日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

Higashi Chugoku District Gathering Held as a Spiritual Retreat


Higashi Chugoku District held its 7th District Gathering, Oct. 7-8, 2012, at the Central Education Center, Fraternity Hill, in Okayama City, in the form of a retreat.


Through Jesus’ death on the cross, the sin that had separated humankind from God was taken away so that we might live with God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. However, is our life of faith not hungering and thirsting at the most vital point of our relationship with God? Our confession of faith and baptism are the starting points for us as Christians. As Christians, our journey with Christ begins from there. The God who unceasingly loves us also talks to us and joyfully fellowships with us. However, we are busy and at a loss about what to do and spend little time being with God. We therefore continue on our journey without knowing real joy as Christians. As an entire district, the aim of our plan at this time was to experience jointly the joy of fellowship with God. I think this was the project team’s basic concern in proposing as the title of the retreat “Each Church Becoming Healthy.”


First we had a time of praise and prayer, during which each person had a private devotional time. Following that, we separated into groups and shared together. We did this on both days. In order to become quiet and to focus on the retreat, we did not hold our usual bazaar.


“I really felt that we human beings receive life from God and live because of God.”

“I really had a valuable experience. You could say that I regained myself. It feels like I can finally breathe.”

“It was two days of learning the importance of the Word.”

“I especially appreciated sharing with others from the Fountain of Tranquility,* without words, only shedding tears.”

“I sang hymns with large numbers of people, and in groups we shared and talked, and the time passed quickly, as I was having a good time. I was grateful for the child care.”


At the general meeting, Rev. Hattori Osamu said: “I think that during the time of meditation, those things that were painful became things for which to be grateful. The faith of Joseph can also become ours. He said, “And now, do not be distressed and do not be angry with yourselves for selling me here, because it was to save lives that God sent me ahead of you.” (Genesis 45:5)


Also invited to the gathering were parents and children from eastern Japan who had experienced the March 2011 Great East Japan Disaster and are now living in “Share House Fountain of Tranquility” in the town of Wake, Okayama in western Japan. The seven adults and ten children who attended from there were charged no participation fees. (Tr. RT)

—Nobuto Yoshihide, pastor

WakeChurch, Higashi Chugoku District

____________From Higashi Chugoku Kyoku News No.148

*“Share House Fountain of Tranquility” is a housing facility for families affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami and the resultant nuclear accident. It is operated jointly by a volunteer group called “Oidense Okayama” (Come toOkayama) and the Kyodan’sWakeChurchto serve people from the disaster zone. It is a large, two-story structure designed to house up to four families for periods of one to three months.


*第7**回 東中国教区の集い*

*日 時:2011**年10**月7**日 (日)~8**日(月)*

*会 場:友愛の丘*


*テー マを「リトリート」に決めた理由*

イエス・キリストの十字架によって、人間と神さまとを隔てていた罪は取り除かれた。それは、わたしたちが父・子・聖霊の神さま と共に生きていくためである。しかし、わたしたちの信仰生活は、神さまとの交わりという最も大切な点で飢え渇いているのではないだろ うか。信仰告白と洗礼は、キリスト者としての出発点である。そしてそこから主と共なるキリスト者としての旅が始まるのである。わたし たちを愛してやまない神さまは、わたしたちと語り、わたしたちと交わることを喜んでくださる。しかし、わたしたちは忙しく、またその すべを知らず、主の御前に留まることが少ない。それではキリスト者としての本当の喜びを知らないまま旅を続けることになる。教区全体 で、神さまと交わる喜びを共有したいというのが今回の企画のねらいである。これはプロジェクトチームが提案してくださっている「各教 会が元気になる」ための根幹に関わることであると思う。


まず、賛美と祈りの時をもって備え、一人一人が黙想の時を過ごした。その後、少人数のグループに分かれて語り合った。このプロ グラムを一日目と二日目、一回ずつ行った。心を落ち着けてリトリートに集中するため、「教区の集い」名物のバザーは行わなかった。





「大勢の皆さまと賛美したり、グループで分かち合いをして語り合ったりと、楽しい時間はあっという間に過ぎました。託児していた だきありがたかったです。」

全体会の中で服部修牧師が「黙想する中で、苦しかったことも感謝に変わっていくように思う」と言われた。ヨセフの信仰がわたし たちにも与えられるのだ。「しかし、今はわたしをここへ売ったことを悔やんだり、責め合ったりする必要はありません。命を救うため に、神がわたしをあなたたちより先にお遣わしになったのです。」(創世記四十五章五節)

今回は、東日本大震災後、西日本の和気町 (わけちょう)に避難している親子(シェアハウス「やすらぎの泉」)を招待した。参加したのは大人七人、子ども十人で、この方々の参 加費は無料とさせていただいた。


*東日本大震災の被災者や原発事故の影響に不安を抱く母子を対象にした 宿泊施設。被災者支援に取り組むボランティア組織「おいでんせぇ岡山」と日本キリスト教団和気教会(延藤好英牧師)が共同運営。1―3カ月の短期滞在者を対象に、最多で4家族受け入れることができる。木造二階の民家。

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