【April 2016 No.387】Message from the General Secretary: Prayers to Cherish, Strengthen, and Support Each Other

The Kyodan Administrative Office, the Board of Publications, and the Board of Pensions start each day together with worship. The worship service begins by reading the scripture passage in “Higoto no Kate” (Daily Bread), a column written in Shinto no Tomo (Believers’ Friend). Then, the leader of the day prays about the daily prayer focus of the local churches. The leader of the day also remembers in prayer the Buraku Liberation Center as well as each facility in the disaster areas. After each day’s worship service, I make it a practice to write a “prayer letter” to each church that is remembered in prayer.

 

However, I have never heard such a prayer request that sinks so deeply into my mind with its tangible weight as today’s especially urgent Kyodan prayer focus: Not only the pastors and administrative board members but also all the church members of each and every church should cherish each other, strengthening the unity of the fellowship and, by supporting each other as brothers and sisters in the Lord, should try to overcome any predicament the church finds itself in. I was very impressed with this.

 

Recently, a member of a certain church was worried about the interim pastor of the church and prayed, “The pastor commutes from so far away, so please keep him from having a traffic accident.” In many of the Kyodan districts, there are churches with no pastor, pastors who are serving more than one church, and churches with an interim pastor. As this problem is becoming more noticeable, there are a multitude of churches that have to use wisdom and imagination just to ensure the continuation of worship services and to enrich the church. Certainly the era is over in which a single church competes against others over membership statistics.

 

Although one’s local church may be composed of a small number of believers, one can work together with neighboring churches to prepare to evangelize an entire region. Together, with a strong will, we all can unite to form a bold organization in order to bring to fruition the positive results of our solidarity. We must be careful to take into consideration the realities of each other’s churches and to manage activities carefully. Rich joy will come when the local churches cooperate with one another. The church is in a struggle, and the goal is to ensure that worship can continue. (Tr. KT)

 

—Nagasaki Tetsuo, general secretary

 

総幹事室より

教団事務局・出版局・年金局の一日は、礼拝から始まる。礼拝は、信徒の友「日毎の糧」の聖書を読み、その日祈る教会・伝道 所の課題と共に解放センタ-や被災地各センタ-をも覚えて司会者が祈る。礼拝と相まって、わたしは当該教会宛「祈りのたより」を書い て送るのを常とするが、特に、今日の教団各教会ほど祈りの課題の切なること、願いの具体的な重みを身にしみて知らされることはない。

各教会とも、牧師・役員はじめ信徒一人一人が互いを大切に思い合い、同志的結束の強化と主にある兄弟姉妹の支え合いをもっ て教会の苦境を乗り越えようとしているかには目を見張るものがある。

最近ある教会の信徒が代務の牧師を心配して、「先生が遠くから来られるので交通事故に遭われませんように」との祈りがあっ た。多くの教区に無牧、兼牧、代務の教会が目立つ中、礼拝の確保と教会の充実のために知恵と工夫をこらす群れがある。確かに一教会の 教勢を競う時代は終わっている。

だが、自らの教会自体が少数の信徒によって成るにも拘らず、近隣の教会との共同で地域伝道のために備え、その連帯の実を結 実させようと強い意志を持って果敢な体制を組む。此処でも互いの教 会の現実への配慮や運営には心を使い合う。地域教会の共働の豊かな喜 びも沸き上がるだろう。教会の戦いの目標は、「礼拝の確保」にあるのだ。長崎哲夫総幹事

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