【December 2018 No.400】General Assembly Elects Officers, Signs New Mission Agreement

The 41st Kyodan General Assembly was held Oct. 23–25 at the Hotel Metropolitan in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, with the theme “Building Up an Evangelistic Kyodan—Recovering the Life and Vitality of Evangelism.” Of the allotted 400 delegates, 376 were in attendance.

Moderator Ishibashi Hideo began with an apology for the 17-month vacancy in the possition of general secretary and reported on the process of choosing a new candidate, which led to the election of General Secretary Akiyama Toru who officially assumed this role in April 2018. The moderator’s report contained the following statistic: The number of baptisms during 2016 was 939, the lowest number on record. Thus the need for the theme, “Recovering the Life and Vitality of Evangelism.” To address this need, it was proposed that a task force on evangelism in the Kyodan be established, consisting of the Kyodan moderator, vice-moderator, and secretary along with eight district moderators and eight Executive Council members. This task force would prepare a proposal on structural reform to the 42nd Kyodan General Assembly in 2020.

In his report, General Secretary Akiyama Toru reported on the continuing recovery programs related to the 2011 Great East Japan Disaster and the 2017 Kumamoto/Oita Earthquake, along with the response of the Natural Disaster Relief Task Force he set up to deal with the various disasters that occurred this year during the period of July through September. These included the earthquake in northern Osaka, the floods in western Japan, the earthquake in eastern Iburi in Hokkaido, and Typhoon #21 (called Jebi by Western media).

The election of Kyodan leaders resulted in the reelection of Ishibashi Hideo as moderator for a fifth term. In the election of vice-moderator, the top two nominees continued to the second round, with the result that Kuze Sorachi was chosen for his first term. The selection of secretary was based on the recommendation of the moderator and vice-moderator, with Kumoshikari Toshimi being confirmed for a fifth term. Of the 14 clergy elected to the Executive Council for the two-year term of the 41st General Assembly Period, 8 were first-timers, and 6 of the 13 lay members on the council will also be serving for the first time.

On the second day, the delegates discussed the mutual mission agreement with the Gereja Masehi Injili di Minahasa (GMIM) [Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa]. The GMIM consists of about one million adherents in approximately 1,000 churches centered on the Minahasa Peninsula in the northern part of the island of Sulawesi.Relations with the Kyodan began in 1942, when the Japanese military began its occupation and the Education Ministry sent Japanese pastors there with a mandate to convince the Indonesians to cooperate with Japan’s war efforts. The Kyodan sent doctors and others to serve the people through “atonement activities” during the postwar years and then later under the Mission 21 Program. Other relationships were also formed, particularly with Kanto District. Following a question-and-answer session, the proposal was formally passed, and the signing ceremony for the mutual mission agreement was held in the afternoon. Following the signing, GMIM Moderator Hein Arina expressed his thanksgiving to God for divine guidance, and Moderator Ishibashi said, “I have signed this agreement in a spirit of repentance for our sins during Japan’s war of aggression while asking for forgiveness from our neighbors. I rejoice from the bottom of my heart at this signing ceremony.” (Tr. TB)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

教団総会報告

 第41回日本基督教団総会が10月23日~25日、池袋のホテルメトロポリタンで開催された。主題は「伝道する教団の建設―伝道の命と力の回復」。議員定数400名中376名の参加を得た。石橋秀雄議長は、まず、17カ月間総幹事不在だったことを詫び、秋山徹総幹事選任の経過を報告した。議長報告は以下の内容であった。2016年度の受洗者が939名で過去最少人数であった。教会の「伝道の命と力の回復」が求められている。そこで三役・教区議長8名、常議員8名で構成する教団伝道対策検討委員会を設置する、第42回教団総会に教団機構改定議案を提案することを明らかにした。

 総幹事報告で秋山徹総幹事は、東日本大震災救援事業、昨年の熊本・大分救援事業と献金に触れ、本年7月から9月にかけて起きた大阪北部地震・西日本豪雨・北海道胆振東部地震・台風21号などの自然災害に対し、総幹事の下に救援対策委員会を立ち上げ、対応していると報告した。

 議長選挙の結果は石橋秀雄議員が議長に5選された。副議長選挙では上位2人の決選投票の結果、久世そらち議員が当選した。書記は正副議長提案の雲然俊美議員を議場が承認し、雲然書記は5選された。常議員選挙では教職14名中8名、信徒13名中6名が新任され、41期の教団運営が始まった。

 二日目の議事の冒頭はインドネシアのミナハサ福音キリスト教会との宣教協約締結が議事として取り上げられた。インドネシアのスラウェシ島北部にミナハサ半島を中心に約1000の教会と100万人の信徒がミナハサ福音キリスト教会には所属している。日本基督教団との関係は1942年に旧日本海軍が上陸し、文部省から牧師を派遣し戦争に協力するように要請があったことが最初である。戦後は教団教会所属の邦人医師らの贖罪活動やミッション21からの働きかけもあって、関東教区を中心に信仰の交わりが与えられた。質疑応答を経て多数でこの議案は可決され、午後には協約締結式が持たれた。調印後、ミナハサ福音キリスト教会のヘイン・アリーナ議長は「神の導きに感謝する」と述べ、石橋秀雄議長は「侵略戦争に加担した罪に対し悔い改めを祈り、隣人に許しを乞いながら調印した。締結式を行えたことを心から喜んでいる」と述べた。(加藤誠)

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