【October 2015 No.384】Messege From the General Secretary: Nakamura Church’s New Church Building

Messege From the General Secretary: Nakamura Church’s New Church Building

 

On June 23 I attended the dedication of Nakamura Church’s new church building in Tohoku District’s Southern Miyagi Subdistrict. This was one of the 16 congregations in Tohoku District that received funding for the rebuilding of churches and parsonages damaged by the March 11, 2011 earthquake and tsunami. As the last to be completed, it was the final dedication service for these rebuilt facilities. To get there, we took a train on the Joban Line through Sendai to Watari Station. At that point, due to damage to the line by the disaster, passengers must transfer to a bus that runs along National Highway #6 toward the town of Soma.

 

 

As we neared the town, we saw a sign stating, “This is the point that the waters of the tsunami reached on March 11, 2011.” The highway was lined with large plastic containers used to store soil contaminated with radioactivity. These bags were colored green to blend in with the natural colors of the grass and trees. Numerous dump trucks, with signs saying “Reconstruction Project,” passed by on the highway, so it was rather disheartening to see how little has changed over the course of four years. Soma is a very old castle town, and while it is somewhat rundown, things seemed rather settled.

 

 

The townspeople told me about those who had perished on the day of the disaster. When Pastor Yoshida Kitaro established this congregation 129 years ago, his aim was to evangelize the coastline to the south of Sendai City. Through the faith and perseverance of these people, even in the midst of this disaster, the congregation has recovered remarkably. The day of the dedication service was dark and rainy, so the light shining out from the church was like a beacon of light to the town. Pastor Ikuno Yasuhiro and the congregation welcomed members of the community and representatives of Tohoku District to share in their joy at this ceremony. Although they still face the challenge of repaying loans, they know that with the help of the Lord they will continue to go forward. (Tr. AKO)

 

—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary

 

総幹事室より

去る6月23日、東北教区相双・宮城南地区にある中村教会の献堂式に出席した。ここ は東日本大震災会堂牧師館支援金支給教会で東北教区16教会の一つ。教区最後の復興献堂式だった。この日仙台回りで常磐線がつ ながる亘理(わたり)駅まで行き、そこから国道六号線に沿う代行バスに乗り、相馬の町へ向かった。町に近づくにつれ、「ここは 3.11の大津波で浸水 した地点」とあの日の様子を示す看板が立ち、緑のシ-トを被せて周囲の木々や田畑の風景にマッチさせてはいるが、その下にフレコンバック (放射能汚染土をいれたビニ-ル袋)が道路わきに積み重ねられ、行き交う「防災林復興工事」等標識を出す大型ダンプの群れを見るにつけ、 四年前のあの時から変わるものは何も無いことが胸に迫り、緊張が増した。相馬(そうま)は古い城下町。ややさびれたとは言え、落ちついた たたずまいがある。あの時ここでも何人かの人々が命を落としたと町の人が話してくれた。目指す中村教会は、当時仙台から太平洋沿岸を伝道 し教会を設立させた吉田亀太郎(よしだきたろう)牧師の旧長老教会。来年創立130年を迎える。復興の教会は、雨もよい町の中で見事に光を放っていた。あ の厳しい震災の中から、教会の信仰の証しによって見事に立ち上げられた姿である。生野碩保(いくのやすひろ)牧師も信徒の方々も参集した 大勢の教区や地域の関係者に喜びを表し、大手を広げて迎えて下さった。教会の返済の労苦はこれからだが、それも主のお助けによってかなえ られるだろう。(長崎哲夫)

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