日本基督教団 The United Church of Christ in Japan

【October 2018 No.399】From the General Secretary's Desk: Kyodan Executives Attend District Annual Assemblies


Every year during April, May and June, all 17 Kyodan districts hold their annual assemblies. The four executive officers of the Kyodan, including Moderator Ishibashi Hideo, share the task of being present at each district annual assembly, where the one attending gives presentations on the issues facing the Kyodan as a whole, while also listening to the various concerns of each district. As this is the year in which the Kyodan General Assembly will be held, we also took the opportunity to explain the basic points of the topics scheduled for debate: evangelism promotion and structural revision. In accordance with the “Basic Policy of Kyodan Evangelism Promotion,” the structural revision of the Kyodan will be consistent with the three principles of the movement to revivify evangelism throughout the entire Kyodan, namely “Praying together, proclaiming together and offering ourselves together.”

Also, it is our intent to reduce expenses drastically through several measures, including cutting in half the number of delegates to the general assembly and reviewing the operations of the Kyodan headquarters. Likewise, we aim to integrate the mission of evangelism, social action, education, etc. into the Board of Evangelism. The present situation is that churches in general must deal with a dwindling and aging membership, with fewer young people. This is particularly true in rural churches, where many have difficulty supporting a full-time pastor. As the largest Protestant denomination in Japan, the Kyodan is being challenged to strengthen its network of churches, and to that end, the issues of revitalizing evangelism and strengthening mutual support and solidarity are critical. These will all be discussed and debated this October at the Kyodan General Assembly.

Most outstanding at the district annual assemblies I attended were the discussions at the beginnings of the assemblies concerning whether or not the Kyodan Confession of Faith should be recited in the opening worship services and at ordination and licensing ceremonies. There was also some debate about whether a reading of the 1967 “Kyodan Confession of Responsibility for Actions During World War II” and the district’s basic policies should be included.

I was also reminded of the fact that the Kyodan, as the “United Church of Christ in Japan,” is still in the process of “uniting,” as can be seen in the rather large differences between the various districts, and the fact that we are not really united as we continue to seek the foundation upon which our community of faith needs to stand. “Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace. There is one body and one Spirit, just as you were called to one hope when you were called; one Lord, one faith, one baptism; one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.” (Eph. 4:3-6) This faith and this hope are still in progress towards completion.

I am encouraged when I see the healthy operation of districts as they perform the ceremonies associated with ordination and licensing, where those being ordained or licensed tell of their calling from God and their dedication of their lives in God’s service. As these ecclesiastical functions of the districts are performed, I sense the outworking of the Spirit of God in visible form. (Tr. TB)

—Akiyama Toru, general secretary



秋山 徹



 わたしが参加したいくつかの教区の会議の冒頭で、開会礼拝や准允式・按手式の中で教団信仰告白を告白するかどうか、あるいは、1967年の「第二次大戦下における日本基督教団の責任についての告白」、さらに各教区の基本方針のような文書を読むかどうかといった議論があったことが印象に残りました。信仰共同体が共同して立つべき基盤はどこにあるのかの確認において、まだ一致した状況ではないこと、教区によってかなりの違いがあることが明らかで、日本基督教団はUnited Church ではありますが、まだその「一致」はUniting の過程にあることを思い知らされます。「平和のきずなで結ばれて、霊による一致を保つように努めなさい。体は一つ、霊は一つです。それは、あなた方が、一つの希望にあずかるように召されているのと同じです。主は一人、信仰は一つ、洗礼は一つ…」(エフェソ4:3)、この信仰と希望において未だ完成に向かう過程にあるということです。


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