【October 2019 No.404】National Federation of Kyodan Women’s Societies Holds 50th Assembly

by Watanabe Taeko, chair of Preparatory Committee

50th Anniversary Central Committee Conference

This year’s National Federation of Kyodan Women’s Societies’ (NFKWS) National Assembly, held June 7-8, marked the 50th anniversary of the first NFKWS National Assembly. The theme was “Living in Love and Truth: Listening to the Gospel of John.” Participants came from locations that ranged from Hokkaido to Okinawa. Including the ecumenical guests, more than 900 participants met in one location, Makuhari Messe, Inc. International Conference Hall. At this year’s conference, participants were told, “Let’s bridge the generation gap and connect!” It had been decided that the second day of the conference would be Saturday, in order to make participation easy for everyone, including women with young children as well as women who are employed.

 

After the opening worship service, there was a ceremony commemorating the 50th anniversary. As participants listened to a cello performance, they watched “The 50-Year Journey of the NFKWS” on a large screen in the Conference Hall. It was a time to look back once again on the organization’s history. After that, participants attended the breakout session of their choice. The five breakout sessions planned by the committee in charge of NFKWS activities were entitled “Listening to what the Bible says about Peace,” “The Church and Evangelism,” “The Environment and Our Children,” “Solidarity with our World,” and “The Blessings of Growing Old.” During the evening “Federation Hour,” each district gave a report on its activities. Every report was thought-provoking, and participants felt that they shared each other’s tasks. At the close of the first day, a soloist led the entire assembly in singing a hymn together.

 

After the morning prayer on the second day, Saya Church (Shikoku District) Pastor Shinoura Chifumi spoke on the assembly theme in a message about the women mentioned only in the Gospel of John. These comments were among the many received on the follow-up questionnaire:  “It was a powerful lecture that was also easy to understand. It echoed in my heart.” “I received the words as words spoken for me, and it was encouraging for me.” “God loves me, and every single person has been given a gift.”

 

The hearts of all the participants were touched when their youngsters sang children’s gospel hymns. After that, the participants separated into these three groups for a time of fellowship: “A Deeper Look at the Theme,” “Lectures for the Younger Generation,” and “Fellowshiping Freely.” This year there was a program for the children called “Did You Know That? / A Story About When You Were Born.” The planners realized that there was a wide range of participants, so they prepared many ways to get them involved. The closing communion worship service was a special time to recognize the blessings of being in fellowship with the Lord.

 

It is our hope that in every activity on the schedule, this conference expressed thankfulness and praise to God, who has led the NFKWS throughout its journey. We are also mindful of our position that we are an autonomous organization within the Kyodan, an organization of church women who are in solidarity with, and involved with, the mission of the Kyodan. We will move forward and continue to have hope! During this conference, we experienced the solidarity of church women who are involved in churches throughout the nation. All participants will take this solidarity to heart, listen to and follow the Word of God, and enthusiastically work for the Lord, wherever the Lord sends them. That kind of strength was given to us at this NFKWS National Assembly. Let us be thankful for the grace of God, which is greater than we can imagine!

(Tr. KT)

 

全国教会婦人会連合50周年全国集会

 日本キリスト教団全国教会婦人会連合は、6月7日~8日に50周年全国集会を開催。主題「愛と真理に生きるとはーヨハネによる福音書に聴くー」。会場の幕張メッセ国際会議場には、北海道から沖縄まで、そしてエキュメニカルゲストを加えて900人を越える参加者が一堂に会した。今回の集会は、「世代をこえてつながろう」と呼びかけ、若い子育て世代や有職女性も参加しやすいよう2日目は土曜日に設定した。

 開会礼拝の後は、50周年セレモニー。チェロ演奏に聞き入りながら、会場の大スクリーンに映し出された「婦人会連合の50年の歩み」を見て、改めて歴史をふり返る時となった。その後、婦人会連合の活動を担う小委員会が企画した5つの分科会「聖書から聴く平和」「教会・伝道」「環境・子ども」「世界との連帯」「老いと祝福」の中で、希望した分科会に参加。夜には連合アワーとなり、各教区よりの報告を受けた。それぞれの活動に思いをはせると共に、課題を共有した。最後に独唱と会場一体となった賛美で1日目は終了。

 2日目は、朝祷の後、篠浦千史牧師(四国・さや教会)による主題講演。ヨハネによる福音書だけに登場する女性を取り上げ、メッセージが語られた。アンケートには、「わかりやすく、力強い講演で心に響いた。」「自分に語られた言葉として受け止め励まされた。」「神さまが私を愛し、一人一人賜物が与えられている」等多くの言葉が寄せられた。

 心和んだ参加者の子どもたちによるキッズ賛美・ゴスペル(あなたをたたえ等)の後「主題を深める」「若い世代のための講演」「自由に交流を」の3グループに分かれ、交わりの時をもった。今回、子どものためのプログラム「しってる?うまれたときのおはなし」も実施、幅広い参加者を意識していろいろな形で関われるように準備を重ねた。最後に閉会礼拝・聖餐式、全員であずかる聖餐は、主につながる恵みを実感する格別の時となった。

 全日程を通して、婦人会連合の歩みを導いてくださった神への感謝・賛美を表す集会になったことを願う。そして教団の宣教にかかわる教会婦人の連帯する組織として、教団内自主活動団体の立ち位置を覚えつつ、今後も希望をもって歩んでいきたい。この集会で体感した全国の教会に連なる教会婦人の連帯を心にとどめつつ、参加者それぞれが御言葉に聴き従い、遣わされたところで活き活きと主のために働く。そのような力が与えられた全国集会であった。私たちの思いを越える主の恵みに感謝!(50周年全国集会準備委員長 渡辺多恵子)

【October 2019 No.404】NCCJ Mission Conference Highlights Peace and Service

by Ishida Shinichiro, executive secretary

The Mission Conference organized by the National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ) was held at the YMCA’s  Asia Youth Center and the Japan Christian Center, July 14-16. In attendance from the Kyodan were General Secretary Akiyama Toru, Executive Secretary Ishida Shinichiro, and Miura Hiroto, a member of Sendai Kita Church.  The NCCJ is made up of 30 member and associate-member churches and organizations.

 

The opening day’s 70th anniversary worship, which recalled the 70th  year celebration of its founding in 2018, was followed by a panel discussion on the theme “The Past, Present, and Future of the Ecumenical Movement.”  On the second day, there were reports from each section and committee, and separate sessions were held on the themes of mission, service, witness, and prayer and worship. The discussion topic of the Peace and Reconciliation Committee on East Asia, in which I participated, was “Japan’s Colonial Rule and North Korean Schools in Japan.” The People with Disabilities and the Church Committee’s topic was “People with Disabilities and Peace.” The Peace and Nuclear Issues Committee focused on the topics of “Aid for the Children of Chernobyl,” “The Issue of Nuclear Power Plants,” and “The Nuclear Weapon Problem.”

 

In the session on service that I attended, the meaning of service (diakonia) in the New Testament was affirmed, and participants talked about what they themselves are doing, such as the Kids’ Diner, feeding the homeless, volunteering after the 2015 flooding in Joso, Ibaraki Prefecture, and creating an ecumenical network to prepare for the major earthquake expected to hit the Tokyo area. It was stimulating to come into contact with the variety of ways Christians are living lives of service, starting with worship and extending to service to their neighbors.

 

On the third day, the NCCJ Mission Declaration 2019 was adopted. “The groaning of youth isolated in this ‘law of the jungle’ society,” “the cries for peace of an Okinawa that has been sacrificed,” “the cries of those exposed to nuclear threat,” “the cries of the women made into ‘comfort women’”—listening to all these and asking ourselves whether we have been able to be a neighbor to these women and men, the declaration states, “We declare here that we will be ‘the fellowship, the community (koinonia) of the Lord’, working for ‘God’s mission’.’’ (Tr. RB)

 

National Christian Council in Japan(NCC)主催・宣教会議報告

 7月14日(日)~16日(火)に、「NCC(日本キリスト教協議会)主催・宣教会議」が在日本韓国YMCAと日本キリスト教会館で行われた。教団より秋山徹総幹事、石田真一郎宣教幹事、三浦洋人氏(仙台北教会員)が出席した。NCCは、30の正加盟と準加盟の教会(教団)・団体で構成される。

 昨年の創立70周年を思い、初日に70周年記念礼拝を献げ、「エキュメニカル運動の過去、現在、未来」のテーマでパネルディスカッションを行った。二日目は、各部・委員会の報告会、そして「宣教」、「奉仕」、「証し」、「祈り・礼拝」のテーマ別分科会が行われた。筆者が参加した「東アジアの和解と平和」委員会では、「日本の植民地支配と朝鮮学校」の発題がなされ、「『障がい者』と教会問題」委員会では、「障がい者と平和」で発題があった。「平和・核問題」委員会では、「チェルノブイリの子どもたち支援」や「原発問題」「核兵器問題」の発題があった。

 筆者が参加した「奉仕」の分科会では、新約聖書における奉仕(ディアコニア)の意味が確認され、参加者が取り組みを述べた。子ども食堂、野宿者支援給食、常総水害のボランティア、首都直下地震に備える超教派の防災ネットワーク作り等について語られた。礼拝から出発して、隣人への奉仕に生きる様々なキリスト者の生き方に触れ、刺激を受けた。

 三日目に「NCC宣教宣言2019」が採択された。「弱肉強食社会で、孤立させられる青年たちのうめき」、「犠牲にされてきた沖縄の平和の叫び」、「核の脅威に晒される人々の叫び」、「『慰安婦』とされた女性たちの叫び。」これらを聴き取り、彼/彼女たちの隣人となり得ているかを自らに問い、「神の宣教」のために働く「『主にある交わり、共同体(コイノニア)』となることを、ここに宣言します」と述べている。(石田真一郎)

【October 2019 No.404】Romania, Site of Conference for Japanese Christians in Europe

by Park, Heon-Wook, member

Kyodan Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

The 36th Conference for Japanese Christians in Europe was held July 25-28 at the Grand Hotel Napoca in Cluj Napoca, the second-largest city in Romania. More than 200 Japanese Christians residing in Europe, together with other constituents of their churches and 30 to 40 of their children, participated in the event. The conference initially began after a Japanese church in Düsseldorf invited two nearby Japanese churches to join them in sponsoring such a conference once each year. The event has been held every year since that first meeting in 1983, each year attracting a broader group of participants than the previous year and from various denominations.

 

The theme for this year was: “Live as One who has been Liberated – The 30th Anniversary of the Liberation of East Europe in Romania.” This year was the first time the event had been held in an East European country. Citizens of the various countries represented, people who had been freed from oppression after the collapse of the East European communist countries’ regimes in 1989, were celebrating the 30th anniversary of their liberation this year. The planning committee’s efforts to create an opportunity for reexamining the meaning and challenges of freedom and liberation, while redefining the two within the context of faith, bore fruit as a result of invitations received from a Japanese missionary who has been serving in Romania for 30 years.

 

For the first time, the Kyodan Commission on Ecumenical Ministries sent Executive Secretary Kato Makoto and myself, a commission member, to participate in this conference. Although this annual event is an ecumenical conference, many of this year’s participants came from evangelical churches who encouraged the faith of other attendees through their passion for praise, testimony, prayer, and evangelism. Missionaries sent from Japan by the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries and their church members attend this conference and enjoy fellowship with the other participants every year.

 

As part of an optional two-night/three-day tour held after the conference, approximately 60 people participated in a tour of the Judetul Maramures region in Northwestern Romania, visiting the wooden churches and monasteries that symbolize the ancient orthodox faith. In addition, testimonies were given by three Japanese people at the Baptist Church’s Sunday evening service. One of the three, Rev. Kato Makoto, gave a powerful testimony about the hidden Christians and the persecution of Christians during World War II. He also shared the solidarity he felt with the Christians in Romania who had endured their own period of suffering and how that relates to our calling as Christians. (Tr. JM)

 

「ヨーロッパキリスト者の集い European Christian Conference」

報告 朴 憲郁 Park Heon Wook

 「第36回ヨーロッパ・キリスト者の集い」が去る7月25日から28日までルーマニアのクルジュ・ナポカ市のホテルで開催され、ヨーロッパ在住の日本人キリスト者とその関係者200名を超える大人とその子どもたち30~40名が参加した。1983年にデュッセルドルフの日本語教会が近隣の他の二つの日本語教会に呼びかけて、共同で年一度の集いを始めたのがきっかけとなり、それ以降一度も中止することもなく開催され、諸教派の信徒たちの参加の輪が広がったとのことである。

 今回のテーマは「解放された者として生きる-東欧解放30周年、ルーマニアで-」である。東欧圏国での開催は初めてであるが、1989年の東欧共産主義諸国の体制崩壊によって、圧政から解放された諸国民は今年、解放30周年を迎えた。自由と解放の意味と課題を見つめ、それを信仰的に問い直す機会としたいとの実行委員会の願いが、ルーマニアで30年活動を続ける日本人宣教師の勧誘の下で実った。

 教団世界宣教委員会はこのたび初めて、委員の一人である私と加藤誠幹事とをこのカンファレンスに送り出した。年一度のエキュメニカルな<集い>ではあるが、その多くは福音派系の教会信徒たちであり、讃美・証し・祈り・伝道に情熱を燃やし、信仰を励まし合った。世界宣教委員会が派遣した数名の宣教師とその群れの信徒たちも毎年これに参加し、交わっている。

 <集い>の終了後に二泊三日のオプショナルツアーがあり、約60名がルーマニア北西部のマラムレシュ地方を巡って、伝統ある正教信仰のシンボルとなる木造教会や修道院などを見学した。またバプテスト教会の主日夕礼拝では3名の日本人の証言があり、その内の一人の加藤誠牧師は、日本のキリシタン時代や第二次大戦下のキリスト教徒迫害に触れつつ、ルーマニアにおける受難期を耐え抜いた信徒との連帯とキリスト者の使命について力強く証言した。

【October 2019 No.404】PCT’s “I Love Taiwan Mission” Nurtures Cross-cultural Ties

Again this year, the Young Adult Committee of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan (PCT) sponsored the “I Love Taiwan Mission.” ILT was held from June 26 through July 13 with the theme “Corners of God’s Kingdom.”

 

Since 2009, the Kyodan has been sending young adults to participate in ILT through the Committee on Taiwanese Church Relations. This year’s participants were Ms. Kosaka Wakana from Izumi Aisen Church in Tohoku District and Ms. Shimozono Haruka from Kyodo Midorigaoka Church in Tokyo District. The purpose of having this program in Taiwan is to provide an opportunity for young adults from both Taiwan and abroad to serve the Lord and the Lord’s Church as members of the Lord’s larger family and to gain a multi-faceted knowledge of Taiwan. This year 102 young adults attended, with 22 participants coming from eight foreign countries.

 

At the opening orientation, some pastors and professors gave talks on the Bible and other topics. Following the presentations, participants were separated into groups in which the topics were discussed. Kosaka was impressed that despite varying opinions expressed in her group discussion, the members seriously continued to debate and seek answers. Rather than only reading the Bible passively, she felt keenly the importance of learning more about why certain scriptures appear as they do as well as the need to pursue a greater understanding of the background.

 

The main part of the program was ten days of service in a local church. While serving in churches throughout the country, the participants and the members of these churches shared their culture, history, cuisine, dances, songs of praise, and much more.

 

This year both Japanese participants were assigned to aboriginal churches. Kosaka was assigned to a church of the Paiwan people in Pingtung. She learned that the Paiwan people and Japan have a strong historical connection. She also met a person there who had volunteered during the Great East Japan Disaster. As a result of her experience, she hopes to deepen her knowledge of the history shared by the Paiwan people and Japan, as well as to serve as a bridge between Tohoku and Pingtung.

 

Shimozono was assigned to the Kabalelradhane Church of the Rukai people in Pingtung. While there, she sensed the relational ties among these rural people, which people in the city lack, and felt a strong need across society to support the youth and elderly with intentional neighborly love. (Tr. JS)

 

                  —Hironaka Yoshimi, staff

                    Commission on Ecumenical Ministries

 

I Love Taiwan Mission を終えて

 今年も台湾基督長老教会(PCT)青年委員会が主催するI Love Taiwan Mission(ILT)が「神の国の片隅に」いうテーマで6月26日から7月13日まで行われた。

 教団は台湾協約委員会を通して2009年から青年を派遣している。今年は高坂若菜こうさかわかなさん(いずみ愛泉教会)と下園晴歌しもぞのはるかさん(経堂緑岡教会)を派遣した。このプログラムは「台湾で、」国内外の青年が主の大家族として共に主と教会に仕えることと、多面的な台湾を知ることを目的としている。今年は102名の国内外青年(海外8ヶ国からは22名)が集まった。

 始めのオリエンテーションでは、聖書や各トピックについて教授や牧師が話をし、参加者も分野ごとに意見を交した。高坂さんは、参加者同士が異なる意見でも諦めずに討論し、主体的に問いつづける姿勢に感銘を受け、聖書も受け身で読むのでなく、なぜ聖書にそう記載があるのか、その背景を問い続け、学び続けることの大切さ実感したそうだ。

 プログラムのメインは10日間の現地教会における奉仕である。参加者は台湾各地の教会に派遣され教会と地域活動の奉仕をしながら、互いの文化、歴史、料理、踊り、讃美歌を分かち合う。今年は二名ともに原住民教会へ派遣された。パイワン族の教会である長楽ちょうらく教会に派遣された高坂さんは、パイワン族と日本に歴史的にも強いつながりがあることを知り、同時に東日本大震災のボランティア経験者にも出会ったことから、今後パイワン族や日本の歴史について更に認識を深め、東北と屏東の架け橋になりたいと願っている。またルカイ族の教会である神山かみやま教会に派遣された下園さんは、都会では希薄になっている人々のつながりを感じ、社会全体で子どもや高齢者を積極的に支える隣人愛の大切さに改めて気付かされたそうだ。今年も皆様の祈りと支えに感謝する。 (廣中佳実)

【October 2019 No.404】Japanese Children from Flooded Areas Attend Camp in Taiwan

by Ise Nozomi, pastor

Okayama Church, Higashi Chugoku District

Children whose homes were damaged during the floods and landslides that struck western Japan in 2018 were invited to participate in a camp in Taiwan from July 29 to Aug. 3. The camp was organized with the cooperation and collaboration of the Kyodan’s Higashi Chugoku District, and the YMCA Setouchi.

 

A total of 21 persons participated in camp activities, including 16 children from Okayama Prefecture (13 from Mabi and 3 from Nishi Hirashima) as well as 5 staff members.

 

The camp had three main purposes: 1) to provide a time of refreshment for the children, 2) to express our appreciation to the 20 Taiwanese carpenters who volunteered to help us in Nishi Hirashima following the devastation, and 3) to fellowship with the Taiwanese people.

 

On the second day, the group visited the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan’s General Assembly, where the children presented colored message cards to the two pastors who had come as volunteer carpenters and then sang some songs for all those present. Four Taiwanese children and five Changhua YMCA staff joined the group on the third day before heading off to the camping site. Although, as predicted, those present faced the encumbrance of a language barrier, this did not turn out to be a huge problem for the children. Indeed, due to the desire to play with each other, the children soon found ways to surmount the language barrier. Actually, for the adults present, witnessing the children’s keen abilities to discover and use various methods to communicate was a rich learning experience.

 

I heard children say things like: “I’m the only one having fun in my family; I wish I could have brought my mom and other family members, too.” I also watched children search for souvenirs they could take back as gifts for their family members rather than for themselves. As they demonstrated such concern for others, I felt as though I was getting a glimpse of just how much these children had been sacrificing since the disaster hit.

 

Engulfed in the warm hospitality provided by the Taiwanese people, the children smiled more each day. I believe that the opportunity these children had to meet personally those who had previously been, quite simply, people overseas whom they knew were praying for them but had never met in person, made the children realize that they were not alone, thereby giving them a true sense of being supported. I thank everyone who gave us this opportunity, those who have remembered us in their prayers, and the Taiwanese people who so graciously welcomed us. (Tr. JM)

 

東中国教区の台湾訪問

 7月29日(月)〜8月3日(土)、西日本豪雨によって被災した子どもたちが台湾キャンプへ招待された。このキャンプは日本基督教団、東中国教区、YMCAせとうちが協力・連携し実現したものだ。真備(Mabi)から13名、西平島(Nishi Hirashima)から3名の子ども、スタッフ5名の総勢21名が参加。

 このキャンプの目的は大きく分けて3つ。被災した子どもたちのリフレッシュ、西日本豪雨が発生した際、西平島にボランティアに来てくださった台湾大工さんへのお礼、そして台湾の方々との交流だ。

 2日目は、台湾長老教会総会(PCT)を訪れ、ボランティアで大工仕事をしてくださった牧師方々へ子どもたちが作成した色紙を渡し、歌を披露することができた。3日目から台湾の子どもたち(4人+彰化(Changhua) YMCAスタッフ5名)も加わりキャンプ場へ。予想していた通り言語の壁が出てきたが、子どもたちにとってそれは大きな問題では無かったと思われる。一緒に遊びたいという思いが勝り、様々な方法でコミュニュケーションを取ろうとする子どもたちの姿は大人の方が教えられた。

 時折子どもたちが話す「僕だけ楽しい。お母さんたちも連れて来たかった」という言葉、自分たちへのお土産より家族へのお土産を必死に探すその姿に、災害が起こってから今まで、どれだけのことを我慢し周りを気遣ってきたのかが垣間見えたように思う。

 台湾の方々の温かい「おもてなし」に子どもたちは日に日に笑顔になった。出会ったこともない、しかも海を越えてもなお自分たちのことを覚え祈り行動してくれる方々、自分は1人では無かったのだと感じさせてくれる方々と実際に出会う機会が与えられたことは子どもたちにとって大きな支えになったと感じている。この機会を与えてくださった方々、覚え祈ってくださった方々、受け入れてくださった台湾の方々に心から感謝。

伊勢希(岡山教会牧師、東中国教区)

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