Germany and Switzerland Visitation Diary

by Kyodan Vice-moderator Ito Mizuo

From May 7 through 15, I went with Executive Secretary Kato Makoto to visit some churches in Germany and Switzerland. The Herrnhuter Brudergemeine (Moravian Church) was our first official visit. It takes 1.5 hours to travel by car from Dresden Airport to Brudergemeine, a town in what was formerly East Germany, near the border of the Czech Republic and Poland. Kyodan missionary Saito Atsushi, pastor of the Cologne-Bonn Japanese Church, was our driver.


We went to Herrnhuter Brudergemeine because the church had donated six million yen to the Kyodan’s Great East Japan Disaster Relief Fund. We expressed our gratitude and gave them information about the international conference the Kyodan will host in March 2014. We were shown the process of drawing lots from a crystal bowl to determine the scripture readings to be used in the church’s publication, the Losungen (Daily Watchwords.) The visit made a deep impression on us. From Herrnhut we went by car to Berlin and visited there with Kyodan missionary Akiba Mutsuko. The next day, once again by car, we made a study tour of the Wittenburg churches, staying one night in Brunswick.


The following day, we visited the main office of the  Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland (Evangelical Church in Germany) in Hannover and met with Regional Secretary for Ecumenical  Relations and Ministries Abroad Paul Oppenheim. The topic of conversation was mainly the possibility of establishing a mission covenant between the EKD and the Kyodan. Oppenheim, who will be retiring this summer, took an active interest in the negotiations and wants his successor to continue with this. I informed him that the Kyodan also is positive about this negotiation and, in addition, asked him to participate in the international conference on nuclear issues to be sponsored by the Kyodan in March 2014 on the theme “Resisting the Myth of the Safety of Nuclear Energy-The Fundamental Question Posed by Fukushima.”


From Hannover we boarded a train and went to Cologne. In Cologne, we visited missionaries Saito Atsushi and Akiko at Cologne-Bonn Japanese Church, and on May 12 we worshipped together with the people there.


On May 13, we went by train to Bern, Switzerland, visiting the main office of the Schweitzer Evangelishcer Kirchenbund (Federation of Swiss Protestant Churches). The SEK is in mission covenant relationship with the Kyodan. We met with Executive Officer of Church Relations Serge Fornerod, to learn about the situation of the SEK and matters under that umbrella regarding Mission 21. The SEK, the three Korean Churches, and the Kyodan have held a three-nation conference once every four years called the “Trilateral Conference.” The next one is to be held in March 2014 in Japan. We will gather together for an international conference on nuclear energy issues, so we affirmed our intent to cooperate in working toward this. That day we returned to Basel, and the next day we started our homeward journey via Munich. (Tr. RT)


「ドイツ・スイス訪問記」 伊藤瑞男




なぜヘルンフートかというと、同兄弟団が我が教団の東日本大震災救援募金に、600万円の献金をしてくださったためである。お礼を述べ、来年3月教団が行う国際会議の案内をし、兄弟団が発行している「日々の聖句」(ローズンゲン)の 聖句決定のくじ引きの作業を見せていただいた。印象深い訪問 であった。

ヘルンフートから車でベルリンへ、ベルリンでは秋 葉睦子教団宣教師を問安。翌日再び車で、ヴィッテンブルグ教会見学、ブラウンシュヴァイクで一泊。

翌日ハノーファーのEKD, Evangelische Kirche in Deutschland, (Evangelical Church in German)(ドイツ福音主義教会)本部を訪問、エキュメニカル担当のPual Oppenheim, Regional Secretary for Ecumenical Relations and Ministries Abroadと 面会した。話題は主にEKDと教団との間で宣教協約を結ぶ可能性のことで、この夏引退するOppenheim氏は、交渉に乗り気で、後継者に引き継いでいきたいと思っておられることが分かった。我々もこの交渉には、積極的であることを伝えた。 また、原発についての国際会議への参加をお願いした。


13日は、ケルンから列車でスイスのベルンにあるSEK,Schweitzer Evangelishcer Kirchenbund(Federation of Swiss Protestant Chruches)(スイス福音主義教会連合)の本部を訪れた。SEKは教団と宣教協約の関係にある。エキュメニカル関係担当主事のSerge Fornerod, Executive Officer for Church Relations 氏 と会い、SEKの事情、その傘下のミッション21などについて情報を交わした。SEKと、韓国3教会と教団は、4年に一度「3国間協議会」を 行ってきた。それが次回は日本で行われることになっている。この協議会を、来年3月の、原発についての国際会議に合流させることになったので、共に協力してこれに当たることを確認した。


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