教師 として震災十日後に東北教区被災地支援センターに派遣され、現地の情報や現地活動の基礎が教区にもたらされていたこと。三つ目は過去 の震災、すなわち阪神大震災や中越地震など、においてすでに西東京教区の救援の働きが組織的に行われており、献金などの余剰金も積み 立てられていたので、今回すぐに具体的な活動に取り組むことが出来たこと、である。

4月25日から4次にわたって派遣されたボランティアは11月末現在延べ200名 を超えており、被災地で様々な活動を行ってきた。メンバーは幅広く、教職、信徒、キリスト教主義学校の学生、全く教会を知らない人な ど西東京教区を中心として集まっている。派遣のための費用はすべて教区内で賄っているが、今回新たに捧げられた献金は500万円を超えており、教区内の一人ひとりの意識の高 さが表れていると言える。

具体的な活動は東北教区被災者センターからの指示により行われている。活動場所は仙台市内の若林区荒浜地区が中心 になっている。当初は泥出しが主であったが、時間の経過とともに多少変わってきて、現在は住宅の補修なども行っているようだ。当初現 地の人たちのキリスト教への警戒心や心を解きほぐすのは容易ではなかった。だが、野田SCF主事が現地の人たちとの粘り強い対話を重ねてきた ことや、ボランティアも力仕事だけではなく、被災者に寄り添い、気持ちを合わせて話をする中で、信頼を得るまでになったという。

最後に、これからの課題は何よりも継続であり、 この活動を息長く続けていくことが何よりも大切だと真壁牧師は語っている。(教団新報より要約)西尾操(KNL編集委員・杉並教会員)

A Message From General Secretary Reflections on the Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Effort

Nearly a year has passed since the Great East Japan Earthquake devastated Japan. The focus of the Kyodan’s efforts began with debris removal but has now shifted to local church sanctuary rebuilding. Even within that, the long-term goal is to rebuild the church. “Rebuilding the church” refers not only to constructing new buildings and repairing damaged ones but also to building a foundation to support reconstruction of the society that has been ravaged by the disaster.

As we look back on the Kyodan’s relief effort so far, my hope is that we can utilize that experience to move forward with our continued support efforts.

On March 12, the day following the earthquake, the Kyodan’s Relief Planning Committee was established under General Secretary Naito, and relief work was initiated. We were able to make immediate use of the emergency fund approved for such catastrophes on Dec. 20 and 21 at the first Executive Council meeting of the 37th General Assembly biennium.

1) From March 13 to 16, Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi and four others were dispatched to evaluate the situation in general.
2) A fundraising campaign was started by the Committee on Social Concerns.
3) Reporting of information began through Kyodan publications and on our website.
4) A total of 10,500,000 yen has been sent to the three most affected districts to begin relief activities.
5) Although the Relief Headquarters was organized late, in communication with each of the districts, decisions were made as to how we would support the region through the three hubs of Sendai, Ishinomaki, and Tono.

At the end of June, the Relief Planning Committee became part of the Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Headquarters.

The Great East Japan Earthquake Relief Headquarters was set up on March 22 by the permanent Executive Council members and officially approved by the Executive Council on April 18.

Ten people are at the headquarters: the moderator, vice-moderator, and secretary of the Kyodan, along with five members of the Executive Council and one representative each from the Japan Christian Social Work League and the mission schools. Our policy is to “support rebuilding churches that serve the people of the area in their salvation [restoration].” The entire Kyodan will work to fulfill its responsibility, with the Kyodan moderator serving as director of the headquarters, and moderators of the most devastated districts and the Kyodan general secretary attending meetings as well.

Already there have been nine meetings to decide many important issues.
1) Fundraising principles were established, and fundraising was begun. The goal for domestic contributions is 1 billion yen, and for foreign contributions, 1.2 billion yen.
2) Members of the Headquarters Committee have made trips to observe the earthquake disaster zone, and the committee has gradually changed its approach, in accordance with the various needs recognized. Particular attention has been given to children of church kindergartens and nursery schools through our project to protect the lives of children (such as clean air camps, etc.), with the realization that there are many issues.
3) Rebuilding Christian social welfare facilities.
4) Long-term scholarship support for students of devastated areas.
5) Mental healthcare for disaster victims, especially those living in temporary housing units.
6) The emergency symposium “Christianity and the Current Crisis in Japan,” which was held Aug. 29-30, was a wonderful gathering. Pastors, seminarians, teachers, and social work-related workers were given an opportunity to think and discuss what this great disaster means for us.

As I looked at the relief activities within the districts affected by the disaster, I realized that there were numerous cases in which the aid given was donated directly, without passing through the Kyodan Relief Planning Headquarters.

In this, we can see the individual character of each church and district and how each contributes in a meaningful way to the support of earthquake victims. However, thinking of the long term, I believe it is important that churches recognize the importance of belonging to the Kyodan and hope they will use the Kyodan’s relief effort route more extensively when trying to assist churches in need. (Tr. WJ)

—Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary



東日本大震災発生からまもなく一年が経とうとしている。教団の救援体制は今、瓦 礫撤去に象徴される初動支援から『会堂再建』を中核とした『教会再建』という長期支援に移行しようとしている。『教会再建』は単に教 会のみの事柄ではなく、被災した地域社会の復興に仕えるための土台となることなのである

そこで今日までの教団の救援活動をふりかえり、今後の支援活動推 進に役立てたい。

大震災翌日の3月12日 (土)、内藤総幹事のもとに『救援対策委員会』を 設置し、救援活動を開始した。この委員会設置は、第37総会期第1回常議員会(2010年12/19-20)で 可決された緊急『救援対策基金に関する運用規定』に基づいてい る。直ちに実行したことは、

1)広範囲にわたる被災地の状況把握のための調査隊派遣(石橋議長 を隊長とした4名)それは3/13-16の四日間。



4)被災3教区に初動活動費として各1千 万円と見舞金50万円を送金

5)各教区との連絡を密にしながら、少し遅れて設置された『救援対 策本部』の活動に協力する形で支援活動を仙台、石巻、遠野の三箇所に拠点を定めていくことになった。


『東日本大震災救援対策本部』設置は3月22日 の常任常議員会の議を経て決まり、4月18日の常議員会で正式に承認された。