The Mission Schools Council is the organization consisting of Christian schools that had historically received missionaries from England and from churches in North America that were members of the former Japan-North American Commission on Cooperative Mission (JNAC). Formerly termed the CoC-related Schools Council (CoC: Council of Cooperation), the MCS was renamed in 2007 when the CoC was dissolved.
Only one-third of the 40 schools affiliated with the Missions Schools Council currently have missionaries. The remaining two-thirds, despite the fact that they have no missionaries, continue to support the Mission Schools Council. Steering Committee Chairperson, Kogure Shuya, chancelor of Meiji Gakuin University, has led discussion many times within the Steering Committee about the desire expressed by some schools to withdraw from the council. In some way, the committee wants to help schools without missionaries also to sense the merit of council participation.
At last year’s Steering Committee meeting, committee member David Reedy of Aoyama Gakuin University made a proposal to solicit communication from schools without missionaries. This was the beginning of the current project of arranging for a missionary to visit and hold worship services in schools where no missionaries are presently assigned. The MCS is the sponsor, but the actual coordination has been carried out by Kyodan staff members. The MCS Steering Committee selected the target schools, and after these schools agreed and set the dates for the visitation, Kyodan office staff searched for missionaries willing to give a message.
Actual School Sites for the 2016-2017 School Year:
Keiwa Gakuen High School: Missionary In-Hye Chang
Niijima Gakuen Senior High School:
Missionary David Reedy
Osaka Jogakuin Junior and Senior High School, University,
College: Missionary Martha Mensendieck
Yamanashi Eiwa Junior High School:
Missionary Mike Sherrill
Towanomori Sanai High School:
Missionary Divan Suqluman
Toyo Eiwa Jogakuin Junior High School and
Senior High School: Missionary Ruth Wahrer
J. F. Oberlin Senior High School:
Missionary Devora Umipig-Julian
Seikyo Gakuen High School: Missionary Kim Jong-Hyun
(Korean Christian Church in Japan)
Fukuoka Jo Gakuin Junior and Senior High School:
Missionary Sheila Norris
Among the missionaries listed above, some stayed in a school dormitory and interacted with the students, and some taught a class following their message. These encounters with missionaries gave birth to a response, and the students absorbed their messages. A sense of joy was shared by the missionaries who went and the students who heard the messages. There was a friendly call from many schools saying, “Please come again!” A staff person from the Kyodan Office also went with the missionary going to each school.
Nearly all the schools without missionaries have had no missionaries for over ten years. So naturally, there has been a break in the connection between the schools without missionaries and the Kyodan Office. However, through the accompaniment of the person from the Kyodan Office this time, a face-to-face relationship was restored. Some of the schools that were visited have indicated a desire for new missionaries to be sent to them.
Through the creation and restoration of trust relationships, the mission of our Lord Jesus Christ will move ahead!
—Takada Teruki, staff Kyodan Commission on Ecumenical Ministries
日本基督教団事務局世界宣教部 職員 高田輝樹