【April 2019 No.402】Missionary Commissioned to Serve in Paraguay

The Commissioning Ceremony for Missionary Ehara Yukiko was held at 3 p.m. on March 10, 2019 at Asagaya Church. Rev. Kato Makoto, executive secretary of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, presided over the service, and Rev. Kokai Hikari, a commission member, gave the sermon. The commissioning service was attended by more than 100 persons from Asagaya Church as well as several pastors of other nearby churches. Asagaya Church Pastor Furuya Haruo is heading up the support group for Ehara.

 

Ehara is scheduled to be sent to Sakai Keishi Memorial Free Methodist Church in Pirapo, Paraguay in early May. The nation of Paraguay is located in the central part of South America, and Pirapo is one of seven areas where Japanese immigrants settled, beginning in 1937. Pirapo is about an 8-hour drive from the capital city of Asuncion.

 

The church had been without a pastor for about 40 years until 2016, when Missionary Chibana Sugako was sent there and served until January of this year. After completion of the process of purchasing property, construction of a new church building was begun in October 2018. The sanctuary is to be finished by the end of March. After her arrival, Ehara will officiate at the dedication service of the new church and at a wedding.

(Tr. TB)

Kato Makoto, executive secretary

 

江原有輝子宣教師派遣式

 2019年3月10日(日)、午後3時から阿佐ヶ谷教会において江原有輝子宣教師の派遣式が行われました。司式は加藤誠世界宣教委員会幹事、説教は小海光世界宣教委員が担当いたしました。

 江原宣教師はパラグアイにあるピラポ自由メソヂスト酒井兄妹記念教会へ5月初旬に派遣される予定です。パラグアイは南米のほぼ中央に位置し、ピラポは7箇所あると言われている日本人移住地の一つです。首都はアスンシオン。ピラポまでは車で約8時間の距離にあります。日本人の移住は1937年から始まりました。

 ピラポ自由メソヂスト酒井兄妹記念教会は、40年間の無牧期間を経て、2016年から今年1月まで知花スガ子宣教師が赴任されておりました。土地購入を経て礼拝堂建築が2018年10月から始まり、2019年3月末には完成予定です。江原宣教師には赴任後、新会堂での結婚式、献堂式の奉仕が待っています。

 派遣式には100名以上の阿佐ヶ谷教会員と近隣の教会教師の出席がありました。支援会会長は阿佐ヶ谷教会主任担任教師の古屋治雄牧師です。(加藤誠報)

【April 2019 No.402】Atami Church’s 100 Years of Witness and Ministry

As Atami Church celebrates its centennial anniversary year, the current pastor shares its history and present ministry, and a long-time member remembers its nurturing role in his own life.

A Church Built in a Resort Area

by Noguchi Kei, pastor

                                       Atami Church, Tokai District

The Atami Church, located on the Izu Penninsula, is believed to have begun as a house meeting at the home of Morimura Ichizaemon, an entrepreneur who was a Christian. In 1919 the location was changed, and it was formally established as Japan Christian Alliance Association (Nihon Domei Kirisuto Kyokai) Atami Church. In 1941, it was incorporated within the Kyodan, and when several of the former Alliance churches withdrew after World War II, Atami Church decided to remain in the Kyodan, as it is today.

Over this period of 100 years, Atami Church has survived several trying periods, such as the Great Kanto Earthquake (1923), World War II, and the Great Atami Fire (1950), while continuing to shine the Gospel light. Atami (meaning “hot ocean”) is a rural hot springs area that rode on the wave of economic growth after World War II and was transformed into a town of buildings standing in a row, flourishing as a tourist area. But in the 1990s, it was adversely affected by the collapse of the bubble economy and other factors.

At present, Atami is a small town with a population of 37,000 people. The trend is toward a decrease in population, with signs of few births and an aging society. There are very few colleges in the area, and since there is limited work outside of tourism and service occupations, many young people are leaving for Tokyo or other large cities. The present condition of the town also directly impacts the vitality of Atami Church. Due to the aging of its members, every year there is a decrease in the number of believers who frequently attend church. And since this is a tourist area, believers cannot take off work on Sunday, so many are unable to observe Sunday worship.

However, the resurgence of activity in Atami in recent years is a very hopeful sign. Tourism has revived in the shopping area where there were many closed stores, and with the restoration of the town’s business condition, tourists and newcomers to the town are attending worship frequently. The baptism of four persons at Christmas in 2017 and one person at Christmas in 2018 were great blessings for us. We have done nothing special. We have only spoken the Word in a slow but sure way, observed worship services, and entrusted everything else to God. I think the seed sown, after the passing of many years, now at last has borne fruit.

The people of Izu Peninsula have been raised in a scenic region. On the one hand, they are gentle and affectionate, and on the other hand, they love freedom and have a thriving spirit of independence. Enrolled together as members at Atami Church are many who were reared in Atami as well as more recent arrivals from Tokyo and elsewhere. To become one in heart, believers with different personal histories, personalities, and church backgrounds have made the Word of Jesus Christ their foundation and are intentionally developing a worship-centered corporate body structure.

The year 2019 is the 100th anniversary of our church’s establishment, and in January we held a founding celebration worship service. The sanctuary was built 20 years ago and now needs repair. For a small church, we are fortunate to have a splendid sanctuary. Repairs are not an easy thing, but as a witness to our faith, we plan to tackle a “2020-and-beyond” goal. (Tr. RT)

 

「観光地に立たされた教会」

熱海教会牧師 野口 敬(Noguchi Kei)

 熱海教会の始まりは、実業家の信徒であった森村市左衛門宅での家庭集会だったと言われています。1919年に場所を変え、日本同盟基督協会熱海教会として、正式に発足しました。1941年、日本基督教団成立の際に編入、戦後に、旧同盟協会の幾つかの教会が教団から離脱する中、熱海教会は教団に残る決断をして、現在に至っています。

 この100年の間に熱海教会は、関東大震災、太平洋戦争、熱海大火などの数々の試練を乗り越え、福音の灯をともし続けています。ひなびた温泉地であった熱海(直訳すると、熱い海)は、戦後の高度経済成長の波に乗り、高層ビルが立ち並ぶ街に変貌し、観光地として賑わいましたが、1990年代には、バブル崩壊などの影響を大きく受けました。
 
 熱海市は現在、人口3万7千人の小さな町です。人口は減少傾向にあり、少子高齢化も顕著です。周辺に大学も少なく、観光・サービス業以外の仕事も限られているため、多くの若者は東京など大都市へと巣立って行きます。この町の現状は、熱海教会の教勢にも直結しています。高齢のため、教会から足が遠のく信徒が年々増え、観光地ゆえに、日曜日の仕事が外せず、聖日礼拝を守ることができない信徒もいます。

 一方で、近年、熱海の街が活気を取り戻しつつあるのは、大きな希望です。閉店した店が多かった商店街に観光客が戻り、町の景気回復に伴って、観光客や新しい移住者が足繁く礼拝出席するようになり、2017年のクリスマスには、4名の受洗者が与えられました。今年2018年のクリスマスにも、受洗者が1名与えられます。何か特別なことをしたわけではありません。ただ地道に御言葉を語り、礼拝を守り、後は全てを神様にお委ねしてきました。蒔かれた種が何年もの時を経て、今ようやく実を結んだのだと思います。

 風光明媚な(scenic)風土に育まれた伊豆の人たちは、温和で人懐っこい一方で、自由を愛し、独立心旺盛な一面があります。熱海教会には、多数の生粋の熱海っ子と東京や地方からの移住者が、共に在籍します。経歴も性格も教派のバックグラウンドも異なる信徒たちが心を1つにするために、イエス・キリストの御言葉を土台とした、礼拝中心の共同体形成を心掛けています。

 2019年は創立100周年で、1月には、創立記念礼拝が予定されています。会堂は築20年たち、改修工事が必要となってきています。小さな教会には身に余るほどの立派な礼拝堂です。改修は容易なことではありませんが、私たちの信仰の証しとして、2020年以降を目途に取り組む予定です。

*               *               *

The Sown Seed

by Fujima Takao, member

                                      Atami Church, Tokai District

Now 87 years old, I am healthy and continue to attend worship services every week and do various church jobs. However, for a long time my life of faith was one of continual twists and turns.

I remember going to Sunday school sometime before World War II, but when I became a fourth grader, education became militaristic. The dream boys had of the future was to become an army general. After the war, the church gate that had been locked was opened once again. Many young people seeking culture with a foreign fragrance gathered at the church, and I myself was also among them.

Mukoyama Jisuke, Atami Church’s pastor at the end of the war, had not yet returned from the war-front, and every Sunday, Pastor Matsumoto Hiroshi of Ito Church preached at Ito Church in the morning, Atami Church in the afternoon, and Usami Church for evening worship. I went to church half-heartedly, attending worship services while hoping that the sermon wouldn’t be long. One day, while surrounded by other young people, the subject of baptism was raised. Not even understanding what it was, I thought, “Well, if we all receive it…,” and was baptized together with a group of five or six persons. When the service was over, members of the church said “Congratulations” and gave words of blessing. I still was not understanding this very well, but when we went to the parsonage on the second floor and I saw that a meal had been prepared, at last the meaning of “congratulations” became real. (At that time there was little rice to eat each day, and it was distributed according to a rationing system.)

Atami is a town of hot springs and rest and was not an object of B29 bombing; we only experienced a few times the deafening roar of the Grumman F6F Hellcat planes on strafing runs. But following the war, in 1950, the central part of the town was almost totally burned by a great fire. Atami Church was also in danger, and as we prayed a parting prayer at the church, thinking the church would soon be burned, a fire truck from another town rushed in, and it was saved. After graduation from high school, I became a salaried
worker for a short time, but as being “self-employed” had become a trend in Japanese society, I dared to begin my own business.

The life of faith for me has been like a single thin stake driven into the current of a river, and every day like constantly fighting the current. Isn’t what I am today the product of the Sunday school of my boyhood, and before that the single seed sown in the church kindergarten, being nurtured over a long period of time in the midst of weeds, having come into bud?

“Remember your Creator in the days of your youth, before the days of trouble come and the years approach when you will say, “I find no pleasure in them…..” (Ecclesiastes 12:1)

(Tr. RT)

「播かれた種」

熱海教会員 藤間孝夫

 私は今、満87歳になり、元気に毎週日曜礼拝に出席し教会の色々な奉仕を続けております。しかし、私の信仰生活は長い間、紆余曲折の繰り返しでした。

 戦前に、当時の日曜学校へ行った記憶はありますが、小学校4年生になった時、教育はすべて軍国主義となりました。少年たちの将来の夢は陸軍大将になることでした。戦後、閉ざされていた教会の門は再び開かれ、多くの若者が外国の香りがする文化を求めて教会に集った、その中に私の姿もありました。

 終戦当時の熱海教会は、向山自助牧師が戦地からまだ戻らず、伊東教会の松本廣牧師が、毎週日曜に朝は伊東教会、午後は熱海教会、夕拝は宇佐美(Usami)教会を廻り説教しておりました。遊び半分に教会へ行っていた私は、早く説教が終わればいい、と思いながら礼拝に出席しておりました。ある日、青年たちに取り囲まれて、洗礼の話が出ました。何のこととも分からず、皆が受けるならと思い、5~6名の方と一緒に集団で受洗しました。式が終わって教会員の人たちから、おめでとうございます、と祝福の言葉を受け、良く分からないまま二階の牧師館に行くと、お膳(食事)が用意されているのを見て、ようやく「おめでとう」の実感がわいてきました(その頃、日常の食べるお米も少なく配給制度でした)。

 熱海の町は温泉と静養の町なので、B29の空爆対象ではなくグラマン戦闘機(The Grumman F6F Hellcat)の雷のような轟音で機上掃射が数回あっただけでしたが、戦後の昭和25(1950)年に大火で町の中心部がほとんど焼けました。熱海教会も危険となり、もはやこれまでと会堂でお別れの祈りをしていた時に、よその町から応援に駆け付けた一台の消防車によって類焼は逃れたのでした。私は、学校を卒業後しばらくサラリーマンになりましたが、世の中に“脱サラ”の掛け声が広がり、思い切って事業を始めました。

 信仰生活は私にとって丁度、川の流れに細い一本の杭を打ち込んだようなもので、絶えず流れに逆らっているような毎日でした。今日の私があるのは、子供時代の日曜学校、その前の教会幼稚園で播かれた一粒の種が、長い時間をかけて、雑草の中から、芽が出てきたものでしょうか。

 「青春の日々にこそ、お前の創造主に心を留めよ。苦しみの日々が来ないうちに。『年を重ねることに喜びはない』と言う年齢にならないうちに」(コヘレトの言葉12章1節)。
(東海教区報No. 167, 18.11.2)

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

「20代の証し 仕事とわたし 神さまが創られた自然を支えるために」

宮奈光一郎(みやな  こういちろう)

環境省羅臼自然保護官事務所自然保護官補佐

東京・小平教会員 北海道・中標津教会出席

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

                           —Ueno Kimitoshi, secretary-general

                            Seikyo Gakuen

 

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

 

清教学園の創立 ~祈りから生まれた学校~

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

協力のために心を一つに

(PCUSAアジア太平洋連携協議会)

                          斎藤 直実(RCA宣教師(教育))

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

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

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

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

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