【June 2019 No.403】Work of Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus, Ended

The Kyodan Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus, which received much support, concluded its activities at the end of March 2019. On March 23, 2019, Tohoku District held a gathering to express its thanks to the relief center for all its activities during the past eight years.

 

The gathering commenced with a worship service that was followed by a time of fellowship. The 60 attendees included people from churches within the district, former staff workers, meal volunteers, staff who were involved in the initial establishment of the center, and the former chairperson of the Sasayashiki neighborhood association. There were reunions with old friends; and some who couldn’t make it to the gathering sent video letters, so we were able to listen to the words of many people concerning how they felt about Emmaus.

 

During a time when society was demanding efficiency, at Emmaus, the importance of “moving close to wounded people,” which places a high value on “slow work,” had become a common slogan of which we consistently reminded each other.

 

The following comments have been received from the disaster survivors: “Thanks to the help of Emmaus, I recaptured the courage to continue my farm.” “Though the tsunami was the cause of much that made life difficult for us, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity it gave us to meet all of you.” “Please don’t forget us.”

The connections we made at Emmaus will continue. While many experienced blessed encounters through the work of Emmaus, there were some among those helping through Emmaus that experienced a great deal of pain as well. We pray for God’s comfort and blessings for all experiencing both of these aspects. We remain deeply grateful to all those who prayed and provided support for Emmaus.

(Tr. DM)

—Ogawa Sachiko, pastor, Sendai Aisen Church,

Tohoku District Former Head, Kyodan Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus

 

 8年間皆さまに支援していただいた東北教区被災者支援センター・エマオKyodan Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmausは、この3月末ですべての活動を終えます。東北教区では、3月23日(土)に被災者支援センター委員会主催で「被災者支援センター・エマオの8年を感謝する会」を開催しました。第一部礼拝、第二部感謝会(茶話会)で、教区内諸教会をはじめ県外の各地から元スタッフ、ワーカー、食事ボランティア、初期の立ち上げにかかわった方々、笹屋敷の前町内会長など60名の参加がありました。懐かしい出会いがあり、都合で参加できない方はビデオレターを送って下さり、いろいろな方のエマオへの思いを聞くことが出来ました。

 効率を求める現代において、エマオは「より添い」を大切にする「スローワーク」を合言葉にして歩んできました。「エマオさんが手伝ってくれたから畑を続ける気になった」「津波は辛いことだけれど、これがきっかけでみんなと会えたのは嬉しい」「これからも忘れないでほしい」と被災地の方々はおっしゃいます。

 エマオを通して出来たつながりは、これからも続きます。エマオを通して嬉しい出会いがあった一方で、支援する側にとっての心の痛みを感じた方もいらっしゃいます。それらすべてを主が受け止めて下さいますように。

 エマオを覚えて祈り、支えて下さった皆さま本当にありがとうございました。(元東北教区被災者支援センター長)

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