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

【December 2018 No.400】Union Japanese Church of Westchester in New York


by Ueda Yoko, Kyodan missionary Pastor, Union Japanese Church of Westchester

Union Japanese Church of Westchester (UJCW) is a Japanese-language church in Scarsdale, Westchester County, New York that began worship in Japanese in September 1989. The church currently meets in the Hitchcock Presbyterian Church and receives support from the Reformed Church in America and the United Methodist Church. We are a small church, with an average Sunday worship attendance of about five people. The Japanese–language worship service is our main focus, but we also put effort into outreach activities.

It is important for Japanese Christians living abroad to have a church where they can worship comfortably in Japanese. New York has one of the largest populations of Japanese abroad, and the suburbs are home to many different kinds of people for whom Japanese is their native language, including students, businesspeople, permanent residents, and Japanese married to non-Japanese. In particular, the longer you live abroad, the more you may feel the importance of attending worship services and praying in your native language, so the majority of UJCW members and those who attend services are Japanese permanent residents of the United States. For these sisters and brothers, giving thanks and praise to God in Japanese, hearing God’s Word in Japanese, and praying together are special blessings. Worshiping every Sunday in Japanese is the reason the church exists.

Moreover, New York is the center of business in the United States, and Japanese businesspeople sent to the U.S. by their companies also come to our church. In recent years, many seem to be families with small children who have been sent for periods of three to five years. It must be reassuring for these people to have a church nearby where they can comfortably participate in worship in Japanese. In addition, because they are in the United States, some people come to church for the first time in their lives, and it is the mission of UJCW to proclaim the Gospel message to them.

With that in mind, besides our Japanese worship service and Bible study, we currently actively support the Japanese community and cooperate with the local community in doing outreach. In terms of contributing to the local community, UJCW has its own Book Club for Young Children and Families where we read English picture books to the children, and we also have a joint program with Hitchcock Presbyterian Church called Living in America in which adults can learn English and American culture. In addition, we run a soup kitchen for homeless people in the area, and together with SMJ (Special Ministry to Japanese), a mission federation of Japanese-American churches and congregations in the New York area, we hold a summer bilingual camp for youth.

Along with all these activities, last year we launched a workshop for making seasonal crafts called Workshop@Union. It is also open to people whose native language is not Japanese, and with people from many different countries participating, has an international flavor. For people facing isolation in a foreign country with a different language and an unfamiliar culture without ties to one’s surroundings, this workshop offers a place of fellowship to connect with others and the local community through making things with their hands.

An important mission of UJCW is to serve as a bridge between U.S. and Japanese churches. It is my hope that through communication and fellowship with the people of local churches here, as well as through the outreach activities of the local people, our church will continue to be used to promote mutual understanding and to strengthen the relationship between the churches in the United States that the Kyodan partners with in mission.

UJCW will celebrate its 30th anniversary in September 2019. We give thanks to God for upholding us on this 30-year journey, and on the occasion of this 30th anniversary it is my hope that with fresh desire we will be able to serve by spreading the Good News in New York. (Tr. DB)



教団派遣宣教師 ユニオン日本語教会牧師 上田容功








Kyodan News
〒169-0051 東京都新宿区西早稲田2-3-18-31
Copyright (c) 2007-2024
The United Church of Christ in Japan