【April 2019 No.402】Preserving the Natural World God Made

by Miyana Koichiro, member, Kodaira Church,Nishi-Tokyo District Attendee, Hokkaido Nakashibetsu Church, Hokkai District Park Ranger Assistant Rausu Park Ranger’s Office Ministry of the Environment

I am a person who loves to be immersed in the atmosphere of forests and rivers and have been working for four years as a park ranger assistant, referred to in Japanese as an “active ranger,” in the Ministry of the Environment’s Rausu Park Ranger’s Office at Hokkaido Shiretoko National Park. The Park Ranger’s work is carried out by public officials who protect the natural environment in national parks and other places. The main work for me, as an assistant, is to patrol the national parks on behalf of the Park Ranger, gathering information on such matters as the condition of facilities and disseminating it. I also do work connected with rare species of wild animals, such as the Blakiston’s fish owl.

 

I use the term “patrol,” but most areas are not accessible by motor vehicle within the 38,000 hectare Shiretoko National Park. Movement is almost entirely by walking; and maybe it’s not even an exaggeration to say that the work is walking—walking through the mountains, valleys, rivers, seashore, rock walls, thickets of bamboo grass bush and Siberian dwarf pine in the higher elevations, as well as walking where there are no paths. I would like to share two things I think about during those days of walking around Shiretoko.

 

My first thoughts are of Shiretoko National Park, the entire area of which is registered as a World Natural Heritage Site. In the park there are various living things in each of the highly diversified environments that extend from mountains rising 1,500 meters above sea level and continue to 2,000 meters below the surface of the deep sea. A world overflowing with these living things stretches from only one step outside the office, so there is no day when I am unaware of their existence. Of course I am aware of people, but my daily life is one that involves an awareness of living things other than humans. As a result, I have come to think that not only do I long to hand to the next generation a natural environment in good condition, a natural environment in the world created by God, I want to use the strength given to me for that purpose. Likewise, I have also begun to think that this work can be accomplished through the church.

 

It is written in Genesis 1:28 that God entrusted to humankind the rule over all living things other than humans. A concrete way of ruling is not specified, but I think the stance for this is revealed in the figure of Jesus washing His disciples’ feet. That is, within the system in which living things were created by God to carry out various purposes, we wholeheartedly, and with humility, provide the help they need. Proclaiming the good news to as many people as possible and living in service to one another is truly a magnificent thing. Isn’t it also required to include living things other than human beings in that affiliation?

 

My second area of thought is existence with a directed awareness of living things other than people. For this, it is necessary to have a calm and relaxed mind. It is difficult to live that way in person-to-person relationships, but furthermore, even thinking that way is completely thwarted without a relationship to God. After beginning my work, I was shown just how important it is to provide for a relationship of oneself to God. I began to realize that to continue this relationship, it is a rich blessing to have a set time for worship at the beginning of the week.

 

While I am walking around Shiretoko, time passes in an instant. Overwhelmed with business, exchanging ideas with various kinds of people, and sometimes in the midst of encountering a brown bear, physical and spiritual exhaustion accumulates. Then I realize how my awareness of working for the Lord has waned, how I have turned my back on the Lord during a mere week, in this very short period of time. In the midst of this realization, by welcoming worship on the Lord’s Day and in this hour having time to consider and review my relationship with the Lord, I am able to renew my commitment to work for the Lord from the bottom of my heart. A week begun in this way definitely overflows with good wisdom and, with a calm and relaxed mind, I can direct my attention to other persons and to living things as well.

 

Looking to the Lord, having been given a calm and relaxed mind, I have consideration for people and the existence of things other than people, and can live in mutual support. I think this is the way I want to live the life I have been given. (Tr. RT)

 

「20代の証し 仕事とわたし 神さまが創られた自然を支えるために」

宮奈光一郎(みやな  こういちろう)

環境省羅臼自然保護官事務所自然保護官補佐

東京・小平教会員 北海道・中標津教会出席

 森や川べりの空気に浸ることが好きな私は、自然保護官補佐として4年ほど前から北海道の知床国立公園内にある環境省羅臼らうす自然保護官事務所に勤めています。自然保護官とは、国立公園などで自然環境の保護に従事する国家公務員です。補佐である私の主な業務は、多忙な自然保護官に代わり国立公園を見回り、施設状況などの情報を収集し、共有、発信することです。シマフクロウなどの希少野生鳥獣に関わる業務を行うこともあります。

 見回りと書きましたが、約3万8千ヘクタールある知床国立公園の中で車両を利用して移動できる場所は限られています。移動はほとんど徒歩。歩くことが仕事と言っても過言ではないでしょう。山、谷、川、海岸、岩壁、笹ささやぶ薮ささやぶ、ハイマツが繁茂する高山帯、道なき道を歩くこともあります。そんな知床を歩き回る日々に思ったことを2点、分かち合いたいと思います。

 1つ目は知床国立公園のこと。全域が世界自然遺産に登録されているこの公園には、標高1500メートル級の山々から海岸、さらに水深2千メートル級の深海に続く海に至るまで多種多様な環境が存在し、各々の環境に適したさまざまな生物が息づいています。そんな生物に満ち満ちた世界が事務所の一歩外に広がっているのですから、彼らの存在を意識しない日はありません。人のことはもちろん、人以外の生物も意識して生きることが私の日常です。

 そうして、私は神さまが創られた地球の自然環境、現存の自然環境が次世代により良いかたちで引き継がれていくことを力強く願い求めると共に、そのために私に与えられた力を使いたいと思うようになりました。そして、教会をとおしてそうした働きができないかと考えるようになりました。

 創世記1章28節に神が人に人以外の全ての生きものを支配するよう任されたことが記されています。支配の具体的な方法は記されていませんが、その姿勢はイエス・キリストが弟子たちの足を洗う姿をとおして示されているのだと思います。つまり、生物が主によって創り出された秩序の中で各々の役目を果たせるように、心を配り、へりくだって必要な助力を与えるのです。神さまが与えてくれた福音をより多くの人に伝え、仕え合い生きていくことは本当にすばらしいことです。その交わりの中に、人以外の生物を入れていくことも求められているのではないでしょうか。

 2つ目は人以外の生物にも意識を向けて生きること。これには心の余裕が必要です。人と人との関係、ましてや神と自分との関係が整えられていなければ、そう生きることは難しいばかりか、考えることすらも阻まれてしまうことでしょう。神と自分との関係を整えることがいかに大切なことか、仕事を始めてから教えられました。その関係を維持するために主が週の初めに礼拝を設けられたことが、いかに祝福に満ちたことかを理解しました。

 知床を歩き回っているとあっという間に時が過ぎていきます。業務に追われ、多種多様な人と意見を交わし、時にはヒグマに遭遇する中で肉体的にも霊的にも疲労が蓄積していきます。そうして気が付くと主のために働くという意識が薄らいでいるのです。わずか1週間という、いかに短い期間で主に背を向けたことでしょう。そうした中で迎える主日礼拝に於いて、ひととき主との関係をじっくりと振り返る時間が与えられることで、主のために働こうと心の底から思い直すことができます。そうして始めた1週間は確かに良い知恵で満ちあふれ、余裕をもって他の人々、生物にも意識を向けることができるのです。

 主に目を向け、余裕を与えられて人と人以外の存在に配慮し、支え合って生きる。与えられた人生をそのように生きたいと思います。    (信徒の友2019年1月)

【April 2019 No.402】Seikyo Gakuen: A School Born through Prayer

The beginning of Seikyo Gakuen was unique. It started in the confusing and uncertain times after World War II. The Sunday school students of Kawachinagano Church in southern Osaka began to pray enthusiastically that they would always be able to learn according to the Bible at school. If you look around the world, you will see that it is still quite rare to find a school that was created by students and their own voluntary prayers.

 

In 1948, the Sunday school students started their fundraising activities by picking up sukudo (dried leaves used for kindling) and selling it in the streets to raise money to create their school. In 1950, the members of Kawachinagano Church, inspired by the enthusiasm of the students, joined the students’ efforts to establish a school based on Christianity. Two people, Ueda Shinichi and Nakayama Noboru, felt a special calling from God and decided to devote their own lives to the establishment of Seikyo Gakuen.

 

Ueda Shinichi (1896-1989) was the last member of the church to have been baptized by Rev. Alexander Durham Hail, the missionary who founded Kawachinagano Church.* To bring about the establishment of Seikyo Gakuen, God called upon Ueda, who had lived his life as a principal in the public school system. He full-heartedly joined the establishment efforts, donated the majority of his public school retirement bonus to the campaign, and drafted a statement in January 1950 to concretize the vision of Seikyo Gakuen. According to this statement, a clear goal was set in everyone’s mind: “We will create a genuine school that can cultivate true Christian spirit, that is to say, a school that can enhance true intelligence through loving God, loving people, and pursuing the truth.” After that, many people continued to dedicate themselves to this purpose, and in April 1951, only a year and three months after the draft of intent, through the miraculous intervention of God, Seikyo Gakuen Junior High School was founded. Ueda became its first principal.

 

Despite being a small school with only 49 students, it was a joyful place where the presence of God was embraced. As its location was in the countryside of southern Osaka, it was unable to gain enough students for smooth management, even though the Japanese economy was growing rapidly. Because of this, Ueda endured many difficulties as he continued to try to keep the school open. However, he continued to serve faithfully, in accordance with the words of the Lord, by setting an example and taking on many jobs, such as working at the school building’s construction site. In 1968, God once again miraculously gave the members dedicated to this cause the opportunity to establish a senior high school.

 

By the 1980s, Seikyo Gakuen had grown into a school with more than 1,000 students. Ueda thanked God for His divine work. In 1989, the Lord took him home at the age of 93. Until the end of his life, he continued to be an active principal. He loved to spend time with students and continued to speak with enthusiasm. His educational attitude made students sense the importance of passion. “Our students are our billboard” is a phrase that everyone in the southern part of Osaka knows.  It is our tradition at Seikyo Gakuen. This is the legacy brought about by Ueda’s faith.

 

Another founder, Nakayama Noboru (1925- ), was Sunday school teacher of the students who campaigned for the establishment of Seikyo Gakuen. He strongly believed, due to his experience of the devastation caused by World War II, that it was necessary to nurture human beings to be truly humane; he also believed that the enthusiasm of the Sunday school students showed him his God-given path.   Nakayama did not need time to reach this decision. In January 1950, his parents, who knew their son’s will, decided to dedicate their house to the church, although it was supposed to be passed on to their son. The donation was a big step forward for the establishment movement of Seikyo Gakuen.

 

As vice-principal, Nakayama dedicated himself to enhancing Seikyo Gakuen’s educational content for nearly 40 years under the leadership of Principal Ueda. Nakayama’s lessons and chapel sermons embodied the true mission of the school and were filled with thoughtful approaches. He pondered deeply and discussed with students the way to live a life that expressed the glory of God. In particular, the third graders in junior high school would spend more than a month interpreting and discussing Uchimura Kanzo’s The Greatest Legacy in their Japanese literature class. This gave students the opportunity to know about the importance of living with faith. In addition, the lessons helped foster the students’ ability to think independently and properly about things, and to make use of the gifts given to them.

 

Many of the students who grew up receiving an education from Nakayama had these words from the Bible deeply engraved upon their hearts: “As each has received a gift, use it to serve one another” (I Peter 4.10). These students participated actively and served in society following graduation. After Ueda had passed on, Nakayama led Seikyo Gakuen as president and principal. He continued to work towards the improvement and enhancement of the school. Humbly asking for God’s will and with great effort, Nakayama worked towards creating an educational curriculum that would enable all students to make full use of their own talents.

 

In the first decade of the new century, when the results of his school administration were fruitful, Seikyo Gakuen grew to approximately 2,000 students and became one of the most trusted schools in the southern Osaka area. Even now, Nakayama often says, “God was pleased with His creations. In His likeness, we will find joy when we are able to make something new. We have endured a lot of hardships since our founding, but we prayed continually and devoted ourselves to making our school with everyone, and eventually we all got supreme joy from God.”

 

Seikyo Gakuen, for which everyone kept praying and working together, still continues through the grace of the Lord. This is the real testament to Nakayama’s faith.

 

                           —Ueno Kimitoshi, secretary-general

                            Seikyo Gakuen

 

*Rev. Alexander Durham Hail: a missionary of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church, located in the United States

 

清教学園の創立 ~祈りから生まれた学校~

 

 清教学園の始まりは、ユニークである。太平洋戦争後、人心の混乱の中、河内長野教会の日曜学校に集う生徒たちが「聖書に基づいた学びのできる、自分たちの学校が欲しい」と熱心に祈ったのが、その始まりであった。生徒たち自身の自発的な祈りから学校が作られたという創立の歴史は、世界中を見渡しても、そうはあるまい。

 1948年以来、生徒たちは、自分たちの学校を設立するために、「すくど」(焚きつけ用の枯葉)を拾い集めてそれを街中で売り、募金活動を続けていた。1950年、この生徒たちの熱い思いに周りの大人たちも応え、河内長野教会の信徒全員の心に「キリスト教を土台にした学校を作ろう」という夢が芽生えた。そしてそのとき、植田うえだ真一しんいちと中山なかやま昇のぼるという二人の人物が神様からの特段の召命を受け、清教学園の創立のために自分自身の人生を捧げるという道を選んだ。

 植田真一(1896年~1989年)は、米国カンバーランド長老教会の宣教師として来日し河内長野教会の創立者ともなったA.D.ヘール牧師が同教会で洗礼を授けた最後の信徒であり、公立学校の校長をしていた。神様は、清教学園の設立を実現するため、学校での職務経験のある植田を召したのであった。設立運動に加わった植田は、公立学校の退職金の大半を献金するとともに、1950年1月、学園の掲げるヴィジョンを具体化するために設立趣旨書を起草した。この趣旨書により、「神を愛し、人を愛し、而も、真理を追求して知性を高める、真の基督精神の道場たる、生きたる学校を作る」という明確な目標が皆の中に定まった。その後も多くの人々が献身を重ね、趣意書の起草からわずか一年三ヶ月後の1951年4月、神様は奇跡を起こされ、清教学園中学校の創立が成った。そして植田は初代校長となった。わずか全校生徒49名の小さな学校ではあったが、清教学園は神様の臨在を覚えることのできる喜びの場所であった。南大阪の田舎に位置する学園は、世の中が高度経済成長の時代になっても、経営が順調に進むのに十分なほどの生徒数を集めることは叶わず、校長の植田にとって学園運営は苦難の連続であった。しかし、植田は校舎建築の現場で自らも作業を行うなど身をもって範を示しつつ、主の言葉に忠実に仕え続けた。そして1968年に再び神様が奇跡を起こされ、清教学園には高等学校を設立する機会が与えられた。その後、1980年代に入ると、清教学園は全生徒数が1,000人を超える学校に成長し、植田は神様の御業に感謝しながら、現役校長のまま93歳で天に召された。――生徒たちと共に過ごすことを好み、気概を持って語りかけ続けた植田の教育姿勢は、生徒たちの魂に情熱の大切さを感じ取らせた。「生徒が看板である」という清教学園の伝統は、いまや地域の誰もが知るところであるが、これこそが植田における信仰の遺産であると言える。

 もう一人の創立者である中山昇(1925年~)は、清教学園の設立運動を興した生徒たちを日曜学校で教える教師であった。戦争による荒廃の中、本当の意味での人づくりが必要だと心の底から思っていた中山にとって、「日曜学校の生徒たちの熱い願いは神様が自分自身に与えてくださった道を示すものである」ということを信じるのに時間は必要なかった。また中山の固い意志を知った両親は、1950年1月、息子に相続する予定だった家を教会に捧げると決意し、清教学園の設立運動が大きく前進する一助をなした。清教学園中学校の創立が成った後は、教育者としての先達である植田のもと、中山は40年近くにわたり教頭として清教学園の教育内容の充実化に身を捧げた。創立理念を体現する中山の授業や礼拝説教は、神様の栄光をあらわす生き方について生徒たちと共に考えるという真摯な内容のものであった。とくに卒業前の中三生たちと共に一か月以上の長い時間をかけて内村鑑三著『後世への最大遺物』を精読し討論する授業は、信仰を持って生きることの大切さを知る契機を生徒たちにもたらすと同時に、主体的にじっくり物事を考え自分に与えられた賜物を生かせるような人材へと生徒たちを育成していった。中山の教えを受けて育った生徒たちの多くは、「その賜物を生かし、互いに仕え合いなさい(ペトロの手紙Ⅰ4章10節)」という聖書の言葉を胸に深く刻み、その後も広く社会で活躍・奉仕していった。植田が天に召された後、中山は理事長・校長として清教学園を率い、神様の御心を謙虚に尋ねながら、生徒たち一人ひとりの賜物を生かす教育をさらに推し進めた。中山による学校運営の成果が実った2000年代、清教学園は全校生徒が約2,000人の学校にまで発展し、地域で最も信頼される学校の一つになった。今も中山は「神様は『創る』ことを喜びとされた。創立以来、数々の苦労を耐え忍んだが、『学校を作る』ということに皆と共に身を捧げることによって、私たちは神様から喜びをいただくことができた。」としばしば口にする。皆と共に祈り作り上げてきた清教学園が主の恵みにあずかり存続していること、これこそが中山における信仰の証しであると言える。(植野公稔、学校法人清教学園法人事務局長)

【April 2019 No.402】A Meeting with One Heart for Cooperation (PCUSA Asia Pacific Partner Consultation)

by Saito Naomi, missionary (education) Reformed Church of America, Kyodan representative

In the warmth of the early sun, I arrived at Chiang Mai International Airport in Thailand on Sunday, Jan. 27th, and quickly spotted the sign that read “PCUSA.” Soon after, I met a fellow participant in the consultation, and immediately I found the joy of fellowship with a brother in Christ. Though I was very nervous about the work I would have to do in the coming days, especially since I was still quite inexperienced, this fellowship at the very beginning of the journey reassured me that with God’s strength and vision it was going to be an extraordinary conference. It wasn’t long before I knew this ethos was shared by all those involved in the 2019 PCUSA Asia Pacific Partner Consultation.

 

The welcome dinner began at 7 p.m. that same day. Most participants had arrived at that point, and since the resort at which we stayed was very large, we rode on a tram to the venue. As we gathered, we sat in groups of eight and promptly began conversations with anyone near us. It was a blessing to be able to meet so many partners from various countries (South Korea, Sri Lanka, India, Vietnam, and Pakistan), and as we prayed that first night, the spirit of cooperation was palpable. Eating and conversing throughout the evening, we prepared for the hard work to come the next morning.

 

The first meeting started early and promptly at 9 a.m., and we sat in groups of eight once more, though the seating was assigned. Around me sat representatives from Pakistan, Hong Kong, the Philippines, Myanmar, India, Sri Lanka, and South Korea. Before getting down to business, we started with a morning worship service, where we brought forth gifts representing each of our cultures or churches. Praying and singing together before the day’s work was a potent reminder of why we were all there, to share with each other not only our voices but our hearts and minds.

 

After a quick recap of the Presbyterian World Mission Strategy Process, we jumped right in with a tough question: “How effective has PCUSA been as a partner sharing together in God’s mission?” Many of the participants in my work group spoke of the amazing work the PCUSA had done in their respective countries, from works of reconciliation to the creation of educational and medical institutions. It was the opinion that there could always be more ways in which to be partners in our countries, but the overall consensus was that we welcomed more involvement of the organization.

 

Then we had stirring presentations from two representatives, Fiji and South Korea, showing their interpretations of the signs of the times. With these visions of the work needed in God’s world, we continued on to the next question, “Where is God calling us to put our energy today?” Many spoke of further works of reconciliation between countries as well as working to communicate better between associated organizations. There were also voices for more effort in the stewardship of our planet and support for minority groups in all the countries represented. Soon after, we came to our last question of the day, “What does it mean to be partners in God’s mission today?” In defining partnership, themes of equality and communication were central to the discussion. After discussing and presenting our opinions to the rest of the consultation participants, we ended the day with prayer in time for dinner. After a long day, many needed as much rest as they could get for the next day, but the evening meal was a joyous event with further fellowship and laughter.

 

The second day of the conference was just as busy as the first. After our morning worship, gift exchange, and Bible study, we did a quick recap of all that we had discussed the day before. Once our memories were refreshed, we dived right into the practicalities of the work ahead with the questions “What might this look like in practice?” and “What resources are needed and what can we contribute?” Many suggestions revolved around mutual responsibility for communicating needs and evaluating mission work in progress. Of course, there was always the need for financial support, but along with that, there was also a call for physical human resources and technical support for changing cultures and times. In the end, each group was tasked with creating a take-home message for the PCUSA World Mission. My group’s take-home message was very clear: “Sustainable Partnership for Reconciliation.” Sustainable because we require partnerships that will not fizzle out over time; partnership because all parties involved require an equal stake in the outcomes of the mission, all for the reconciliation within ourselves, our churches, our communities, between countries, and all of creation. With a closing prayer and worship, we concluded our discussions and enjoyed a final meal together.

 

That same night and through the rest of the next day, we all departed for our respective countries. Though there was sadness in our departure, we all left with the willingness and commitment to continue working together, no matter how distant we may be from one another. The time that we were able to spend together was truly a blessing, not only for considering the Presbyterian mission but also for the international fellowship that makes it so easy to bring glory to God. With one heart, we came together, and with one heart we departed. Thanks be to God, and may each mission be blessed through the hands that work there.

 

協力のために心を一つに

(PCUSAアジア太平洋連携協議会)

                          斎藤 直実(RCA宣教師(教育))

 1月27日(日曜日)朝日に照らされたチェンマイ国際空港に降り立った私の目に「PCUSA」の文字が飛び込んできた。すぐに参加者の一人と出会い、主に在る兄弟との親睦を楽しんだ。これから数日間に渡る未経験の責務に緊張している中、到着早々交わりの時を持てたことに、神の御力を感じ、並外れた会議だという予感がするが、後にこれは2019 PCUSAアジア太平洋連携協議会に関わるすべての人に共通する思いであったと分かってきた。

 その日の夜7時からの歓迎夕食会までにはほとんどの参加者が到着し、広大なリゾートホテルの中、カートに乗って会場へ。会場では8人ごとのテーブルにつき、すぐに近くにいる人との会話が始まる。いろいろな国(その夜は韓国、スリランカ、インド、ベトナム、パキスタン)から来た参加者と出会えるのは素晴しい。その夜の祈りの時、協力の精神をはっきりと感じ取ることができた。会話しながら夕食をともにし、翌朝からの忙しいスケジュールに備えた。

 最初の会議は翌朝9時に始まり、再び8人ごとのテーブルについたが、席は決められていた。パキスタン、香港、フィリピン、ミャンマー、インド、スリランカ、韓国の代表と共に座る。会議に先立ち礼拝があり、それぞれの文化や教会にちなんだ贈り物の交換をした。一日の始めに共に祈り賛美をし、声と心を合わせ、この会議の目的を私たちの心に強く呼び覚ます。長老教会世界宣教推進計画についての簡単な説明の後、すぐさま「神に委ねられた使命を協力して遂行するものとしてPCUSAはどのような役割を果たしてきたか」という質問が投げかけられる。グループ内の多くが、和解事業から学校や病院の設置に至るまでPCUSAがそれぞれの国で行ってきた素晴しい事業について述べた。自国で連携する方法が他にもあるという意見もあったが、PCUSAの事業が増えることを歓迎するという点で一致。その後、フィジーと韓国の二人の代表が終末の徴を説明する発表をして会場が盛り上がった。神の国で必要とされているこれらの使命の展望を抱きつつ、次の質問「現在、神は私たちの力をどこに注ぐことを求めているのか」に移行。多くの人が組織間の情報交換とともに、国同士のさらなる和解について述べた。地球環境の保全のためにもっと努力すること、参加したすべての国の少数者たちへの支援についての意見もあった。そしてこの日の最後の質問「現在、神に委ねられた使命の連携者であるとはどういうことか」について話し合う。連携の定義について話す中で、対等であること、情報交換をすることが話題の中心となった。討議をし、グループの意見を全体会で発表した後、祈りと共に会議を終え、夕食となった。長い一日を終え、翌日に備えてゆっくり休みたいところだったが、交流を深め大いに笑う楽しい時を過ごした。

 二日目も初日と同様忙しく過ごす。朝の礼拝、贈り物の交換、聖書研究の後、前日話し合った内容の手短な報告があり、記憶を新たにして、早速「これは実際にはどのような形になりうるのか」「そのためには何が必要で、我々が提供できるものは何か」という実際的な質問へと進む。必要なものを伝え、現在進行している(任命)使命を評価するための相互の責任をめぐって多くの提案がされた。経済的支援は常に必要とされるが、それと共に文化や時代の変化に対応した労働力の支援や技術支援も必要だ。最後にPCUSA世界宣教のために自分の国に伝えるメッセージを作るという課題が与えられる。私たちのグループのメッセージは「和解のための持続可能な連携」。私たちや私たちの教会、グループ、国同士が、そして神に創られたすべてが和解するため、時と共に消えることのない持続可能な、携わったすべての団体が使命の成果に関わる連携が大切である。最後に祈りと礼拝をもって討議を終え、共に最後の夕食を楽しみ、その夜から翌日にかけてそれぞれの国へと旅立った。別れの寂しさはあったが、皆、互いにどんなに離れていても今後も共にに働き続ける意欲と覚悟を胸に出発した。ともに過ごした時は、長老教会の宣教として、また神の栄光を表わす国際交流としても祝福され、心を一つに集った者たちが一つの心を持ち帰った。神に感謝します。それぞれの使命が働く者たちの手を通して祝福されますように。

【April 2019 No.402】From the General Secretary’s Desk: My Reunion with Missionaries in Michigan

At the beginning of February this year, I informally visited Etta Hesselink, wife of the late Dr. I. John Hesselink, with my wife Hoshiko. Dr. Hesselink passed away on Oct. 28, 2018 at the age of 91. He worked in Japan for 20 years and, after teaching at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary (TUTS), held several prominent positions, including the presidency of Western Theological Seminary (WTS) in Holland, Michigan. He left a large footprint as a scholar of the Protestant reformer John Calvin, and his books Calvin’s Concept of the Law and Theologian of the Holy Spirit introduced pastors, laypersons, and researchers not only in the U.S. and Japan but also throughout the world to new aspects of Calvin. I studied under Hesselink at WTS in 1993-94 and have also continued to have a long and close association with his wife Etta.

 

A memorial service was held for him in Holland, Michigan on Nov.16, 2018. TUTS President Osumi Yuichi attended; however I was unable to be in attendance. Japanese who studied at WTS and all who had close associations with the Hesselinks at TUTS feel deep gratitude to both of them. Likewise, many other people feel a special closeness to them, so I also wanted to convey those feelings on this visit. When we left Tokyo, the mid-western states had been experiencing record cold and heavy snowfall since the week before, yet somehow the plane managed to land in Grand Rapids via Minneapolis on time. The temperature was between minus 20 to 30 F., as an Arctic air mass had descended, leading to the coldest temperatures in 100 years. As far as the eye could see there was a total winter landscape, a white and gray world covered in snow. We were met at the airport in Grand Rapids and driven to Holland, and despite driving in the middle of a whiteout caused by the blowing snow of a blizzard, we finally managed to make it to Holland.

 

While there, Mrs. Hesselink told us about her husband’s final days and her present condition and about the disposition of his extensive personal library, among other things. In addition, we were able to attend a chapel service at WTS, have a look at the new library, and see President Timothy L. Brown again for the first time in a long while. On Sunday, we attended services and received Communion at Holland’s Third Reformed Church and were asked to say a few words of greeting. We were grateful for the chance to get together, to fellowship with missionaries who had worked in Japan, and to talk with all of them and hear about their experiences in Japan.

Holland, Michigan is a special place in that a large number of missionaries sent to Japan by the Reformed Church in America (RCA) are spending their golden years there after retiring and returning to the United States. In addition to Etta Hesselink, those who attended the gathering included Eleanore Norden, who worked at Ferris Jogakuin; George and Joyce Magee, who worked in Hokkaido; William Max and Sarah Unzicker, who also worked in Hokkaido; John Edward and Helene Gaye Zwyaihuizen, who worked six years in Tsuyazaki, Fukuoka; Phyllis Glenn Bruggers, who among other positions served as Kyodan Executive Secretary; as well as Gordon Laman, who taught at TUTS, and his wife Natalie. (Note: his first wife Evon, who served with him in Japan, died in 2011).

 

With the addition of Rev. J.P. Sundararajan, who became director of the RCA Global Mission last October, it was a grand gathering. These are the people who enthusiastically supported the Japanese-language worship service at WTS that we started with our friends while studying there, which continues today. All of them served in Japan for 30 to 40 years, beginning after World War II at a time when Japan was still a poor country, up through the period of rapid economic growth in the 1950s  and the beginning of the conflicts within the Kyodan. Each one reported to J.P. Sundararajan on the work they had done in Japan, and we also talked about current issues in mission to Japan.

 

At the end, everyone prayed passionately for evangelism in Japan. While in this prayer circle, I was able to visualize clearly how much resolve and preparation it must have taken these missionaries before they were sent to Japan and how intense the struggle must have been to engage in mission in Japan. Overcoming struggles with the Japanese language, with a different culture and customs, and with the many obstacles to preaching the Gospel, they experienced the joy of mission and fellowship and loved Japan and the Japanese people. In order to tell of the love of Christ, they literally gave their lives and their families in dedication to that path. I was deeply touched, remembering the goodness of God and our Lord Jesus Christ in giving each of these lives a time like this, in pouring out His love, in summoning these individuals and giving them the mission to spread love. I sincerely recognize that the existence of our Kyodan today rests on this kind of work and prayer.

(Tr. DB)

                              —Akiyama Toru, general secretary

 

 2月の初めに故Dr. I. John Hesselink先生の遺されたEtta 夫人を、妻、星子と共に、非公式にご訪問しました。ヘッセリンク先生は、昨年10月28日に91歳をもって天に召されたのです。先生は20年間日本で働かれ、東京神学大学で教えた後ウエスタン神学大学の学長などを歴任され、宗教改革者ジャン・カルヴァンの研究者として日本やアメリカだけでなく世界の教会の多くの牧師や信徒、研究者に「カルヴァンの律法理解」や「聖霊の神学者カルヴァン」の新しい側面を伝えて大きな足跡を残した方でした。わたしは1993~94年にウエスタン神学校でヘッセリンク先生のもとで学びをし、エッタ夫人とも長い親しい交わりが続いています。2018年11月16日にミシガン州のホランドでMemorial Serviceが行われましたが、そのときは東京神学大学の大住雄一学長が参加しましたが、わたしは参加できませんでした。日本からウエスタン神学校で学んだ者、神学大学でヘッセリンク先生と親しく交わった者はすべてご夫妻に大変のお世話になっており、また特別な親しみを感じている人も多いので、この度の訪問でみんなの気持ちもお伝えしたかったのです。東京を発つときに、米国中西部は前週から記録的な寒さと大雪でしたが、なんとか予定通りに飛行機は飛び、ミネアポリスを経てグランド・ラピッズに着きました。気温はマイナス20~30度(F)、北極圏が下りてきたとかで100年ぶりの寒さだとか。見渡す限り全くの冬景色、雪に覆われ白と灰色の世界。吹雪の中を巻き上げる雪のせいでホワイト・アウトになる中を、迎えに来てくださった方の車でグランド・ラピッズからホランドまでやっとたどり着くことができました。

 ホランド滞在中、ヘッセリンク先生の最後の状況についてうかがったり、エッタさんの最近の状況や、残されたお宅にある膨大な蔵書の整理のことなど語り合う時間を持ちました。ウエスタンセミナリーで学生の礼拝にも参加し、新しくなった図書館をみたり、ティム・ブラウン学長と久しぶりに再会を果たしました。日曜日にはホランドのThird Reformed Church の主日礼拝に参加し、聖餐にあずかり、挨拶もさせていただきました。

 さらに、日本で宣教師として働かれた宣教師の先生たちが集まってくださって、交わりの時が与えられことは大きな感謝でした。その中でそれぞれの宣教師が日本で経験したことを語り合い、聞くことができました。ミシガン州ホランドは、アメリカ改革派教会から日本に派遣された宣教師で引退してアメリカに帰られた後、この町で老後を過ごしておられる方が多い特別な場所なのです。集まってくださったのは、エッタ・ヘッセリンク夫人のほか、フェリス女学院で働かれたエレノア・ノルデン夫人、北海道で働かれたジョージ&ジョイス・マギー夫妻、同じく北海道で働かれたアンジッカ―夫妻、九州の津屋崎で6年間働いたツワイハイゼン夫妻、教団の幹事などを務められたフィリス・ブラガーズ夫人、それに東京神学大学で教えられたゴードン&ナタリー・レイマン夫妻(日本時代を共に過ごされたエイボン夫人は、2011年に永眠なさいました。)

 それにRCAの海外宣教幹事と して昨年10月から働くようになったRev. JP Sundararajanも加わって盛大な会になりました。これらの方々はわたしたちがウエスタン神学校滞在中に仲間と共に始め、今も続いている日本語礼拝でも熱い思いで支えてくださった方々です。それぞれ戦後1950年代前後から30年~40年間、日本がまだ貧しい時代から高度経済成長を迎える時期、また、教団紛争の初めのころの日本で奉仕してくださった方々です。一人一人が日本でどのような働きをしたかをスンダララジャン幹事に伝えるかたちで報告、日本の宣教の現代の課題についても話しました。終わりに一人一人が日本の伝道のために熱い思いで祈ってくださいました。その祈りの輪に加わりながら、それぞれの方が日本に遣わされるまでにどれほどの決断と準備の時があったか、日本での宣教の闘いがどれほど厳しいことであったか、その情景をありありを思い浮かべることができました。日本語との闘い、文化や習慣の違いとの闘い、福音が伝わらない厚い壁との闘い、これらを超えて宣教の喜びと交わりがあり、日本を愛し、日本人を愛し、キリストの愛を伝えるために、まさに生涯を家族をあげて献身した歩みがあったのです。それぞれの人生にこのような時を与え、また、その愛を注いで、愛を伝える使命を与えて呼び出してくださった主なる神と主イエス・キリストの計らいを覚えて胸がいっぱいになりました。わたしたちの教団の今日があるのはこのような働きと祈りに支えられてあることを思い起こさせられました。

秋山 徹

【February 2019 No.401】Executive Council Raises Restructuring Issues

The second Executive Council meeting of the present two-year (41st) Kyodan General Assembly period was held Dec. 27-28, 2018 at the Kyodan headquarters, with 28 members in attendance. After a period of self-introductions, Moderator Ishibashi Hideo began by saying he will pursue structural reforms while at the same time continuing to emphasize unity around the Kyodan Confession of Faith, the church constitution, and its bylaws, besides striving to recover the life and strength of evangelism in the Body of Christ.

 

General Secretary Akiyama Toru then explained the reason why systematic theology was added to the examination for licensed preachers by the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications during the 40th general assembly period: “the members of the commission were in agreement that the doctrinal understanding of recent candidates was weak.” He reported on preparations for the establishment of the “Kyodan Youth Platform” within the General Secretary’s Office to create a place where youth activities of the various entities within the Kyodan can be integrated and engage with each other.

 

The first day’s deliberations centered on discussions concerning Kyodan structural reforms. The facilitator, Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi, explained that the purpose of this discussion was simply “to have everyone give their honest opinion so that we can get an idea of how to move forward and not to reach any specific agreements at this time.” Each participant expressed a sense of urgency concerning the finances of the Kyodan, so the discussion began with a call to take this situation very seriously. One common sentiment was that since each local church is the nucleus of evangelism, a critical factor in restructuring is the relationship between issues of local church viability and that of the Kyodan as a whole. Another opinion was that besides efforts to eliminate wasteful duplication by streamlining the work of local churches, districts, and the Kyodan as a whole, the clarification of roles that only the Kyodan itself can fulfill would open the way to implementing reforms. Likewise, numerous comments stressed the need for focus on financial issues along with the fear that taking a defensive, protective position in this crisis could damage efforts to promote evangelism.

 

The main agenda of the meeting was the selection of the members of the various commissions and standing committees. It was evident at this Executive Council meeting, however, that the six members of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, with its subcommittees on evangelism, education, and social concerns, are all serving together on the three subcommittees although they were appointed to serve as two members on each subcommittee. The 16 members of the Task Force on Evangelism were also selected. (Tr. TB)

 —Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

第41総会期第2回常議員会報告

 第41総会期第2回常議員会が2018年12月27,28日に常議員28名の出席をもって開催された。一同の自己紹介の後、石橋秀雄議長が「信仰告白、教憲・教規において一致し、主の御体なる教会として伝道の命と力の回復をしつつ機構改訂をしていく」と挨拶した。秋山徹総幹事は、40総会期教師検定委員会が補教師試験に組織神学を追加した理由を「近年の答案で教理的な知識が薄いことが検定委員会で共有されたので」と説明した。続いて「教団青年プラットフォーム」を総幹事室に設置する準備を進めていると報告した。その理由については、様々な部署で実施されている青年活動を集約、交流する場を作ることが必要である、と説明した。

 初日に今回は教団機構改訂についての協議会が持たれた。冒頭、進行役の雲然俊美書記は協議会の意図について「率直な意見を出し合って今後の方向性を定めることが目的で、この場で何らかの決議に達することではない」と説明した。協議は、各自が教団財政問題に危機感を持ち、深刻に受け止めようとの強い呼びかけから始まった。それに対しては「伝道の主体は各個教会なので、各個教会存続の問題を教団存続の問題とどうつなげるかが機構改訂の柱の一つだ」との意見が出された。同時に教会・教区・教団の働きが重複するために生じる無駄を整理し、教団にしか出来ない役割の絞り込みが改訂実施の道を拓く、との意見も出た。更には、課題を財政問題に集中して進めようとの意見が再三出た。また、危機感から守りの姿勢に入り、伝道推進の気概が損なわれることが懸念された。

 本常議員会のメインの議事は常設委員会・常設専門委員会委員の選出にあるが、今回の特徴は宣教委員会の6名の委員が、下部組織の伝道・教育・社会の3委員会をそれぞれ2名が兼任することにある。更に伝道対策委員会の委員16名を選任した。(加藤誠)

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