The 40th Biennial Kyodan General Assembly was held at the Hotel Metropolitan in Ikebukuro, Tokyo, Oct. 25-27. Of the 400 delegates minus the 10 from the Okinawa District who failed to register for the assembly, 366 delegates were registered as present at the beginning of the assembly. As this represented a quorum, the assembly began as scheduled. However, the absence of the Okinawa District delegates continued to be a sore point, as Okinawa District has elected to keep its distance from the Kyodan.
There were 32 mandatory items on the agenda along with 19 non-mandatory items. The first item was that of recognizing the deliberation schedule, and Moderator Ishibashi made several proposals on how to deal with a number of the agenda items. For instance, since Article 12 of the constitution mandates that any proposed constitutional revisions be made public at least three months prior to the General Assembly, agenda item 42 on the revision of Article 9 and related bylaws could not officially be brought forth—a situation for which he offered an apology. However, the proposer of the revision, Kyushu District Moderator Umesaki Koji, stated that since this was a provision that had been passed by the Kyushu District Annual Assembly, not dealing with it at all would leave matters dangling. The agreement after deliberation was to print the proposal in the church newspaper Kyodan Shinpo, and with that provision, the proposal was tabled.
Another issue was the call to establish a place for thorough discussion on the communion service within the Kyodan as well as to rescind the removal of Kitamura Jiro’s ministerial credentials. The Kyodan leadership, however, stated that this proposal could not be carried forward because the final decision had already been rendered in accordance with the rules of discipline. While voices of protest echoed through the hall, the decision to end discussion on this topic was passed. Likewise, the agenda item to restore the 1.2 million yen that had been cut from the Solidarity Fund for Mission in Okinawa was discussed together with the agenda items related to finances, but it was not adopted at this time.
This effort to combine related agenda items at the beginning of the proceedings has only been done in the last few assemblies. As there are over 50 proposals to deal with in three days, such streamlining of the process is vital, and the result was evident in the pace and management of the discussion among various points of view.
The election of the core leadership for the next two-year term was held, and all three members were reelected: Moderator Ishibashi Hideo for his fourth term, Vice-moderator Sasaki Michio for his second term and Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi for his fourth term. This was followed by the election of the other executive council members, with 10 of the 27 members (5 clergy and 5 laypersons) being replaced. Thus, several members who have worked diligently for the restoration of the Kyodan to normalcy have now passed the baton to a new generation. They will be working with the core leadership to deal with the numerous issues that challenge the Kyodan as it faces an important crossroad—most importantly in the area of finances and the necessary restructuring that accompany this.
One task not accomplished at this assembly was that of naming a replacement for General Secretary Nagasaki Tetsuo, who has resigned from his post. For the time being, General Affairs Secretary Dohke Norikazu will serve as acting general secretary, but hopefully a new person can be found to fill this important post soon. The new head of the Board of Publications, Shindo Atsushi, is a 30-year veteran of the Board of Publications’ staff, and this is the first time that a staff member has been elected to that position. He will carry out the important function of publication evangelism.
It is not an exaggeration to say that the Kyodan has entered an era of changed emphasis, one that stresses cooperative evangelism. My prayer is that this 2016 Kyodan General Assembly Period will be one in which we step out in faith, believing in the promise of II Cor. 12:10, "For when we are weak (for Christ's sake), we are strong." (Tr. TB)
—Dohke Norikazu, executive secretary of general affairs
Acting General Secretary
日本基督教団 総幹事事務取扱 どうけ道家のりかず紀一
１期２年の任期を終えた三役（議長 副議長 書記）の選挙が行われ、いしばし石橋ひで秀お雄、ささき佐々木み