150 Years of Evangelism in Japan: "Planting the Word of God for 150 Years"

With the coming of 2009, Protestant Christianity has been preached in
Japan for 150 years. The commemorative events planned for this milestone
were outlined in the article Commemorative Events for the 150th Year of
Evangelism in Japan on page 4 of KNL’s December 2008 issue (#350).

When Protestant evangelism began 150 years ago (1859), Christianity was
still prohibited in Japan by the Edo Shogunate. However, with a strong
love for the souls of the Japanese, the missionaries felt no fear of
persecution and came to plant the word of God in Japan. Through the
prayers and dedication of these missionaries and those yet to come, the
gospel was spread throughout the country as churches, Christian schools,
Christian hospitals, and Christian welfare agencies were founded. The
results were clear: education brought greater status and roles for
women, and higher ideals were brought to society at large. We give
heartfelt thanks for the work of these missionaries across the years.

Of course, we must not forget that part of the background for those
accomplishments was the work of the Roman Catholic Church in Japan
following Francisco Xavier’s visit in 1549, as well as the work of the
Anglican Church in Okinawa.

Certainly there were extreme difficulties at many points in this
history, as well as the sacrifice of many. Today’s reality is that
material prosperity and spiritual disinterest have encumbered evangelism
since the late 20th century. Even within the Christian community, we see
less interaction among Christian organizations and a weakened unity
among denominations. The fact that we are not advancing our evangelistic
efforts is cause for individual Christians and the church at large to
repent.

At this time of commemorating “150 Years of Evangelism in Japan,” we
give God thanks for his grace through Christ and pray that we may come
together in prayer, understanding one another and deepening our
fellowship together for the continued evangelism of Japan. May we give
of ourselves, our talents, and our resources as we strive to be tools
for this task. This is the commitment to which we are being called.

In 1909, when the first 50 years of Protestant evangelism were
celebrated, the Church of Christ in Japan took leadership in planning a
revival at the Tokyo YMCA in Kanda on March 13~14 for the celebration.
Following this, revivals and retreats were held at local churches
throughout Tokyo. The Methodist Church observed a “Revival Month,” the
Congregational Church observed a half year of “Extension Revivals,” and
other special forms of evangelism took place. Then, a joint
commemorative symposium was held at the Tokyo YMCA, Oct. 5~10. During
this time there was a special service of thanksgiving, as well as
symposium topics on Christian education, Christian literature, and
Christian influence as well as other opportunities for study.

With the approach of the 100th Anniversary of Protestant Evangelism in
Japan, plans for commemorative evangelistic events were approved at the
8th General Assembly of Kyodan in 1954. The goals were to double the
overall membership of the Kyodan and to move more deeply into the life
of the general public. The slogan accompanying these goals was “Go
forward with Christ.” These events continued through 1958.

As we enter this 150th Year of Protestant Evangelism in Japan, we feel
that active participation in the following events is a positive response
to our Lord’s invitation.

MAIN SCHEDULED EVENTS (All in 2009)
June 24 (Wednesday)
Commemorative Worship Service for the Founding of the Kyodan
Location: Fujimicho Church, Tokyo

July 8 (Wednesday), July 9 (Thursday)
Commemorative Convention for 150 Years of Protestant Evangelism in Japan
Location: Pacifico Yokohama

November 22 (Sunday)
Kyodan Laity Convention
Location: Tokyo Yamate Church

November 23 (Monday, a national holiday)
Kyodan Celebration: 150 Years of Protestant Evangelism in Japan
Location: Aoyama Gakuin, Tokyo

In preparation for these commemorative events, the Kyodan has set a
fund-raising goal of 5 million yen (about US$50,000). Churches, groups,
and individuals are being asked to support this effort to commemorate
150 Years of Evangelism in Japan. (Tr. JS)

–Katsuyama Ken’ichiro, executive secretary

The General Secretary's Diary

Among the many guests from around the world who attended the 36th Kyodan
General Assembly in October 2008 were several guests from Northeast
Asia. I especially appreciated the presence of two of them. One is the
Reverend Dr. Lee Won-Jae, general secretary of the Korean Methodist
Church. I first met him last June when I visited Korea. The major
purpose of my June visit was to reinstate the considerably long-halted
relationship of the Kyodan and the KMC. When I had an interview with the
chairman of the KMC’s Council of Bishops, General Secretary Lee was
present. During our friendly conversation, I asked him to attend the
upcoming Kyodan General Assembly. He graciously accepted my invitation
and kept his promise. I am sincerely grateful to him.
The other person whose presence I greatly appreciated is the Reverend
Asing Aman, moderator of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan. I met him
for the first time two years ago when the joint conference of the PCT
and the Kyodan was held in Takao-City, Taiwan. I took the occasion to
request Moderator Asing Aman to attend the 36th Kyodan General Assembly.
He also responded favorably to my invitation and attended the meeting.

I have long been advocating the importance of fellowship with churches
in Northeastern Asian countries that have the same cultural legacy as
Japan, which is based on the Chinese writing system. Mission cooperation
among Christians who share these common historical roots is as important
as coworking with churches in North America and European countries.

Renewed friendship with these two guests is indeed my great joy. (Tr. FK)

─Naito Tomeyuki
Kyodan General Secretary

Asia Gakuin (Asian Rural Institute)

by Ban Hyung Wook
Korean Methodist Church missionary

Established in 1973 in Nasu-san-roku in Tochigi Prefecture, Asian Rural
Institute is a school founded on the love of Jesus Christ to promote the
progress and prosperity of the rural peoples of Asia. It was established
with the goal of promoting just and peaceful societies through the
training of local leaders who themselves hold these goals.

This year marks the 36th anniversary of the founding of ARI. During the
eight months from April to December, invited participants from Africa,
Asia, and at times the Pacific Island nations, South America, and others
of the world’s developing nations, come for leadership training. These
leaders are pastors, priests, officials of NGOs, farm organization
leaders, women’s group leaders, teachers, and any who are rural
grass-roots leaders working to improve the lives of rural people.

I myself am a graduate of ARI, class of 1983. I am a Korean Methodist
Church pastor and, since September 2004, I have been working as a
missionary staff member of ARI. I love ARI from the bottom of my heart.
Here I find great joy in working for God’s purposes as God’s vessel.
Since being sent to ARI, I have continually been filled with a burning
sense of my high calling. Here I can meet with young students who gather
from all over Japan and, while working together or eating together in
the Koinonia dining hall, I can share my thoughts and feelings with
these students. As the staff person responsible for group life, I can
assist ARI students when they complete their training and return to
their home areas as rural leaders. My heart swells with joy and thanks
to God as each ARI student achieves transformation into a good leader.
This becomes the motivating power for my work as a missionary.

Sometimes I receive telephone calls or E-mail from young people who have
at some time visited ARI. Sometimes these are reports of someone
beginning to read the Bible or beginning to attend Sunday worship
services, or receiving baptism. This is one such E-mail. “Dear Pastor
Ban, my life at ARI and the community there are very precious to me. For
me and my friend, the summer spent at ARI, where we experienced the
power of God, had deep importance for us. Through our experiences at ARI
our friendship has deepened. Can you believe that she decided by herself
to begin attending church services? Pastor Ban, you and your wife Chinhe
have been excellent Christian models for her and for me too.”
My wife Chinhe is fulfilling her calling from God by working as a
volunteer at ARI. One thing she does is to bake birthday cakes for
everyone in the ARI community. “This is the first time in my life that
someone has baked such a wonderful cake and celebrated my birthday,”
said one joyful person. When I see scenes like this, I too am overjoyed.

Even now the training of rural leaders from all over the world is
continuing. Knowing this, why is ARI’s name still the same? Why not
change the name to “Asia-Africa Rural Institute” or Asia-Africa-Pacific
Rural Institute? That is a question that sometimes arises, but there is
a reason for the name as it stands. The reason is that the founding of
ARI was an act of repentance before God for the sins committed against
the people of Asia during World War II. Because of the need to confess,
apologize, and repent for the brutal acts committed against the people
of Asia, the name “Asian Rural Institute” must remain.

Please pray for Asian Rural Institute, its students, its graduates, and
ARI’s calling to labor for those suffering in poverty? (Tr. GM)

Shinpo( The Kyodan Times)

Note:
Asian Rural Institute was awarded the 2008 Welfare Award by the Asahi
Shinbun newspaper company. Asahi gives this prize each year to the
organization it chooses to honor for its exemplary services to society
and its welfare. Begun in 1947 as the Social Welfare Award, this prize
was split into two separate awards from 1975. It is a great honor for
ARI to receive one of them.

2008 Kyodan Newsletter Index

CHILDREN AND YOUTH
Catholic-Protestant Fellowship
Addresses Educational Issues……………………348/4 June
First Christian Education Seminar
Held in Kochi………………………………………….348/3 June
JOCS Articles Feature Overseas Workers………346/3 Feb.
Kyodan Women’s Federation Hosts
Japan-Germany “Youth Mission 2008………349/6 Oct.
Morioka Holds Joint Church School
Apple-picking………………………………………….347/6 Apr.
Nine-day PCT-Kyodan “Youth Mission
2008″ Held in Japan…………………………………349/6 Oct.

CHRISTIANITY IN JAPAN
Catholic-Protestant Fellowship
Addresses Educational Issues…………………..348/4 June
Christian Composer Leaves Legacy of
“Tomi-songs”………………………………………….350/5 Dec.
Christian Events Marking the Year of
Japanese-Brazilian Exchange”………………….350/6 Dec.
Christmas in Japan……………………………………….350/1 Dec.
Churches Damaged by Chuetsu
Earthquake Celebrate Reconstruction……….348/2 June
Church’s Monthly Birthday Party
Celebrates God’s Gift of Life……………………348/3 June
Coffee Shop Evangelism Enhances
Local Churches’ Ministries………………………350/7 Dec.
Commemorative Events for the 150th
Year of Evangelism in Japan…………………….350/4 Dec.
Day that Sado Became Iona…………………………347/4 Apr.
Desire to Teach Faith to Children
Inspires Japanese Hymnist……………………….349/8 Oct.

From Taiwan to Hokkaido:

A Missionary’s Story………………………………..346/2 Feb.
Izu Island Churches Experience
Support Amidst Natural Disasters……………..347/3 Apr.
Japanese Hymns Now Appearing
in English Hymnals………………………………….349/7 Oct.
Japanese Pastor in Ministry.
with Korean Congregation……………………….347/5 Apr.
Local Church Program Features Haiku,
Sign Language & Finger Braille Classes……348/7 June
Marina and a Thousand Picture Books…………..346/7 Feb.
Memorial Fund Aids Filipino Students………….346/4 Feb.
New Telephone System Enables
Worship Participation from Home…………….348/5 June

CONFERENCES, CONSULTATIONS, ASSEMBLIES
11th Kyodan-PCT Conference
Held in Taiwan………………………………………..346/1 Feb.
36th General Assembly Deliberates
Communion-related Issues……………………….350/2 Dec.
2007 Missional Planning Conference
Held in Tokyo………………………………………….348/1 June

First Christian Education Seminar
Held in Kochi………………………………………….348/3 June
Kyodan Women’s Federation Hosts
Japan-Germany “Youth Mission 2008″……..349/6 Oct.
Nine-day PCT-Kyodan “Youth Mission
2008″ Held in Japan…………………………………349/6 Oct.

ECUMENICAL AND INTERCHURCH RELATIONS
11th Kyodan-PCT Conference
Held in Taiwan…………………………………………346/1 Feb.
Catholic-Protestant Fellowship
Addresses Educational Issues……………………348/4 June
Christian Events Marking the Year of
Japanese-Brazilian Exchange”………………….350/6 Dec.
Details of the Visit to Retired Missionaries…….349/3 Oct.

From Taiwan to Hokkaido:

A Missionary’s Story………………………………..346/2 Feb.
Japan Representatives Visit
Retired Missionaries in the USA………………349/2 Oct.
Japanese Pastor in Ministry
with Korean Congregation……………………….347/5 Apr.
Kyodan Representatives to Visit
Retired Missionaries………………………………..347/2 Apr.
Kyodan Women’s Federation Hosts
Japan-Germany “Youth Mission 2008″…….349/6 Oct.
Memorial Fund Aids Filipino Students………….346/4 Feb.
Nine-day PCT-Kyodan “Youth Mission
2008″ Held in Japan…………………………………349/6 Oct.
Sign of Growing Relationship Between
Japanese and Korean Churches…………………349/1 Oct.

EVANGELISM & MISSION; HISTORY & CULTURE
2007 Missional Planning Conference
Held in Tokyo………………………………………….348/1 June
Catholic-Protestant Fellowship
Addresses Educational Issues……………………348/4 June
Christian Composer Leaves Legacy of
“Tomi-songs”………………………………………….350/5 Dec.
Christian Events Marking the Year of
Japanese-Brazilian Exchange”…………………350/6 Dec.
Christmas in Japan………………………………………350/1 Dec.
Churches Damaged by Chuetsu
Earthquake Celebrate Reconstruction……….348/2 June
Church’s Monthly Birthday Party
Celebrates God’s Gift of Life……………………348/3 June
Coffee Shop Evangelism Enhances
Local Churches’ Ministries……………………….350/7 Dec.
Commemorative Events for the 150th
Year of Evangelism in Japan…………………….350/4 Dec.
Day that Sado Became Iona…………………………347/4 Apr.
Desire to Teach Faith to Children
Inspires Japanese Hymnist……………………….349/8 Oct.
Japanese Hymns Now Appearing
in English Hymnals………………………………….349/7 Oct.

Japanese Pastor in Ministry
with Korean Congregation……………………….347/5 Apr.
JOCS Articles Feature Overseas Workers………346/3 Feb.
Kyodan Newsletter: Identifying Its
Purpose and Function……………………………….347/7 Apr.
Memorial Fund Aids Filipino Students…………..346/4 Feb.
Sign of Growing Relationship Between
Japanese and Korean Churches…………………349/1 Oct.

KYODAN
11th Kyodan-PCT Conference
Held in Taiwan…………………………………………346/1 Feb.
2007 Missional Planning Conference
Held in Tokyo………………………………………….348/1 June
Commemorative Events for the 150th
Year of Evangelism in Japan…………………….350/4 Dec.
First Christian Education Seminar
Held in Kochi………………………………………….348/3 June
General Secretary’s Diary……………………………..346/8 Feb.
General Secretary’s Diary……………………………..347/8 Apr.
General Secretary’s Diary……………………………..348/8 June
General Secretary’s Diary……………………………..350/8 Dec.
Kyodan Newsletter: Identifying Its
Purpose and Function……………………………….347/7 Apr.
Kyodan Representatives to Visit
Retired Missionaries…………………………………347/2 Apr.
Kyodan Women’s Federation Hosts
Japan-Germany “Youth Mission 2008″……..349/6 Oct.
Nine-day PCT-Kyodan “Youth Mission
2008″ Held in Japan…………………………………349/6 Oct.
Sign of Growing Relationship Between
Japanese and Korean Churches…………………349/1 Oct.

Kyodan: Executive Council & General Assembly
36th General Assembly Deliberates
Communion-related Issues……………………….350/2 Dec.
Executive Council Deliberates
Internal Church Issues………………………………347/1 Apr.
Executive Council Votes to Admonish
Pastor, Abolish Mission Commission………..349/2 Dec.

Kyodan: Districts & Subdistricts
Hokkai & Hyogo: Coffee Shop Evangelism
Enhances Local Churches’ Ministries……….350/7 Dec.
Kanto: Churches D
amaged by Chuetsu
Earth
quake Celebrate Reconstruction……….348/2 June
Kanto: Church’s Monthly Birthday Party
Celebrates God’s Gift of Life……………………348/3 June
Kanto: Day Sado Became Iona…………………….347/4 Apr.
Nishi Chugoku: Japanese Pastor in
Ministry with Korean Congregation………….347/5 Apr.
Ou: Morioka Holds Joint Church School
Apple-picking………………………………………….347/6 Apr.
Shikoku: First Christian Education Seminar
Held in Kochi………………………………………….348/3 June
Tokai: Local Church Program Features Haiku,
Sign Language & Finger Braille Classes…..348/7 June

Tokyo: Izu Island Churches Experience
Support Amidst Natural Disasters……………..347/3 Apr.
West Tokyo: West Tokyo District
Holds Church Council Seminar…………………347/6 Apr.

Kyodan: Mission Personnel & Events
Career Missionaries Retire……………………………348/7 June
Commemorative Events for the 150th
Year of Evangelism in Japan…………………….350/4 Dec.
Details of the Visit to Retired Missionaries…….349/3 Oct.

From Taiwan to Hokkaido:

A Missionary’s Story……………………………….346/2 Feb.
Japan Representatives Visit
Retired Missionaries in the USA………………349/2 Oct.
Kyodan Representatives to Visit
Retired Missionaries………………………………..347/2 Apr.
Reflection on Our Years in Japan………………….348/6 June

Kyodan: Other Featured People
Christian Composer Leaves Legacy of
“Tomi-songs”………………………………………….350/5 Dec.
Desire to Teach Faith to Children
Inspires Japanese Hymnist……………………….349/8 Oct.
Japanese Pastor in Ministry
with Korean Congregation……………………….347/5 Apr.
Marina and a Thousand Picture Books………….346/7 Feb.

SOCIAL AND SOCIOPOLITICAL CONCERNS
Catholic-Protestant Fellowship
Addresses Educational Issues…………………..348/4 June
Christian Events Marking the Year of
Japanese-Brazilian Exchange”………………….350/6 Dec.
JOCS Articles Feature Overseas Workers………346/3 Feb.
Memorial Fund Aids Filipino Students………….346/4 Feb.
Sign of Growing Relationship Between
Japanese and Korean Churches………………..349/1 Oct.

"Promotion Committee for the Movement to Support Retired Ministers"

The Promotion Committee for the Movement to Support Retired Ministers’
100-yen-offering campaign has continued for 35 years, with the prayer
that in some small way it might provide financial support for retired
pastors and their families who have given their lives in ministry.
Beginning in one church in Hokkaido in 1973, it became a movement of the
entire Hokkai District in 1976. Then, at the 20th Kyodan General
Assembly in November 1978, it was adopted as a movement of the entire
Kyodan. The national 100-yen-offering campaign sponsored by the
Promotion Committee for the Movement to Support Retired Ministers has
continued now for 30 years. I want to thank every church and preaching
point throughout Japan that has supported this movement.

The history of this movement is very personal to me. I have had
responsibility in this movement since October 1975, and I have now been
involved for 33 years. An article in Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend)
that year prompted me to begin giving, and in April 1976 I sent the
first combined total of my offerings since the previous October. At that
time, this offering was being sent to the Promotion Committee for the
Movement to Support Retired Ministers. I was still immature, in my 30s
then, but the financial difficulties of retiring pastors was such that I
felt a keen desire to help in any way I could through prayer and giving.
When I had an opportunity, I encouraged others to participate in giving.
Since , this movement has been promoted by the Kyodan for 30 years, and
I give thanks that each year the number of participating churches has
increased. In 2007, 860 churches participated.
When the national movement started 30 years ago, a pension plan was
already in place, which had begun in 1964. However, pastors and families
who had retired before 1964 were not covered by that plan. These clergy
families received only a very small amount from shaonkin (“thank
offerings” or “gratitude giving”). Although the initial purpose of the
Promotion Committee for the Movement to Support Retired Ministers was to
support the funding of shaonkin, it’s purpose today is to support and
maintain the Kyodan Ministerial Pension Fund begun in 1964.

These pension funds are the main financial support for aging ministerial
retirees. Not only do they support retirees, the provision of pension
funds enables current pastors to give themselves completely to their
ministries without worrying about financial support following
retirement. For these purposes, I feel that it is extremely important
for every church and preaching point across the nation to continue its
support of the Promotion Committee for the Movement to Support Retired
Ministers’ 100-yen-offering and strongly urge continued participation
and support in this movement. Thank you. (Tr. JS)

─Okuno Kaneko, member
Zeze Church, Kyoto District
Shinpo (The Kyodan Times

  • 共に仕えるためにPDF

    リフォユース最新情報はこちら

    International Youth Conference in Kyoto

    公募・公告

    日本基督教団年鑑2018年版

    日本基督教団 伝道推進室

    東日本大震災救援対策本部ニュース

    教団新報 archive

    教日本基督教団 文書・資料集 申請書等ダウンロードコーナー

    月間 こころの友