Sign of Growing Relationship Between Japanese and Korean Churches

Under the above headline, the Korean Christian News published the following

report on the visit of Kyodan representatives to the Korean Methodist Church

in Seoul, Korea.?

‘Bishop Shin Kyoung Ha, president of the Bishop’s Council of the Korean

Methodist Church, held an interview with representatives of the Kyodan in

Japan on June 8 at the Korean Hotel, thus promoting exchange between

Japanese and Korean Christian Churches. The various churches in Taiwan,

Japan, and Korea gather periodically, and various representatives of the

Kyodan who had participated in the Northeast Asia Church Mission Conference,

where the churches share their vision about mission, came especially to

visit the Korean Methodist Church to broaden their interaction with them.

‘In 1967, three Christian churches in Korea established an agreement with

the Kyodan and have promoted continual, reciprocal exchange. This agreement

was revised in 1992, and the Kyodan continued to engage in ongoing exchanges

with the Presbyterian churches in Korea but has not been able to actualize

exchanges with the Korean Methodist Church.

‘During his meeting with Kyodan representatives on June 8, KMC’s President

of the Council of Bishops Shin Kyoung Ha took steps to improve that

relationship and to develop reciprocal interchange. He is planning to attend

the Kyodan General Assembly this fall and then to invite representatives

from the Kyodan to the Korean Methodist Church’s Assembly in October,

intendng for this reciprocal exchange to be the starting point for expanded

interaction. ?

‘The representatives of the Kyodan who visited this time were Kyodan General

Secretary Naito Tomeyuki; Katsuyama Ken’ichiro, pastor of Takeoka Church in

the Chiba Subdistrict of Tokyo District; Kishi Norihide, pastor of Chiba

Honcho Church in Chiba Subdistrict of Tokyo District; and Takada Kazuhiko,

pastor of Tachikawa Church in West Tokyo District.” (Tr. RT)

Recalling the visit, General Secretary Naito made the following entry in his

diary.?

“On June 8, I made an official visit as Kyodan General Secretary to the

Korean Methodist Church in Seoul, Korea. In 1967, the Kyodan joined in a

mission covenant to promote exchange with three Korean churches: the

Presbyterian Church of Korea, the Korean Methodist Church, and the

Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea. In 1992 the covenant was

revised, with the aim of adapting to a new era and striving to improve

cooperation further. However, as compared to interaction with the

Presbyterian Church of Korea and the Presbyterian Church in the Republic of

Korea, fellowship with the Korean Methodist Church had come to a standstill

in recent years. Therefore, the Kyodan needed to work toward improved

relations and broader opportunities for fellowship.

‘On that very evening, in the plaza in front of Seoul’s city hall, there was

a large-scale candlelight demonstration mostly attended by Korean youth. On

their placards were slogans protesting the importation of American beef and

sharp criticism of the current government’s anti-American policies. The

shouting of the thousands of protesters echoed among the buildings in a

noisy uproar. I think that the juxtaposition of this candlelight

demonstration and the meeting with the Korean Methodist Church’s President

of Bishops will always remain firmly etched in my memory.” (Tr. TVB)

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