The first Executive Council meeting of the new Kyodan General Assembly biennium was held Nov. 18-19 at the Japan Evangelical Lutheran’s Tokyo Church, with all 27 members in attendance. Moderator Ishibashi Hideo gave the opening greetings, saying, “Our primary calling during this general assembly period is to be a ‘Kyodan that evangelizes,’ but we must also seek unity in our church through a unity of faith. We must be unified in our evangelistic outreach.”
In his report, General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo stated that Assistant General Secretary for International Disaster Response Jack Amick, of the United Methodist Committee on Relief, had paid a visit to Japan and that through the efforts of UMCOR, more than 100 million yen had been contributed towards the relief efforts of the East Japan earthquake and tsunami disaster. He reported that Amick visited the “Heartful Kamaishi” project and spent time with Kyodan leaders discussing relief efforts around the world.
Nagasaki also reported that a special meeting of the Japan Christian Center’s Maintenance Committee, representing the building’s ten joint owners, was held on Nov. 7 to finalize plans for retrofitting the building to meet earthquake resistance standards and that the Hitotsubusha Vories Architectural Firm had been chosen for the 245 million yen project. However, Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo mentioned that from the standpoint of the Kyodan, finalization of the plans would be decided in a special session of the Executive Council because the costs involved could change as plans move forward into the construction phase.
Moderator Ishibashi also made a logistical proposal on the 2015 funding of grants designed to implement the evangelism program established at the 2014 General Assembly. After discussion, it was decided to set up an Evangelism Funding Subcommittee to screen proposals, and eight persons under the leadership of Vice-moderator Sasaki Michio were chosen for this purpose. They are to make recommendations at the next Executive Council meeting on Feb. 10, with grants to be decided at that time. The Executive Council also ratified a proposal by Moderator Ishibashi to form a task force on ministerial development, based on the report of the committee established at the 2014 General Assembly to study the issue of a system of ministerial development.
Executive Councilman Okamura Hisashi made the following three proposals, all of which were accepted: 1) to establish a preparation committee for the celebration of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will occur in 2017; 2) to establish a committee to study the future structure of the Kyodan; and 3) to monitor and seek proper implementation of the Kyodan’s Confession of Faith in all licensing and ordination ceremonies, which have been delegated by the Kyodan to its districts. (Tr. TB)
—Kato Makoto, executive secretary