【April 2020 No.407】Executive Council Focuses on Structural and Financial Issues

The sixth Executive Council meeting of the present 41st General Assembly Period was held Feb. 3-4 at the Kyodan headquarters, with 28 of the 30 members in attendance. Executive Secretary Akiyama Toru reported that the Kyodan will cooperate with the operations of the Multi-Faith Center of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Chaplaincy as the chair of the Japan Confederation of Christian Churches.

 

The 2018 Disaster Relief Response Committee detailed its relief efforts following the northern Osaka earthquake, the western Japan floods, the Iburi Tobu Earthquake in Hokkaido, and on the damage caused by Typhoons 21 and 24. By the end of January 2020, a total 39,210,000 yen was received to support those efforts. Next, Sugahara Tsutomu, chair of the Council for Reviewing the System of Clergy Development, reported on his visit to Kyushu District to discuss the issue of two levels of ordination for clergy, with final consideration to be made by the Council.

Purpose and Plan for Kyodan Restructuring

Then, Kuze Sorachi, chairperson of the Subcommittee on Structural Reform in the Kyodan, gave an overview of the purpose of structural reform, clarifying the efforts to address the looming financial crisis in the Kyodan and laying out a road-map for how to reduce Kyodan expenditures and local church apportionments so as to help in the maintenance and growth of local churches. Specifically, the expenses related to general assemblies would be curtailed by reducing the number of delegates from the present 400 to 216 and changing the venue from a hotel to a church. This would reduce that expenditure from 22,400,000 yen to 6,800,000 yen. Likewise, Executive Council membership and activities would also be reduced, with Executive Council membership being reduced from 30 to 15, and Executive Committee membership being reduced from 10 to 5.

In the proposed Kyodan organizational structure, a Board of Evangelism and a Board of Church Affairs would be formed. The Board of Evangelism would oversee related activities, establishing short-term committees as needed and coordinating voluntary organizations while reducing standing committee and meeting expenses. The Board of Church Affairs would oversee the Department of General Affairs, the Department of Finance and the Department of Clergy Affairs, and the newly named Department of External Affairs (which would deal with world mission relations and ecumenical ties both overseas and in Japan, along with interactions with other religious bodies).   The Chairperson of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, however, did express an opposing opinion about the new name, “Department of External Affairs.”

Board of Publications’ Financial Concerns

Much of the deliberations on the second day were taken up with reports relating to the Board of Publications. In his report, Board of Directors Chair Yamakita Nobuhisa described how the Board of Publications has been dealing with the red ink experienced since 2014, mostly due to personnel costs. Ii Hikari, representing the head of the Board, reported on efforts to resolve the approximately 13 million yen of royalties that still must be paid out and to reduce the 9-million-yen cost of storing publications.

Kyodan Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi also touched on the written opinion submitted by the Auditing Committee to  Moderator Ishibashi  concerning the finances of the Board of Publications. This document urges the Kyodan to take decisive action to rectify the financial crisis of the Board of Publications, as its available funds in the bank are less than the money owed to the bank. It was decided that the directors of the Board of Publications would meet together with the Executive Council and the Kyodan Board of Directors to consider how to stabilize the finances and operations of the Board of Publications. (Tr. TB)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

第41総会期第6回常議員会報告

第6回常議員会が2月3,4日、教団会議室にて30名中28名出席で行われた。総幹事報告で秋山徹総幹事は、「東京オリンピック選手村の多宗教センターの運営に、日本キリスト教連合会の議長教団として協力することになった」と報告した。2018年諸災害救援対策員会の報告では、大阪北部地震、西日本豪雨、胆振東部地震、台風21,24号被害の支援状況のほか、1月末までに3921万円の献金がささげられている事が報告された。教師養成検討委員会報告では、菅原力委員長が2種教職制について検討してきたことを九州教区に報告し意見を聞いたこと、委員会としての検討は終了することを報告した。久世そらち教団機構改定小委員会委員長は、「協議の概要」で機構改定の目的を、教団財政の将来的危機に向けての緊急対策と明示し、教団の経費削減は各教会の負担金減となり教会の維持と成長を導くと改定検討作業の道筋を示した。具体的にはまず教団総会費用を見直し、教団総会議員数を現行の400名から216名とし、会場をホテルから教会に変更する。2240万円の出費を680万円に抑えられると算出。総会期中の活動も常議員数を現行の30名から15名、常任常議員数も10名から5名に縮小する。「機構図案」では教団組織として、伝道局と教務局を設置する。伝道局は各活動の実施に際して時限的実行委員会の設置や自主活動団体との連携を通して常設委員会数を減らし、会議費用等を縮小する。教務局に総務部、対外部(世界宣教に関する働きと、国内諸教派や多宗教との渉外を担当)、財務部、教師部を置く。ただし、世界宣教委員会長からは「対外部」という名称には反対の意見があった。

二日目午前の議事は出版局関連の報告に多くの時間が割かれた。山北宣久出版局理事長が現状を報告。2014年度より人件費が原因で赤字が続いており、その圧縮に取り組んでいる。飯光局長代行は約1300万円の未払い印税の解消と、年間約900万円を要する倉庫費の圧縮に取り組んでいることを報告した。雲然俊美書記は監査委員会から教団議長宛に出された出版局の財務状況についての緊急意見書に触れた。出版局の現預金残高が銀行借入残を下回っていることを危惧し、出版局財政を抜本的に改善する速やかな施策を執行するよう教団の果断な指示を求めるものである。これを受け、今後の出版局の事業展開と経営安定化を目指して出版局理事会、常議員会、教団責任役員会の三者で対策を講じることが決定された。加藤誠

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