It has been a year now since the present 40th General Assembly period began. Even though a general secretary was not selected at that time, I give thanks to God that the work of the Kyodan has proceeded without any major issues during that time. The 3rd Executive Council meeting of this period was held Oct. 16-17. The most notable action was the long-delayed selection of a new general secretary. Rev. Akiyama Toru, chair of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries and pastor of Ageo Godo Church in the Kanto District, was selected by unanimous vote and will begin his term on April 1, 2018.
As customary at the Executive Council’s fall meeting the year after the general assembly, reports were received from the following Kyodan commissions and committees.
Commission on Mission (Committee on Evangelism, Committee on Education, Committee on Social Concerns)
Commission on Ministry,
Commission on Finance
Commission on Faith and Order
Commission on Ecumenical Ministries
Commission on Ministerial Qualifications
The amount of time alloted to each report was limited, but I endeavored to get a clear understanding of the mission work and situation of the Kyodan as a whole through carefully listening to these reports of the issues each commission and committee is working through at the one-year mark of the present two-year general assembly period and what its vision is for the future.
There are also two subcommittees under the Commission on Mission.
1. The Subcommittee on Dealing with Handicapping Conditions has been in operation for several general assembly periods, endeavoring to develop ways that people with various handicapping conditions can lead fulfilling church lives.
2. The Organizational Committee for the Establishment of an Office for the Support of Pastors and their Families was just established at last year’s general assembly, and is preparing to set up an office to help pastors and their families who are facing difficult issues of one sort or another.
Prior to the report of the Task Force of Evangelism Promotion, which is under the Committee on Evangelism, Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo, who heads that office, gave a report on “Specialized Activities in Evangelism.” The Research Institute on the Mission of the Church, the only such independent committee within the Kyodan, reports on its research into all aspects of the mission of the Kyodan. During this period, it is focusing on the themes of “churches and church-related institutions” and “youth evangelism.”
The 2018 budget was also on the agenda for this meeting. The operations of the Kyodan as a whole is supported by the apportionments of the 17 districts. Due to the financial situations the districts face, the total apportionments were reduced by 1.34% to 248,523,000 yen. This figure, then, is divided up into the budgets for the various committees and offices, as well as the budget for the general assembly. That leaves a rather limited amount as the difference between expenditures and income of 2,303,000 yen to apply to the contingency fund.
Reports were also made on the two projects instituted at the 39th General Assembly and continued into the present 40th General Assembly Period, namely the Committee on Aid for Reconstruction of Churches Damaged in the Kumamoto Oita Earthquake and the Committee on the 500th Anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. Concern was expressed, however, about the rather weak fund-raising that has been accomplished so far for these projects.
—Acting General Secretary Dohke Norikazu, Executive Secretary of General Affairs
日 本基督教団第40総 会期は早くも一年を終えようとしています。
39総 会期から40総 会期にかけて設けられている「熊本・