Association of Kyodan-related Prison Chaplains Founded

This year, the Fellowship of Kyodan-related Prison Chaplains came to an end after 40 years. It was replaced by the Association of Kyodan-related Prison Chaplains. From 1950 to 1968, the activities of prison chaplains were the responsibility of the Prison Evangelism Committee, under the auspices of the Kyodan’s Committee on Evangelism. After 1969, such activities were conducted by volunteer chaplains who organized themselves as the Fellowship of Kyodan-related Prison Chaplains.
At the first General Meeting of the Association of Kyodan-related Prison Chaplains, held May 31- June 1, 2010 at the National Olympics Memorial Youth Center in Tokyo, members approved items that are necessary for starting an association, such as regulations, principles, and a budget. They elected the new committee members. I am grateful to the Lord who led us thus far. In the regulations, the founding purpose of the Association states “to support the work of prison chaplains and to fulfill God’s mission.” Activities are (i) training seminars for prison chaplains, (ii) publishing a newsletter, (iii) encouraging networking and cooperation among prison chaplains, (iv) fundraising for its activities, (v) encouraging fellowship with prison chaplains of other religions and from overseas, and (vi) conducting networking and cooperation with the Committee on Evangelism.
Under the new regulations, all 97 prison chaplains have become its members. Associate members, organizations as well as individuals, support the ministry of the association and make donations to it. Activities supported specifically by fundraising include publishing the newsletter Jails’ Friends and subsidizing the transportation expenses of all members when they attend the general meeting, district representatives’ meetings, and seminars.
In spite of the current shortfall of funding, we were able to hold the overnight general meeting in Tokyo, attended by 30 members from all over Japan. We were able to accomplish this because God faithfully raised supporters from Japan as well as from overseas. Namely, 3,000 Euro were donated in 2010 and will also be provided in 2011 by the Mission Board of Evangelical Churches of South West Germany. Due to this generous support, we were able to make up for the shortage of funds, thus able to provide the transportation costs of the participants. I am pleased to report this to you, with gratitude.
At the lecture marking the founding of the association, Hugh Brown, a prison chaplain at Kobe Prison, gave a talk entitled “You can start your new life,” which was appreciated by all. He is from Northern Ireland, a former terrorist who later became a pastor. All the chaplains gave reports on his/her district and were able to share prayer concerns, although there was no representation from Hokkai District or Okinawa District because no prison chaplains are serving there.
We would like to have more networking with prison chaplain fellowships from overseas as the Association of Kyodan-related Prison Chaplains moves forward and develops in the coming days. Comments and suggestions from readers of the Kyodan Newsletter would be much appreciated. (Tr. YY)
–Miyama Tasuku, pastor
Kokubunji-Minami Church
Nishi Tokyo District
 会則に規定されている「日本基督教団教誨師会」の設立目的は、「日本基督教団における教誨師の働きを支え合い、宣教の使命を果たすこと」であり、その業務活動は、(ⅰ)教誨師の研修、(ⅱ)会報発行、(ⅲ)教誨師の連携・協力、(ⅳ)教誨活動のための募金、(ⅴ)他宗教・海外教誨師会との交流、および (ⅵ)教団伝道委員会との連携・協力を行うことなどである。
 最後に、本教団教誨師会の一層の発展充実のため、今後、海外教誨師会との交流を積極的に行なってゆきたい。もし本『Kyodan Newsletter』号を手にされた方々から有益な情報をお寄せいただけますなら幸いです。
深山 祐

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