【October 2015 No.384】SMJ Camp Held for Junior and Senior High School Students

SMJ Camp Held for Junior and Senior High School Students


by Kakiuchi Chieko, group escort, Teacher, Miyagi Gakuin, Tohoku District


This summer, thanks to support from the Special Ministry to the Japanese (SMJ) organization in America, students from areas affected by the East Japan Disaster were able to go to the United States. Eight junior and senior high school students from Miyagi and two junior high school students from Fukushima were given the opportunity to participate in a discovery camp that took place in the outskirts of New York from July 19 to 31.


This was the 32nd camp held by SMJ for Japanese children living in the U.S., with a total of 35 campers and leaders living together for two weeks. Children between 11 and 16 years of age cooperated in a wide range of activities, including daily morning exercise, worship, Bible study, art work, sports, swimming in the sea and piggyback races that were part of the competitions between groups.


It was the first time that one of the participants had seen the sea since narrowly escaping death by going up onto the roof of a house when the tsunami swept into eastern Japan in March 2011. Swimming in the sea every day and catching 23 sea bream when we went sea fishing produced beaming smiles of joy.


When all of the campers gathered for a talent show on site, two members of our group had the chance to talk about their experiences of the tsunami and the aftermath of the Fukushima nuclear power plant accident and were able to convey their thankfulness for the support that came in from all around the world after the earthquake. Young children from the local New York area were also present and listened attentively.


During these two weeks of camp, we overcame our various differences while discovering each other’s personalities and forging ties. Here are some excerpts from comments written by participants. “Among all the activities, the best memories for me are of the times when we had to cooperate with other people in the group competitions, such as during orienteering and the talent show. I felt very happy when differences such as nationality and gender became unimportant as we worked together towards one goal.” “During the camp, we went swimming in the sea every day, and also tried rock-climbing and sea fishing. Up to now, I have always worried about how other people saw me and what would happen if I couldn’t succeed, so I always looked on fearfully from a distance. However, as I saw the local children trying everything with a positive spirit, I wanted to be like them, so I gradually decided to try various things as the opportunities presented themselves, without worrying about little things. Also children at the camp, who said they were interested in Japan, tried to study Japanese. I was very happy that it wasn’t just that we could learn a lot from the local children, but that we could also give something to them. All the people that we met and spent two weeks with at this camp have become friends for life.”


After the camp, our students had homestays with American families and also had a good time sightseeing. During Sunday worship, they were able to give an eyewitness account of the earthquake disaster, and the congregation prayed for the affected areas.


On the day before we returned to Japan, members of the Japanese-American United Church (JAUC) and SMJ held a farewell party for us. As we had direct contact with the kindheartedness of the people who had prayerfully remembered the disaster area and made this opportunity a reality for us, all the participants were filled with thankfulness.


In conclusion, I thank the Lord for these wonderful encounters, and I would like to express my heartfelt appreciation to all those from SMJ, JAUC, the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Project, and the Christian Schools Council on Cooperative Mission, whose support made everything possible. (Tr. SN)



この度米国日本人特別牧会(Special Ministry to the Japanese)のご支援により、東日本大震災被災地の宮城から八名の中高生、福島から二名の中学生 が七月十九~三一日までニューヨーク近郊で行われたディスカバリーキャンプに参加する機会をいただきました。

SMJ主催による米国在住日本人の子供達のキャンプで三二回目の開催となる今年は、キャンパーとリーダー計三五 名が一つ屋根の下二週間を共に過ごしました。毎朝のラジオ体操、礼拝、聖書の学び、アート作品の作成、スポーツ、海水浴、グループ対 抗の騎馬戦等盛り沢山の活動に十一~十六歳までの子供達が協力しながら取り組みました。

押し寄せる津波から自宅の屋根で一命を取り留めた一人は震災後海を見るのは今回が初めてでした。毎日海 で泳ぎ、海釣りでは鯛を二三匹も釣り上げた時は満面の笑みでした。

キャンプ場の全てのキャンパーが集うタレントショーでは、津波と福島の原発事故後の体験を二名の参加者 が証をする機会が与えられました。幼い現地の子供達も静かに二人の話に聞入っていました。震災後世界中から頂いた支援に対する感謝の 気持ちを伝えたいという思いが届けられました。

このキャンプは様々な違いを超え個性を発見し絆を深めた二週間となりました。以下参加者の感想を引用します。『中でも一番の思い出はグ ループ対抗のオリエンテーリングやタレントショーのような誰かと協力して活動したものです。国籍、性別など関係無く一つのゴールを目 指し協力していくことが私には嬉しく思えました。』『キャンプでは、毎日海で泳ぎ、ロッククライミングや海釣りにも挑戦しました。今 までの私なら、(どう見られているかな?出来なかったらどうしよう)などと思い、怖気づいて遠くで見ていたと思います。現地の子の大らかで何事にも挑戦する姿に憧れを抱き、 私も小さいことで悩まずに、目の前にある様々なことにどんどん挑戦したいと思いました。また、キャンプで日本に興味を持ち、これから 日本語の勉強を頑張ると話してくれた子もいました。私達だけが現地の子から様々な学びを貰うだけでなく、相手に与えることも出来たと いうことがとても嬉しかったです。キャンプで出会い二週間を共に過ごしたみんなとは、一生の友達になれました。』


帰国前日、日米合同教会やSMJの方々が歓送会を開いて下さり、被災地を思い祈りながらこのような機会を実現して下さった皆様のお心に触 れ、参加者一同感謝の思いで一杯となりました。

最後にこの素晴らしい出会いを与えて下さった主に感謝し、SMJ、日米合同教会(Japanese American United Church)、日本基督教団東日本救援対策本部(Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Project)、宣教協力学校協議会(The Christian Schools Council on Cooperative Mission)の皆様のご支援に心より御礼申し上げます。(引率 垣内知恵子 ,宮城学院中学校教員)

【October 2015 No.384】Testimony at the 2015 Discovery Camp

Testimony at the 2015 Discovery Camp


by Asano Yume, Discovery Camp participant (Camp Quinipet, Shelter Island, NY)


Four years ago, I experienced the East Japan earthquake and tsunami. At the time, I was in fifh grade and lived in Sendai. I was on the veranda of my classroom, hanging up towels to dry after the clean-up of the gym during my fifth period class ended, when  suddenly we were struck with heavy shaking. Although I immediately went into the classroom and hid under a desk, the desk started to shake a lot, and the backpack on the desk fell to the floor. I remember that without even thinking, I grabbed my friend’s hand.

I went back home with my mom, and we started preparing to evacuate to the school. At that moment, I saw a black wave fill and flow through the road, and my mom and I went up to the roof of our house. As the car that was parked on the ground washed away, the gasoline lit up and caught on fire. I heard the screeching sound of the car, the house, and all the things floating and hitting each other. And although it was March, it was snowing. My mom and I spent the night in a room on the second floor of my house. I have lost many things, but I am not devastated. This is because I have received many things from people all over the world. It was not just material items, but love and kindness. Even now, there are earthquakes from time to time. Surprisingly, I do not panic, and I can calmly prepare to evacuate. I feel as though my heart has become stronger.



From this natural disaster, I was able to learn something important. This is to treasure your life and to put your maximum effort into protecting that life. There are many people who are supporting Japan. Because of this, I want to try my best not to lose to difficulties. Also, I would like to continue holding onto these feelings of gratefulness. I participated in this camp this year to share these feelings of thankfulness. Thank you to all those who have prayed for us. Thank you very much. (Tr. MK)






私は、4年前に東日本大震災を経験しました。その時、私は小学校5年生でした。5校時目の体育館の大掃 除が終わり、教室のベランダに雑巾を干している時、突然大きな揺れが襲ってきました。すぐに教室に入り、机の下にもぐりましたが、机 ごと大きく動いて机の上においてあったランドセルが落ちたりして、無意識に友達と手をつないでいたのを覚えています。

私は母と家に帰り、学校に避難する準備をしていました。その時、黒い波が道路を流れて行くのを目にし、私 と母は家の屋根にあがりました。庭においてあった車が流される所、ガソリンが引火して燃えている様子、車や家や物がぶつかってきしむ 音、さらに3月なのに雪も降っていました。私と母は、一晩2階の部屋で過ごしました。

私はたくさんのものを失いました。しかし、悲しくはありません。それは、世界中からた くさんの贈り物をもらったからです。それは物だけではなく、愛ややさしさでもありました。今でも時々地震が起きます。不思議なことに 私はパニックになることなく、冷静に逃げる道を確保することができ、心が強くなったように思います。

私は、この震災で、大切なことを学びました。命も大切にすること、そして命を守るため に最大の努力をすることです。日本をたくさんの人が応援してくださっています。だから私は困難に負けずに頑張りたいです。そして、こ の感謝の気持ちを持ち続けたいと思います。今回このキャンプに参加したのも、この感謝の気持ちを伝えたいと思ったからです。私達のた めに祈ってくださった方々に感謝いたします。ありがとうございました。

【October 2015 No.384】Japan Hosts the German-Japanese Youth Mission 2015

Japan Hosts the German-Japanese Youth Mission 2015


by Nishinosono Michiko, Executive Committee member of the German-Japanese Youth Mission 2015


The German-Japanese Youth Mission 2015 was held in Japan Aug. 7-17 under the auspices of the Kyodan’s Committee on Education, together with the joint sponsorship of the Committee on Evangelism, the Task Force on Evangelism Promotion, and the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries. Eleven German guests, including the Rev. Matthias Puppe, superintendent, were sent by the Wittstock-Ruppin District of the Berlin-Brandenburg-schlesische Oberlausitz Evangelical Church, which is located in former East Germany.


The first Youth Mission was held in Japan in 2002 with the help of some volunteers from the National Federation of Kyodan Women’s Societies, with 20 German youth in attendance. Then the following year, 20 Japanese youths went to the Wittstock-Ruppin District in Germany. Since then, several other such exchanges have been held, but this was the first time it was officially held under the auspices of the Kyodan.


The program began with a welcoming party at Ginza Church on Aug. 7. The German guests stayed with host families over the weekend, attending Sunday worship services at their host families’ home churches. Then the guests traveled to the Kansai area to stay with new host families in Kyoto, Osaka, or Kobe from Aug. 10 to 12, where they went sightseeing and had fellowship with Japanese young people. They all visited the Hiroshima Peace Memorial museum and Hiroshima Church on Aug. 11 and had a chance to listen to survivors tell about their experiences of the atomic bomb.


The highlight of the Youth Mission was a retreat that was held in Nagano from Aug. 13 to 15. There were more than 40 people in total, including the German guests, several Japanese high school and college students, three seminarians who led the retreat, some adults who supported the retreat, and the executive committee members of this youth mission.


The German and Japanese youth members separated into three groups, referred to as “Praise,” “Prayer,” and “Play,” which were designed to prepare for the worship service on Aug. 15, the last day of the retreat. The youth members prepared their litany, a scenario of their play, and led worship songs during the service as we joined together in Japanese, German, and English, to praise, pray, and listen to a message from God. Through the worship service, we felt we were united before God, going beyond our language barriers and the differences of our cultures, histories, and lifestyles.


A farewell party was held at Fujimicho Church on Aug. 16, with the German guests leaving for their country on Aug. 17. They miss their Japanese friends and host families and are looking forward to our reunion in Germany in 2017. At the farewell party, the Rev. Puppe said, “I’ll invite Japanese youth to Germany for the international assembly to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the Reformation in 2017. I’m planning to attend this assembly together with a group of German and Japanese youth.”


We are grateful to the German and Japanese people for their prayers and support. And we give thanks to God for His grace throughout this Youth Mission.


日 独教会青年交流


二〇一五年八月七日~一七日に、ドイツより一六~一九歳のユース九名、二二歳のリーダーとプッペ教区長の計一一名のゲストを迎え、日 本基督教団教育委員会主催(世界宣教委員会、伝道委員会、伝道推進室共催)による「日独ユースミッション二〇一五」が開催された。

ドイツゲストは、ベルリン=ブランデンブルク=シュレージシェ・オーバーラウジッツ福音 主義教会の旧東ドイツ側にある、ヴィットシュトック・ルピン教区(教会地区)より派遣されている。

初めてドイツから二〇名の青年たちが来日したのは、二〇〇二年夏。この時は、婦人会連合の有志による実行委員会が組織され、日独教会 青年交流が持たれた。翌年には、日本から青年二〇名をドイツへ派遣している。その後も何度か相互に青年を送り合い、今回は初めて、日 本基督教団の委員会主催という形で開催された。

八月七日に銀座教会を会場に歓迎会が行われた後、ゲストたちは東京近郊のホストファミリーと共に週末を過ごし、主日礼拝に出席、各教 会で交流が持たれた。一〇~一二日、彼らは関西へ向かい、京都・大阪・神戸に分かれてホームステイをし、観光や青年交流がそれぞれの 地で持たれた。また、一一日には、ゲスト全員で広島原爆ドームの見学、広島教会で語り部から体験談を伺う機会が与えられた。

今回のユースミッションのハイライトは、一三日~一五日に長野の信州バイブルキャンプで行われたリトリートであろう。ドイツゲスト、 日本の中高生、数名の大学生、讃美やリトリートプログラムをリードしてくれた三名の神学生、サポートに加わってくださった牧師・信 徒、実行委員を合わせ、四〇名強の参加者が集った。

リトリートでは、三日目の礼拝に向け、青年たちは「讃美」、「祈り」、「劇」の三つのグループに分かれ、自分たちで考えながら礼拝の 準備にあたった。英語・ドイツ語・日本語を交えて共に讃美し、共に祈り、共に御言葉に預かるとても恵まれた時間を共有し、参加者は 皆、言葉の壁を越えて、主の前にひとつとされる喜びを覚えた。

一六日には富士見町教会で歓送会が行われ、翌日、一七日に別れを惜しみ、ドイツでの再会の時を望みつつ、ゲストたちは無事に旅立って 行った。


「授業で習ったことがある広島を実際に訪ね、体験談を伺うこともできたことが一番印象に残った」と語ったドイツゲスト。去年、あるい は一昨年のユースミッションで出会ったホストファミリーや友人たちとの再会を喜ぶ日独双方のユース。「リトリートで同世代の青年たち と交流し、一緒にスポーツやハイキングを楽しんだり、礼拝準備のために真剣に話し合ったりできたことが良かった」、「英語があまり話 せなかったけど、ドイツの人たちが笑顔で一生懸命、話を聞いてくれたことが嬉しかった」、「今度はドイツに行ってみたい!」、「楽し かった!」、「また会いたい!」、日独どちらの青年たちからも喜びに溢れた声が聞こえてきた。青年だけでは無く、このユースミッショ ンに関わったホストファミリーやスタッフたちも、この交流を通し、神様からたくさんの恵みをいただいた。

歓送会の折り、ドイツのプッペ教区議長は、「二〇一七年に行われる宗教改革五〇〇周年記念行事に、日独の青年たちでひとつのグループ として参加したいと考えている。二〇一七年は日本からドイツへ皆さんを招待したい」と挨拶された。


文 責 西之園路子

(「日 独ユースミッション二〇一五」実行委員)

【October 2015 No.384】August 2, 2015 Joint Peace Message of the KCCJ and the Kyodan

August 2, 2015 Joint Peace Message of the KCCJ and the Kyodan


“This is what the Lord says: ‘Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed. Do no wrong or violence to the foreigner, the fatherless or the widow, and do not shed innocent blood in this place.’” (Jeremiah 22:3)



This year, 2015, marks the 70th anniversary of the end of the World War II. Last year, we, the Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) and the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ or Kyodan) celebrated the 30th year of our covenant in mission, so we have covenanted with each other to deepen our relationship further and to work together for peace in Japan and around the world. We will endeavor to protect people’s lives and pray for the realization of a society in which everyone can live in security. As Christians living in Japan, it is our heart’s desire to see Japan be a country in which all people living here can find true peace and security.



Likewise, the Kyodan wishes to express again its sincere apology for the errors of the past, when we failed to confess clearly Jesus Christ as Lord of the entire world and cooperated with our country in its prosecution of a war of aggression and its colonization of Korea, China, and other Asian countries. We repent of our sin of not standing up for our brothers and sisters in Christ who were persecuted during the war, and we pray for and aim at creating a society of peace, equality, and coexistence.



Working Towards a Peaceful Society



The Japanese government is now attempting to make it possible for the Self-Defense Force (the Japanese military) to be sent overseas to participate in military activities. The Cabinet has made the decision to acknowledge the “right of collective defense,” and is attempting to push a national security bill through the Diet that would, in effect, negate Article 9 of Japan’s Constitution, which states, “The Japanese people forever renounce war as a sovereign right of the nation and the threat or use of force as a means of settling international disputes.”



As we commemorate this 70th anniversary of Japan’s defeat in that war, our thoughts also concern the more than 200,000 military and civilian deaths experienced in the Battle of Okinawa. Okinawa, which had been the sovereign country of the Kingdom of Ryukyu, was invaded and occupied by Japan, and then as the war drew to a close, Japan used Okinawa as a shield for the mainland. Since the end of the war and up to the present time, Okinawa has been forced to bear the heavy burden of hosting the vast majority of U.S. military bases in Japan. In addition, the efforts to phase out Futenma Air Base (which is located in the middle of a densely populated area) and replace it with a new military base at Henoko is steadily moving forward. We see in this as a pervasive discrimination that underlies so much of our country.

It is with these things in mind that we pray for the kind of peace that God the Father has revealed through his Son Jesus Christ as being his will. We not only oppose the passage of these bills related to national security but we also seek the repeal of the plans to establish a new military base at Henoko to replace Futenma Air Base.



Working Towards a Society with No Hate Speech



Within the context of a social movement that emphasizes a phrase that translates as “distaining China, hating Korea,” the situation continues to grow worse, with this understanding becoming more widespread among average Japanese people. “Hate demonstrations” still occur around Japan, with the objects of such hate speech not being limited to Koreans and Chinese but also extending to Okinawans, Ainu, victims of the nuclear accident (in 2011), Muslims, and various other discriminated-against groups, such as the Burakumin, those with handicapping conditions, and welfare recipients.



Certain sectors of the media have also broadcast programs that only serve to fan the flames of this “distaining China, hating Korea” mindset, and both published materials and the Internet are overflowing with various expressions of ethnic and racially discriminatory remarks. In 1996, Japan ratified the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination produced by the United Nations, but even now we see not the slightest sign that Japan is going to institute a law banning racial discrimination or even set up a human rights agency. In addition, we are beginning to see this movement being tied to conservative political powers that are, for instance, denying even the existence of the “comfort women” issue (forced prostitution by the Japanese military during WW II) through suppression of speech.



It is with this situation in mind that this coming November we will be hosting our third international conference on the issue of minorities and mission under the theme, “Living Together and Working Towards a Japanese Society that Brings People Together: Being in Solidarity With People Around the World Who Long For a Just and Symbiotic Society in Japan.” Our desire is to clarify the reality of ethnic discrimination in Japan and to work with and pray with Christians from around the world to achieve its elimination.



Working Towards a Society in which People’s Lives and Livelihoods are Protected



The actions of the Japanese government following the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi reactors in March 2011 certainly were not ones in which the safety of its citizens were given the highest priority. The computer simulations of the nuclear radiation fallout were suppressed, and within days following the disaster, the standard radiation threshold values and food safety values were raised to much higher levels. Thus, even for areas where radiation levels were clearly quite high, residents were not given significant compensation or help in moving to safer areas.



Likewise, even though there are numerous reports of radiation contamination and health issues relating to the stress of all of this, the media is discouraged from reporting about them, and the nuclear accident is treated as being a “past event.” Moreover, the Sendai Nuclear Power Plant in Kagoshima, Kyushu is being restarted again, and preparations for the restarting of other nuclear power plants is being pushed forward.

Japan is the only nation on earth to have experienced nuclear attack, and now together with Hiroshima and Nagasaki, we must also never forget Fukushima. We must continue to bear the burden of pain together and to work for a society in which the lives and livelihoods of all people in Japan are protected.



Just as Jeremiah prophesied, God seeks of us to do what is just and right. We are required to do no wrong or violence to the foreigner and not to shed the blood of the innocent. We need to take these words seriously and to work towards the peace of God in our society. (Tr. TB)


2015 在日大韓基督教会・日本基督教団 平和メッセージ



を流してはならない。」(エレミヤ書 22章3節)

本年2015年はアジア・太平洋戦争の敗戦から70年となります。昨年、私たち在日大韓基督教会と日本基督教団は宣教協約 30周年を迎え、今後さらに、日本をはじめ世界における平和の実現と、人々の命が守られ、安心して暮らすことのできる社会の実現を祈 り、お互いの協力関係を深めていくことを確認しました。

私たち在日大韓基督教会と日本基督教団は、日本に住むキリスト者として、日本が、そこで生活するすべての人々にとって真に 平和で安全な国であることを心から願います。

そして、過去の歴史における韓国や中国などへの侵略と植民地化政策の過ちを謝罪すると共に、日本基督教団が、イエス・キリ ストこそが世界の主であられるとの信仰を明白に告白することができず、戦争遂行に協力し、戦時下において弾圧を受けていたキリスト者 たちの信仰の闘いを共に担うことができなかった罪の悔い改めの祈りをもって、平和と平等と共生の社会の実現を目指します。


今、日本国政府は、自衛隊を海外の戦争に派遣して軍事行動をとらせることを可能にする集団的自衛権行使容認を閣議決定し、 国会における安全保障関連法案の決議へと突き進んでしまいました。それは、「国権の発動たる戦争と、武力による威嚇又は武力の行使 は、国際紛争を解決する手段としては、永久にこれを放棄する」と謳った日本国憲法第9条をないがしろにするものです。

敗戦から70年の今年、私たちは、軍民併せて20万人以上の犠牲者を出した沖縄戦のことを思い起こします。日本は、独立国 家であった琉球王国を侵略・統治し、アジア・太平洋戦争末期には沖縄を本土の盾として利用しました。その沖縄は、敗戦後から今日に至 るまで在日米軍基地の圧倒的集中という重い負担を強いられ、今は米軍普天間飛行場の辺野古への移設計画が「粛々と」進められていま す。ここに、この国にひそむ「差別性」がはっきりと表れています。

以上のことから、私たちは、聖書において啓示されている主イエス・キリストの父なる神 のみこころである平和の実現を心から祈り、安全保障関連法案の制定に反対すると共に、米軍普天間飛行場の辺野古への移設計画の撤廃を 求めます。


「嫌中憎韓」の流れの中にあるヘイトスピーチ をめぐる状況はこれまでと変わることはなく、むしろ、一般の人々の意識の中に定着しているという意味で、より深刻になっています。ヘ イトデモの集会は今でも日本各地で行われていますし、ヘイトスピーチの対象は韓国や中国のみならず、沖縄、アイヌ、原発事故被災者、 イスラム教徒、さらに、被差別部落、障がい者、生活保護受給者などにも及んでいます。

また、一部の報道機関は、「嫌中憎韓」を煽る記事や番組を報道し続けていますし、多くの出版物やインターネット上には見る に堪えない人種差別的表現があふれています。日本は、1996年に国連における人種差別撤廃条約に加入しましたが、人種差別を禁じる 法の制定や国内における人権機関の設立は兆しすら見えません。さらに、それらの動きは保守政治勢力と結びついて、日本軍「慰安婦」の 存在自体を否定する「言論の弾圧」という新たな様相を見せ始めています。

このような中で私たちは今年11月、「共に生き、共に生かしあう日本社会に向けて-日本と世界の連帯でめざす日本社会の正 義と共生」の主題のもと、第3回「マイノリティ問題と宣教」国際会議を開催し、日本における人種差別の実態を明らかにし、その撤廃に 向けて、日本と世界のキリスト者が祈りと力を合わせていくことを願っています。


2011年3月の福島第一原子力発電所爆発事故後の政府の対応は、「国民の安全を守る」ことを第一とするものではありませ んでした。放射性物質拡散被害シミュレーションの結果は隠蔽され、事故から数日後には被曝基準値や食品放射能基準値が大幅に引き上げ られました。実際は、放射線量がかなり高いと言わざるを得ない地域の住民に対しても、移住や避難といった抜本的な手当が無いままに放 置されてきました。

そして、放射能汚染とそのストレスによる多くの健康被害が報告されているにもかかわらず、それらに関する報道は極めて少な くされており、「原発事故は過去の話」とばかりに、今や鹿児島の川内原子力発電所をはじめ、各地の原発の再稼働に向けた動きが進めら れております。

私たちは、世界で唯一の被曝国である日本が、「ヒロシマ」「ナガサキ」と共に「フクシマ」で起こったことを決して忘れず、 その苦しみを共に担いながら、日本に住むすべての人の命と暮らしが守られる社会であり続けることを願います。

そして、エレミヤの預言にあるように、神が私たちに対して正義と恵みの業を行うことを求めておられること、寄留の外国人を 虐げることなく、無実の人の血を流すことのないように命じておられることを真剣に受けとめ、主なる神の平和の実現を目指します。

【October 2015 No.384】European Christian Conference Attended by Representatives of Japanese Christian Groups in Europe

European Christian Conference Attended

by Representatives of Japanese Christian Groups in Europe


The Japanese-speaking churches of Europe joined the European Christian Conference gathered in Prague of the Czech Republic from July 29 to Aug. 2, the 32nd convening of this annual event held every summer. This year, 2015, marks the 600th anniversary of the martyrdom of Bohemian Reformer Jan Hus, who was remembered in worship services by the words he left, “the truth to all people,” which was the theme of the Praha/Kobylisy Japanese Worship Service.  A total of 225 participants attended from 14 European countries, Japan, Korea, Israel, Tunisia, Brazil, and other countries, together with kindergarten and elementary children and a youth group.


Clergy in Europe gave the messages at the six lectures and at the prayer meetings each morning, revealing the truth of the Bible that Hus pursued and analyzing it from many perspectives. In the afternoon of July 31, worship was held at Bethlehem Cathedral in the old part of the city. This cathedral was built to function as a Czech language worship venue in the 14th century, and Hus was the senior pastor there for ten years. At this conference, we heard about the church’s history from the Reverend Joel Ruml, moderator of the Evangelical Church of Czech Brethern, which inherited Hus’ faith tradition. In the 17th century, Hus’ followers were expelled, and Czech became a Catholic country. However, it is now one of the most secular countries in the world. The minority status of the Protestant church is similar to the Japanese situation. Strolling through the old city in the afternoon, we could experience walking in the footsteps of Hus. The works of Jan Hus are not widely known, but at this gathering, participants of the conference were moved by his life and teachings.


In the afternoon on Aug. 1, there were two special lectures. The first was by the Rev. Sato Akira of Fukushima First Bible Baptist Church, who spoke of the East Japan disaster and the present situation. Following him, Muraoka Munemitsu, a professor at Leiden University, spoke on the responsibility of Japanese Christians for the war fought some 70 years ago. Both lectures were very timely, and we were reminded that even though we are in Europe—a long way from Japan, as fellow believers it is necessary that we connect with one another on these issues.


Every time at the “Fellowship,” hymn singing played a very significant role. This time, praise team members from each church led the singing, including Czech hymns written by Hus. Especially at the “Evening Hymn Sing,” the program incorporated the theme of reformation inherited by Luther from Hus, and we were all blessed by it.


The “Fellowship” was a wonderful time for the believers who were scattered over Europe to come together and fellowship with one another. At the small group gatherings, there was so much to talk about and share that we wanted to continue, but we had to prepare to return to our homes following the final gathering at the concluding worship service. At this conference, participants carried back with them in their hearts Hus’ hope that the truth will be known to all people. (Tr. WJ)


—Son Sin-il, pastor Praha Kobylisy (Kyodan-related) Church, Missionary, Korean Christian Church in Japan