【October 2018 No.399】Executive Council Considers Structural Reform & Mutual Mission Agreement

The sixth Executive Council meeting of the present two-year (40th) general assembly period was held July 9-10 at the Kyodan headquarters, with all 30 members in attendance. The first order of business was a report on the damage caused by floods in Nishi-Chugoku District. In fact, all eight districts to the west of Chubu District had damage to report. Fortunately, however, the churches in Nishj-Chugoku and Shikoku district, where severe destruction was reported by the media, escaped with only minimal harm.

In his report, General Secretary Akiyama Toru noted that in response to the recent, strong earthquake in Osaka—6.1 on the Japan Meteorological Agency’s Seismic Intensity Scale, the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan sent a donation of $10,000 to help in the recovery effort. Okamura Hisashi, chair of the Committee on the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation, reported that the youth conference held on March 21 at Aoyama Gakuin University’s chapel had 1,000 attendees, including about 200 from the Kyodan.

The first item of business on the second day was discussion of the “Kyodan Evangelism Promotion” program. The debate centered around which entity would take the lead in planning structural reform. No conclusion was reached so Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi suggested that the issue be tabled until the October Executive Council meeting since the budgetary issues are not settled yet, and this was accepted.

Discussion turned to the mutual mission agreement between the Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa (Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa [GMIM] in Indonesia) and the Kyodan. It was proposed that once finalized, there should be a signing ceremony at the Kyodan General Assembly. The question was raised as to whether this agreement would be like the one with the Korean Christian Church in Japan, by which the ministerial credentials of each denomination are mutually recognized by both denominations. General Secretary Akiyama answered that at present, the aim of the agreement is to recognize each other’s statement of faith and sacraments but does not include provisions for ministerial exchange.

The introduction to the agreement begins with a recognition that the relationship between GMIM and the Kyodan began during Word WarⅡthrough the role the Kyodan played in pacification of the conquered areas. With respect to this, the opinion was voiced that it is important how the Kyodan views its history and that this should be clarified as the agreement is finalized. Moderator Ishibashi Hideo then tabled action on the agreement, saying it would be reworked further for finalization at the October Executive Council meeting. (Tr. TB)

            —Kato Makoto, Kyodan executive secretary



 第40総会期第6回常議員会が7月9,10両日教団会議室において議員30名全員が出席して開催された。議事の最初は西中国豪雨の被害報告であった。中部教区から西に位置する8教区が被害報告を行った。大きな被害が出たと新聞等で報じられている西中国、四国地方では教会の被害は軽微であった。総幹事報告では秋山徹総幹事から震度6弱を記録した大阪・関西地震に対して台湾基督長老教会Presbyterian Church in Taiwanから1万ドルの見舞金が寄せられた事。熊本・大分地震の募金状況が報告された。宗教改革500周年記念事業委員会報告では、岡村恒委員長は3月21日に青山学院礼拝堂で開催されたユースカンファレンスに1000人の出席があり、教団からは200名の出席であったと報告した。

 二日目は最初に「教団伝道推進に関する件」が上程された。機構改定の検討をどこが担うのかについての議論があり、結論には至らず雲然俊美書記は予算などを詰めた上で10月の常議員会に再提案する方向を示し議場は承認した。「ミナハサ福音キリスト(GMIM)との宣教協約合意書に関する件」では、第41回教団総会において「宣教協約合意書に関する件」を議案とし、可決された場合には総会において締結式を行うことが提案された。審議においては、この協約が在日大韓キリスト教会との協約のように、職制を認め合うことまで含むものなのかが問われた。秋山総幹事は今回の協約は、信仰と聖礼典を認め合い、礼拝において交わりを持つことを目的とするもので、現段階では職制の交流までは含んでいないと答えた。合意書の冒頭で両教会の関係が戦時下の宣撫工作に始まったと述べている点について、教団が歴史をどう振り返り展望するのかを確認しつつ締結に向かってほしいとの意見があった。石橋秀雄議長は合意書は一旦取り下げ、整えた上で10月の常議員会で締結を目指すと述べた。(加藤 誠)

【October 2018 No.399】Japan Recently Hit with 4 Major Natural Disasters

The following major natural disasters have struck Japan between mid-June and mid-September.

1. An earthquake occurred on June 18, centered in the northern part of Osaka, with a magnitude of 6.1 on the Japan Meteorological Agency’s (JMA) Seismic Intensity Scale. Over 40,000 homes were damaged; 285 structures were destroyed; and 5 people were killed.

2. Major flooding took place between June 28 and July 8 in several sections of western Japan due to heavy rains caused by the effects of Typhoon No. 7, which was given the international name of Prapiroon. Floods also extended northward as far as Hokkaido. The heavy rains caused numerous landslides, which in addition to the flooding resulted in severe damage to many homes and the deaths of over 200 people.

3. Typhoon No. 21 came ashore on Sept. 4 in Shikoku as a major typhoon called “Jebi” in the international press, then crossed over Honshu and out into the Sea of Japan along Hokuriku on Sept. 5. It also continued up the western side of Hokkaido with strong winds and heavy rains, leaving a trail of destruction. Kansai International Airport in Osaka was forced to close due to flooding and damage to the bridge connecting it to the mainland. Over 2 million people were issued an evacuation advisory, and 9 people lost their lives.

4. A major earthquake on Sept. 6 struck the Iburi region in Hokkaido, with a magnitude of 7 on the JMA’s Seismic Intensity Scale. Occurring so shortly after the typhoon passed by Hokkaido, the resulting widespread landslides swallowed up many homes, killed 41 people, and caused the entire island to loose electric power due to the failure of a major electric power plant. As these events have occurred while this issue of KNL was being prepared, further details will be reported in the next issue. (Tr. TB)


*6月18日に大坂北部地震が起きた。マグネニュードMj6.1 最大震度6弱。5名が亡くなり、建物の全半壊は合わせて285軒。損傷を受けた家は四万軒を超した。




【October 2018 No.399】4 Kyodan Youth Attend “I Love Taiwan” Mission Event

The “I Love Taiwan” (ILT) mission event, sponsored by the Youth Ministry Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT), was held again this year, July 4-21, with the theme “The Beginning.” The planning and operation of the ILT are all conducted by PCT youth, who began preparations for this event at the end of last year. Watching these energetic Taiwanese youth enjoy being involved in church activities leaves a deep impression on Japanese youth every year, and they return to Japan feeling somewhat envious of the fact that there is a place in the church for youth.

The original purpose of the ILT was for foreign-born youth with Taiwanese roots to return to Taiwan during their summer vacation to encounter God and Taiwan by serving at a local church. However, now the focus is on international and domestic youth worshiping together with the local church and serving each other in order to experience “the Lord’s extended family.” This year, 107 domestic and international youth from 11 countries gathered for the event.

The main part of the ILT was ten days of service at local churches. Participants were sent to churches all over Taiwan to work at summer camps. During the camps, overseas youth shared their culture, history, food, dance, and hymns. This year, some of the participants were sent to churches of the indigenous people of Taiwan, where they heard local church youth telling children about Inoue Inosuke, the first Japanese Christian to reach out to Taiwan’s indigenous people, and how he caused the PCT to begin to evangelize them.

What left a lasting impression on the participants was the tremendously warm and tender look on the faces of the Taiwanese church adults towards the youth and of the Taiwanese youth towards the children and the overseas youth. Some participants said they were reminded of Jesus’ teaching to love “the least of these” (Matt. 25:40) through the example of the look on the their faces.

Through its Committee on Taiwan Church Relations, the Kyodan has been sending youth to the ILT continuously since 2009. This year, through information-sharing sessions by past participants in the ILT and other overseas programs, the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries was able to send four young people to Taiwan: Kuboshima Yuki from Higashi Omiya Church, Shimo Makoto from Yamato Christian Church, Kobayashi Nanami from Ashiyahama Church, and Oyama Echika from Saemoonan Church. We are thankful for everyone’s prayers and support. (Tr. DB)

                  —Hironaka Yoshimi, staff  Commission on Ecumenical Ministries


 今年も台湾基督長老教会(以下PCT)青年委員会が主催するI Love Taiwan Mission(以下ILT)が「初αThe beginning」というテーマで7月4日—7月21日に行われた。ILTの企画、運営はすべてPCT青年主体で行われており、今回は昨年末から準備を始めていたそうだ。「教会活動に関わることが楽しく」て活き活きしている台湾青年の姿に、日本の青年は毎年感銘を受ける。そして、教会に青年たちの居場所があることに羨ましさを覚えて帰国する。





【October 2018 No.399】United Church of Christ in the Philippines Celebrates Its 70th Anniversary

The 11th General Assembly of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines (UCCP) was held May 23-25 at Pilgrim Christian College in Cagayan de Oro. This was a special general assembly that incorporated a program to celebrate the 70th year of the church’s founding. On the morning of the second day, participants separated into eight groups (Music Workshop, LGBT, Gender Justice, Human Sexuality, Indigenous People, etc.), with time for study and discussion.

The election of officers was held in the afternoon, and the introduction of each candidate was shown on the screen in front by utilizing various sound effects and animation to give visual effects with originality. Bishop Melzar Labuntog was elected as general secretary, replacing Bishop Reuel Norman Marigza who had worked for many years as general secretary.

In the evening, we moved to a special meeting room in a giant mall to participate in the 70th Anniversary Congratulatory Party. Over 1,000 participants from various areas of the Philippines met together, overflowing with praise. The event ended with a slide presentation on Protestant evangelism in the Philippines from before the creation of the UCCP. The program also considered those of us guests from overseas.

On the third evening, we were transferred to a hotel in the city, and The UCCP Unsung Heroes Award was presented for the very first time. At this meeting thanks was expressed to the “heroes in the shadows” who had served in schools, seminaries, and churches in each area of the Philippines. The work of the eight heroes, almost all persons of advanced age over 80 years old, was introduced by videos, and each one was invited to the platform to give a speech. In the case of those who were deceased, a family member gave the speech in their place. It was a heart-warming gathering. (Tr. RT)

 by Kato Makoto, Kyodan executive secretary



 第11回フィリピン合同教会の総会が2018年5月23日(水)から25日(金)にかけてカガヤン・デ・オロ市のPILGRIM CHRISTIAN COLLEGE を会場にして行われた。今回は創立70周年を記念するプログラムが組み込まれた特別な総会であった。二日目の午前はInterest Groups/Workshopsの時間があり、Music Workshop, LGBT, Gender Justice, Human Sexuality, Indigenous People, など8グループに分かれて学びとディスカッションの時間が設けられていた。午後は選挙であったが、候補者の紹介が前方のスクリーンで候補者ごとに異なる効果音とアニメを用いた視覚的効果が用いられ斬新であった。今回の総会では、長年にわたって総幹事として働かれたReuel Norman Marigza ビショップに代わりMelzar Labuntog ビショップが新たに総幹事として選任された。

 夕方からは市内の巨大モールの特設会場に移動し、創立70周年の祝賀会が行われた。フィリピン各地から1000名以上が参加し、讃美に溢れた会であった。最後にフィリピン合同教会創立以前からの、フィリピンにおけるプロテスタントの伝道がスライドで紹介され、我々海外ゲストにとっても配慮されたプログラムであった。3日目の夕方からは市内のホテルに移動し第1回THE UCCP UNSUNG HEROES AWARD が開催された。これは長年にわたりフィリピン各地で学校、神学校、教会に仕えてきた「影のヒーロー」に感謝する会であった。8名のヒーローたちの仕事がビデオで紹介され、ほとんどが80歳以上の高齢者であったが、壇上に招かれスピーチをされた。故人の場合には家族が代わってスピーチをされた。心温まる会であった。
(加藤 誠)

【October 2018 No.399】Reflections on the Mission 21 International Youth Ambassador Program

I recently returned from participating in the Mission 21 International Youth Ambassador Program June 11-24. Mission 21 is an evangelistic group centered in Basel, Switzerland that began at a missionary school in 1815. This is linked to a young adult project started two years ago, in 2016, when European young adults visited Mission 21-related religious organizations throughout the world and, in 2018, invited to Switzerland one young adult from each Mission 21-related religious body throughout the world.

During the first week in Aarau, Switzerland, we spent our time in workshops on international solidarity and discussing the issues faced in each country. We also took part in a portion of the Mission 21 Synod that was taking place at the same time. At the synod, there were reports of the situation in each country of the world and a joint sharing of the various perspectives on the theme of immigrants and refugees, which is being discussed throughout the world. Two youth coordinators from among the ambassadors made presentations and proposals. At the “mission feast” held after the worship service on Sunday, we enjoyed food from the Mission 21-related areas in stalls that became places to experience the warm fellowship of the Mission 21 project site.

During the first half of the second week, all participants of every team were sent to various areas in Europe, and those of us on the Asian team went to Germany. We interacted with seminary students and young adults in the area, and those of us from Japan sensed the deep significance of our going to Germany, which had been similarly defeated in World War II. We also visited the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) to consider and discuss mission. Following that, the participants met together once again in Basil, where we mutually shared what we had discovered, held workshops, then closed the meeting and returned to our respective countries.

One insight I gained from this program is that young adults think for themselves. The goal of this program was to stimulate young adult participation in the work of Mission 21, and various opportunities were provided. Out of those experiences, the declaration we proposed to the synod was: “We are present not only future” (sic). Young adults are not just persons to be educated, but are independent beings who are living out the present. Moreover, this program was fundamentally managed by young adults. At times they led; at times they related to us as friends of the same age, serving us from the same level. Through “caring for travelers,” they interacted as young adults.

The second insight was in regard to Christianity and international relations. When I have discussions with my fellow Asians, I pointedly make it clear that I think the invasion of Asia by the Japanese military was absolutely wrong. In the same way, Europe was also a colonizer and even used evangelism to accomplish this end. Likewise, there is a long history of the church being very strongly in the background of international cooperation between Europe and North America, as well as in mission activities, and that is a wonderful thing. But on the other hand, when going to another country to do something, people as a rule must fight the temptation of being arrogant and prejudicial. I realized that for this reason, the concept of working “with” the local culture rather than of going “to” a local culture is important, and what is necessary is an ecumenism based on mutual “solidarity” rather than a relationship based merely on giving and receiving. The work of the mission organizations that I encountered in Europe is accomplished through prayer. I think it would be wonderful if in Japan as well, we could bring peace to the world through the Bible.

Finally, I want to express my gratitude to the Kyodan and Mission 21 for giving me this opportunity. (Tr. RT)

by Kishi Hikari, member of Chiba Honcho Church Chiba Subdistrict, Tokyo District


mission21 International Youth Ambassador Programに参加して

千葉本町教会 岸ひかり

 私は、6月11日から24日にかけて、mission21 International Youth Ambassador Programに参加してきました。



 日曜日には礼拝後、mission21関連地域の食事が屋台のように楽しめる「mission feast」があり、mission21のプロジェクトサイトを知り交流する暖かい場所となっていました。



 当プログラムから得た学びのひとつは、青年の主体性です。当プログラムの目的がmission21の活動に青年の参加を促すことであったので、様々な機会が与えられました。その中で私達が総会へ提出した声明は「we are present not only future」です。青年は常に被教育対象なのではなく、今を生きる主体的な存在なのです。また、このプログラムは基本的に青年によって運営されました。彼らは時に導き時に同じ年代の友達として接し、同じ目線に立って奉仕してくれました。「旅人をもてなす」ことを通して、青年としてのアクションを示してくれました。