We who are Chosen by the Lord

Executive Council Report

The third Executive Council meeting of the current two-year General Assembly period took place Oct. 21-22 at the Kyodan headquarters, with all 30 members in attendance. General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo noted the damage done by Typhoon 26 (named “Typhoon Wipha” by Western media although Japan uses only numbers).  The 49 victims included one Kyodan church member. There was also a report on the numerous visits from representatives of overseas churches this past spring.


Regarding the continuing discussion about the degree of earthquake resistance of the Japan Christian Center Building, a meeting of owner representatives was held at the request of the building maintenance union, which in turn was based on the decision of the Kyodan Executive Council, but the owners were unable to decide what to do.  Kitakoji Masashi, the design architect of the Vories Architectural Firm, stated that the earthquake resistance figures for the fourth through sixth floors, as well as the eighth floor, were below the standard level, so there is danger that the building could collapse in a strong earthquake. The Executive Council established a new committee called the “Task Force on the Japan Christian Center Building Issue.” The 16-member committee includes the Kyodan moderator, vice moderator, and secretary along with the members of the Executive Committee and the chairperson of the Commission on Finance.


The Committee on the Research Institute on the Mission of the Church reported on the second version of the Revised Basic Principles of Mission.

Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo stated that the important issues left over from the 2010 General Assembly have continued to be discussed by the Executive Council and have been drafted as specific proposals that will be on the agenda of the 2014 General Assembly. Most of the related discussion deals with “world mission” and focuses on what the Kyodan’s vision should be as well as on how to relate to and cooperate with various overseas churches.


The 2012 General Assembly had referred discussion on the resolution concerning nuclear power plants to the Executive Council. The continuing discussion resulted in two proposals on that issue, which were to petition the Japanese government both to abandon plans for the construction of the Kaminoseki Nuclear Plant and also to phase out promptly the presently operating nuclear plants.  As there were many opinions on the contents of the specific proposals, the motion was tabled, and three members were chosen to draft modified proposals for the next meeting.


There was also a report on the activities of the Kyodan Great East Japan Disaster Planning Headquarters and the budget for that work, as well as a report on the International Conference on the Great East Japan Disaster that is scheduled to be held March 11-14 in Sendai.  This will be the first such international conference sponsored by the Kyodan, and preparations are being made for approximately 200 participants from both within and outside Japan.  There will also be a memorial service and a memorial lecture that will be open to the public, with about 1,000 people expected to attend those events. (Tr. TB)  —Kato Makoto, executive secretary



第38総会期第3回常議員会は、10月21、22日両 日、教団会議室で30人全員が出席して開催された。


耐震についての協議が続いている日本キリスト教会館については、教団常議員会の議決に基づき、会館管理組合に検討を申し入れ、会館オーナー会議が開かれたが、方向は定まらなかった。今春以 降、活発な海外諸教会との交流が続いていると報告した。キリスト教会館については、その後、ヴォーリス設計事務所の構造設計担当者、北小 路正(Kitakoji Tadashi)氏により、4~6階及び8階の構 造耐震指標値が基準値以下であり、倒壊または崩壊する危険性があるとの事である。委員は三役と常任常議員及び予 算決算委員会委員長と加えた16名である。審議の後、可決された宣教研究所委員会より主に、「改訂宣教基礎理論第二次草案」 について報告がなされた。

石橋秀雄議長は第37総会から大事な事として扱ってきたもので、常議員会で検討の上、議案化し、第39教団総会に提案したいと述べた。意見交換では主に「世界宣教」について話し合われ、教団としてのビジョンを明確に打ち 出すべき、海外諸教派との協力関係についても意見の交換があった。第38教団総会から常議員会に付託され、継続審議になっていた原発関連2議案が上程された。「上関原発建設計画の白紙撤回と既存原発の即時廃止を日本政府に求める件」は声明の採択が目的であったが、声明の内容についての意見が多く出て、議長は今回は継続審議をし、修正案を提出するため、3名の委員を選出する事を承認した。東日本大震災関連では、救援対策本部の活動、会計報告がなされ、併せて、2014年3月11日から14日まで開催される、東日本大震災国際会議について報告された。教団にとって初の国際会議となるが、国内外を合わせて200名の参加を目標にし、記念礼拝と記念講演は公開にし て、1000名の出席を予定している事が報告された。(加藤誠)

Kyodan’s Commission on Ministry Visits Fukushima

The Commission on Ministry visited churches, church-related kindergartens, and other facilities in Fukushima, Aug. 19-21, and Sept. 2-4, when we were able to visit 25 churches, and meet with 18 pastors. However, we visited seven churches where we were unable to meet with the pastor. In addition, we visited seven kindergartens, daycare centers, and other church-related facilities as well as one facility not directly related to a church.


The overwhelming issue for the churches in Fukushima is nuclear contamination. The issue hangs like a heavy cloud over the lives of clergy, church members, teachers, children at the related daycare centers and kindergartens, as well as all parents and guardians. Not everyone is in agreement as to what the actual situation is, so differences in opinion have created walls of separation between people. One of the biggest problems is that “recovery” and

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“safety” have come to represent two contradictory views that are in constant tension with each other. If the focus in on recovery, this could lead to an underestimation of the risks of radiation. If the prime minister’s unfounded “Safety Declaration” is advertised near and far, this could result in the exposure of a multitude of people to dangerous levels of radiation. On the other hand, if safety becomes the primary concern, then evacuation from Fukushima will be the most important step to insure people’s safety. This would lead to a mass exodus from Fukushima, and all forms of commerce and social activity would come to a halt. What makes this present situation so difficult is that it is not easy to discern whose opinion is right and whose is not. The ongoing tensions reveal how serious this issue is.


For the municipalities to “recover,” it is necessary to stop the population from moving out of the area. To keep people from leaving, it needs to be emphasized that it is safe to live in Fukushima. This would be the position of people who work for Fukushima Prefecture as well as of local cities, towns, and villages in Fukushima. It was reported that one daycare center received a phone call from a man at the local municipality saying, “Our town water is safe so please have the children drink from the tap.” The pastor who shared this information with us said that he himself drinks the water from the tap, but in order to provide a safe environment to alleviate the concern of parents/guardians, he buys bottled water from outside Fukushima. This was the answer that he gave the man who called from the local town hall. Later, the daycare center was criticized for “not cooperating with the town recovery effort.”


At present, there are two Kyodan churches that are inactive due to the nuclear disaster. On this visit, we were able to go to both. For Odaka Church, there was no need for paper work, but for Namie Church we had to do the proper paper work at Namie City Hall before being allowed to travel into the area to stand before the church. As we rode in the car, the surreal landscape was hard for us to view without being overwhelmed by sadness. Before our eyes we could see the town, and yet there were no people. Farmland was overgrown with weeds. Only the traffic lights were in operation, along with a few police cars making their rounds. Suddenly one day, because of the nuclear disaster, the town had been emptied, the church could no longer hold worship services, and the church-related kindergarten had to close. I was speechless as I stood in front of the churches and kindergartens that had been created and maintained, thanks to the prayers and service of so many people throughout the years.


I can understand the feelings of those who emphasize the importance of recovery. They can see in a very real way what will happen if their village or town begins to degenerate and die. And yet, no one can say that it is right to hide the damage that results from exposure to high radiation. This dilemma weighs like a heavy burden on the lives of the people. It tears them and their communities apart, and the suffering continues to grow deeper and heavier. This is the reality of Fukushima today.


Through this visit, we were all made aware of the richness of the Kyodan. Even in the midst of these difficult realities, there are people who are committed to walking alongside the suffering people, carrying on the ministries of the churches and related facilities to bring salvation through the gospel.


In the Kyodan, there are many committed people with a variety of gifts who continue their ministries in Fukushima by walking in the footsteps of Jesus. The Great East Japan Disaster has tested all of us in ways we have never been tested before. But the Kyodan churches and facilities are strong as they carry on the good work of Christ in their respective locations. By witnessing their ministries and listening to their voices, I was able to confirm the enriching presence of the Holy Spirit as it is poured out in each place.


More than anything, I believe we are being called to pray. We need to pray for each and every person in Fukushima and that the enriching work of the Holy Spirit will be felt over the land. Moved along by those prayers, I pray that each of us can give with thankful hearts for the work that needs to be done. I heard from our brothers and sisters that the Kyodan Relief Funds have been put to good use. I heard many words of appreciation for the financial support that the Kyodan has been able to provide. Through our incessant prayers and financial gifts we are enabled to participate in the work of God there in the disaster-stricken areas. I want to emphasize that our prayers and financial gifts are both signs of solidarity that we can offer in the face of difficulties as well as service that we can offer to our Lord. (Tr. JM)

—Yoshizawa Hisashi, secretary Commission on Ministry From Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4783




8/19-21及び9/2-4の日程で、福 島県の諸教会、幼稚園、施設等を問安した。2度の問安で、18名の教師と25の 教会に問安した。教師には会えなかったが教会の様子を見に行った教会が7教会あった。幼稚園保育園等の付属施設を7つ、その他施設を 1つ、8つの付属施設を問安した。

福島の教会で大きな課題は、放射能汚染に関 することである。教師や教会員、付属施設の教師や子ども達、保護者に大きな問題としてのしかかっている。すべての人が同じ意見ではな く、意見の違いによって諍いが生じ、人と人との間が分断されることもある。一番の問題は、「復興」と「安全」が矛盾する形でぶつかり 合うことである。「復興」を優先させれば、放射線のリスクを過小評価することになり、根拠のない「安全宣言」が広告され、多くの人を 被爆させることになる。「安全」を強調すると、福島から避難することが何よりも重要な安全確保になり、人口流出に拍車をかけ、あらゆる集まりが衰退していくことになる。そして、どちらの言い分が間違っており、どちらの言い分が正しいとは簡単には言えないところに、 問題の深さと大きさがある。

町の復興に欠かせないのは、何よりも人口流 出を防ぐことにある。そのためには、福島に暮らしても安全であることが強調される。福島県や市町村、そして町の復興を願う地元の人たちはこの立場にある。市の担当者から保育園に「市の水道水は安全だから、子ども達に使用するように」との通達があったことも聞かされ た。この教師は個人としては水道水を利用しているが、不安を感じている保護者達に少しでも安心して頂くために、県外のペットボトルを 使用していると返答した。しかしその対応が「町の復興の妨げ」として非難されるのである。

現在教団の教会で、原発事故によって2つの 教会が活動を停止している。今回の問安で小高伝道所と浪江伝道所に訪れることが出来た。小高伝道所は手続きなしに行くことが出来た が、浪江伝道所は役所にて手続きをした上で教会の前まで行った。車を走らせながら、その光景の異様さに胸が痛くなった。町そのものは そこにあるのに、人がいない。農地は雑草でぼこぼこになっている。信号のみが動き、パトカーが巡回している。原発事故によってある日 突然、町が停止して、教会も礼拝が出来なくなり、附属幼稚園も保育が停止したのである。多くの祈りと、奉仕によって設立され、主の御 業を担っていた二つの教会と附属幼稚園の現実を前にして、言葉を失うしかなかった。

復興を強調する人たちの気持ちも理解でき る。彼らは自分の町が衰退していくことによってどうなるかということを、目に見える形で見る事が出来るのである。だからといって、放 射線汚染の被害を覆い隠すことが正しいとは言えない。このジレンマが大きな重荷として、人の間を引き裂き、その苦しみは軽くなるので はなく日々重くなっているのが福島の現実である。

今回の問安で示されたことは、教団の豊かさである。以上のような困難を前にしても、教会や保育施設、諸施設はその歩みを前進させ、苦しめる人々に寄り添い、福音によって救いをもたらそうと懸命に歩んでいる。日本基督教団には多くの賜物を持った献身者達が、福島の地でイエス様のみ跡をたどる歩みをしている。 東日本大震災による未曾有の試練の中で、教団の教会や諸施設は、力強く主の御業をそれぞれの地で行っている。その姿を見、その声を聴 くことで、各地に注がれている聖霊の働きを豊かに感じることが出来た。

私たちに求められていることは、何よりも祈ることである。福島の地で奮闘している一人一人を憶えて祈り、聖霊の働きが更に豊かにされることを祈るのである。その祈りに押し出されて、私たちは献げものを感謝して献げていきたい。教団の救援献金は確実に執行され、支援に対する感謝の声を多く聴かされた。熱い祈りと献金によって、私たちは被災地の主の御業につながることができるのである。祈りと献金による連帯こそが、この困難の前に示され た、私たちの奉仕の業であること強調し、問安報告としたい。吉澤ひさし(教師委員会書記)(教団新報第4783号)

Yamanashi Eiwa’s Founding: First Principal, Sarah Wintemute, and Other Young Pioneers

Celebrating the 50th anniversary of its founding in 1873, the Canadian Evangelism Society adopted a resolution to establish a mission presence in Japan, after the end of its self-imposed isolation, by sending two missionaries as its first representatives.  Evangelism in Yamanashi began with the second group that arrived in 1876, with Charles Samuel Eby coming to the Kofu basin on horseback to engage in mission work. After three years of evangelistic efforts, he was able to establish the first church in Kofu, the Japan Methodist Kofu Church, in 1878. The youth of that region who became members of the church expressed their desire to have a school for young girls to attend, as they had no school for girls beyond elementary school. Thus, a group of promoters was established who prepared building plans and asked the Women’s Missionary Society of Canada  (WMSC) to supply teachers. Sarah Agnes Wintemute was sent in response to that request.


Sarah was born in Ontario, Canada in 1864, and graduated from both a school for female instructors and a women’s college, where she studied French and Latin. She also graduated from an art school. After graduation, she was sent by the Canadian Methodist Church’s WMSC in October 1886 to Yamanashi Eiwa Girls’ School, where she taught math, English, physical education, and Western-style sewing until April 1889.


Two years after being initially sent to Japan, Sarah was selected to be the first principal of Yamanashi Eiwa Girls’ School by the WMSC. Shinkai Eitaro, Miyakoshi Shinjiro, and Asao Chokei were the sponsors who gathered donations from the entire prefecture of Yamanashi to prepare for the building of Yamanashi Eiwa Girls’ School.


Sarah left Tokyo at the age of 25 for Yamanashi, when the Kobu Railway extended only as far as Tachikawa. From there, the only way to continue was by horse or on foot. The most difficult section was the six-kilometer climb up to Sasago Pass, and Sarah cried tears of joy when she saw the youth who came to greet her. She eagerly shook their hands with a very firm handshake. She was overjoyed to meet these young people who were of like faith and of the same heart. She arrived at Yamanashi Eiwa on May 14.


With Sarah as principal, Yamanashi Eiwa Girls’ School converted a merchant shop into a school and began operation on June 1, 1889. The school had just 80 tsubo (2,840 square feet) of floor space, and there were only six students. By summer vacation, the number had increased to nine. One of the founders, 25-year-old Shinkai Eitaro, advertised often in the Yamanashi Daily News, trying to recruit students for the school. Finally, by September, another three had enrolled, increasing the student body to 12. The official Opening Ceremony was held on November 2, and Sarah’s address, entitled “Considering Girls’ Education,” was printed in its entirety in the Yamanashi Daily News.


Sarah reported to the WMSC that “Japanese was taught in the morning, and English and moral science were taught in the afternoon, intermingled with Bible. As this was the first opportunity for most of the students to learn about the Bible, they eagerly listened and had many questions.” “It’s an unusual thing for a Christian school to be established, but the people of this area soon realized that this school focused on developing the inner person.”

In the midst of prejudice and severe resistance against Christianity, she gave this as her goal: “Leading students to Christ and giving them the tools to transform their homes in the spirit of Christ into a pure, beautiful and happy environment, while at the same time instilling within them an ethic of service to society.”


At the beginning, using a merchant’s shop for a school was not necessarily an ideal environment for the students. One of the founders, Shinkai Eitaro, bought a 730 tsubo (0.63 acres) piece of land the following year and quickly began construction so that the students could enter by the summer of 1891.


The new building was a half-Western, half-Japanese modern structure. Many people from the prefecture came to see the new building and came to a deeper understanding of the educational philosophy of Yamanashi Eiwa, which reduced their original fear of Christianity. This resulted in the enrollment of 31 new students, 25 of whom lived in the dormitory.


In March 1892, Sarah went back to her country. She returned to Japan in 1893 and married Harper Havelock Coates, a teacher at Toyo Eiwa Boys’ School in Tokyo. The following year, Coates became the second leader of the Chuo Kaido in Tokyo (now Hongo Central Church), following Eby, and Sarah became the head of the women’s association. She worked diligently together with her husband in education, evangelism, and social service, while becoming the mother of six children.


After 48 years of service, Harper died in 1934 at the age of 70, but Sarah remained in Japan. She was present for the celebration of the 50th anniversary of the founding of Yamanashi Eiwa Girls’ School in 1939.


When World War II broke out, she was required to return to her home country, but she never made it back home. She died at the age of 81 in a makeshift hospital in Nicolai Church in the Surugadai section of Tokyo in June 1945. She worked in Japan for about 60 years as an evangelist, and surely never forgot those who worked with her in the early days to establish Yamanashi Eiwa or all the effort she invested for such an important cause. We also must never forget the vigor of youth and the young missionaries among us as we strive for the Lord together. (Tr. WJ)


—Fukasawa Mieko, Yamanashi Eiwa Historical Research Society Yamanashi Eiwa Junior & Senior High School Alumnae Association


山梨英和創立に関わった若者達とウイント ミュート初代校長

カナダ伝道会社は1873年創立50年を記念して外国伝道の開始を議決し、鎖国を解いた日本に第一陣として2名の宣教師を派遣した。山梨への伝道は1876(明治9)年その第二陣として派遣されたイビーが使わされた。彼は甲府盆地内を騎馬伝道し、3年間の伝道活動に よって最初の教会日本メソジスト甲府教会が創設された。1878(明治11)年であった。その教会の会員になっていった地元の青年達 は妹たちが尋常小学校を卒業しても進学する普通教育の学校がなかったことなど様々な動機を以て女子が高等教育を受けられるような学校 を望み、発起人会を設立した。その発起人会は建物を準備するが、教師はカナダ婦人伝道会社に求めた。その求めに応じて派遣されたのが サラ・アグネス・ウイントミュートであった。


ウイントミュートは1864年、カナダ オンタリオ州に生まれ、同州女子師範学校、女子大学へと進み、フランス語、ラテン語を学び、また画学校も卒業している。その後、カナダ・メソジスト教会のカナダ婦人伝道会社から1886(明治19)年10月に東洋英和女学校へ派遣され、1889年4月まで、算術、英語、体操、西洋裁縫を教えていた。


来日して2年 半経った時、カナダ婦人伝道会社は山梨英和女学校の初代校長にウイントミュートを指名した。山梨では新海栄太郎、宮腰信次郎、浅尾長 慶らが発起人となり、全県下に寄付を募い山梨英和女学校を設立する準備が整いつつあった。

25歳のウイントミュートは東京を出発、山梨に向かう。当時、甲武鉄 道は立川まで開通。立川以西は、馬か徒歩で移動するほかなかった。最大の難関である上り6キロの笹子峠を歩いて下ってきたウイント ミュートは迎えの青年達を見ると嬉し涙を拭いつつ固い握手をした。志を同じくし、信仰をともにする者の心からの出迎えをどんなに喜ばれたことか。5月14日、山梨英和に着任した。

ウイントミュート校長を迎え、山梨英和女学校は甲府市太田町に、商家佐渡屋を校舎として1889(明治22)年6月1日に開校した。校 舎は約80坪だった。生徒は6人。夏期休暇前に9人となった。25歳の初代校主・新海栄太郎をはじめ若い設立者たちは、9月の学期始めをめざし生徒募集の広告を数回にわたって山梨日日新聞に掲載し、ようやく9月から3人が入学し、12人となった。


ウイントミュート校長のカナダ婦人伝道会社への報告では「午前中は国語、午後は英語、毎日修身(Moral Science) という名目で、聖書の勉強にあてられます。大部分の者にとって聖書は初めて触れる興味あるもので、熱心に耳を傾けよく質問をします」





新校舎は和洋折衷でモダンな建物だった。県内で は関心を持つ親たちの見学も増え、英和女学校の教育内容について理解も深まり、初期のように学校やキリスト教に対しての恐怖心も薄れ、生徒数も31人(うち寄宿舎生25人)となった。


1892 年3月、ウィントミュートは休暇で退任し帰国した。再来日したウイントミュートは1893年、東洋英和学校教師(男子校)を していたHarper  Havelock Coatesと結婚。翌年に中央会堂第一代総理イビーの後コー ツが第2代総理となった時、妻ウイントミュートは同会堂の婦人会長となり、以後、コーツと共に教育、伝道、社会奉仕に力を尽くし、その間6人の子供の母となった。


48年間にわたって日本各地で伝道を続けたコーツが1934(昭和9)年に70歳で召天した後も、ウイントミュートは日本から離れること はなかった。そして1939(昭和14)年の山梨英和女学校創立50周年記念式典に出席している。

太平洋戦争勃発後も、家族の帰国要請にもかかわらず、帰国することはなかった。1945(昭和20)年6月駿河台のニコライ堂内・仮設 病院で81歳で召天した。

ウイントミュート先生は60年近く日本で伝道と教育に尽くしたが、その生涯の若き日、山梨英和の初代校長として教会の若者達と創設の苦労を共にしたことを彼女は生涯忘れなかっただろう。私たちもその若者達の息吹と若き宣教師の情熱を覚えて、いつまでも心に刻んでおき たい。 山梨英和同窓会「歴史をたどる会」深沢美恵子

Kyodan Officials Visit Germany

by Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo

This summer, the Kyodan’s Task Force on Evangelism Promotion sponsored programs with both U.S. A. and German youth. As part of that exchange program, I gave the message at a commissioning service for Japanese participants held at Narita Airport. The expressions on the faces of the Japanese youth going to Germany were rigid, perhaps due to concern about the language. I left for Germany later and went to the camp where the exchange program was being held. By then the faces of the Japanese young people were bright and completely changed. One of the youth said effervescently and confidently: “I’m speaking German. By saying ‘ya’ and ‘nain’ I can communicate everything.” We were invited to the Wittstock Municipal Building by the mayor of Wittstock and warmly welcomed.


The theme set by the  Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (Evangelical Church in Germany) was “Environmental Issues.” The youth climbed up places to see propeller energy generators and visited organic farms. This youth exchange, previously a program of the National Federation of Kyodan Women’s Societies, from this year is sponsored by the Kyodan Task Force on Evangelism Promotion. Those who participated in the past as leaders of the EKD took care of the details of the youth exchange, and every one of the host families gave the Japanese youth heartwarming care. Moreover, the youth spent a full day on Saturday working on a worship service, and the Sunday worship service resulting from that preparation was moving.


This youth exchange was accomplished at the invitation of the Wittstock-Ruppin Deanery District of the Berlin Brandenburg Regional Churches, and I visited the church office in Berlin to pay my respects. Bishop Dr. Markus Droege, the Ecumenical Centre’s Director Roland Herpich, and Dr. Christof Theilemann of the Berlin Mission’s Ecumenical Centre gave me a hearty welcome. That same church has pledged to provide support over a 15-year period for Horikawa Aiseien*, which were damaged during the Great East Japan Disaster, and they visited Japan in June to bring the first installment of these funds. In return, I visited and greeted the officials at this church office.


Then I visited Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS), as the Kyodan’s representative, to express gratitude for the donation of a considerable amount of funds in relation to the Great East Japan Disaster and for continuing that aid.


I spent time in consultation with EMS Deputy General Secretary Ms. Ulrike Schmidt-Hesse and with Liaison Secretary of East Asia/India Lutz Drescher. I spoke especially about the accident at the Fukushima Nuclear Energy Power Plant, presenting the Kyodan’s position, and requested that someone be sent to speak at the international conference to be sponsored by the Kyodan in March 2014 on the theme “Resisting the Myth of the Safety of Nuclear Energy-The Fundamental Question Posed by Fukushima.”

The two officials listened intently and expressed understanding of the Kyodan’s position. Saito Atsushi, the Kyodan missionary pastor sent to Cologne, aided in setting up this visit. On the day I stayed in Cologne, we also met with Okada Naotake, the Kyodan missionary pastor to Brussels, Belgium, and I heard about his struggles and joys and his vision for evangelism. The Kyodan needs to resolve anew to deepen our prayers, especially as we remember the work of missionaries serving overseas. (Tr. RT)


*A residential child care facility in Fukushima Prefecture


ドイツ訪問 石橋秀雄

教団伝道推進室では日米、日独青年交流を行った。羽田のホテルで開かれた派遣式礼拝にかけつけ説教奉仕をしたが、特にドイツに行く青年たちの顔は言葉への不安からか顔は固かった。私は遅れてドイツに出発、日独青年交流が行われている キャンプ場に行ったが、青年達の顔は一変して明るかった。ある青年は、「ドイツ語で話している。ヤーとナインで何でも通じる」と自信 にあふれている。ヴィットシュトックの市長に市庁舎に招かれるなど大歓迎された。

ドイツの教会が設定した主題は「環境問題」。青年達は風力発電所に上ったり、バイオ農場の見学するなどの 体験をした。この青年交流は、教団婦人会連合 が行っていたものを伝道推進室が受け継 いだ。過去の参加者がドイツの教会のリーダーとして青年交流のお世話をしてくださったり、ホストファミリーはどの家庭も日本の青年の心をひき付ける温かくもてなしてくださった。何よりも土曜日一日かけて礼拝を作り出す作業をし、この準備のもと に奉げた日曜礼拝は感動的であった。

この青年交流はベルリン・ブランデンブルグ領邦教会ヴィットシュトック・ルピン教区のお招きを受けて実施されたが、青年交 流の前にベルリンの同教会オフィスに表敬訪問をした。同教会ドレーゲ司教とベルリン宣教会ヘルピッヒ局長、タイレマン幹事から大歓迎を受けた。同教会は東日本大震災で被災した堀川愛生園に15年に渡って、支援をしてくださることに なり、第一回支援金をもって今年6月に日本を訪問してくださった。この返礼とし同教会オフィスに表敬訪問をさせていただいた。

それから、シュツッツガルトにあるEMS(Evangelical Mission in Solidarity)に行った。今回の訪独の重要な目的である、EMSへ の感謝をする為である。EMSは東日本大震災に対して多額の献金をしてくださり、現在も支援を続けてくださっている。EMSのシュミットヘッセ副総幹事とドレッシャー幹事と懇談の時を持った。特に教団の東京電力福島原子力発電所の事故に対する、教団に姿勢を話し、来年3月に開催 される。教団の「原発に関する国際会議への講師派遣の要請をした。熱心にお話を聞いてくださり、教団に姿勢への理解をしてくださった。この訪問の為 にケルンに派遣されている齋藤篤牧師がお世話をしてくださった。ケルン泊の日にはベルギー、ブルッセルに派遣されている岡田直丈牧師も駆けつけてくださり、その苦労と喜びと伝道へのビジョンをお聞きした。海外で伝道する宣教師たちのお働きを覚えてさらに教団として祈りを深めなくてはと決意を新にした。