The Executive Council of the 40th General Assembly Period (2016-18) held its second meeting, July 10–11, at the Kyodan headquarters with all 30 members present. First, Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo gave the report of official observers who had attended the various annual district assemblies. The continuing decline in the overall statistical strength of the Kyodan is a concern that he intends to raise in the two upcoming meetings of district moderators during this general assembly period.
Next, Kyushu District Moderator Umesaki Koji reported that flooding in northern Kyushu occurred with the torrential rains of July 5. He stated that while the Asakura area of Fukuoka Prefecture and the Hita area of Oita Prefecture experienced severe damage, there was no significant damage to the churches other than at Kusu Church’s daycare facility.
In his report, Acting General Secretary Dohke Norikazu announced that Shuza Church in Osaka will withdraw from the Kyodan at the end of March 2018. Following discussion concerning that, it was approved. Dohke also reported that Financial Affairs Secretary Kera Yuji finished his term of service last March and that Iijima Makoto, Secretary in Charge of East Japan Disaster Relief Projects Planning Headquarters, would be stepping down in August.
Takahashi Jun and Tanaka Kaoru, committee chair and secretary of the committee on support for rebuilding churches damaged by the April 2016 earthquake in Kyushu, used slides to explain the situation in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures.. Of the 15 churches damaged in the quake, two need to be rebuilt completely: Beppu Furocho Church and Yufuin Church. Demolition of the latter has already been accomplished Sugahara Tsutomu, chair of the Council for Reviewing the System of Clergy Development, reported that while the Clergy Summer Retreat sponsored by the Office of Evangelism Promotion could be considered as applicable to the clergy development system, training courses for clergy at 10 years and 20 years of service should also be implemented. He also reported that 511 people attended the 500th Anniversary Celebration of the Protestant Reformation held June 22 at Fujimicho Church.
The second day began with deliberation on financial matters. Commission on Finance Chair Aizawa Toyoshige reported that while Secretary of Financial Affairs Kera had stepped down at the end of March, his replacement had become ill and was unable to take over from April as planned. So it has been arranged for a licensed tax accountant to serve as a financial advisor for a fee of 100,000 yen per month. Following approval of the first and second revised budgets, the financial statement of income and expenditures for fiscal year 2016 was discussed and approved.
The session that afternoon was extended by 30 minutes to finish work on the “basic policies on the promotion of evangelism in the Kyodan” proposed by the moderator. These were discussed and enacted with the statement, “Our goal is to restore the strength and vitality of evangelism in the Kyodan so that the Kyodan can faithfully obey the Great Commission of our Lord, and in order to do that, we establish these basic policies on the promotion of evangelism in the Kyodan.” The intention is to make these proposals concrete by promoting evangelism through the “prayer movement” (praying together), the “laity movement” (evangelizing together), and the “offering movement” (giving together). (Tr. TB)
—Kato Makoto, executive secretary