【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





【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





【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。



 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)



 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。


 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。




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