【February 2017 No.391】70th Anniversary of LARA Celebrated

Church World Service Japan coordinated an event with 130 attendees on Nov. 30, 2016 at Waseda Hoshien’s Scott Hall in Tokyo entitled “The Message of LARA for Today, 70th Anniversary of LARA Forum.” “LARA” stands for “Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia” and was a program approved by President Harry Truman to facilitate the provision of “LARA goods,” such as clothes, shoes, and food to the Japanese people by churches and other organizations in North America. From 1946 until 1952, roughly one-sixth of the Japanese people, about 14 million, received aid, worth about 40 billion yen. Such aid was also provided to Korean people.

 

During the opening ceremonies, former Kyodan General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo, as a representative of the Kyodan, which at that time was made up of all Protestant Churches, and by extension as the representative of all Japanese, expressed his gratitude to the leaders of the organizations making up LARA. These included the Reverend George Ernest Bott (Church World Service), Esther B. Rose (American Friends Service), Father Michael J. Mackilop (Catholic War Relief Service), as well as 13 other church and civic group organizations that joined in the effort: the Church World Service affiliates of the various North American Protestant denominations, the American Friends Service Committee, the Catholic War Relief Service Committee, the Salvation Army, the YMCA and the YWCA, the American Federation of Labor, the Congregation of Industrial Organization, the Brethren Service Committee, the Girl Scouts, the Lutheran World Relief, the Unitarian Service Committee, and the Christian Science Service Commitee.

Yamada Kanji, chairman of the Board of Directors, Japan Church World Service, emceed the program, which began with a video introduction of LARA. This was followed by presentations by representatives of the USA and Japan: the Reverend John L. McCullough, president and CEO of Church World Service, and Miyamoto Kazumu, principal of Bott Memorial Home, who focused on the spirit of LARA and how it was based in the Christian faith and the Bible.

 

Part 2 of the program consisted of a panel discussion by five representatives of humanitarian organizations, led by CWS Japan Director Komino Takeshi. The panel members were: Saiki Mitsue, director of Japan Church World Service; Katayama Nobuhiko, national director of World Vision Japan; Yamamoto Masaki, chief director of Hope House; Shimada Shigeru, general secretary of the National Council of YMCAs of Japan; and Kokai Chang Hikari, representative director of Wesley Zaidan, all of whom spoke passionately of their individual perspectives.

 

The program concluded with a time of fellowship in Scott Gallery, located in the basement of Scott Hall. It was a wonderful opportunity for us all to reflect back on the spirit behind the LARA program and to think about how Christian churches and other organizations can best conduct humanitarian aid in today’s world. (Tr. TB)

 

— Nagasaki Tetsuo, former general secretary

_____________

A movie on LARA’s history can be viewed on YouTube at http://www.cwsjapan.org/lara.

2016年11月30日早稲田奉仕園スコットホールで、CWS Japan(チャーチ・ワールド・サービス・ジャパン)他5団体共催によって「今伝えたいララからのメッセージ-ララ70周年記念フォーラム」が参加者130名を得て開催された。 「ララ」は、「Licensed Agencies for Relief in Asia」の頭文字をとって呼ばれた通称である。「脱脂粉乳」や「ララ物資」等、戦争世代の誰もが知る、北米諸教会・団体の支援活 動を、トルーマン大統領が認可した民間の「アジア救援公認団体」である。 1946年から52年まで当時の日本人の6分の1に当たる1400万人が恩恵に浴したと言われ(円換算にして約400億円相当)、日本及び韓国への救済事業である。 開会挨拶で、長崎哲夫前教団総幹事は、教団はもとより国内全教会人・日本人を代表して同事業の指導者ジョージ・E・バット博士(CWS)、エスター・B・ローズ女史(米国フレンズ奉仕団)、ミカエル・J・マキロップ神父(カトリック戦時救済奉仕団)をはじめ北米プロテス タント各派合同の教会世界奉仕団・フレンド派・カトリック・救世軍・YMCA・YWCA・米労働総同盟・産業別組合・ブレズレン・ガールスカウト・ルーテ ル・ユニテリアン・クリスチャンサイエンス等、13の教会・団体に対して謝 辞を述べた。 プログラムの総合司会は日本キリスト教奉仕団理事長の山田貫司氏が務 め、第1部として、ララ物資記録動画が上映された後、CWS代表ジョン・マッ カラー牧師とバット博士記念ホーム園長宮本和武氏とによってララの精神がキリスト教信仰と聖書に基づくことが語られた。 第2部では、パネルディスカッションが小美野剛CWS Japan事務局長の司会で、ララの公平・裏方・尊敬・自発性・分かち合い等の精神をめぐって片山信彦ワールド・ビジョン事務局長、 小海光ウェスレー財団代表理事、齋木満惠日本キリスト教奉仕団理事、島田茂日本YMCA同盟総主事、山本雅基き ぼうのいえ理事長5氏による熱い発言があった。  会の終了後は、早稲田奉仕園スコットホールの地下にあるホールで和やかな交流会が持たれ、また違った雰囲気で、各々の交 流が行われた。ララの精神を振り返り、キリスト教諸教会および諸団体の今後の人道支援の在り方を考える良い機会となった。 (長崎哲夫報)

【February 2017 No.391】Six Years From That Day: Loan Repayments by Quake-stricken Churches Begin Now

A Culmination of Ou District Churches’ Reconstruction: Dedication Ceremony of Esashi Church, the last church to receive support from the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Projects Headquarters

                                                                                                                                    by Ohara Muneo, moderator Ou District

 

Nearly six years have passed since that earthquake. March 11, 2011, 2:46 p.m. was the time when disaster-stricken churches started to become restrained toward one another. The earthquake gave rise to a tsunami, which caused tremendous damage to churches along the coast. News of these events was reported in various media. Due to the magnitude of damage along the coast, some other areas were overlooked. They were not forgotten, but churches in the inland areas of Ou District could not raise their voices, even though many had suffered severe damage. As district moderator, I traveled directly to the disaster areas in an effort to gain a detailed understanding of the earthquake damage and to listen to the voices of church members. Immediately after the earthquake, we formed an Emergency Support Committee under the Standing Committee and began relief and support activities.

 

Miyako Church and Shinsei Kamaishi Church were both hit by the tsunami. The most heavily damaged of the inland churches (Senyama Ichinoseki, and Esashi), would receive long-term support from the Emergency Support Committee. We determined that the Kitakami, Tono, Sannohe and Shunan Churches, which were also damaged, could be handled by support from within the district. Based on these assessments, we immediately provided financial aid to start short-term support work. Ofunato Church had no structural damage but experienced human suffering, so we also provided support to individuals at this and other churches in the names of the Kyodan and Ou District.

 

Repairs and reconstruction of churches and ministers’ homes moved ahead, based on the decisions made by disaster-stricken churches.

•Senmaya Church acquired land, relocated, and rebuilt, and celebrated dedication of the new sanctuary on Aug. 30, 2013.

•Shinsei Kamaishi Church held a thanksgiving service on Aug. 27, 2014, for the completion of repairs.

•Ichinoseki Church performed extensive repair work on its church building, and this was completed on April 25, 2015.

•Miyako Church, which also acquired land, relocated, and rebuilt, held its dedication service on March 11, 2016, the fifth anniversary of the earthquake.

•Esashi Church purchased an adjacent property and house and then made renovations to create a manse. Its dedication service was held on Nov. 3, 2016.

 

This dedication service marked completion of the last project to receive support through the all-Kyodan relief program for churches impacted by the East Japan Disaster. Throughout this period, the prayers and gifts from within the Kyodan as well as from overseas churches have supported us. We thank you from the bottom our hearts.

Churches suffering relatively light damage have completed all repairs and restoration work with aid from within Ou District and through self-help projects. Among the churches suffering major damage, Shinsei Kamaishi Church was able to complete payments by using its own available funds (including the earthquake offering) and relief funds from the district and therefore borrowed no funds.

 

The following churches started their rebuilding projects with their own funds and district relief funds as well as with relief grants and loans from the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Headquarters.

•Senmaya Church used 25 million yen in grants and ¥25  M yen in loans from the Disaster Relief Headquarters, and repaid the ¥25M loan in two years.

•Ichinoseki Church, which similarly required repairs, received through the headquarters ¥3.9M in grants and ¥3.9M in loans.

•Miyako Church, which erected a new building, used ¥40M in grants and ¥40M in loans from the headquarters, a ¥20M loan from the district, and an additional ¥70M in commercial bank loans.

•Esashi Church also received ¥33.5M in grants and ¥33.5M in loans from the headquarters.

 

All of these churches celebrated the completion of their reconstruction work with gratitude, but naturally the burden of loan repayments weighs heavily. In particular, the two churches with small membership, Miyako and Esashi, must make repayments over the next 20 years, so every church member is redoubling their efforts. Ou District must maintain a support framework to continue assistance for these churches. Please remember them in your prayers.

 

I take this opportunity to express our gratitude to the countless churches and believers in districts all across Japan whose support has made it possible to continue assistance until now, with special recognition of the Korean Christian Church in Japan’s Kanto District, the Presbyterian Church of Korea, Child Fund Japan, and the Kyodan’s Hokkai District and Tokyo District’s North Subdistrict.

Additional Comment by Executive Secretary Kato Makoto

 

I have heard many people say that Iwate Prefecture is as big as Shikoku Island. To use another comparison, the time required to drive from Esashi Church, where Ou District Moderator Ohara lives, to Ofunato Church is about the same as from Brussels, Belgium to Cologne, Germany. From Esashi Church to Miyako Church might be about the same as from Brussels to Paris.

 

In the 16 months after the March 2011 disaster, while I served as executive secretary of the Kyodan East Japan Disaster Response Headquarters, I traveled to the Tohoku disaster region over 100 times. Each time I visited Esashi Church, I was shown how the cracks in its sanctuary were growing. Leaving his own church to the last, Pastor Ohara literally dashed around Iwate Prefecture, attending to the needs of each church and flock. It is hard to imagine the degree of his toil without knowing the size of Iwate. I pray for God’s continued blessings upon the restored churches, as well as upon Pastor Ohara. (Tr. DM)

あれから6年、被災教会は今    これから返済 がはじまる

  ≪奥羽教区会堂再建の総括 教団東日本大震災救援対策本部の最後の支援教会 江刺教会の 献堂≫

奥羽教区総会議長 邑原宗男

あの地震からもうすぐ丸6年が過ぎようとしています。2011年3月11日午後2時46分、この時刻を 境に被災教会同士で遠慮が始まりました。地震と共に、津波が発生し、沿岸地域の教会は、甚大な被害を受けました。そのニュースはあら ゆるメディアでとりあげられました。あまりに甚大な被害の沿岸地域の故に、そのことで忘れられた地域があったのです。忘れられたので はなく、奥羽教区内の内陸部に位置する教会も相当数が大きな被害に遭遇していましたが、大きな声をあげることができないでいました。 教区総会議長としては、被災状況の詳細な把握をすることに努め、直接被災地に出かけては、教会員の声を聴くことにしました。地震直 後、直ちに常置委員会のもとに緊急支援委員会を設置して、救援・支援活動に入りました。

宮古(みやこ)教会、新生釜石(しんせいかまいし)教会は津波被災。千厩(せんまや)教会、一関(いち のせき)教会、江刺(えさし)教会は内陸部の地震被災には緊急支援委員会として長期支援すること。さらに北上(きたかみ)教会、遠野 (とおの)教会、三戸(さんのへ)伝道所、秋南(しゅうなん)教会には、被害はあったが教区の支援で対処できると判断し、直ちにお見 舞いをもって短期支援を実行しました。大船渡(おおふなと)教会には建物被害はなく津波による人的被害で、他の教会をも含め個人に対 しても教団と奥羽教区の名によりお見舞いをしました。

被災教会の決議に基づいて、礼拝堂・牧師館の修復・新築は進められました。千厩教会は、土地取得・移転 新築し、2013年8月30日献堂式を挙行しました。新生釜石教会は、2014年8月27日修築完了感謝礼拝を奉げました。一関教会 は、礼拝堂の大幅修復工事をし、2015年4月25日完了しました。宮古教会は、土地取得・移転新築し、2016年3月11日献堂式 を挙行しました。江刺教会は、2014年12月建物付きの隣地を購入し牧師館としてリフォームしました。2016年11月3日礼拝堂 の献堂式を挙行しました。この献堂式は、教団全体の東日本大震災被災教会支援活動の最後の支援事業となりました。このために教団全体 からの祈りは勿論、海外の教会の支援に支えられました。心より感謝いたします。

各教会の再建復旧工事で比較的軽微なものは教区の支援と教会伝道所の自助努力で完了しました。

大規模被災となった各教会のうち、新生釜石教会は自己資金(地震見舞金を含む)と教区の援助金で支払い を完了し借入金はありません。

また、以下の教会は自己資金と教区援助金のほかに、教団救援対策本部からの支援金と借入金を受けて再建 事業を進めました。千厩教会は本部支援金2500万円と借入金2500

円を用い、借入金については二年で返済しました。同様に修復しました一関教会は本部支援金390万円と借 入金390万円。新築の宮古教会は本部支援金4000万円と借入金4000万円、市中銀行借入金7000万円、教区借入金2000万 円。江刺教会も本部支援金3350万円と借入金3350万円により再建事業は感謝のうちに完了しました。しかし借入金は返済が当然の こととしてのしかかってきます。特に少数の現住陪餐会員で、宮古教会と江刺教会は20年間の返済を担っていかなければなりませんの で、教会員一同一層の努力を重ねています。これらの教会への支援体制を奥羽教区として継続することが必要です。ご加祷ください。

在日大韓基督教会関東地方会、大韓イエス教長老会、チャイルドファンドジャパン、北海教区、東京教区北 支区はじめ全国各教区の多くの教会並びに信徒の方々の支援により支援活動は継続されてきましたことを感謝申し上げます。

 

補足(注?)Comment from Kato Makoto, Executive secretary

良く言われることだが、岩手県は四国ほど広い。感覚的な表現で申し訳ないが、邑原宗男教区議長のおられ る江刺教会から大船渡教会までは、ベルギーのブリュッセルからドイツのケルンくらいの車での移動時間である。江刺教会から宮古教会ま ではパリくらいであろうか。私は2011年3月の東日本大震災後、1年4か月震災対策本幹事として東北には100回近く行った。江刺教会に伺うたびに、少しずつ広がった会堂の「ひび」を見せていただいた。邑原議長はご 自分の教会を一番後回しにし、広い岩手県を文字通り駆けずり回ったのである。そのご苦労は岩手の「広さ」を知る者しか実感できない。 献堂された教会と先生のお働きの上に更なる神様の栄光が現されますよう祈ります。(加藤誠)

【February 2017 No.391】Trip to Visit Missionaries in the U.S. Includes Attendance at EMS General Meeting in South Africa

by Kato Makoto, Kyodan executive secretary

I. The United States

I visited missionaries sent to the U.S. by the Kyodan, Nov. 19-26, 2016.

1. New York, Nov. 19-22

On Sunday, Nov. 20, I attended a 10:30 a.m. worship service held at Union Japanese Church of Westchester. After the service, I had an interview with Rev. Nishikawa Akimitsu, a missionary. Nishikawa will finish his term of service in March 2017, but after his resignation from Union Japanese Church of Westchester, his hope is to stay with his whole family in New York.

 

After the interview with Nishikawa, I had another interview with the board members of Union Japanese Church of Westchester. The church cannot hire a full-time missionary. However, they are moving towards searching for a missionary who can work part-time. In the evening, I visited Amy Nyland, executive minister of the Regional Synod of New York of the Reformed Church in America. We discussed future support of Union Japanese Church of Westchester.

 

On Nov. 21, I attended the committee meeting of the “Special Ministry to the Japanese” camp, held by the Japanese American United Church. The Japan side announced that next year (2017) is the final year it will recruit participants.

 

2. California, Nov. 22-24

On Nov. 22, I traveled to Los Angeles and stayed at the home of a missionary, Rev. Kuyama Yasuhiko.

 

On Nov. 23, I visited retired missionary Rev. Ito Hidemi. I also visited Faith United Methodist Church.

 

In the morning of Nov. 24, I joined the young people of Centenary United Methodist Church in making free Thanksgiving meals for the neighborhood facilities. After that, we delivered the meals to Japanese people who live in an apartment building for low-income persons and had a time of fellowship. Kuyama is working with Boys Town, which is a non-profit corporation started by a Catholic priest that is well-known all over the U.S. He works to encourage children with developmental disorders and their parents and guardians. This kind of work is also beginning to spread to Japan.

 

In the afternoon of Nov. 24, I flew to San Francisco and visited the parsonage of Rev. Yoshioka Yasutaka, a missionary sent to Sycamore Congregational Church in El Cerrito. A Thanksgiving party was held at the parsonage, and 30 people participated, including children. Yoshioka’s children are attending Sycamore Kindergarten, and that fact led some parents and guardians of the kindergarten children to participate in the party. Two people are planning to be baptized and four joined on Christmas! Yoshioka has used his soccer skills to form a club. A musical group has been assembled at the church, mostly for young people, and he is active in the group as a rapper. All of these activities are opportunities for evangelism.

 

II. South Africa

I visited Stellenbosch, a town in South Africa, in order to attend the Evangelical Mission in Solidarity (EMS) General Meeting, Dec. 4-11. There were 68 participants, including 10 EMS staff members. As for participants from Asia, 9 came from Indonesia, 4 from Korea, and 1 from Japan.

 

The Rev. Dr. Frank Chikane, currently a pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA in Naledi, Soweto, is the president of the AFM. He was a deputy secretary of the Cabinet during the presidency of Nelson Mandela, and secretary of the Cabinet during Mbeki’s and Motlhanthe’s presidencies. Dr. Chikane lectured on Public Theology, which was the theme of the meeting.

 

EMS is involved in planning and supporting at least 70 mission-related programs in Africa, the Middle East, and Asia. The content of the work of EMS was presented at the general meeting. The financial report, the planned program for 2017 and 2018, and the proposed budget were approved. (Tr. KT)

アメリカ・南アフリカ出張報告      2016年12月18日 加藤誠

1, 2016年11月19日(土)~26日(土)に米国に派遣されている宣教師方を訪問した。

1)ニューヨーク 19日~22日

20日(日)は午前10時半から持たれているユニオン日本語教会礼拝に出席した。礼拝後に西川晃充宣教師と面談。西川牧師の任期は2017年3月で満了となるが、ユニオン日本語教会辞任後もニューヨークに家族で残ることを希望。西川 宣教師との面談後、ユニオン日本語教会の役員と面談。教会としてはフルタイムでの宣教師は招聘できないが、ハーフタイムな可能な宣教師を 探す方向である 

夕方にはReformed Church of Americaのニューヨーク教区のAmy Nyland主事を訪問。今後のユニオン日本語教会のサポートについて協議。

21日(月)14:00~ 日米合同教会で開催されたSpecial Ministry to the Japanese キャンプ委員会に出席し 日本サイドは来年を最後の年にして参加者を募ることを報告。

2)22日(火)ロサンゼルスへの移動日 久山康彦宣教師宅泊

・23日(水)伊藤秀美隠退宣教師訪問。 Faith合同メソジスト教会訪問

・24日(木)午前、センテナリ合同メソジスト教会にて青年たちとサンクスギビングに近隣の施設に無料で届けるお弁当作りに参加後、日本人低 所得者用アパートに届けて交わりの時を持つ。

久山宣教師はカトリックの神父が始めたボーイズタウンという全米で知られる非営利法人の働きに加わり、発達障 害の子どもたちと保護者への働きかけを行っており、その働きは日本でも広がりをみせ始めている。

・24日午後、サンフランシスコに飛びエルセリートにあるシカモア組合教会に派遣されている吉岡恵生宣教師を牧師館に訪問。牧 師館ではサンクスギビングのパーティーが開かれ子供を含めて30名が参加。シカモア幼稚園に吉岡宣教師の子どもが通っていることを通して、園児の保護者が パーティーに参加。クリスマスには2名が受洗、4名 が転会!吉岡宣教師はサッカーの 特技を生かしクラブを結成。教会では青年を中心にバンドを組みラッパーとして活動。すべて伝道に役立てている。

1. 南アフリカ出張

2016年12月4日~11日には、EMS(Evangelical Mission in Solidarity)総会に出席するため、Stellenbosch in South Africaを訪れた。

・参加者は68名(含EMSスタッフ10名・アジアからはインドネシア9名、韓国4日本1名の参加)。

・主題講演はRev. Dr. Frank Chikane on Public Theology

Rev. Dr. Frank Chikane is currently a pastor of the Apostolic Faith Mission of SA in Naledi, Soweto, and the president of the AFM. He was a Deputy Secretary of Cabinet during the Presidency of Nelson Mandela, and Secretary of the Cabinet during Mbeki’s and Motlhanthe’s Presidencies.

・EMSはアフリカ、中東、アジア における70以上の宣教プログラムを企画・支援 している。総会ではその内 容が紹介され会計報告と、2017年、2018年のプログラム及び会計予算が承認された。

【December 2016 No.390】14 Guests, including Missionaries, Attend the 2016 General Assembly

At the 40th Kyodan General Assembly, a total of 14 guests from both overseas and within Japan were officially introduced to the assembly at 5 pm on Oct. 25. Due to time limitation, those giving greetings were restricted to the chairpersons from overseas churches and Nishihara Renta, a member of the Central Committee of the World Council of Churches (WCC). All the salutations were translated and printed beforehand, so the speakers made their presentations without oral translation. The persons who gave addresses were:

 

Rev. Dr. Lee Sung-Hee, general chairman of the

Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK),

Rev. Kwon Oh-Ryun, chairman of the Presbyterian

Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK),

Mr. Sudu Tada, chairman of the Presbyterian Church in

Taiwan (PCT), and

Nishihara Renta, a member of the WCC Central

Committee.

 

The other guests introduced to the assembly were as follows:

 

Rev. Lyim Hong-Tiong, PCT general secretary,

Rev. Ng, Tiat-Gan, PCT executive secretary,

Kim Byung-Ho, missionary of the PCK,

Mrs. Kim Mi-Ja of the PROK,

Rev. Lim Choon-Shik, the Presbyterian Church USA’s

regional liaison for the Far East,

Rev. Chang Kokai Hikari of the United Methodist

Church,

Missionary Kawano Shinji of the United Church of

Canada,

Rev. Ferdinand Kenning of the Evangelischen Kirche in

Deutschland,

Rev. Kim Sung-Jae, general chairman of the Korean

Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ), and

Kobashi Koichi, chairman of the National Christian

Council in Japan (NCCJ).

 

After these introductions, Matsumoto Akihiro, the missionary sent by the Kyodan to the Singapore Japanese Christian Fellowship, gave his report. While overseas, especially in Southeast Asia, many Japanese people encounter Jesus Christ through such Japanese Christian fellowships. His report focused on how such new Christians who are baptized overseas can fit into churches in Japan once they return. It was the first time such a report by a missionary sent overseas by the Kyodan has been made at the assembly, and we hope to continue this practice from now on.

 

From 9:30 am Oct. 26, Akiyama Toru, chair of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, led a time of fellowship with the guests from overseas, then the guests were taken on a study tour to Yokohama. The main places we visited were Yokohama Kaigan Church of the Church of Christ in Japan (a separate denomination from the Kyodan) and the Yokohama Archives of History. Yokohama Kaigan Church was established in 1872 as the first Protestant church in Japan, and it is still an active church with about 200 congregants in Sunday worship. We listened to Pastor Ueyama Shuhei with great interest as he told the story of how eleven young men became the first Christians at a time when Christianity was still prohibited in Japan. (Tr. KY)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary

教団総会のゲストプログラムと宣教師報告

加藤 誠

 

 第40回教団総会には国内外から14名の来賓をお招きし、25日午後5時から紹介と挨拶の時を持った。時間の都合で挨拶は海外の議長と世界教会協議会WCC(World Council of Churches)の西原廉太中央委員にお願いした。いただいた挨拶 文は全て翻訳されており、スピーチは通訳なしで行われた。挨拶いただいた方々は、リ・ソンヒ(Rev. Dr. Lee, Sung-Hee

)総会長(大韓イエス教長老会 The Presbyterian Church of Korea )、クォン・オリュン(Rev. Kwon Oh Ryun

)議 長(韓国基督長老教会The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea)、スドゥー・タダ(Sudu Tada)

議長(台湾基督長老教会The Presbyterian Church in Taiwan )、西原廉太中央委員(世界教会協議会)。加えて台湾基督長老教会PCTの(Rev. Lyim, Hong-Tiong)リム・ホンティオン

総幹事とン・テッカン(Rev. Ng, Tiat-Gan)幹事、大韓イエス教長老会PCKのキム・ビョンホ(Kim Byung-Ho)宣教師、韓国基督長老教会PROKの キム・ミジャ(Mrs. Kim, Mi Ja)氏、アメリカ合衆国長老教会The Presbyterian Church in the USA のリム・チュンシック(Rev. Lim, Choon Shik) Reginal Liaison for East Asia

東アジア担当幹事、合同メソジスト教会The United Methodist Church の小海光(Rev. Chan, Hikari Kokai)宣教師、カナダ合同教 会The United Church of Canada の川野真司(Kawano Shinji)宣教師、ドイツ福音主義教会Evangelischen Kirche in Deutschland のフェルデナント・ケニング(Rev. Ferdinad Kenning)牧師、在日大韓基督教会Korean Christian Church in Japan KCCJのキム・ソンジェ(Rev. Dr. Kim, Sung-Jae)総会長、日本キリスト教協議会National Council of Churchの小橋孝一Kobashi Koichi議長が議場に紹介された。

後半ではシンガポール日本語キリスト教会(Singapore Japanese Christian Fellowship)に派遣されている松本章宏宣教師による宣教報告が行われた。海 外、特に東南アジアで数多くの日本人が主イエスと日本語教会を通じて出会っている。海外で受洗して帰国したキリスト者をどのように日 本の教会に根付かせるかが課題であるとの報告であった。教団総会で派遣宣教師の宣教報告が行われたのは今回が最初であり、今後も継続 してゆきたいと願っている。

26日は午前9時半から教団世界宣教委員会の秋山徹委員長が司会を務め、海外ゲストとの交 流の時を持った後、横浜にスタディツアーを行った。主な訪問先は日本キリスト教会・横浜海岸教会と横浜開港資料館である。横浜海岸教会は1872年に設立された日本で最初のプロテスタント教会である。現在も200名近い礼拝出席者が与えられているアクティブな教会である。上山修平牧師より当時の日本ではまだキリスト教が禁止されていた時代に、いかにして11名の青年が最初のキリスト者になったのか、という話を興味深く伺った。

【December 2016 No.390】Union Japanese Church of Westchester: Its Ministry and Challenges

by Nishikawa Akimitsu, pastor Union Japanese Church of Westchester, New York City

Union Japanese Church of Westchester began a worship service in the Japanese language in September 1989. While receiving support from the Reformed Church in America (RCA) and the United Methodist Church (UMC), it was given a place to hold services at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church, where it has continued to do church work as an interdenominational church.

 

New York State is in the middle of the Atlantic coastline and ranks third in population among the states and 27th in area. In the United States, New York City is located in the southeast end of the state and is the city with the largest population (approximately 8 million people). Our church is located in the outlying suburbs about 40 to 50 minutes by car north of Manhattan, the center of New York City. Scarsdale, in Westchester County, is a town with abundant natural beauty and affluent families.

 

In general, it can probably be said that missionary work among expatriates in New York is tied to and inseparable from world economics. During the period of economic growth in Japan, many enterprises in New York expanded, and the number of Japanese resident workers increased, resulting in vigorous activity by Japanese-language churches. At present, the number of resident Japanese people is slowly decreasing and being replaced by many Chinese and Hispanic people.

 

The number of Union Japanese Church members has also slowly decreased for several years now, and without the aid of its support group in Japan, the continuing existence of the church is precarious. In the midst of all this, having gone through several months of waiting for approval of a missionary visa, I arrived at my post in December 2014 as the Reverend Asada Yoko’s successor.

 

Due to visa concerns, ministerial changes do not go smoothly in churches outside Japan, and they often experience periods of being without a pastor, as our church did for a year and had to start again. Thus, many of the meetings other than the worship service had been suspended. Soon after arriving at my post, I reopened the house meeting in the Trumbull area in Connecticut. Nearly all the participants at the Trumbull meeting are non-Christians, but because it is a very homey gathering, the numbers are slowly beginning to increase.

 

Following the reestablishment of the house meeting, I also reopened the Bible study. However, church members are few in number, and nearly all are working. So we hold Bible study after the “Living in America” class at Hitchcock Presbyterian Church on Thursday mornings, and I have begun an introductory Bible class aimed at the Japanese persons who attend. Fortunately, the time for it immediately follows the “Living In America” class. So a few persons have started to attend, and we are continuing to have good fellowship.

 

Including these kinds of meetings, there are three Japanese-language churches serving in Westchester District: Union Japanese Church of Westchester, New York Japanese Church, and Metropolitan Japanese Ministry. Since they are all small, we wondered if there was not something the three churches could do cooperatively, so they started holding an interdenominational exchange worship service. (At present, Japanese-American United Church members, Japanese Christian Church of Greenwich members, and Japanese Christians from the Queens area are attending).

 

Japanese-language churches on the outskirts of New York State, with the exception of Manhattan Japanese American Church, are struggling with membership and financial hardships. The reason is that the majority of participating families reside in New York for a short period and then return to Japan. Likewise, those permanent residents who have ties to the church (and house meetings) are also beginning to attend English worship services.

 

At the same time, many of the U.S. denominations are proposing to cut their support because there is little result from evangelism among Japanese people. That alone would cause a crisis among the Japanese-language meetings that are also struggling to continue while facing membership and financial issues.

 

However, looking back at history and realizing that many of the Christians of the Meiji Era who came in contact with Christianity while studying abroad in the U.S., did wonderful work following their return to Japan, I feel that the evangelistic work mainly done here should definitely not be stopped, even if it does not substantially connect with church development. I request you, by all means, to please remember to pray for our church and for each of the Japanese-language churches outside Japan and to join with us in supporting them. (Tr. RT)

ユニオン日本語教会牧師 西川晃充

ユニオン日本語教会Union Japanese Church of Westchesterは、1989年の9月に日本 語による礼拝を始め、米改革派、米合同メソジスト派の支援を受け、ヒッチコック長老派教会Hitchcock Presbyterian Churchに場所を提供していただいて教会活動を続けている超教派の教会です。

ニューヨーク州は、大西洋岸中部にあり、人口では全米第3位、面積では第27位の州です。この東南端に、アメリカ合衆国で人口最大の都市(約800万人)として知られるニューヨーク市があります。

私たちの教会は、このニューヨーク市の中心マンハッタンから北へ車で40分~50分ほど移動した郊外にあります。そこは、ウェストチェスター郡スカーズデールScarsdale, Westchester Countyという場所で、自然が豊かで富裕層が多く住む町です。

ニューヨークでの宣教(海外宣教全般にも言えることかもしれませんが)は、世界経済と不可分に結びついています。日本の経済成長期にはニューヨークに多くの企業が進出し、それに 伴い多くの日本人駐在員が増え、結果的に日本語教会の働きは活発化いたしました。そのため、現在は日本人は徐々に減少し、中国や ヒスパニック系の方々が多くなっているのが現状です。

このような中にあって、ユニオン日本語教会も教会員が徐々に減少し、日本の支援会の支えなくしては教会の存 続が危ぶまれる状況がここ数年続いております。

このような中、数か月の宗教ビザの認可待ちの期間を経て、浅田容子Yoko Asada牧師の後任として2014年12月に私が着任させていただくことになりました。

海外の教会はビザの関係で牧師交代スムーズに行かず、無牧期間を経ることが多くありますが、私たちの教会も 1年間の無牧の時を経ての再スタートでしたので、礼拝以外のいくつかの集会が閉じられておりました。

そこで、着任後すぐにコネチカット州トランブルTrumbull地区の家庭集会を再開しました。このトランブル集会は、ノンクリスチャンの方々がほとんどの集会ですが、と てもアットホームな集会であったため、少しずつ人数が増え始めました。

また家庭集会に続き、聖書研究会も再開いたしました。ただし、教会員の人数が数名のみにであり、そのほとん どが仕事をもっておられるため、木曜日の午前中にヒッチコック長老教会行われているLiving in Americaの終了後に聖書研究会を行うようにし、そこに参加する日本人向けに入門バイブルクラスとして始めました。幸 い、時間がLiving in America終了後ということで、数名の方が参加くださるようになり、楽しい交わりを継続できております。

こうした集会に加え、ウェストチェスター郡の3つの日本語教会(ユニオン日本語教会Union Japanese Church of Westchester、ニューヨーク日本語教会New York Japanese Church、メトロポリタン・ジャパニーズ・ミニストリーMetropolitan Japanese Ministry)のそれぞれが小さい教会であるため、3教会が連携して何かできないものか、と考え、3教 会が連携して行う超教派の交流礼拝もスタートいたしました(現在は、日米合同教会Japanese American United Church、グリニッジ福音キリスト教会Japanese Gospel Church of Greenwich、クイーンズ地区の日本人クリスチャンの方々も参加くださって います)。

ニュヨーク州周辺での日本語教会(集会)は、マンハッタンの日米合同教会Japanese American United Churchを除いていずれも人的財政的困難な抱えています。それは、ここニューヨークに短い期間滞在して帰国する駐在 員家族が出席者の大半であることに加え、教会(集会)の核となる定住者もまたアメリカの英語礼拝に出席するようになりつつあるためです。

こうした中、アメリカの教派の多くは、日本人宣教は実りが少ない、という理由から支援の打ち切りを申し出て きており、ただでさえ人的財政的困難を抱える日本語集会が存続の危機を抱えています。

しかし、歴史を振り返る時、明治期の中心的クリスチャンの多くが米国留学時に福音に触れ、帰国後日本で素晴 らしい働きをしたことを考える時、ここでの宣教が主として帰国者に仕える働きのため実質的な教会形成に繋がらないものであったと しても、決して途絶えさせてはいけない働きであるように感じております。

ぜひとも私たち教会、そして海外の一つひとつの日本語教会のために覚えてお祈りくださいますと共にご支援い ただけますようお願い申し上げます。

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