【June 2016 No.388】Mission Planning Conference Highlights Evangelism

The 17th Kyodan Mission Planning Conference was held at Fujimicho Church, March 7-8, 2016, under the sponsorship of the Committee on Evangelism. The theme of the conference was “How will the Kyodan Promote Evangelism?” In addition to representatives of each committee of the Kyodan, the 83 participants included representatives from the districts and related schools as well as the top four Kyodan officers. After the opening worship, led by Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo, there were presentations by four participants, a panel discussion, a lecture followed by small-group discussion, and then a concluding discussion by the entire assemblage.


The first presenter, Pastor Kita Kiyoshi of Matsuzawa Church, stated: “Evangelism was once thought of as an evil that infringed on personal thought and belief, but today, by giving God his sovereign place and through service, the individual and the church can both fulfill the mission of evangelism.” Next, Pastor Shibata Moyuru of Hakodate Chitose Church expressed “resistance to the mixing of talk about evangelism with the issue of church membership and church attendance. There is a tendency to see things in a unitary way when we use the word evangelism, but does that not leave out regional issues? Now the starting point needs to be the acknowledgment of our differences.”


Tokyo Christian University Professor Yamaguchi Yoichi spoke about the need to define more clearly the revision of the church’s Basic Theory of Mission from an evangelical Protestant perspective, saying: “The fundamental point is the importance of promoting cooperation in evangelism between the Kyodan and other denominations. However, the appreciation of historical context since World War II has been weak. In particular, the right to resist  (in regard to religious observance in the political realm) needs to be clarified.*


The final speaker, Kyodan missionary Nag Woon-hae spoke about “the need to engage in domestic evangelism also from the perspective of world mission and to have a sound faith based on the Holy Spirit and a holistic understanding. I recommend a major prayer assembly where the Kyodan as a whole can repent of the current situation.”


Among the opinions expressed from the floor during the panel discussion was the following by the Reverend Gushiken Atsushi from Okinawa, who said: “The anger surrounding the issue of U.S. military bases in Okinawa can only be addressed through prayer, and this anger makes the Okinawa problem hard to see.”


On the second day of the conference, Tsukuba University Professor Emeritus Ohama Tetsuya delivered the main address entitled “What is Japanese Christianity? A Historical Perspective.” Ohama suggested that history be interpreted from the point of view of Jesus’ identification with “the least of these.” He argued that we should recall and interpret history from this perspective. Early Japanese Protestant leaders accepted Christianity during the “expel the barbarians” period. Anti-foreigner, jingoistic tendencies were strong, and these early leaders were probably loyal servants of the nation. (This is a kind of analogy of early Japanese Protestant leaders.) It is necessary to review the history of the emperor system to find out what it is, for example. In the pronouncements of the church nowadays, how often do they ask about our faithful existence as Christians? Ohama spoke of the need for the church to identify with and speak on behalf of church members living and struggling in the world, while at the same time being understanding of the faith of others. (Tr. DB)


—Kato Makoto, executive secretary


*“Religious observance in the political realm” in this context refers to the attendance of public figures, in their official capacities, at Shinto religious ceremonies, which Japanese Christians and others have protested is contrary to Japan’s Constitution.


 2016年3月7日、8日、富士見町教会を会場に宣教委員会主催、第17回宣教方策会議が開催された。主題は「日本基督教団は伝道をどう進めて行くか」。教団各委員会代表に加え、教 区や関係学校の代表者と教団4役で83名の出席であった。プログラムは石橋秀雄教団議長による開会礼拝に続き、4名の発題者による発題、パネルディスカッション、講演、分団、全体協議であった。

発題はまず松沢教会の北紀吉牧師が「かつて伝道は個人の思想信条を侵害 する悪とされたが、今日、神に主権を置き、仕えることで個人も教会も伝道の使命を果たせる」と語った。次に函館千歳教会の柴田もゆる牧師 が「教勢の問題と絡めて伝道を語る事には抵抗がある。伝道という言葉のもとで一元化の傾向があり、地方の課題が置き去りにされていない か?今こそ互いの違いを認め、出発点にしてほしい」と主張した。東京基督教大学教授の山口陽一氏は第二次改訂宣教基礎理論について福音派の視点から「基本線は、教団 にとっても他の教派との伝道協力を推進するために重要である。ただし、戦時下からの歴史的コンテキストが薄く、特に抵抗権(政治的神奉仕 に対する)をより明確にすべき」と語った。最後にナグネ教団宣教師が「世界宣教の視野で伝道を捉え、健全な聖霊信仰とホーリスティックな 理解が必要。現在の状況を教団全体で悔い改めて祈る大祈祷集会を勧める」と語った。

パネルディスカッションではフロアーから幾つかの意見が出されたが、沖縄在住の具志堅篤牧師からは「基地問題に怒りを原動力として対応することは、祈りによってでしか解決できない沖縄の問題を見え なくする」との意見が出された。

2日目は、筑波大学名誉教授、大濱徹也氏による「日本キリスト教とは何であったか・歴史として問い質す」と題されたがメインであった。歴史を読み解 く作法として大濱氏は、主イエス・キリストが小さな者に寄り添い、個別的な場から問いかけた。この視点に立ち歴史を想起し読み解くべきと 語った。日本のプロテスタント初期の指導者は、攘夷の志の中でキリスト教を受入れており、排外、愛国主義の傾向が強く、国家の忠実な僕 だったと考えられる。天皇制とは何か等の歴史検証が必要。昨今の教会が発する言葉に、キリスト者としての信仰的な実存をかけた問いがどれ だけあるか?他者の信仰に対する共鳴を持ちつつ、大地に這いつくばって生きる教会員の呻きに寄り添う「私」の言葉を教会が語ることが必要 と語った。加藤誠

【June 2016 No.388】Reflections on the 2016 Kyodan-related Missionary Conference

by Timothy Boyle, missionary

The 2016 Kyodan-related Missionary Conference was held March 28-30 at Emmaus Center in Sendai. Being shortly after the fifth anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami along the Tohoku coast, much of the conference focused on the aftermath of that great disaster. The conference theme was, in fact, “Emmaus—Walk along with the Wounded.” The “wounded” from that triple disaster were not only those directly assaulted by the quake and the giant tsunami that immediately followed but also those who suffered more “slowly” from the radiation spewed from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, which was disabled by the tsunami and later went into meltdown. As this is an ongoing issue that will continue to haunt the region long after the direct damage from the quake and tsunami has been repaired, it was this aspect that was the focus of study at the conference.


Kataoka Terumi, who heads the Aizu Radioactivity Information Center in Aizu Wakamatsu in Fukushima, gave a lecture on the problems faced by those affected by the greatly increased radiation. She described how these “wounded” face so many uncertainties from this invisible enemy and how the ongoing damage is not only the increased risk of cancer from direct radiation exposure but also the psychological strain it puts on people. The ministry of Emmaus Center was transformed by the needs of the “wounded” from a student ministry to one focused on relief and recovery, and so it has served as a coordinating center for volunteers to literally “walk along with the wounded.” It was thus a very appropriate location for this year’s missionary conference. And being the day after Easter Sunday, it was also a fitting time to commemorate that original encounter with the risen Christ on the road to Emmaus.


I was one of two retiring missionaries who were present at the conference. Both David Murchie and myself received recognition from the Kyodan for our years of service in Japan, along with our wives. I was also asked to give the message at the closing worship service, and so I would like to close this article with a brief synopsis of what I said. I entitled the message “Blessed To Be A Blessing,” a concept that comes from God’s calling of Abraham, as recorded in Genesis 12. God says to Abraham that he will be a blessing and that through him and his seed, all peoples on earth will be blessed. As missionaries called to Japan or as Japanese church leaders called to serve your people, that promise God made to Abraham some 4,000 years ago has been passed on to us and still applies. We have been blessed for a purpose, and that is to be a blessing in Christ’s name to others.


This theme of the Abrahamic Covenant is the central theme of the entire Bible and is referred to in hundreds of passages throughout both the Old and New Testaments. This is particularly so in Paul’s letters, where he stresses that the blessings of Christ are an extension of the blessing given to Abraham. Paul summarizes this biblical basis for mission in his letter to the Galatians. “The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: ‘All nations will be blessed through you.’ So those who have faith are blessed along with Abraham, the man of faith.” (Gal. 3:8-9) Jumping a few verses ahead, verse 14 says, “He redeemed us in order that the blessing given to Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, so that by faith we might receive the promise of the Spirit.”


This all-important Galatians 3 ends with one of my favorite verses, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” And what is this promise to which we are heirs? It is that we are blessed in order to be a blessing to others. In these verses, Paul is referring back to Genesis chapter 12, where the history of God’s chosen people begins. There were hints of what God was going to do to solve the dilemma of sin and evil described earlier in the text, but it is in this Abrahamic Covenant that God begins to make plain his great plan. This Abrahamic Covenant, then, forms the central theme that runs throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation. God blessed Abraham and then by extension, he also blesses all those who follow Abraham’s lead and place their trust in God. But the purpose of that blessing is that we are to pass it on. We are blessed in order to be a blessing, and this is the essence of the purpose for which the church of Jesus Christ exists in the first place.


I also referred to another biblical theme, that of reconciliation, along with the need for civility in our dialog across theological divides, particularly that between social action/justice ministries and evangelism. Within the context of the Church, these two broad categories of social action and evangelism need each other and must be kept together. Most ministries will focus on one or the other, but whichever ministries we are involved in, we all need to work together instead of at cross-purposes. I am reminded of the illustration attributed to E. Stanley Jones, a well-known Methodist missionary to India. He said that the relationship between the two should be like that of the body and soul. Social action without evangelism is like a corpse, while evangelism divorced from social action ends up being a ghost. In order to have a living being, they have to go together.


So that is my appeal to all of you and particularly to our Japanese brothers and sisters in the Kyodan. Remember that you are to be ambassadors for Christ and are called to the ministry of reconciliation. Remember that you have been blessed for a purpose, and that is to be a blessing to others—even those you disagree with.


ティモシー ボイル宣教師










会議に出席した二人の退任宣教師の一人が、私でした。デビッド・マーチー(David Murchie)






此の全てが重要なガラテア書3章は、私の好きな聖句の一つで締めくくられています。「ユダヤ人もギリシャ人もなく、奴隷も自由な身分の者もなく、男も女もありません。あなたがたは皆、キリストにおいて一つだからです。あなたがたは、もしキリストのものだとするなら、とりもなおさず、アブラハムの子孫であり、約束による相続人です」。そして相続人である私たちへの約束とは何でしょうか? それは他の人たちの祝福となる為に私たちが祝福されているという事です。




私はもう一つの聖書のテーマ、“和解”について、特に社会的な行動や正義の宣教へのアプローチと、福音伝道との間の、神学的な溝を越える丁寧な対話の必要性と共に言及しました。教会と言う状況の中では、社会活動と伝道という二つの広いカテゴリーは、それぞれがお互いを必要とし、共に維持されねばなりません。殆どの宣教はどちらかに集中します、しかし何れに集中するにしろ、私たちは食い違ったままではなく、みんなで共に働く必要が有ります。私は有名なインドへのメソジスト派宣教師E.スタンレー ジョーンズの例を思い起こします。彼は、この二つの事柄の関係は、肉体と精神の関係の様でなければならないと言いました。伝道のない社会活動は亡骸の様なものであり、社会活動から乖離した伝道は幽霊として終わる。双方を生きたものとするためには、二つが共に進まなければならない、と。



【June 2016 No.388】“Kohitsuji Camp in Taiwan”: 3-year, 6-camp Series Concludes Successfully

The Kohitsuji (Little Lambs) Camp in Taiwan series, which began in January 2014 with an invitation from the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) and an offer of support from the United Methodist Committee on Relief (UMCOR), held its sixth and final camp in Chaghua County, southern Taiwan, April 2-5.


The six camps were attended by a total 195 people: 161 children and parents residing in Fukushima, who were seeking an opportunity to spend even a short time away from their radiation-contaminated environment, plus 34 staff persons. The first camp was held in Chiayi County (hosted by PCT’s Chiayi District), the second in Yilan County (Qixing District), the third in Tainan County (Tainan District), the fourth in Taitung County (Tungbu District), the fifth in Hsinchu County (Hsinchu District) and this time in Changhua County.


At each event, the campers received from the host district and churches a wonderful welcome that far exceeded their expectations and were able to play with abandon in the unspoiled splendor of nature. On the second day of the final camp in Changhua, the Kyodan hosted a special thanksgiving service at Yongfu Church, at which Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo delivered a message of thanks and PCT General Secretary Lim Hontiong offered warm words of response.


This program, which arose in response to the East Japan Disaster, became an important support activity for survivors of that catasrophe, which transcended the boundaries of Taiwan, the U.S. and Japan.


Also, at the PCT General Assembly that preceded the final camp, Kyodan General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo included in his message some words of gratitude on behalf of the parents and children who attended the camps and presented a certificate of appreciation to the PCT. This heartwarming scene was immediately uploaded to the PCT website, together with a detailed commentary.


The Kyodan extends sincere thanks to the PCT and UMCOR for the partnership and support that made this three-year, six-camp program possible, and we pray that the collaborative three-way relationship nurtured through this project may be strengthened even more in the days ahead. (Tr. DM)

—Iijima Makoto, executive secretary

East Japan Disaster Relief Projects

Relief Planning Headquarters


3・11東日本大震災救援対策本部担当幹事 飯島 信


2014年1月、PCT(台湾基督長老教会)からの招きとUMCOR(アメリカ合同メソジスト教会海外災害 支援部)からの支援によって始まった「こひつじキャンプin台湾」が、4月2日(土)~5日(火)、台湾南部の彰化県で行われた第6回キャンプを最後に終了しました。第1回の嘉義(嘉義中会)、第2回の宜蘭(七星中会)、第3回の台南(台南中会)、第4回の台東(東部中会)、第5回の新竹(新竹中会)、そして今回の彰化(彰化中会)で行われたキャンプには、放射能汚染から少しでも逃 れることを求めて、福島県在住の親子161名、スタッフ34

の計195名が参加しました。そして、その全てのキャンプにおいて、PCTに連なる各中会及び教会から、思いをはるかに超えた素晴らしい歓迎を受け、大自然のもと、心行くまで遊ぶ ことが出来ました。特に最後となった今回の彰化でのキャンプでは、2日目に永福教会で日本基督教団による感謝礼拝が行われ、石橋秀雄本部長が感謝のメッセージを語り、それに 対しPCTの林芳仲総幹事が応答しました。

東日本大震災を契機として、台湾基督長老教会・UMCOR・日本基督教団の協働によって実現した このプログラムは、台米日の国境を越え、教会が被災者に仕える大切な活動となりました。

又、このキャンプに先立って行われたPCT総会では、長崎哲夫総幹事が挨拶の中で、キャンプに参加した親子に代わって謝辞を延 べ、感謝状を贈呈しました。この場面は、すぐにPCTのホームページでアップされ、詳しく紹介されました。

3年間、6回にわたるキャンプを実現して下さったPCT及びUMCORに対し、心からのお礼を申し上げると共 に、このプログラムを通して培われた3者による新たな協働の業を、今後ますます力強く前進させて行きたいと思います。

【June 2016 No.388】Tohoku Nuclear Disaster Relief Focuses on Recuperation

The Kyodan Tohoku District Nuclear Disaster ReliefTask Force, “IZUMI,” was formed in October 2013, in accordance with a resolution passed at the 68th Tohoku District Annual Assembly in May of that same year.


Presently, this task force is comprised of a director, an adviser, and a steering committee of five members, including the director, who work with four active full-time staff and a number of volunteers. The office is located in the annex of the Tohoku District Center in Sendai. This was previously a two-story missionary residence called “Maggie House,” which was renovated for our use through funding from the Kyodan and Tohoku District. The steering committee meets once a month, and a staff meeting is held every week. At these meetings there are detailed accounts of the work being done, and ample time is taken in planning future steps. This is because engaging with the problems of radioactive contamination calls for a variety of approaches. Our activities focus on health consultation and examinations, recuperative programming, visitation, and listening. From our first month of activity, we developed programs for recuperation. In December 2013, the physician who performed the first thyroid examinations also gave a lecture. This lecture, as well as five others that followed by other lecturers, was about radioactivity. In the beginning, Dr. Yamazaki Tomoyuki came to us from Airin Church in Osaka District to provide health consultation every month. This was very important for the care of families of children attending church-related kindergartens and nurseries in Fukushima Prefecture. It is impossible to talk about the cooperative relationship we have with the Information Center for Radioactivity in Aizu, located in Wakamatsu Sakaemachi Church in Fukushima Prefecture, without mentioning Dr. Yamazaki.


The first thyroid examinations were given in December 2013. The 24th series of examinations was held in January of this year. Over 1,000 children have been examined. Recently, examinations are being performed every month without fail. Children under 18 at the time of the disaster in Fukushima, who are now living in Miyagi Prefecture, have been the main focus of the examinations that we have arranged. For a brief period, we rented an echo machine, but with full funding from the Kyodan, we were able to obtain our own echo machine. We are extremely grateful for this. Since obtaining our own equipment, we have been able to take it throughout Miyagi Prefecture as well as to places close to us in southern Fukushima Prefecture, such as Marumorimachi, Kakuda City, and Shiroishi City. We were also able to take it to Kurihara City in the northern part of Fukushima Prefecture, which was said to have a high degree of radioactivity.


When visiting areas throughout Japan and reporting on our work, we are asked why we are working only in Miyagi Prefecture and not in Fukushima Prefecture. There has been no decision not to go to Fukushima Prefecture. We have visited the Kawatani Church kindergarten in the southern part of Fukushima Prefecture twice for thyroid examinations. One of the reasons we do so much work in Miyagi Prefecture is that the prefectural government has decided there is no danger of radioactivity and sees no need for thyroid examinations. However, at the local level, there is a different understanding. For example, due to the cooperation of the town of Ogawaramachi, we did thyroid examinations in that community. When a notice of our examinations was posted on the official town site, there was a flood of applications. The same thing happened in Shiraishi. In Ogawaramachi, the local government provided its facilities for the examinations, and the mayor came to observe. In one day, about 100 children received examinations. Normally, about 50 are seen in one day. The challenge of continuing thyroid examinations is finding doctors who will volunteer for only a travel subsidy. This year we were concerned because the doctor who had helped us was transferred, but we are thankful that suitable help has been provided.


There are two recuperative programs: one short-term and one long-term. The long-term program is held in Hokkaido during the summer and in Okinawa during the spring. It is a five-night, six-day program, with much cooperation from Hokkaido and Okinawa districts. In March we are planning to have our ninth long-term program at Amami Oshima in Kyushu District. It has been five years since the Great East Japan Disaster. The work of “IZUMI” began as an effort to protect the lives of children who, through God’s creative activity and providential guidance, are living here. This an ethical issue about life. When compared to the enormity of the nuclear disaster, this is a very small effort. However, for me, it is an effort I hope to continue. Please support us with your prayers.(Tr. JS)

From Kyodan Shinpo (The Kyodan Times), No. 4835

—Hoshina Takashi, pastor

Fukushima Church, Tohoku District


現在は、1名の室長と1名の顧問、室長も含めた5名の運営委員と4名の専従スタッフ、さらに何人かのボランティアによって活動しています。事務所は仙台 市の東北教区センターの別棟です。以前は宣教師館だった二階建ての「マギーハウス」を東北教区と教団からの支援金により、大幅に改装 して使わせていただいております。


毎月一回の運営委員会と毎週一回のスタッフ・ミーティングがあります。活動の詳細な報告と今後の予定が時 間をかけて話し合われます。放射能汚染の問題に対する取り組みが多岐にわたるからです。活動の柱は、健康相談と検診、保養プログラ ム、訪問と傾聴です。開設した月から保養プログラムが行われました。検診は十二月に甲状腺検査の第一回を行い、担当した医師による講 演会もなされました。放射能を主題にした講演会は、その後何人かの講師により五回行われました。大阪教区から派遣していただいた山崎 知行医師(大阪教区・愛隣教会員)による健康相談会は、福島県を中心にした教会付属の幼稚園や保育園の保護者達のケアとして大切な働きで当 初は毎月来ていただきました。福島県の若松栄町教会にある会津放射能情報センターとの協力関係も、山崎医師の存在を抜きにしては語れません。

甲状腺の第一回の検査は2013年12月で、2016年1月末で第24回になります。すでに1000名を超える子どもたちが検査を受けました。最近は毎月一回の検査が確実に実施されています。福島の原発事 故当初に18歳以下だった子どもの中で現在は宮城県に住んでいる人を中心に検査を実施してきました。しばらくはエコー 検査をする器械を借りてレンタル料を払っていましたが、教団からの全額支援により自前のエコー器械を持てたことは感謝です。それ以後 は宮城県でも福島県に近い南部の地域(丸森町、角田市、白石市など)に出張したり、放射線量が高いといわれる北部の栗原市でも検査を行いました。

日本各地に運営委員が出かけて活動を報告すると「どうして宮城県だけでしているのですか。福島県では行わ ないのですか。と問われます。福島県に出かけないと決めているわけではありません。園長からの希望を受けて、福島県南部にある川谷教会の保育園の子どもたちの甲状腺検査を単独で二回、実施しました。宮城県で行うのは、県の行政は放射能 の心配はないという判断で甲状腺の検査は必要ないと考えていますが、市町村のレベルでは必ずしもそうではないからです。例えば大河原 町では町の協力を得て甲状腺検査を実施しました。「いずみ」の検査案内を町の広報に載せていただくと、申し 込みが殺到しました。白石市でも同様です。大河原町では検査会場に町の施設を貸していただき、町長も見学に来られました。一日の検査 で約100名の子どもが検査を受けました。通常は50名程度が限度です。甲状腺検査の課題は、交通費のみのボランティアで担当してくださる医師の不足です。今 年の4月からはこれまで担当 していただいた医師の転任もあり、案じられましたが、適任者が与えられ感謝です。


保養プログラムは、短期、長期の二つです。長期のプログラムは夏は北海道、春は沖縄で五泊六日の日程で行 い、北海教区と沖縄教区の大きな協力を得ています。今年3月の第9回の長期保養プログラムは九州教区の奄美大島で初めて行う予定です。


東日本大震災と福島の原発事故から五年を迎えます。「いずみ」の活動は神が創造し、摂理をもって導いてく ださるこの世界に生きる子どもたちの命を守る取り組みとして始まりました。生命倫理的な課題です。原発事故の大きさに比べてあまりに も小さなつながりであり取り組みです。しかし、私は、このような働きを今後も続けていきたいと願っています。祈りを持って支えてくだ さい。保 科隆(福島教会牧師)(教団新報4835号)

【June 2016 No.388】The Beginnings of Shunan Church

by Ando Akiyoshi, pastor

Shunan Church, Ou District

Martin Mosser Smyser (1875-1955), who came from Pennsylvania and had been invited by Yokote Middle School to be an English teacher, began the evangelistic work of Shunan Church, starting with an English Bible class for neighborhood children in his home. Smyser, who believed that “evangelism in Japan should be done by Japanese,” chose two baptized youth from that class and sent them to Meiji Gakuin High School, then on to the seminary there. Following graduation, these two men, Seya Shigeji and Suzuki Kozo became as Smyser’s right and left hands. They moved ahead to promote the evangelization of southern Akita Prefecture. The unique characteristic of Smyser’s evangelistic work was his non-affiliation with any denominational body. Smyser’s support of the two young men covered not only their educational expenses but all their living expenses as well. To do that, he continued his work as a missionary, receiving financial support from his friends in his homeland.


As a band of believers was born in one region, they extended their work to another region. Spreading the gospel through the southern area of the prefecture was their priority. When there was no pastor present, the believers maintained the meetings with testimonies. The meetings did not have any particular building but continued their existence as “house churches.” This method of evangelism also appeared among those that were called the ”Fukuin Kyodan” (Gospel Band). Before the band became a “church,” they identified themselves by saying, “We are a brotherhood led by the Reverend Smyser.” I think this style was a breakthrough for rural evangelism in Japan, which had been frustrated so many other attempts by various churches.


However, in this brotherhood, the waves of history beat upon the shore. Under the “Religious Organizations Law”(enacted in 1940), the Smyser band, as a religious association, changed its name to “Shunan Christ Church,” and in the midst of these difficulties, it became a part of the Kyodan. Concurrently, the church itself was also making decisions that were greatly changing its character, namely, Smyser’s retirement. He had initially resisted returning to his country, but the thought-control police made that a precondition. Seya Shigeji was ordained and became the head pastor. At the same time, Suzuki Kozo left Shunan Church.


Seya was sent to Indonesia during World War II. When he returned to Japan, the meetings in the region were reopened and new churches in the bands formed after the war were also added, but the “house church” base did not change. The Reverend Murakami Eiji was invited as Seya’s successor, and the gatherings planned to build meeting halls in each area respectively. All the believers gave offerings, and in turn six meeting halls were dedicated. Formerly, there were more home meetings but only six remain that were able to construct meeting halls and one place where a house meeting is still being continued. This is Shunan Church at present.


Missionary Choi Jang-Soo and I are partnering and serving in rotation. Worship services at Yokote sanctuary and Asamai sanctuary are on Sunday from 10:30 a.m.; Uenodai sanctuary and Obonai sanctuary worship services are on Sunday afternoon from 2:00 p.m. Worship at Kakumagawa sanctuary is from 7:30 p.m. on Monday, and Omonogawa sanctuary worship is held twice a month at 7:00 in the evening. The house meeting is held in the home of a believer in Kakunodate on the third Friday afternoon of every month at 1:30. The board of trustees meeting is held each month on the second Sunday from 2:00 p.m. at Yokote sanctuary. Yokote was Smyser’s beginning base of evangelism and continues presently as the center. Naturally, in order for the minister and the missionary to be present at the board of trustees meeting, the afternoon worship services are held with the support of neighboring area pastors.


As a matter of principle, both Choi Jang-Soo and I attend worship services together on days other than Sunday. The meeting halls are shelters for the protection of the believers’ faith, but as believers age, maintenance of the meeting halls is presently becoming a burden for Shunan Church. But even so, believing that our active evangelism will contribute to a revitalization of the evangelization of our nation, we continue to move forward. (Tr. RT)


日本基 督教団 秋南教会牧師

安 藤 昭 良

 秋南教会の伝道は1914年、 に英語教師として招かれた米国ペンシルバニア州出身のマーティン.M.スマイザー牧師が、近隣の子どもたちに自宅 で聖書を教えたところから始まります。「日本の伝道は日本人の手で」と考えていたスマイザーは、そこから生まれた受洗者から二人を選 んで明治学院中等部、そして神学部に送り出しました。卒業後この二人(・)はスマイザーの右左の腕となって、秋田県南の伝道を進めて いったのです。スマイザーによる伝道の独自性は、彼が教派的伝道団体に所属しなかったことに起因します。二人の少年に対するスマイ ザーの支援は、学費だけでなく生活費全般に及んでいました。そのために彼は教師の仕事を続け、本国の友人たちからの経済的支援を受け ていたのです。

ひとつの地域に信者の群が生まれる と、彼らは他の地域へ足を伸ばしていきました。県南全域で、福音が広まることを優先したのです。牧師の不在時に、信徒は証をもって集 会を支えました。集会は固有の建物を持たずに「家の教会」としての歩みを続けました。このような伝道姿勢は、当初掲げられた「福音教 団」という名称の中にも現されています。地域の群が「教会」である以前に、「自分たちはスマイザー牧師に導かれた教団なのだ」という アイデンティティーがあったのです。これらは、幾多の教会が試みては挫折してきた「日本の農村伝道」に、突破口を開くための方法だっ たように思われます。

しかしこの教団に、歴史の波が打ち 寄せます。「宗教団体法」(1940年施行)の下、スマイザーの群は、一宗教結社として「」を名のるようになります。それでもなお続く困難に 直面して、日本基督教団に加入します。この時期、教会は自らを大きく変質させる決定を他にもしています。それはスマイザー牧師の隠退 (帰国を拒む彼に、特高警察が突き付けた条件だった)であり、瀬谷重治が按手を受け、主任牧師となるということでした。同時に、須々 木光三は秋南教会から袂を分かちました。

戦時中インドネシアに派遣されてい た瀬谷牧師が帰国することによって、地域集会が再開され、戦後生まれの新しい群も加わりましたが、「家の教会」がベースであることは 変わりませんでした。後任として招かれた牧師は、各地域集会がそれぞれの会堂を建てることを計画しました。すべての信徒が献金し、順 番に六つの会堂が献げられました。かつてはもっと多くの集会がありましたが、会堂建築をなし遂げて生き残った集会が六つ、家庭集会を 守っているのが一箇所、これが現在の秋南教会なのです。崔宣教師と私、安藤がローテーションを組んで奉仕いたします。礼拝時間は、横 手会堂、浅舞会堂が聖日午前10時半から。上野台会堂、生保内会堂が聖日午後2時から。角間川会堂は月曜日の夜7時半から。 そして雄物川会堂は月2回午後7時から行っています。家庭集会は角館の信徒のお宅で毎月第三金曜午後1時半から持 たれています。役員会は毎月第二聖日午後2時から横手会堂で開催しています。横手はスマイザー伝道の最初の拠点であり、現在でもセンターの意識が共 有されています。牧師・宣教師は役員会に当然出席するため、この日の午後の礼拝は、近隣の牧師たちの支援を受けています。聖日以外の 礼拝は原則、安藤と崔の両名が出席いたします。会堂は信徒の信仰を守るシェルターですが、信徒が高齢化した現在、会堂を維持すること が、秋南教会にとっての重荷となりつつあります。それでも、私たちが元気に伝道することが、この国の伝道を活気づけることにつながる と信じつつ、次の一歩を踏み出していきたいと思います。