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

【December 2018 No.400】From the General Secretary's Desk: Mission Agreement with Indonesian Church; Change of Situation in Korea


The 41st Kyodan General Assembly has ended, and the 2018-19 general assembly period has begun. One of the highlights of the assembly was the signing of the mutual mission agreement with the Christian Evangelical Church in Minahasa, known as GMIM, the acronym of its name in Indonesian, Gereja Masehi Injili di Mynahsa.

Beginning some 20 years ago, Indonesian Christians from the Minahasa area coming to Japan on work visas formed two churches in Oarai, Ibaraki Prefecture and one each in Oyama, Tochigi Prefecture and Suzuka, Mie Prefecture. There are now four such churches in Japan, so the signing of this mutual mission agreement further cements the cooperative relationships that have been formed with local Kyodan churches as well as at the district level. This is an historic development that needs to be celebrated, as it opens a new window of cooperation and fellowship among the churches of Asia.

There are presently about 2.56 million foreigners living in Japan, and when people of non-Japanese origin who have Japanese citizenship and the children of foreigners are included, that figure increases to more than 4 million. Many of these people have Christian backgrounds, so as we cooperate with churches around the world, being involved with common mission issues with them is a great opportunity and challenge for us.

The Kyodan was born under the shadow of World War II and cooperated with the Japanese war aggression against the nations of East Asia. We deeply understand that without confessing our sin and extending reparations, the Kyodan has no chance to recover full fellowship with our Asian neighbors, so we must not be hesitant to take concrete actions. Therefore, keeping this history in mind at all times, we seek to work together on common issues in our common mission.

In mid-September, I participated in the pre-conference and general assembly of the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea, which was held on the island of Jeju. Just prior to the general assembly, South Korean President Moon Jae-in and North Korean President Kim Jong-un had held a meeting, and previous to that, Kim Jong-un had met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Singapore.

Thus, this is a time of great geopolitical change on the Korean peninsula. The theme of the pre-conference was "Reconciliation, Peace and Unity in Northeast Asia," and representatives from churches around the world gathered to discuss this theme. It was in this climate of monumental movement towards reconciliation and reunification of the Korean peninsula that we were reminded anew of what church leaders had termed the "Tozanso Process." This is in reference to an international Christian conference held at the YMCA Tozanso retreat center in Gotemba, Japan from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 1984 under the theme, "Peace and Justice in Northeast Asia, the Peaceful Resolution of Conflict," which was the beginning of our present efforts

It was at the behest of the World Council of Churches and the Christian Conference of Asia that the way was opened up for the National Council of Churches in Korea and its North Korean counterpart, the Korean Christian Federation, to begin dialog. It was at the ecumenical gathering in Glion, Switzerland in 1986 that the North Korean representatives first participated, and ever since then, on a yearly basis, representatives from the two Korean governments have met for dialog even amidst the frosty relationship between the two countries. It is this process of reconciliation and unity, with the desire to remove military threats and to denuclearize, that has been called the "Tozanso Process."

Our voice may seem distant and small in the process of making this dream come to fruition, but we unite our hearts in prayer with churches around the world as we join together in concrete actions, seeking a world that is led by the Word of God. (Tr. TB)

—Akiyama Toru, General Secretary


グミンとの協約と東山荘プロセス   秋山 徹

 教団総会を終えて、第41期の教団の歩みが始まりました。この総会ではインドネシアのミナハサ福音教会(GMIM)との宣教協約が結ばれたことが一つのハイライトでした。ここ20年来、茨城県の大洗に二つ、栃木県の小山、三重県の鈴鹿でインドネシアのスラウェシ島から日本への移住労働者として来ておられたキリスト者がそれぞれの地に教会をたて、礼拝してこられました。GMIMの教会として4つの教会があります。この度の宣教協約によってこれらの教会と教団のそれぞれの教区や近隣の教会とが協力し連携して宣教にあたる確かな絆が築かれ、また今後のアジアの諸教会との交わりにも新しい窓口が開かれる 記念すべき時となりました。




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