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

【April 2020 No.407】Executive Council Focuses on Structural and Financial Issues


The sixth Executive Council meeting of the present 41st General Assembly Period was held Feb. 3-4 at the Kyodan headquarters, with 28 of the 30 members in attendance. Executive Secretary Akiyama Toru reported that the Kyodan will cooperate with the operations of the Multi-Faith Center of the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Chaplaincy as the chair of the Japan Confederation of Christian Churches.


The 2018 Disaster Relief Response Committee detailed its relief efforts following the northern Osaka earthquake, the western Japan floods, the Iburi Tobu Earthquake in Hokkaido, and on the damage caused by Typhoons 21 and 24. By the end of January 2020, a total 39,210,000 yen was received to support those efforts. Next, Sugahara Tsutomu, chair of the Council for Reviewing the System of Clergy Development, reported on his visit to Kyushu District to discuss the issue of two levels of ordination for clergy, with final consideration to be made by the Council.

Purpose and Plan for Kyodan Restructuring

Then, Kuze Sorachi, chairperson of the Subcommittee on Structural Reform in the Kyodan, gave an overview of the purpose of structural reform, clarifying the efforts to address the looming financial crisis in the Kyodan and laying out a road-map for how to reduce Kyodan expenditures and local church apportionments so as to help in the maintenance and growth of local churches. Specifically, the expenses related to general assemblies would be curtailed by reducing the number of delegates from the present 400 to 216 and changing the venue from a hotel to a church. This would reduce that expenditure from 22,400,000 yen to 6,800,000 yen. Likewise, Executive Council membership and activities would also be reduced, with Executive Council membership being reduced from 30 to 15, and Executive Committee membership being reduced from 10 to 5.

In the proposed Kyodan organizational structure, a Board of Evangelism and a Board of Church Affairs would be formed. The Board of Evangelism would oversee related activities, establishing short-term committees as needed and coordinating voluntary organizations while reducing standing committee and meeting expenses. The Board of Church Affairs would oversee the Department of General Affairs, the Department of Finance and the Department of Clergy Affairs, and the newly named Department of External Affairs (which would deal with world mission relations and ecumenical ties both overseas and in Japan, along with interactions with other religious bodies).   The Chairperson of the Commission on Ecumenical Ministries, however, did express an opposing opinion about the new name, “Department of External Affairs.”

Board of Publications’ Financial Concerns

Much of the deliberations on the second day were taken up with reports relating to the Board of Publications. In his report, Board of Directors Chair Yamakita Nobuhisa described how the Board of Publications has been dealing with the red ink experienced since 2014, mostly due to personnel costs. Ii Hikari, representing the head of the Board, reported on efforts to resolve the approximately 13 million yen of royalties that still must be paid out and to reduce the 9-million-yen cost of storing publications.

Kyodan Secretary Kumoshikari Toshimi also touched on the written opinion submitted by the Auditing Committee to  Moderator Ishibashi  concerning the finances of the Board of Publications. This document urges the Kyodan to take decisive action to rectify the financial crisis of the Board of Publications, as its available funds in the bank are less than the money owed to the bank. It was decided that the directors of the Board of Publications would meet together with the Executive Council and the Kyodan Board of Directors to consider how to stabilize the finances and operations of the Board of Publications. (Tr. TB)

—Kato Makoto, executive secretary




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