【December 2019 No.405】The Pirapo Church in Paraguay Dedicates A New Church Building

by Rev. Ehara Yukiko, Kyodan missionary

In May 2019, I arrived in Pirapo, a southern city in Paraguay, South America, to become a full-time pastor of the “Pirapo Free Methodist Church,” also known as the “Sakai Keishi Memorial Free Methodist Church.”

The church had virtually been vacant for forty years until 2015, when the Kyodan sent missionary, Rev. Chibana Sugako, as a full-time pastor. Her encounter with the church was dramatic: she met one of the congregants from the church, nothing to attribute this to other than a plan of God. Within the next four years, she purchased a piece of land and built a new church building there. I am her successor and was installed as the new, full-time pastor. On June 23rd, a new church building was dedicated with thirty-five Christians attending as witnesses from all over Paraguay and Brazil. The settlement of Japanese immigrants in Pirapo began on August 2nd, 1960.  Mr. Sakai Kotaro, a Christian employee of an NGO named JICA, the Japan International Cooperation Agency, along with his wife planted a church in Pirapo and started Sunday worship services.

 

Rev. Tsukamoto Minoru visited from Encarnacion Free Methodist Church to lead monthly worship services at Pirapo Church. Rev. Tsukamoto served many years in Paraguay, baptizing many Japanese immigrants. At one time, nearly twenty people attended at Pirapo Church.  Rev. Tsukamoto eventually left in the mid 80’s, and then pastors from various denominations ministered to the church. In the 90’s JICA withdrew from Paraguay. The church land had belonged to JICA, and the ownership was transferred from JICA to the city of Piparo. The church was first allowed to use the building, but in the end, had to leave. They borrowed another building, formerly a dormitory for an elementary school in the 23KM district, as their new church building. When Rev. Chibana first met them, there were only a few congregants. They were gathering on Sundays to listen to tapes of recorded sermons.

 

Currently we have five congregants attending the Sunday services. The small change in the population of Pirapo allows little renovation. Inviting residents to church is never easy if they have known each other for so many years. Many communal events also fall on Sundays. Congregants as communal members usually attend such events and miss out on Sunday services.

 

Among the three Japanese Free Methodist churches in Paraguay, the church in Asuncion, which is in the capital of Paraguay, has been preparing to incorporate these three churches as affiliates of the Brazil Free Methodist Church organization. The Pirapo Church is reluctant to become an affiliate. Instead, they are on the verge of taking a new step toward independence. The process of becoming an institutionalized as a religious corporation will be another challenge.

 

Yguazu is another city founded by Japanese immigrants with a small Christian population. Once they met for worship at a Christian family’s home, but the family returned to Japan, and they had not been able to meet since then. I visited them in September, and we held a worship service there. Riding a bus from Pirapo to Yguazu for over three hours, I finally arrived around noon. We had lunch together, followed by a worship service. We enjoyed our fellowship and tea. I stayed overnight, and we had dinner together. We hope to meet regularly for monthly worship services. For Christmas and Easter, they will be invited to Pirapo Church for a joint worship service with communion. Please keep the Pirapo Church in your prayers.(Tr. DB)

 
 2019年5月に、パラグアイのピラポ移住地のピラポ自由メソジスト教会に赴任しました。2015年に知花スガ子宣教師が神様のお導きによってこの教会の信徒と劇的な出会いをされ、40年間ほぼ無牧だった教会に常駐の牧師として遣わされました。知花牧師は4年の間に土地を購入して新会堂を建築されました。私はその後任として着任し、6月23日にパラグアイ各地とブラジルからの参列者35人を与えられて、喜びの献堂式を執り行いました。

 ピラポ移住地は1960年8月2日から入植が始まり、別の移住地から移ってきたJICA職員でキリスト教徒の酒井夫妻が教会を建てて礼拝を始めました。自由メソジスト教団からエンカルナシオン教会に派遣された塚本登牧師が、ピラポ教会で毎月礼拝を献げるようになりました。塚本牧師は長くパラグアイにいて多くの日本人移住者を授洗し、最盛期にはピラポ教会に20人近い信徒がいたそうです。1980年代半ばに塚本牧師が去った後、様々な教派の牧師が巡回して牧会しました。1990年代にJICAがパラグアイから撤退したとき、教会の土地はJICA所有で宗教団体に寄贈できず、ピラポ市に移譲されました。建物はそれまで通り使用可との約束でしたが、やがて使用が困難になって、23KM地区の旧小学校寄宿舎を借りて礼拝をするようになりました。知花先生が出会われたときには、教会員は数名でしたが、その方々は毎週日曜日に集まって、礼拝説教のテープを聞いていました。

 現在の礼拝出席者は5名です。ピラポ移住地は人口移動が少なく、人間関係も固定化しているため、これまで何十年も付き合ってきた人を急に教会に誘うことは大変難しい状況があります。また、日曜日に日本人会の行事があることも多く、つきあいがあるので教会員も参加します。

 パラグアイには自由メソジストの日系教会が3つあり、首都アスンシオンの日系自由メソジスト教会がブラジル自由メソジスト教団日系年会パラグアイ支部の法人化手続きをしています。しかしピラポ教会の信徒はブラジルの教会への所属に抵抗感があり、単立のプロテスタント教会として新しい一歩を踏み出そうとしています。そのための法人化手続きが今後の課題です。

 また、イグアス移住地にも信徒がおり、信徒の家の離れで礼拝を守っていましたが、10年以上前にこの方が帰国してからは場所もなく、集会もなくなりました。9月から私が行って礼拝を守ることにしました。ピラポからはバスで3時間以上かかるため、昼頃着いて一緒に食事をしてから礼拝を守り、お茶を飲みながら交わりをしました。その晩は宿泊したので夕食も一緒にしました。これから毎月礼拝を守る予定で、クリスマスやイースターにはピラポ教会で一緒に礼拝と聖餐をしたいと願っています。

 どうぞ覚えてお祈りください。(江原有輝子)

【December 2019 No.405】Baikwa Gakuen’s Two Founders: Sawayama Paul and Naruse Jinzo

The history of Baikwa Gakuen began when a young man met Daniel Crosby Greene, a missionary of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, in Kobe. His name was Sawayama Umanoshin. He was born in Yoshiki, Choshu Domain (the present Yamaguchi Prefecture) in 1852. As the son of a low-ranking samurai family, he learned classical Chinese literature and martial arts at Kenshokan, the local school.

 

When he was 14 years old, the Second Choshu War (a civil war before the 1868 Meiji Restoration of the imperial system) broke out.  Sawayama took to the field as a drummer of the Yoshiki Unit of the Choshu Army, where he witnessed his forces gaining an overwhelming victory with modern Western weapons. Then he decided to begin a long career in Western studies. In 1870, two years after the Meiji Restoration, Sawayama came to Kobe to seek support from former Yoshiki Unit Captain Utsumi Tadakatsu, then deputy-governor of Hyogo Prefecture. Based on his own experiences of visiting Western countries, Utsumi urged Sawayama to learn English so that he could complete his Western studies. Sawayama was introduced to D. C. Greene, who was engaged in missionary work in Kobe.

 

While Sawayama was regularly coming to Greene’s house and attending home worship, Greene recognized his innate talent and spiritual strength. Greene persuaded him to pursue further study in the United States. He introduced Sawayama to his brother Samuel Greene who lived in Evanston, Illinois, and asked Samuel if Sawayama could attend a preparatory course at Northwestern University while living at Samuel’s house. So Sawayama left for the United States in 1872.

 

Sawayama Paul Decides to do Mission Work in Japan

Living with the Greenes, Sawayama attended church and entered into the Christian faith, being baptized by Pastor Edward N. Packard at First Congregational Church of Evanston. In 1875 Horace Hall Leavitt, a missionary in Japan who had temporally come back to the US, met Sawayama. He exhorted Sawayama to begin his mission in Japan. Sawayama decided to become an evangelist in his own country and spent the rest of his time in Illinois reading Christian writings. He also changed his name to Paul, after Apostle Paul in the Bible.

 

In the summer of 1876, Sawayama went back to Japan and started working at Matsumura Dispensary in Osaka as an interpreter. The dispensary was founded by A. H. Adams, a medical missionary of Umemoto-cho Church, along with a Japanese medical doctor and a pharmacist who were also fervent Christians. It was located at the corner of Shinsaibashi Street and Koraibashi Street as a place of medical care and missionary activity. Umemoto-cho Church (now Osaka Church) was established as the first Congregational church in Osaka. One year later, in 1877, the Japanese staff and believers of Matsumura Dispensary established Naniwa Church as a self-supporting congregation. There Sawayama was ordained by Joseph Neesima (Niijima Jo) and became the first pastor of the church.

 

In October 1877, the plan to establish a girls’ school emerged among the people involved in the two churches. In January 1878, Osaka Prefecture officially permitted the founding of the school, and it was named Baikwa Girls’ School after the two churches (Umemoto and Naniwa, which mean plum-root and wave-blossom respectively). So baikwa is the combination of two Chinese characters taken from the names of the two churches: bai-ume (plum) and ka-hana (blossom).

 

Notably, Baikwa Girls’ School was established as a self-supporting institution by Japanese Christians as well as by Naniwa Church. The school started with two Japanese teachers (Naruse Jinzo and Koizumi Atsushi), two teachers from the US (H. H. Leavitt, a missionary, and Miss Francis Stevens), and 15 students. Sawayama advocated the Christian spirit to be the founding spirit of Baikwa and showed his leadership as one of the executive board members.

 

In 1879, the school succeeded admirably in its educational reform with the arrival of Miss Abby Maria Colby as a full-time missionary.  Colby graduated from Mount Holyoke Female Seminary and applied to become an American Board missionary after she had worked as a teacher. Baikwa Girls’ School’s curriculum was designed on the basis of Mount Holyoke’s to provide students with a well-rounded education in liberal arts. Under Colby’s guidance, the ideals of independence, thrift, patience, and service were put into practice. Both the teachers and the students studied hard. And thanks to the devoted efforts of many people, the school achieved a remarkable breakthrough.

 

Naruse Jinzo Facilitates the Founding of Baikwa

Naruse Jinzo, one of the founders of Baikwa Girls’ School, was younger than Sawayama by six years and was from the same town. He also studied at Kenshokan. After graduating from that school, he went to Yamaguchi Teacher Training School. While working at an elementary school as a teacher, his great dream was to educate students with new methods based on his own convictions. Fortunately, in the summer of 1877, Naruse met Sawayama, who had come back to visit his hometown. When Sawayama told Naruse that he had studied in the US and that he planned to establish a girls’ school in Osaka, the young man was deeply impressed.

 

Following Sawayama to Osaka, Naruse soon embraced Christianity and was baptized at Naniwa Church. The official decision to establish the school involved many responsibilities. He had to rent a building and draw up a set of school rules. He not only taught full-time but also performed miscellaneous tasks by himself, including preparation of educational materials and the necessary paperwork as well as management of the school building.

 

Thanks to his strenuous efforts, a proper school building was acquired one year later, and the number of the students gradually grew.  However, extensive building renovation resulted in a heavy load of debt. The school received a donation from a wealthy person in Nara Prefecture in order to pay its debts. Naruse, however, expressed resolute opposition to the receipt of this money because he was firmly dedicated to the principle of financial independence.

 

This triggered his resignation from Baikwa Girls’ School.  He decided instead devote himself to the work of evangelism. Before long, Naruse began mission work in Niigata, where he played a role in the establishment of a girls’ school. But the educational situation there was quite different from Osaka. Reportedly he persevered through hard times during this period.

 

Accepting the limits of his own competence, in 1890, he left for the United States to look for new possibilities in education. He studied Christianity, pedagogy, and sociology at Andover Theological College and Clark University. To learn as much as possible, he also visited various colleges, universities, and teacher training schools as well as churches, social institutions, and factories in which women were employed.

 

Upon his return to Japan in 1894, he came back to his old workplace as the principal of Baikwa Girls’ School. As a matter of course, Naruse actively adopted American ways of education for his school. Based on this successful experience in the girls’ school, he tried to establish an institution of higher education. However, it was quite difficult for him to change the school culture so drastically since it had been developing for 20 years. So he gave up the idea of establishing a women’s college at Baikwa.

 

In 1896 Naruse resigned from the girls’ school and began working to found a separate institution of higher education. In 1901 he finally established Japan Women’s College* in Tokyo with the support of many people, including some in political and business establishments. It goes without saying that the school was literally a pioneering women’s university of Japan. Sawayama’s fervent passion for educating girls came to fruition in Naruse, who then mobilized public opinion and opened a new avenue for women’s education in Japan. (Tr. TT)

—Yasuda Yukihide, Baikwa Gakuen Archives

___________________________________________

*Editorial note: Presently called Japan Women’s University.

 

梅花学園の2人の創設者 澤山保羅と成瀬仁蔵

 梅花学園の歴史は、山口県から神戸に出てきた一人の青年が、アメリカンボードのD.C.グリーン宣教師と出会ったことから始まります。その青年の名は澤山馬之進といい、1852年(江戸時代)に長州(山口県)吉敷の下級武士の家に生まれ、郷校「憲章館」で中国の古典や武道を学びました。1866年、澤山が14歳の時に、第二次長州戦争があり澤山は吉敷隊の鼓手として出陣し、その時に近代的装備を持つ長州軍が圧倒的な勝利を収めるのを目の当たりにしました。その時に澤山は洋学を学ぼうと決意します。明治維新が起こった2年後の1870年に、澤山は洋学を学ぶために、兵庫県副知事の内海忠勝(元吉敷隊隊長)を頼って神戸に出てきました。欧米を視察していた内海忠勝は、洋学を修めるためには英語の習得が必要として、神戸で宣教活動をしていたグリーン宣教師を紹介します。澤山がグリーン宣教師の自宅兼教会に通ううちに、グリーン宣教師は彼の非凡な素質と恵まれた精神力を見出し、アメリカでさらに勉学を深めることができるように澤山を説得します。イリノイ州エバンストンに住むグリーン宣教師の兄サミュエル・グリーンに澤山を紹介し、兄の家からノースウエスタン工科大学予科で勉強できるように手配し、澤山は1872年に渡米します。澤山はサミュエル・グリーンの家族と生活を共にして、教会に通ううちにキリスト教への信仰を深め、エバンストン第一教会でパッカード牧師により、受洗しています。 1875年に日本で宣教していたH.H.レビット宣教師が帰米して、澤山に出会い日本へのキリスト教布教を強く薦めます。澤山は日本伝道を決意し、残り1年の留学期間を聖書の学習にあて、名前を使徒パウロにちなんで「保羅」と改めました。1876年の夏に帰国し、大阪の松村診療所で通訳として働き始めます。松村診療所は、梅本町教会の宣教医アダムズが、梅本町教会の信者の日本人医師や薬剤師と共に心斎橋筋高麗橋通り角に開き、医療と伝道の場としました。梅本町教会(現大阪教会)は、大阪で最初に創立された会衆派教会です。その一年後に松村診療所の日本人スタッフや信者が中心となり自給独立の浪花教会を設立し、この教会で澤山は新島襄から按主礼を受けて初代牧師となります。1877年10月に梅本町教会と浪花教会の信者の間で女学校設立の話が持ち上がりました。1878年1月に梅花女学校(梅本町教会の梅と、浪花教会の花から名前をとった)が大阪府の許可を受け開校しました。特筆すべきは浪花教会と同じく日本人信者による自治独立の力で女学校が設立されたことです。成瀬仁蔵と小泉敦の2人の日本人教師、レビット宣教師とスティーブン女史の2人のアメリカ人教師、15人の生徒で発足しました。澤山はキリスト教主義を梅花建学の精神に掲げ、女学校の理事的立場でリーダーシップを発揮しました。発足の翌年(1879年)にコルビー宣教師を専任宣教師として迎えることにより、教育内容を飛躍的に向上することができました。コルビー宣教師はマウントホリヨークを卒業し教員生活を経て、アメリカンボードの宣教師募集に応募されたのです。梅花女学校の学科課程はマウントホリヨークを範とし、リベラルアーツの全人教育を実践しました。コルビー宣教師の指導により、独立、倹約、忍耐、奉仕などマウントホリヨークの精神が女学校に生かされました。教師も生徒も一生懸命に勉強し、多くの人々の献身的な努力により梅花女学校は発展してゆくことができました。

梅花女学校創立に関わった成瀬仁蔵は、澤山保羅と同郷で、「憲章館」の6年年下の後輩でした。憲章館を卒業して山口県教員養成所へ進み、その後に小学校の教員をしていましたが、自己の信念に基づく新しい教育をしたいという夢を持っていました。1877年夏に郷里に戻っていた澤山と運命的な出会いをします。

成瀬は、澤山から大阪で女学校を作るという構想があるということや、アメリカに留学した話を聞き感動します。澤山を追いかけて大阪に出て、キリスト教にもすぐに共感して洗礼を受けています。梅花女学校の設立が決定すると、すぐに校舎に使用する借家を探し出し、開校に必要な校則、諸規則を作成しました。専任の教師としてだけではなく、教材の準備や学校のすべての事務を引き受け、校舎の管理まで一人で行っていました。このような成瀬の奮闘のおかげで、1年後には専用の校舎を取得することができ、生徒も順調に集まるようになりました。ただ校舎を取得しても、改修が必要であり、多額の負債が残りました。

その負債を解消するために、奈良の富豪から寄付を受けたのですが、自給自立精神を貫こうとしていた成瀬はそれを許すことができず女学校を辞職して、キリスト教の布教に専念することになります。新潟に布教に向かった時に、かの地で女学校の設立に関わることになるのですが、やはり大阪とは事情が違い大変な苦労をすることになります。自分の力の限界を感じた成瀬は、1890年に新しい教育の姿を求めて渡米します。アメリカではアンドーヴァー神学校・クラーク大学でキリスト教学、教育学、社会学を学び、各地の大学・カレッジ・師範学校を訪問し、同時に教会、社会施設、工場の女子労働などを視察して見聞を広めました。1894年に帰国し、その後すぐに梅花女学校で校長として復帰します。成瀬は留学で得たアメリカ流の教育を梅花女学校に取り入れ、さらに発展させることができました。成瀬は女学校での成功をもとにさらなる高等教育機関である女子大学の設立をめざそうとしました。しかし創立以来20年を経た女学校の体質を変えることは容易なことではありません。梅花女学校での女子大学設立を諦めた成瀬は1896年に女学校を辞し大学設立に奔走します。1901年に成瀬は政財界の有力者や多くの人々の援助を得て、女子総合大学の先駆け「日本女子大学校(現日本女子大学)」を東京で開校します。澤山から成瀬に受け継がれた篤い思いが社会を動かし、女子教育の新たな道が開かれたのです。(梅花学園資料室 安田行秀)

【December 2019 No.405】Presbyterian Church in Taiwan Heads Taize Meditation Tour

The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan led a Taize Meditation Tour from Aug. 23 to Sept. 5. The project was begun by Rev. Pan Chung-Chieh of Taichung University Student Center in PCT. This was the second year this event has been held, and this time, the Kyodan was also invited to participate to make it a joint program.

 

There were 16 PCT members, 7 Kyodan members, with each delegation having one person take the lead. The main part, Aug. 25-Sept. 1, involved taking part in an international gathering for meditation at the Taize Community, which is mainly for young adults from Europe who are18 to 35 years of age and transcends all religions, genders, and national boundaries. There were approximately 2,000 young adults who gathered from various places around the world.

 

The Taize community was created as an ecumenical Christian men’s monastery meeting in the small town of Taize in the Burgundy area of France by Brother Roger from Switzerland in 1940 and began as a place seeking to become a “sign of reconciliation” in a world divided and fighting. The monks (brothers), transcending differences in denominations, have a life of prayer and work together. Taize values prayer in the midst of silence; and the morning, noon, and evening prayers progress with long silences, prayer songs, and the reading of scripture. In addition to “deepening inner faith,” “solidarity with suffering persons” has been an important compass from its inception.

 

While there, in addition to the morning, noon, and evening prayers, time was spent in workshops (Bible study, environmental and social issues, art, etc.) and engaging in various tasks. On the first day, every person chooses a kind of work to do, such as cleaning toilets, distributing food and cleaning up afterwards, preparing worship, throwing out the trash, singing in the choir, etc. Those who are invited each week support the daily life of the corporate body. This time, the participants from Japan served in the choir and in meal preparation. Every day was plain and simple. It was a week in which participation in every task was directed toward prayer.

 

And during this period, in addition to young adult interchange between Taiwan and Japan, South Korea, Hong Kong and China, time was provided for sharing meals with the brothers and talking with them. Many of the young adults who participated this time had already taken part in the Kyodan’s expeditionary program or young adult work, and assumed leadership, so it was a program during which they could separate themselves from their busy lives to concentrate on building a relationship with God and to search their own hearts. (Tr. RT)

                                —Hironaka Yoshimi, staff

        Commission of Ecumenical Ministries

 

 台湾基督長老教会(PCT)のテゼ黙想ツアーが8月23日から9月5日に行われた。PCT台中学生センターの潘忠杰牧師が始めた企画で、2回目の今年は教団も誘いを受け、合同のプログラムとして実現した。

 参加者はPCTが16名、教団が7名、内引率各1名であった。メインは8月25日から9月1日に、テゼ共同体で行われる18~35歳の青年たちのための国際的集いに参加し、黙想することで、ヨーロッパを中心に世界各地から、あらゆる宗教、性別、国家の枠を超えて約2000人の青年が集まった。 テゼ共同体は1940年、スイス出身のブラザー・ロジェによって、フランス・ブルゴーニュ地方の小さな村「テゼ」に創設された超教派のキリスト教男子修道会で、分裂や争いのある世界で、『見える和解のしるし』となることを目指して始まった。修道士(ブラザー)たちが、教派の違いを越えて、共に祈りと労働の生活をする。テゼは、深い沈黙の中での祈りを大切にし、朝昼晩の祈りは、長い沈黙、祈りの歌や聖書の朗読によって進められる。「内なる信仰を深めること」と同時に、「苦悩する人々との連帯」を創設からの大切な指針とする。

 滞在中は朝昼晩の祈りの他に、ワークショップ(聖書研究、環境・社会問題、芸術等)や、それぞれのワークをして過ごした。ワークは初日に全員が一つ選ぶ。内容はトイレ掃除、食事の配膳・片付け、礼拝準備、ゴミ捨て、聖歌隊等。その週に招かれた人で共同体の生活が維持される。今回日本の参加者は、聖歌隊と夕飯準備の奉仕をした。日々は単純素朴で、全ての営みが祈りに向かって生活する一週間であった。

 また期間中には台湾と日本の他に、韓国、香港、中国の青年との交流やブラザーと一緒に食事をとり、話をする時間も与えられた。今回の参加者はすでに教団海外派遣プログラムや青年活動に関わる青年が多く、リーダーシップをとる彼女、彼らが一度立ち止まって神様と関係を築くことに集中し、忙しさから離れて自分を見つめるプログラムであった。(世界宣教部職員 廣中佳実)

【December 2019 No.405】From the General Secretary’s Desk: International Conference on Interreligious Dialog Expands Horizons

In early October, I visited Germany for two reasons. First, I went to the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) headquarters in Stuttgart to initiate a conversation on how to maintain a responsible dialog in our relationship. Afterward, I attended the “Interreligious Study Program as a Task for the Church,” hosted by EMS in Frankfurt, and spoke on mission cooperation between the Kyodan and the main German churches.

 

At the Frankfurt meeting, I heard speeches mainly by German ministers and seminarians from various study institutions who reported on interreligious dialog in India, Lebanon, and Japan. The passionate and refreshing three-day programs addressed the meaning of such dialog and the importance for churches to have a dialog with each other. In the globalized world in which we now live and face the reality of unrelenting antagonism, it is very important for us to have interfaith dialog.

 

At the Henry Martin Institute (HMI) in Hyderabad, India, a thorough and theologically designed program is offered to give participants firsthand experience in dealing with issues of how to open up to others in a land where Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, and Christians must all live among each other. The purpose is to help one another broaden our horizons of faith. A “Studies in the Middle East” course is offered from October to June each year at the Near East School of Theology in Beirut, Lebanon. People of various Muslim sects and Christian sects, including differing Orthodox sects, Maronite Christians, and Assyrian Christians that all have differing faiths and worship styles, consider together how to dialog with one another. At the same time, there is the issue of how Christian minority churches are to exist in this environment. I learned about the concept of “a community of unity in reconciled diversity.”

 

The NCC Center for the Study of Japanese Religions in Kyoto has an Interreligious Studies in Japan program. German ministers and seminarians participate each year from September through December to study Shintoism, Buddhism, and new religions in Japan to learn about these worlds from experts in their fields and also to visit actual shrines and temples. This is a very important EMS program to promote and encourage understanding. Unfortunately, only a few of us Japanese Christians are even aware of this research center. However, members of the German churches recognize the study center in Kyoto and the importance of its work. German Christians are given the opportunity to learn about the religious essence of Eastern religions like Shintoism and Buddhism and to experience Zazen (sitting cross-legged while meditating). Following the seminar, some German pastors have participated in Buddhist ascetic practices or gone on a pilgrimage of temples in Shikoku.

 

As Japanese Christians and churches are so few in number, it is urgent that we recognize the need to evangelize and build up the body of Christ, and at the same time, state our thoughts to the Christian world and make known that there is this area of thought as well. (Tr. WJ)
 

—Akiyama Toru, general secretary

宗教間対話をめぐる国際会議に参加して

秋 山  徹

 

 10月の初めにドイツに行き、シュトゥットガルトのEMSの本部を訪ねて、教団とEMSとのこれからの関係を整えてより責任を持ったかかわりができるようにするための話し合いの時を持ちました。さらに、フランクフルトで開かれたEMS主催の国際会議、“Interreligious Study Program as Task for the Church”に参加して、教団のドイツを中心とした教会との宣教協力関係について発題しました。この二つの働きが今回のドイツ訪問の課題でした。

 フランクフルトの会議では、インド、レバノン、日本で行われている宗教間対話の研究機関の働きについて、それぞれの研究機関でのプログラムに参加した主としてドイツの牧師や神学生たちの報告を聞き、このような対話の機会を教会が持つことの意義について確認する趣旨の3日間のプログラムを通して、これらのプログラムに参加した人たちの生き生きとした感動や驚きに接し、とても新鮮でした。今日のグローバル化している世界で過酷な対立の現実がある中で、このような宗教間対話の道が開かれていることの大切さを味わいました。

 インドのハイデラバードにあるHenry Martin Institute(HMI)では、ヒンドゥー教、イスラム教、仏教、キリスト教が混在する中で、違った宗教的な背景を持つ人々がどのようにして互いに心を開いて友好的な関係を構築してゆけるかをめぐって、かなり深く立ち入った神学的研究や他の宗教の信仰と生活を体験するプログラムが提供されています。「自分たちの信仰の地平を広げる助けをすること」(helping to broaden our horizon)をめざしているのです。レバノンではベイルートにあるNear East School of Theology の中にあるStudies in the Middle East(SiMO)では、毎年10月~6月までの研修プログラムがあり、イスラム教各派とキリスト教内でもマロン派やオーソドックス教会系の各派、それにアッシリア教会など多様な信仰と礼拝形態があり、その中での宗教間対話をどのように進めるかが課題となっています。また同時に、少数者として生きるキリスト教会の在り方も問題になっています。「多様な違いがありつつ和解する中で一致してゆく共同体」(Community of unity in reconciled diversity)という概念があることを教えられました。

 日本では京都のNCCの宗教研究所に「日本の諸宗教─研修と対話─プログラム」(ISJP)があり、毎年9月~12月の期間ドイツの学生や牧師・神学者が滞在して仏教や神道、新興宗教についてそれぞれその世界の専門の方々から学んだり、神社や仏閣を訪ねたり、宗教者の話を聞いたりする機関として、EMSの活動の重要なプログラムとなっています。残念なことに、この研究所のことについてはわたしたち日本人のキリスト者も一部の人を除いてほとんど知られていない状況ですが、ドイツの教会の人たちの方が、京都のこの研究所の重要性を認めているのです。仏教や神道など東洋の宗教について体系的に知り、その信仰生活の実態に触れるということが、キリスト者にとって宗教と信仰を考えるうえで大切だと認識して、座禅を経験したり、この研修の後、寺の修行や四国の巡礼に参加したりしたドイツ人牧師もいます。

 わたしたち日本のキリスト者と教会は、圧倒的な少数者としていかに伝道し、キリストの体である教会を立てていくかは焦眉の課題ですが、また同時に、世界のキリスト教に向かって発信することができる、このような領域があることに気づかされるときでもありました。

【October 2019 No.404】Executive Council Hears “Youth Platform” Appeal, Evangelism Promotion Proposals

The fourth Executive Council meeting of the present (41st) biennial general assembly period was held July 8-9, 2019, at the Kyodan headquarters. All members of the Executive Council were present, and Vice-moderator Kuze Sorachi led the opening worship service. General Secretary Akiyama Toru reported that one of the Kyodan’s four executive officers had participated in each of the 17 district assembly meetings.

 

Noda Taku, a pastor heading up the Student Christian Fellowship and serving on the support committee for the Youth Platform, gave a presentation and appeal concerning that venture. The purpose of this “Youth Platform” is to provide a place within the Kyodan structure for youth to get to know each other and share information. Specifically, this includes operating a website for the Youth Platform, planning and operating various events, as well as arranging exchanges and cooperation with the various Kyodan-related schools and other organizations. One response to this by the council emphasized the importance of carefully guarding the personal information of participants.

 

Uda Makoto, chair of the Commission on Finance, presented the second revision of the budget and financial report on the 2018 fiscal year and explained the Kyodan’s financial situation. Following the report on the Buraku Liberation Center’s financial accounts by BLC Steering Committee Chair Saito Seiji, Kyodan Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi pointed out that the amount transferred from the Kyodan to the BLC account differed from the amount recorded in the BLC account, although they should be identical. Also addressed was the large sum of over 26 million yen being carried over in the BLC operating budget. Action on this issue, along with the discussion on the related budget proposal was tabled until the next meeting. Next, Yamakita Nobuhisa, chair of the Kyodan Board of Publications’ Board of Directors, announced that Shindo Atsushi, current head of the Board of Publications, will be submitting his resignation and that Ii Hikari will become acting head for the remainder of Shindo’s term of office.

 

On the second day, the time was divided between discussion of the report on the Task Force for Evangelism in the Kyodan and the agenda item on the Promotion of Evangelism in the Kyodan. Both were accepted and approved by majority vote. In his report on the Task Force for Evangelism in the Kyodan, Vice-moderator Kuze Sorachi noted that a proposal to reduce the number of delegates to the Kyodan General Assembly from 400 to 200 was being considered. Likewise, in the report on the Promotion of Evangelism in the Kyodan, Kishi Toshihiko, chair of the Subcommittee on the Implementation of Basic Policies for the Promotion of Evangelism, proposed the designation of the third Sunday of every month, beginning in October 2019, as a “Day of Prayer for the Promotion of Evangelism in Japan”  as well as the establishment of a fund to be called the “National Evangelism Promotion Fund.” (Tr. TB)

                                   —Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

第41総会期第4回常議員会報告

  2019年7月8日、9日の両日、教団会議室において第41総会期第4回常議員会が開催された。常議員全員が出席、開会礼拝は久世そらち副議長が担当した。秋山徹総幹事は17教区への教団4役・総幹事の問安について報告した。続いて総幹事室に設置された青年プラットフォームについて学生キリスト教友愛会の主事であり青年プラットフォーム世話人会の1人である野田沢牧師から説明とアピールがなされた。活動の目的としては、教団内の青年たちが出会って互いに知り合い情報を共有する仕組みを教団総幹事室に設置することである。具体的な内容は、①教団青年プラットフォームWebsiteの構築と運営  ②関連するイベントの企画運営③関係団体・学校との協力と交流、情報の共有、などである。

 議場からは個人情報の取り扱いについて慎重さが求められた。財務関連は、まず2018年度教団歳入歳出第2次補正予算と決算が取り扱われ、宇田真予算決算委員長が説明を行った。部落解放センターの決算報告では斉藤成二センター長による説明の後に雲然俊美書記が、本来同額であるべき教団の解放センター繰出し金と、センター側の教団繰入金の額に違いのあること、更に運営資金に2600万円超の多額の繰越金があることが指摘された。今回の採決は見送ることになり、付随して予算案の審議も見送った。出版局からは山北宣久出版局理事長が新藤敦局長の辞意を報告し、残任期間を飯光(Ii Hikari)氏が局長代行として務めることを報告した。二日目は「教団伝道対策検討委員会報告」と「教団伝道推進に関する件」の審議に時間を割き賛成多数で承認・可決した。「教団伝道対策検討委員会報告」の中で久世そらち副議長より教団総会議員を400名から200名に減らす方向で検討されている報告があった。「教団伝道推進に関する件」では伝道推進基本方針展開検討小委員会の岸俊彦委員長が、「日本伝道推進を祈る日」(毎月第3主日)を2019年10月から実施すること。「全国伝道推進献金」を行うことを提案した。(加藤誠)

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