【June 2017 No.393】International Youth Conference Considers Sustainable Energy Issues

by Iijima Makoto, executive secretary Kyodan East Japan Disaster Relief Projects Planning Headquarters

The International Youth Conference on “Aiming to Realize a Sustainable Energy Future,” hosted by the Kyodan in Kyoto March 28-31, was a very significant event in the ongoing efforts to consider issues associated with nuclear power generation and energy consumption, in the following three respects.

1. The conference was held in Japan, which has experienced radiation exposure three times—in Hiroshima, Nagasaki, and Fukushima.

2. Not only did the conference clarify problems of nuclear power generation from a variety of viewpoints, it provided suggestions about how to realize a sustainable energy society in the future.

3. The conference, which was planned and implemented by youth leaders, gave birth to the possibility of a network that is rooted in the church and based on shared awareness among Christian youth from 12 countries, including not just Asian countries but also Canada, the USA, and Germany. There were 110 participants, with 20 from overseas.

These points are explained further below with corresponding numbers.

1. In 1945 Japan suffered the dropping of atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki and, after the East Japan Disaster on March 11, 2011, also experienced the nuclear accident at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. We therefore bear a special duty, now more than ever, to alert the world to the grave effects of radioactive contamination on our lives. At this conference we did not limit ourselves to speaking out; we were able to invite youth from other countries that listened earnestly to our voices and were willing to engage in new challenges with us.

2. The conference made it clear that the nuclear power plant accident of 2011 caused irreparable harm and dire situations in the following ways.

   1) There are people who cannot return to their homes due to high levels of radiation.

   2) Not only has mandatory evacuation destroyed local communities, differing viewpoints on radiation risks have also caused division in families and among friends.

   3) Harmful effects on the health of children resulting from radioactive contamination are growing more serious with the passage of time.

Such problems were illustrated through the use of meticulous materials, and the situations and initiatives in other countries were also introduced. Through this, participants were also made aware of how important it is for us to adopt sustainable energy options into our daily lives; for example, going “off-grid.”*

3. The fact that this conference was planned over a period of one year and was carried out by young people is very meaningful not only for the future of the Kyodan but also for the Christian community in Japan. As we look forward with anticipation to the rich relationships that may develop among the youth who gathered, including those from abroad, we in the Kyodan must ask ourselves what we can do to foster such relationships.

Fellowship can take many forms. The special characteristic of the fellowship experienced at this conference was that participating youth discovered the importance of collaborating across denominational boundaries while remaining firmly grounded in the Gospel faith. Also noteworthy is the fact that 16 of the Kyodan’s 17 districtswere represented at the conference. (Okinawa sent no delegate.) It is encouraging to know that the Kyodan can come together like this to engage a single issue as one body.

Aside from the closing day’s plenary session, where we discussed and adopted a final statement, the conference was an intense event that featured 20 lectures and presentations in 21/2 days. The young organizers did a wonderful job of implementing the program. We can say that this youth conference inherited the spirit of the Kyodan’s first international conference, held at Sendai in 2014, and bore fruit beyond our expectations.

The tasks that lay ahead of us are: (1) to ensure that the issues of nuclear power transmitted from Japan will be deeply and widely received abroad and (2) to work with overseas partners who sent youth to this conference to host in those countries, on a rotating basis, a series of conferences focused on nuclear power issues.

With heartfelt prayers to the God of history, this concludes my report on the conference. (Tr. DGM)

*Going “off-grid”: Disconnecting from the power distribution network (“grid”) of major electric power companies by installing and using one’s own power-generation facilities.

「国際青年会議in京都―エネルギー持続社会の実現に向けて」報告 (飯島信)



(2)原発の持つ問題点が様々な視点から明らかにされただけでなく、未来のエネルギー持続社会実現に向かう示 唆が与えられたこと。




(1)    について。

1945年のヒロシマ・ナガサキへの原爆投下、そして2011年の3・11東日本大震災による東京電力福島第一原子力発電所の原発事故によって、私たちは戦争の悲惨さだけではなく、放 射能汚染が私たちの生活に与える深刻さを、これまでより一層声を大にして世界に発信する責務が与えられている。今回の国際青年会議は、2014年の国際会議に続く私たちの2回目の原発問題の発信の場であった。そして、それは、ただ発信するにとどまらず、私たちの発信を真摯に受け止 め、この問題を共に担うことが期待された海外からの若者を招いて行われたのである。


(2)    について。

3・11の原発事故は、以下の点で、取り返しのつかない悲惨な現実を生み出していることが会議を通して明らか にされた。


②強制避難によって地域社会が崩壊したのみならず、放射能の問題をめぐる意見の相違が肉親・親族の間に深刻な分 断をもたらしていること。


これらの問題が綿密な資料をもとに確認されただけでなく、他の国々の取り組みも紹介される中で、オフグリッド (注)など持続可能エネルギーを生活の中に取り入れて行くことの大切さが改めて認識された。



(3)    について。

今回の会議が、約1年の歳月をかけて、青年たちによって準備・運営された事実は、日本基督教団のこれからだけでなく、日本のキリ スト教界の将来にとって重要な意味を持つ。特に、国を超えて生まれた青年たちの交わりが今後いかに豊かなものに成長して行くか、そのため に日本基督教団として何が出来るのかが問われている。


交わりには様々な在り方がある。その中での今回の交わりの特色は、参加した青年たちが、福音主義信仰の土台の 上に、各個教会の枠を超えて協働の大切さを受け止め合えたことにあるだろう。特に今回の会議に、日本基督教団全17教区中、沖縄を除く16教区が青年代表を派遣した事実を見ても、教会・教区の枠を超え、日本基督教団が一致して一つの課題に向き合う ことの出来た事実が知らされるのである。

会議は、最終日の声明文採択の時間を除き、2日半で20の講演と発表が行われた過密なプログラムであった。しかし、青年達は見事なまでに会議を運営して行った。こう して行われた国際青年会議は、2014年に仙台で行われた日本基督教団初の国際会議を継承し、予想をはるかに越えた実りをもたらしたと言える。

課題は、日本から発信された原発問題が、さらに深く広く海外で受け止められ、今回参加した国々が、原発問題を 主題にした青年会議を次々に持ち回りで開催することである。


【April 2017 No.392】Acting General Secretary’s Report: Mission Emphasis Includes Support of NCCJ’s 70th Anniversary

The mission activities of the 40th General Assembly period (2016-2018) have now begun. As at every general assembly, various commissions and committees gather together to support the work of local churches and schools and other organizations related to the Kyodan, which is where our mission actually takes place. The standing committees of the Kyodan are:

          •   the Commission on Mission,

          •   the Commission on Cooperative Ecumenical


          •   the Commission on the Ministry,

          •   the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications,

          •   the Commission on Faith and Order, and

          •   the Commission on Finance.

Likewise, the following focus committees also operate under the Commission on Mission:

          •   the Committee on Evangelism,

          •   the Committee on Social Concerns, and

          •   the Committee on Education, including the

             Office of Evangelism Promotion.

In addition to these committees and commissions, the assembly established the Research Institute on the Mission of the Church, which began the process of revising the “basic theory of mission” during the 36th General Assembly Period (2008-2010). This process is still ongoing, with the discussion during the 40th General Assembly focusing on the very premises of the debate, that of “mission” and “evangelism.” “Our conclusion is that ‘mission’ is primarily communicating the gospel message—in other words, ‘evangelism.’ However, true evangelism must give birth to ‘witness.’ (Revised Basic Theory of Mission draft, I-2-4)*” [*Social action and activities] There is much debate within the Kyodan concerning this draft. It is my hope that this debate will not end merely with definitions of words but with the gospel of Christ spreading in various ways to every place.

As the National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ) celebrates its 70th anniversary next year, “Mission Conference 2018″ and its lead-up gatherings are being planned. The four events, each with a separate theme, have been or will be held on the following dates:

   1. “Mission: Kerygma and Youth”: Sept. 24, 2016

   2. “Service: Diakonia and Life”: Feb. 4, 2017

   3. “Witness: Marturia and Collaboration Between

      Generations”: Sept. 9, 2017

  4.  “Prayer and Worship: Leitourgia and Diversity”

     : Feb. 3, 2018

Not only are the member denominations, churches, and other organizations participating but there will also be a Roman Catholic presence, thus making this a truly ecumenical mission conference. Preparations for the main conference are well underway, and the Kyodan intends to cooperate in every way possible to make it a success. (Tr. TB)

—Dohke Norikazu, acting general secretary Executive Secretary of General Affairs

日本基督教団第40総会期の宣教活動が始まります。毎総会期のことですが、宣教の最前線を担っている教会と伝道所および関係学校・団 体の働きを支えるために、各委員会が組織されます。常設委員会として、宣教委員会、世界宣教委員会、教師委員会、教師検定委員会、信 仰職制委員会、予算決算委員会があります。常設専門委員会として宣教委員会の下には、伝道委員会、教育委員会、社会委員会がありま す。伝道委員会の下には伝道推進室があり、これらの諸委員会とは別に、宣研究所委員会が組織されます。


本作業は今総会も引き継がれますが、作業の前提として議論となって いるのは、「宣教」と「伝道」についてです。「『宣教』とは、第一義的には、福音を宣べ伝えること、すなわち、『伝道』のことであ る、と結論されます。ただし、真実な伝道は必ず『証し*』を生み出します。」*社会的活動及び行動(改訂宣教基礎理論第二次草案Ⅰ -2-④)については、教団内には、なおいろいろな議論があります。言葉の定義の議論に終始するのではなく、キリストの福音が、あら ゆる場、様々な仕方で、広がってゆくことを願います。

NCCは、2018年に創立70周年を迎 え、「宣教会議2018」を開催します。そのプレ集会が4回企画され ており、教団も参加しています。毎回テーマがあります。「第1回 宣教=ケリュグマ×青年」(2016年9月24日)「第2 回 奉仕=ディアコニア×いのち」(2017年2月4日)「第3 回 証し=マルトゥリア×世代間協働」(2017年9月9日)「第4 回 祈り・礼拝=レイトゥルギア×多様性」(2018年2月3日)。 NCC加盟の教派・教会・団体をはじめカトリックからも参加者があり、エキュメニカルな宣教会議の開催に向けて、着実に準備が進んで います。日本基督教団としても出来る限り、開催実現に向けて、協力してゆくつもりです。

【April 2017 No.392】A Visit to Japanese Churches in Europe

by Kawai Nozomu, ministerial appointee  Pine United Methodist Church, San Francisco, CA

In 2016, I was appointed to serve Pine United Methodist Church in San Francisco as a Kyodan missionary. However my visa has yet to be issued. As of January 2017, I still remained in Japan. Given this situation, the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries decided to send me to visit Kyodan-related Japanese churches abroad to learn more about their circumstances and chose three churches in Europe. I visited the Cologne-Bonn Japanese Church in Germany; the Kobylisy Church in Prague, Czech Republic; and the Brussels Japanese Protestant Church in Belgium. In each of the churches, I had richly rewarding experiences. There are many things I would like to share, but here I will focus on two in particular.

First is the fact that people gathering together in Japanese churches abroad are yearning for relationships in the Japanese language. All of them are working and experiencing daily life in German, French, English, and other languages and generally have no serious difficulty communicating in a foreign language. However, there is still a strong desire for a church where they can hear a sermon in Japanese and enjoy fellowship in their native language. I think this is based on that deep influence and love of one’s mother tongue. A person who has been living in Germany for more than 45 years told me, “When speaking in German, there’s considerable mental and physical energy required. But when speaking in Japanese, it’s so easy.” These words are deeply embedded in my memory.

Secondly, I found that the missionary pastors serving in those churches are also experiencing loneliness. In Japan, there are neighborhood pastors to whom one can go and seek counsel and cooperation. However, when abroad, visiting a Japanese pastor might require hours by car or public transportation. Missionaries feel difficulty in talking about their worries and hardships with their congregants. As a result they keep these feelings inside and begin to experience added stress. If possible, I think the Kyodan should provide pastoral care for missionaries abroad by sending qualified personnel periodically to their areas of service.

Let me add a personal thought. When I was at the Brussels Japanese Protestant Church, I was the celebrant for the sacrament of the Lord’s Supper. This congregation too has been waiting for a missionary to come from Japan, but also due to the delayed visa for that missionary, it had been a long time since the congregation had been able to celebrate communion. During the service, I served the cup and the bread to each member individually, and I could not help but feel the parishioners’ strong sense of joy and thanksgiving as they received the elements. Their deep desire for communion together was palatable. As a pastor, that moment filled me with exultation. I realized anew that I love this ministry to which I am called.

Even if distance separates us from each other on earth, our distance from God is always the same. All of us who share this earth together are held in the warm embrace of God. However, even believing this, Japanese Christians living abroad experience loneliness, alienation, and discrimination. Insuring that Japanese Christians abroad have more concrete means of experiencing God’s love is one of the tasks of the Kyodan. Through this trip to Europe, I thought to myself, “If there is anything I can do to accomplish this goal, I really want to do that.”

(Tr. JS)

*Editorial note: In mid-March, after this article was written, the missionaries being sent to Brussels (Rev. Kawakami Yasushi and Rev. Kawakami Masaki) have received their visas. However, Rev. Kawai’s visa has not yet been received.


パ イン合同メソジスト教会(赴任予定)

川 合 望(かわい・のぞむ)

私は、日本基督教団の宣教師として、アメリカ・サンフ ランシスコにある「パイン合同メソジス ト教会」へと、2016年中に派遣される 予定でした。しかし、なかなかビザが 発給されずに、2017年1月 の今でも日本に留まっています。そこで、この時間を利用して、海外にある日本人教会を訪問し、その現状を知るために、ヨーロッパ研修 の旅へと出かけることとなりました。

 このヨーロッパ研修の旅で、私は3つ の教会を訪れました。ドイツ・ケルンのケルンボン日本語キリスト教会、チェコ・プラハのコビリシ教会、ベルギー・ブリュッセルのブ リュッセル日本語プロテスタント教会です。それぞれの教会で、とても貴重な経験をさせていただきました。話したいことはたくさんある のですが、ここでは、大きく2つの焦点に絞って書いていきます。

 ひとつは、海外の日本人教会に集う誰もが、日本語 での交流を求めているという点です。彼らは皆、ドイツ語やフランス語、または英語などで、仕事をしたり、日々の生活を送ったりしてい ます。外国語でのコミュニケーションに、特に大きな問題はありません。それでも、日本語での牧会、礼拝説教、そして交わりを望んでい ます。それが、やはり「母語」の重さなのでしょう。もう45年以上ドイツで暮 らしている人が、私にこう言いました。「ドイツ語を話すためには、かなりの気力と体力が必要です。日本語での会話は、とても楽で す」。この言葉が、私の記憶に深く刻まれています。

 もうひとつは、それぞれの教会に仕える宣教師(牧 師)も孤独を感じているという点です。日 本であれば、近所に仲間の牧師がいて、気軽に相談したり、助け合ったりできます。しかし、海外であれば、隣りの教会の日本人牧師に会 いに行くだけでも、電車や車で数時間かかることも珍しくありません。宣教師は、自分の悩みや苦しみなどを、教会員に打ち明けることも できず、ずっと胸の内に秘めています。それは、かなりのストレスです。もし可能であれば、教団が定期的に人を派遣して、海外の宣教師 への牧会的ケアがなされるように願います。

 個人的な 思い出をひとつ。ブリュッセル日 本語プロテスタント教会の礼拝で、聖餐式が執り行われました。ビザの発給が遅れているため、この教会にもまだ日本から宣教師が来 ておらず、教会員のみなさんにとって、かなり久しぶりの聖餐式でした。

 聖餐式 で、私は、一人一人に直接、パンと 杯を手渡したのですが、教会員のみなさんは、本当に喜びと感動をもって、パンと杯を受け取られました。聖餐式を求めている気持ち が、ひしひしと伝わってきました。このとき、私は、牧師して最高の高揚感に満たされました。やはり、私はこの仕事が好きなんだ と、自分自身で再認識できました。

たとえ地上で遠く離れても、神からの距離は、どこでも同じです。地上に生きるすべての人が、神の温かな愛の眼差しに包まれています。 そうは信じていても、やはり、海外に生きる日本人クリスチャンは、孤独や疎外感、差別を感じずにはいられません。そのような方々のた めに、神の愛を目に見える具体的な形に表していくのも、日本基督教団の大切な職務のひとつです。そのために、「私にできることがある ならば、それを担っていきたい」と、このヨーロッパの旅を通じて、強く思いました。

【April 2017 No.392】3rd Korea/Japan 5-Churches Mission Consultation Meets in Seoul

by  Kato Makoto, executive secretary

The Korea/Japan 5-Churches Mission Consultation was held in Seoul, Feb. 20-21 and used both the headquarters of the Korean Methodist Church (KMC) and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea (PROK). The other three church bodies involved in the consultation were the Presbyterian Church of Korea (PCK), the Korean Christian Church in Japan (KCCJ) and the Kyodan.

The basic pattern is for each denomination to send three official representatives. The Kyodan sent Rev. Kumoshikari Toshimi, General Assembly secretary, Rev. Kishi Norihide, former chair of the Committee on Korean Church Relations, and myself.

There were three presentations: one each by the KMC, the Kyodan and the PCK, with the first being given by Rev. Yoon Byung-Jo, senior pastor of Morenae Methodist Church. He also serves as vice-president of the Korean Methodist Mission Association and chairperson of the Japan Mission Society.  He presented a case study of joint mission cooperation between Korea and Japan. Rev. Yoon’s conclusions were two-fold.

First, we need to learn from history. As an example, he shared the story of Lee Su-Jung who came to Japan and was baptized by Rev. Yasukawa Toru in 1883 and, while he was in Japan, translated the Gospel of Mark into Korean. That translation was then used by missionary Henry Gerhard Appenzeller in his evangelistic work in Korea, thus making it a beautiful legacy for Japanese and Korean churches.

Second, it is important to pray for and work towards an expansion of exchanges and visitations among both Korean and Japanese churches, including revitalization of exchanges between pastoral and mission-related personnel towards a creative future.

The next presentation was by Dr. Nag Woon-Hae, a missionary sent by the Kyodan to the Presbyterian College and Theological Seminary in Seoul. He spoke on “The Desirable Role of a Pastor in Japanese Churches” and gave the background of the increasing number of Koreans volunteering to serve as overseas missionaries. He also identified the issues involved in sending Koreans to help with the more than 400 Kyodan churches in Japan that are without a full-time pastor. He stressed how important it is for such missionaries to be able to dedicate themselves to evangelism and outreach in the areas of Japan where such churches are concentrated. He gave three suggestions:

1) Make the Kyodan Commission on Ecumenical Ministries the route through which Korean missionaries are sent to Japanese churches;

2) Have a period of training for such people prior they enter Japan. For instance, since Dr. Nag Woon-Hae is in charge of the Japanese worship service at Seamoonan Presbyterian Church, the missionaries could attend the weekly services there for three months to become familiar with the atmosphere of a Japanese church and improve their Japanese language skills; and

3) Create a joint program together with the Kyodan for serving Kyodan churches. Missionaries from Korea need to participate more fully in such a church structure within the Kyodan, and the Kyodan needs to be more proactive in sending missionaries to Korea.

The final presentation, given by Rev. Lee Sang-Cheol of PCK’s Onhye Presbyterian Church, was a report of his ministry since he was called to be the pastor there in January 2009 entitled “Practices and Actual Application of Evangelism.” This church, a typical one in a rural area, had not conducted a single baptism in several years. The vision he had received as he began there was to create a “ministry revered in the community” and a “ministry revealing the benevolence of God.” He began by developing a sense of community particularly with elderly people living alone by taking a bento lunch to give them when he visited. He helped those who could not easily get to health clinics by taking their blood pressure and blood sugar levels and driving them to the hospital when they needed to go. He also began a service by volunteers who take these older people to a famous hot springs nearby, and then in his second year of ministry there began “Rainbow University,” a school for elderly persons that utilizes the talents and resources of local people. In 2014, the church had 12 baptisms, and presently the weekly attendance is about 50.

Following these presentations, we spent time discussing them. This included exchanging our views on the specific proposals of missionary Nag Woon-Hae concerning training. We ended by making preparations for the next planning session for the following such consultation.

(Tr. TB)


報告 加藤 誠

2017年2月20、21日の両日、ソウルにある基督教大韓監理会本部会議室と韓国基督教長老会(PROK)本部会議室において、第3回韓日5教会宣教実務者会議が開催された。5教会とはThe Presbyterian Church of Korea(PCK), Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea(PROK), The Korean Methodist Church(KMC), The Korean Christian Church in Japan(KCCJ), the Kyodanを意味する。


KMC, Kyodan, PCKから3名の発題があった。最初はユン・ビンチョ牧師(Rev. Byung-Jo Yoon; Senior Pastor in Morenae Methodist Church, Vice President of Korean Methodist Mission Association, Chairperson of Japan Mission Society)から“Case Sharing of Missionary Sending Church to Japan”とのタイトルで発題が行われた。ユン牧 師は結論として次の2点を述べた。(1)歴史に学ぶ。例としてイ・スジョン(Lee Su Jung)は1883年に訪問先の日本で日本教会の安川亨牧師から洗礼を受け、滞在中にマルコによる福音書を翻訳した。その翻訳された聖書をアペンゼラー宣教師が韓国に持ってきて伝道した。それは日韓の教会の美しい歴史的遺産である。(2)両国教会が、今よりもさらに多くの交流と訪問、牧会交流事業を活性化し、創造的未来に向けた宣教同伴者関 係が拡大することを祈る。

次に教団韓国派遣宣教師、長老会神学大学校、Dr. ナグネ(Nag, Woon-Hae)から“The desirable role of a pastor in Japanese Churches”との題で発題が行われた。韓国で増加す る海外宣教志願者の背景に触れた後、日本特に教団の400以上ある無牧教会に派遣された場合の留意点について語られた。無牧教会の多い地方の市町村では愚直に宣 教・伝道に従事することを厭わない宣教師の派遣が望まれる。Dr. ナグネからの提案は3点であった。(1)韓国宣教師の日本側受入れ窓口を教団世界宣教部に一本化する。(2)日本に派遣する前にトレーニングを行う。具体的にはセムナン(Seamoonan Presbyterian Church)教会日本語礼拝をDr. ナグネが担当しているので、例えば3か月毎週礼拝に出席し日本の教会の雰囲気及び日本語に慣れていただく機会を提供する。(3)教団との共同的教会形成を目指す。教団の教会形成の業に参加していただく意識を持ち、同時に教団からも韓 国に更に積極的に宣教師を派遣する。

最後の発題はPCKからOnhye Presbyterian Church のSang-Cheol Lee牧師。“Practices and Actual Application of Evangelism”と題して、2009年1月に赴任して以来の活動 の報告を行った。Onhye教会は典型的な田舎の農村教会で何年も受洗者を生み出していなかった。赴任に際して与えられたビジョンは 「敬いの牧会」「神様の福祉の牧会」であった。一人暮らしの老人のために小さなお弁当を訪問して配ることによって住民と繋がりを持っ た。次に病院通いが自由にできない老人のために血圧や血糖のチェックを行い、必要あれば車で老人を病院に連れて行った。近くには有名 な温泉があるのでボランティアを募り入浴サービスを始めた。更に赴任2年目からは地域の財政・人材支援を受けて虹大学という老人学校の運営を手掛けた。2014年には12名の受洗者が与えられ、現在は50名の礼拝出席を得ている。

発題後には協議が行われ、本準備会の役割、ナグネ宣教師からの具体的な訓練の提案への意見交換、次回準 備会の開催について話し合われた。

【April 2017 No.392】Prayer Meetings

One cannot separate the history of prayer meetings from that of the Japanese Protestant Church, which began at the late 19th century. Many churches owe their beginnings to prayer meetings that continued for several days, and many churches held public prayer meetings on Sundays as well as their worship services. Recently, however, as people have spread to various areas and congregations are aging, it is difficult to continue the prayer meetings. The following is the case of a prayer meeting featured for two consecutive times in the periodical, Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend). —KNL Editorial Committee


I. “Mutual Pastoring”: The Blessing of Praying Together

by Kubota Takashi, member Osaka Church, Osaka District

Osaka Church has about 200 members and is located in the business district of Osaka City. As the population of the district has decreased over the years, there were periods when fewer than ten members lived within walking distance of the church. Thus, the percentage of members who found it difficult to attend weekday meetings increased.

For many years, Bible classes and prayer meetings were held on Wednesday evenings and Thursday mornings, but attendance had dwindled, so during a year of pastoral vacancy, all weekday gatherings were discontinued. After Rev. Okamura Hisashi came to our church in 2000, we considered what to do about all the weekday meetings and decided to maintain only the Thursday noon worship service and to focus our energy on Sunday activities. However, after that decision, some members voiced their desire to have prayer meetings again, so from November 2000, we started to hold one on Sunday morning from 9:30 to 10 a.m., before the worship service, and called it the “Lord’s Day Prayer Meeting.” Though Sunday school staff persons are unable to attend during that time period, we have been able to provide a program for adult seekers during the prayer time. In the beginning, testimonies given by church members were followed by a time of prayer. And once, the pastor led a study time entitled, “Encouraging Prayer.” Now we alternate between Bible classes and prayer meetings every other week, and once every two months, church members lead the Bible classes.

Once a month, a church member leads the prayer meeting and gives the meditation on the Bible passage. After the leader presents the meditation theme to the others, we split into groups of three or four people, and we share our reflections on the leader’s meditation or our own thoughts. Then each group prays for various requests and finishes with the Lord’s Prayer. Prayer requests are written ahead of time on small pieces of paper, and one piece is handed to each person. Participants have said the following concerning this activity: “Bible verses that I have read many times before have touched me in a new way.” “I have been given a chance to pray for things I had not usually thought of before, and I was very happy to have someone pray for me.”

In addition to this, from 2012, at 7 p.m. on Thursdays, interested members began the “Prayer Meeting,” and it became an officially recognized church activity in 2013. From June 2015, it was moved to 7 p.m. on Fridays. The person in charge of either the Sunday prayer meeting or Bible study leads the Friday meeting, using the same Scripture. We meditate more deeply on the Bible passage and sing worship songs for about one hour. Friday attendance easier for some people whose workplace is close to the church but who are unable to attend the Sunday meeting, and interested seekers also attend.

I attend both the Sunday and Friday meetings and am greatly blessed by them. While preparing, there is both joy and pain, but I am encouraged by the words of thanks I receive from the participants, and I feel the work of the Holy Spirit in this. Prayer itself is God’s work of salvation.

Of 120 church attendants, 25 to 30 participate in the Sunday Bible class and prayer meeting, and about five or six attend the Friday meeting. We stay aware of each of the prayer needs of Osaka Church and are encouraged by the prayer lives of everyone involved. To maintain healthy lives of faith, we wish to continue this blessing of “mutual pastoring” through the morning program, and we wish to do whatever possible to make the entire church a praying congregation. (Tr. WJ)

—From Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend), January 2017 issue

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko

明治期に始まる、日本のプロテスタント教会の歴史は、祈祷会と切り離せない。何日も祈 祷会を続けて形成されていった教会が複数あり、多くの教会が公的行事の主な柱として、聖日礼拝と週日の祈祷会を守ってきた。しかし近 年の、教会員の居住地の拡散と、高齢化などにより、祈祷会の継続が難しくなっている面もある。その中での祈祷会の例を、信徒の友誌の 記事から二度に分けて、ご紹介する。(KNL編集部)




祈り合う「相互牧会」の恵み        大阪教会 久保田拓志 くぼた たかし/大阪教会員

大阪教会は大阪市内中心部の商業地域にあり、会員数は200余名です。かつては都心部 での人口減少のため、徒歩圏内に住んでいる教会員が10人以下という時期も長く続きました。平日の諸集会に出席することが困難な教会員の割合も増加しました。長 年、水曜日夜と木曜日午前に行われていた「聖書講義・祈祷会」への出席者数も減少したので、1年間の無牧の時に、平日の諸集会は休会 となりました。2000年に現在の岡村恒牧師が赴任した後、平日の諸集会について検討し、教会員の高齢化と居住地域の遠隔化など から、木曜の正午礼拝以外の諸集会はとりやめ、日曜日の礼拝に集中する決断をしました。しかしその後、祈祷会だけはぜひ再開したいと いう教会員の熱心な求めがあり、2000年11月より、聖日の礼拝前の午前9時30分~10時に「聖日祈祷会」を開始しました。その時間帯の教会学校教師・奉仕者は、この祈祷会に出席することはで きませんが、成人求道者の入門プログラムとしても用いられています。 当初は信徒の証しを聞いた後に祈っていました。そして月1回 は、牧師が「祈りの奨め」と題する学びの時を持ちました。現在は、交互に聖書講義と祈祷会を行い、2カ月に1回は信徒奉仕者が聖書講 義を担当しています。

祈祷会の司会と、祈祷会の中で行われる聖句の黙想も、毎月1回は信徒奉仕者が担当し ています。まず担当者の黙想を参加者と分かち合った後、3~4人のグループに分かれて、担当者の黙想から感じとったことや自らの黙想 を分かち合います。その後グループ単位で祈祷課題を祈り、最後に主の祈りを全員で祈ります。祈祷課題は、あらかじめ小さな紙片に印刷 して準備し、無作為に参加者に1枚ずつ配ります。参加者からは、「これまで何度も読んできた聖書の言葉が、新しく響いてきた」「普 段、あまり思い浮かばない課題について祈る機会が与えられ、自分のためにも祈ってもらえることがうれしい」という声を耳にします。

これとは別に、2012年から有志が木曜日午後7時に始めた「お祈りの会」が、13年からは正規の行事と なり、15年6月よりは金曜日午後7時から開催されています。その週の聖日祈祷会あるいは聖書講義を担当した奉仕者 が、同じ聖書箇所を用いて司会進行を担います。同じ聖書箇所をより深く黙想し、ワーシップソングを歌いながら共に祈る1時間のプログ ラムです。諸々の事情で聖日礼拝に出席することが難しい教会員、勤め先が教会の近くにあり、以前から関心を寄せていたという求道者な どが、参加しています

私は聖日朝と金曜夜の、双方の会で奉仕をさせていただき、豊かな恵みを与えられてい ます。準備の段階で聖句と向き合い、喜びばかりではなく苦しみも味わいますが、参加者からの感謝の声に励まされ、聖霊の導きを感じて います。祈ることそれ自体が神の救いの業であると思います。

聖日礼拝出席者約120名の内、毎週25人~30人が朝の「聖書講義・祈祷会」に、金曜日の会には5~6人が参加しています。今、大阪教会に与えられてい る祈りの課題の1つ1つを意識して、それぞれの生活の中で祈り続けるよう励まされています。今後は、お互いの信仰が健やかに守られる ように祈り合う「相互牧会」の恵みを、この朝のプログラムで共有したいと願っています。教会全体が祈りの群れとして整えられていくよ うに、工夫を重ねていきたいと思っています。(信徒の友2017年1月号)川上善子KNL編集委員長まとめ

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