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

【June 2022 No.410】From the General Secretary's Desk:(8)


Trend of Kyodan Missionary Retirement Continues

Beginning with the Corona Virus Pandemic and continuing now with the outrageous invasion of the Ukraine by Russia, the world has experienced three straight years of turmoil. While we pray daily, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” our prayers are being met by a world that seems to be the exact opposite of that ideal. Thus, the light of hope testified to via the resurrection life pierces through that darkness, and it is the calling we have as the Church of Christ to witness that hope to the world.

Every year, the Kyodan publishes a pamphlet entitled “That We May Serve Together,” which describes the work of missionaries sent by the Kyodan to a variety of places of service. This year, however, a number of missionaries are retiring, so much of the report is about those situations, including ones for which no replacement has been found. Thus, we are encouraging everyone to be in prayer about this situation.

Rev. Matsumoto Akihiro and his wife Masako have been serving the Singapore Japanese Christian Fellowship for the past 9 years. This was following 7-years in Jakarta, Indonesia, and 1 year serving a circuit of Japanese-language churches in several countries. So they served a total of 17 years as missionaries. A missionary pastor from a different denomination will be replacing them at the Singapore church.

Rev. Nagao Yuki served in the main office of The Presbyterian Church in the Republic of Korea and the First Church of Seoul and in March of this year returned to Japan.

Rev. Koinuma Makiko served as a missionary to the Valerio Silva United Presbyterian Church located in a slum section in the city of Salvador, Brazil, but as of the end of March, she finished her service there and returned to Japan. Presently, there is no other Kyodan missionary serving in Brazil.

Rev. Ehara Yukiko served for 3 years at the Pirapo Free Methodist Japanese Church in Paraguay following Rev. Chibana Sugako and returned to Japan in March. No one has yet been appointed to replace her there.

Revs. Kawakami Yasushi and Kawakami Masaki served as pastors of the Brussels Japanese Protestant Church in Belgium, but they resigned last September to begin serving with a mission organization by the name of Via Nova to evangelize Japanese nationals living in Belgium. A replacement to serve at the Brussels Japanese Church has not yet been found.

Thus, over the past few years, the trend towards Kyodan missionary presence ending in fields that have long been served by Kyodan missionaries has continued. While the individual circumstance is different in each case, several mission outreach locations where a good work was being done remain unstaffed, as replacements have not been found. These include the Kaohsiung Japanese church in Taiwan (previously served by Rev. Hayashida Yoshiyuki), the Union Japanese Church of Westchester in New York (Rev. Ueda Yoko), the Special Ministry to the Japanese in New York, the Vancouver Japanese United Church in Canada (Rev. Zama Yutaka), and The Presbyterian Church of Korea (Rev. Nag Woon-Hae).

The overseas mission work of the Kyodan is now facing a time of rethinking and refreshing. As we expand our horizons to that of mission to the whole world, we need to mature theologically, spiritually, and practically in our basic faith-stance as we endeavor to take our proper place in the Church Universal and  network ecumenically with churches around the world. (Tr. TB)

Akiyama Toru, general secretary



・ベルギー福音宣教会BEMのブリュッセル日本語プロテスタント教会の川上寧・川上真咲宣教師は、昨年9月をもって同教会を退任されました。今後VIA NOVAという宣教団体に所属しながらベルギー在住邦人への伝道活動にあたられます。ブリュッセル日本語教会の後任者については未定となっています。

 このように、ここ数年の間に長年にわたって教団から宣教師を派遣してきた歴史のある地域や教会からの撤退の状況が続いています。台湾の高雄日本語教会(林田義行宣教師)、ニューヨークのユニオン日本語教会 (上田容功宣教師、ニューヨークの日本人特別牧会、カナダのバンクーバー日系人合同教会日語部(座間豊宣教師)、大韓イエス教長老会(洛雲海)宣教師)など、それぞれ事情は違いますが、良い働きをされた宣教師の退任の後、継続ができないままになっているのです。教団の世界宣教の働きを再考し、立て直していくことが迫られています。世界宣教の視野の広がりについても、またエキュメニカルな世界の教会との連携やネットワークの形成、公同の使徒的な教会の形成に参与する公同教会の務めについての基本的な信仰などについて、神学的・信仰的・実践的成熟がなければならないことを思わされます。(秋山徹総幹事)

KNL Corner

Publisher: Akiyama Toru
Copy Editor: Hazel Terhune, Timothy Boyle
Editorial Committee: Tokuta Makoto, Kofukada Yutaka,
Suematsu Kozue, Kashiwabara Michiko
Translators:  Timothy Boyle, Robert Terhune, 
Suematsu Kozue,  Nishinosono Michiko
Note: The names of Japanese persons are listed in traditional order,  with last names first.

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