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

【April 2020 No.407】Multi-church Support Activities of Dohoku Subdistrict’s “Ring no Kai”


Founded in 2010, the “Ring no Kai” is mainly a lay work group in Dohoku Subdistrict of the Kyodan’s Hokkai District whose goal is “service and fellowship.” It includes all the church members in the subdistrict. Dohoku Subdistrict encompasses 270 kilometers from north to south and 180 kilometers from east to west and has ten churches. We experience great joy as we work together and support one another, because almost all the churches are small.

This organization began as the continuing form of what was originally the subdistrict women’s society whose numbers had decreased, and finding persons willing to serve as board members had become difficult. Thus, the Ring no Kai has no designated board. As the group operates spontaneously, each church has only a designated contact person. It’s an organization that has as its chief characteristic, “There is nothing that just has to be done.”

Why is the work chiefly for the purpose of helping other churches; or in other words, what is the purpose of having this unofficial group? The reasons are likely so that the churches in this expansive subdistrict do not become isolated and because they have cherished their connections with each other.

For example, presently the three official members of Wassamu Church hold a Thursday worship service once a month. The middle-aged group at Asahikawa Rokujo Church, where I belong, decided to send two people to attend each worship service and also to cover the cost of their travel expenses. Many members from the various subdistrict churches eagerly come, so an average of 23 persons attend the worship service. The people of Dohoku Subdistrict know Wassamu Church’s situation as well as each of its members.

When there is a pastor’s installment service in the subdistrict, a bus is provided and everyone avidly gathers; and families attend the subdistrict enrichment meetings as well. The Asahikawa Rokujo Church Bazaar offers space for Bibaushi Fukuin Church and Asahikawa Seiko Church. I understand that Asahikawa Seiko Church was able to hold its own bazaar in 2019. There is joy that comes with mutual growth through relationship, and Dohoku Subdistrict members know that.

The Ring no Kai has no membership fees. In October, the blueberries supplied at no charge by Asahikawa Rokujo Church are made into jam, and the jam is sold at some subdistrict meetings and by various churches at gatherings in their areas. These sales bring in about 30,000 yen, which basically becomes the organization’s management fund.

The churches are contacted about decisions made regarding the year’s activities, including making jam, cleaning, grass cutting, etc., and this information is passed on via weekly church bulletins, etc. In this way volunteers are solicited for each activity, and the needed number of persons is provided.

The Ring no Kai has been able to function, even without a board, due to the periodic gatherings at Wassamu Church worship services, which perhaps has become the activity base. The worship service at Wassamu Church is followed by a shared potluck lunch that is delicious and fun, and necessary information is exchanged.

One activity of the Ring no Kai since its beginning is mowing the grass at Bibaushi Fukuin Church. Finding someone to mow the grass on the church’s extensive property had become a real concern, so everyone went to help. Every year since then, people have gone to cut the grass. Even if they cannot take part in mowing the grass or shoveling the heavy snow off the church roof, when the Ring no Kai takes responsibility for helping with the Wassamu Church worship service, elderly members also take part, so this has become a subdistrict activity.

Within the district as well, there are discussions both for and against the Ring no Kai’s service and a questioning of whether the group has been too aggressive about helping other churches. However, I think there are times when a church is experiencing difficulties but cannot say, “Please help us.” So, it’s important to make relationships daily when you sympathize with its perplexing issues and can address them. If there is something that can be done, the subdistrict members act. I think that making preparations for that kind of system throughout the Kyodan will become more and more important from now on. (Tr. RT)

by Kaneko Tomoko, member

Asahikawa Rokujo Church, Hokkai District

Ring no Kai Organizer

—Compiled by the January 2020 Shinto no Tomo

(The Believer’s Friend) Editorial Committee

Summarized by KNL Editor Kawakami Yoshiko



金子智子 リングの会世話人


リングの会は2010年10月に結成された日本基督教団北海教区 道北地区の「奉仕と交わり」を目的とした信徒の自主活動団体です。地区の教会員全員が会員です。道北地区には、南北270キロ、東西180キロの地域に10の教会があります。規模の小さい教会の多い道北地区にあって、共に奉仕し、支え合うことが大きな喜びを生み出していると実感しています。














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