The Kyodan Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus, which received much support, concluded its activities at the end of March 2019. On March 23, 2019, Tohoku District held a gathering to express its thanks to the relief center for all its activities during the past eight years.
The gathering commenced with a worship service that was followed by a time of fellowship. The 60 attendees included people from churches within the district, former staff workers, meal volunteers, staff who were involved in the initial establishment of the center, and the former chairperson of the Sasayashiki neighborhood association. There were reunions with old friends; and some who couldn’t make it to the gathering sent video letters, so we were able to listen to the words of many people concerning how they felt about Emmaus.
During a time when society was demanding efficiency, at Emmaus, the importance of “moving close to wounded people,” which places a high value on “slow work,” had become a common slogan of which we consistently reminded each other.
The following comments have been received from the disaster survivors: “Thanks to the help of Emmaus, I recaptured the courage to continue my farm.” “Though the tsunami was the cause of much that made life difficult for us, I am deeply grateful for the opportunity it gave us to meet all of you.” “Please don’t forget us.”
The connections we made at Emmaus will continue. While many experienced blessed encounters through the work of Emmaus, there were some among those helping through Emmaus that experienced a great deal of pain as well. We pray for God's comfort and blessings for all experiencing both of these aspects. We remain deeply grateful to all those who prayed and provided support for Emmaus.
—Ogawa Sachiko, pastor, Sendai Aisen Church,
Tohoku District Former Head, Kyodan Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmaus
８年間皆さまに支援していただいた東北教区被災者支援センター・エマオKyodan Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, Emmausは、この３月末ですべての活動を終えます。東北教区では、3月23日(土)に被災者支援センター委員会主催で「被災者支援センター・エマオの８年を感謝する会」を開催しました。第一部礼拝、第二部感謝会(茶話会)で、教区内諸教会をはじめ県外の各地から元スタッフ、ワーカー、食事ボランティア、初期の立ち上げにかかわった方々、笹屋敷の前町内会長など６０名の参加がありました。懐かしい出会いがあり、都合で参加できない方はビデオレターを送って下さり、いろいろな方のエマオへの思いを聞くことが出来ました。