【December 2020 No.408】Remembering Missionary Kihara Yoko (1964-2020)

Yoko was very grateful for the life she lived in Japan and in Canada and for all of the opportunities she was given by the United Church of Canada. Moving to Canada with her family was a major turning point in her life. She was 41 years old at the time. The first few years were especially tough, consisting of learning English and studying at Vancouver School of Theology while serving UCC’s Fraser Valley Japanese Church and raising two children. However, Yoko thoroughly enjoyed her new life in Canada and was ordained as a minister of the United Church of Canada in 2010.

Yoko served two UCC Japanese-speaking congregations, Vancouver Japanese Church and Fraser Valley Japanese Church, for seven years. During that time, she also taught Japanese at Guildford Japanese Language School in Surrey and worked to strengthen the network within the community of Japanese-Canadian children and families.

In 2012, Yoko was called to UCC’s Gilmore Park Church as the minister of Christian development and outreach. In 2014, she was diagnosed with breast cancer and underwent several treatments, then left Gilmore Park due to cancer recurrence in 2017. She passed away on Feb. 20, 2020 at age 55.

Yoko was especially passionate about intercultural ministry, healing ministry, and the young adults’ exchange program that she organized in partnership with the Kyodan. Moreover, her drive for social justice never ceased to lose fire. With a passionate but humble heart, she touched the lives of many students, congregants, community members, and colleagues through her love, hospitality, honesty, sense of justice, and thoughtfulness.

—Rev. Mita Tabito, Yoko’s husband





葉子はとりわけ多民族多文化の背景をもった人々への宣教、癒しの宣教、そして日本キリスト教団と連携した日本とカナダの青年交流プログラムに情熱を注いでいました。また社会正義に対する強い使命感を持ち続けていました。情熱的かつ謙虚な心をもち、多くの学生と会衆そして地域や同僚の方々の人生に、愛ともてなし、誠実で正義感をもった思慮深い働きで影響を与えました。 三田旅人牧師(木原葉子宣教師のご夫君)

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