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

10th WCC Assembly Held in Korea in 2013


Representatives of Christian denominations from around the world gathered for ten days, Oct. 30-Nov. 8, 2013 at the BEXCO event site in Busan, Korea for the 10th Assembly of the World Council of Churches. The theme was “God of Life, Lead Us to Justice and Peace.”


The assembly was held in a grand venue in Busan, which is at the center of a region that has seen remarkable development. The hall was filled with the faces, multicolored dresses, and song and dance performances of delegates from Africa, Asia, the Caribbean, Europe, South America, the Middle East, North America, and the Pacific. They presented quite a different image of the church from that of the past, which was centered on the European and American Protestant denominations. Notably, because this was the first assembly to be held in East Asia, the effort put into hosting it by the nation of Korea and the Korean churches was quite evident. However, Korea's evangelical churches opposed holding the assembly in the Republic of Korea, and as many as 10,000 people convened a counter-gathering before the opening of the WCC assembly.


In attendance from the Kyodan were Vice-moderator Ito Mizuo as an official delegate, Executive Secretary Kato Makoto as an adviser, and myself as an official observer. Other official delegates from Japan were Rev. Nishihara Renta of the Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan, Rev. Heo Baekki of the Korean Christian Church in Japan, and a priest of the Orthodox Church in Japan. In addition, other Japanese participants included members of Tohoku HELP (an ecumenical endeavor in which the Kyodan participates) and members of various ecumenical committees.


It goes without saying that the WCC is an organization that aspires to realize the visible oneness of the promise and purpose of the Word expressed in Ephesians 1:10: “. . . to gather up all things in him, things in heaven and things on earth.” Prior to the 10th assembly, the WCC Commission on World Mission and Evangelism (CWME) presented an ecumenical mission statement entitled “Together Towards Life: Mission and Evangelism in Changing Landscapes.” Discussions were held on each theme in the statement.


The first statement was, “We believe in the Triune God who is the creator, redeemer and sustainer of all life. God created the whole oikoumene in God’s image and constantly works in the world to affirm and safeguard life. We believe in Jesus Christ, the Life of the world, the incarnation of God’s love for the world (John 3:16). Affirming life in all its fullness is Jesus Christ’s ultimate concern and mission (John 10:10). We believe in God, the Holy Spirit, the Life-giver, who sustains and empowers life and renews the whole creation (Genesis 2:7; John 3:8). A denial of life is a rejection of the God of life. God invites us into the life-giving mission of the Triune God and empowers us to bear witness to the vision of abundant life for all in the new heaven and earth. How and where do we discern God’s life-giving work that enables us to participate in God’s mission today?”


Mission that is led by the Spirit is not a movement taking place from the center to the periphery or from the privileged to the marginalized of society. It is a shift of the mission concept from “mission to the margins” to “mission from the margins,” arising from the situation of the poor, the oppressed, and the marginalized who now must be heard. The major theological progress that came out of this assembly was its emphasis on the point that mission is not furthered through empathy based on a benevolent spirit and humanism but through the Triune God, in particular through the activity of the Holy Spirit.


Concern over the Great East Japan Earthquake and the radioactive contamination in Fukushima is high among churches in the world, and in advance of a Kyodan-sponsored international conference to be held from March 11-14, 2014 at Tohoku Gakuin in Sendai, we approached the WCC to release a statement on the issue, and its adoption was referred to the central committee.


Each morning at the general assembly, representatives from Islam, Judaism, Palestinian churches, the evangelical alliance, and Roman Catholic cardinals greeted the delegates. Instead of merely extending words of courtesy, each made a passionate appeal for world unity through true justice and peace. Today, even in the midst of the debate over a decline in ecumenism, it was confirmed that the WCC occupies a prominent position in the promotion of the mission and testimony of contemporary Christians all over the world. Our Kyodan aspires to be “a Kyodan with a passion for mission” and looks ahead to the reality, task, and direction of mission that shoulders the responsibility for the Christian church in the world. I hope that we will bear the burden of this task with a cooperative spirit as one member of the body of Christ.

(Tr. DB)

—Akiyama Toru, pastor of Ageo Godo Church

Moderator, Kanto District

Chair, Kyodan Commission on Ecumenical Ministries


第10回WCC総会が10月30日(水)~11月8日(金)韓国釜山のイベント会場BEXCOで開かれ、「命の神よ、正義と平和へと導いてください」をテーマに、世界のキリスト教界各派の代表が集ま り、10日間の協議のときを持った。

発展の目覚しい釜山の開発地域の中核にある壮大な会場を、アフリカ、アジア、カリブ海、ヨーロッパ、南 米、中東、北米、太平洋地域の各国の顔、色とりどりの服装が埋め尽くし、会議の中にも歌や踊りのパフォーマンスも随所にあり、欧米の プロテスタント各派の教会中心というかつてのイメージではない。とりわけ、東アジアで開かれるはじめての総会とあって、韓国の国家と 教会の力の入れようは大変なものだったが、韓国の福音派の人々はWCC総会の開催に反対し、開会の前には1万人に及ぶ反対集会が行われたという。

教団からは伊藤瑞男副議長Kyodan vice-moderator Ito Mizuoが議席を持ち、加藤誠幹事executive secretary Kato Makotoがアドバイザー、筆者がオフィシャル・オブザーバーの立場で参加。そのほか日本からは聖公会の西原廉太司 祭、在日大韓教会(The Korean Christian Church in Japan)の許伯基(Heo Baekki)牧師、ハリストス正教会の司祭が議員資格をもち、他にも東北ヘルプTouhoku HELP(A Sendai Christian Alliance Disaster Relief Network-an ecumenical endeavor in which the Kyodan participants)から、また、エキュメニカル委員会など からの参加者もあった。

WCCは、言うまでもなく、「天にあるものも地にあるものも、キリストのもとに一つにまとめられる」(エフェソ1:10)のみ言葉の約束と目標の実現に向かって目に見える一致を目指す集まりである。今回の総会に先立ってWCCの信仰職制委員会より「共に命に向かって、変わりゆく状況の中での宣教」という基本文書が出されており、 これに沿った議論が各テーマの中で展開されていた。ここで特に強調されたのは、宣教は命の創造者、救済者、保持者である三位一体の神 の業であること、命がその充溢した豊かな形においてあることを認めることは、イエス・キリストの究極の関心事でありその、宣教そのも のであること、聖霊は命に力を注ぎ、すべての創造されたものを新しくし、命を破壊するすべての勢力に抵抗し変革する務めが与えられて いる。そのことのために教会は仕え証しする機関であること。聖霊によって導かれる宣教は、権力ある者の中心から周辺に向かう運動では なく、辺境、周辺に追いやられたものから福音の真実の証しがなされるゆえに、貧困、抑圧、辺境からの状況に働くものであるから、そこ から聞かなければならないこと、などである。 宣教を博愛の精神やヒューマニズムの共感において展開されるものではなく、三位一体の神によって展開さ れ、特に聖霊の働きとしてのあるとの強調が今回の大会の大きな神学的進展であった。


毎日朝に行われる全体会ではイスラム教の代表者、ユダヤ教の代表者、パレスティナの教会の代表者、ロー マ・カトリックの枢機卿、福音主義同盟の代表者などの挨拶があり、通り一遍の表敬ではなく、真の正義と平和による世界の一致に対する 熱い願いがのべられた。今日、エキュメニズムの衰退が論じられる中で、それでもWCCが現代世界のキリスト者の宣教と証を推進してゆく中で重要な位置を占めていることを確認させられる。「伝 道に熱く燃える教団」を目指すわが教団は、世界のキリスト教会の全体が担う宣教の現実、課題と方向を見据え、連携しながら、キリスト の体の一つの肢体の務めを担いたい。

秋 山 徹(教団・世界宣教委員会委員長)

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