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

Executive Council Makes Preparations for the 37th (2010) General Assembly


The 5th Executive Council meeting of the 36th General Assembly period was held at the Kyodan headquarters July 12-13. In opening the proceedings, Kyodan Moderator Yamakita Nobuhisa followed the lectionary, reading II Cor. 10:1-10, and led the council in prayer.
New System for Electing Executive Council Members
One noteworthy item on the agenda was discussion on the process for electing Executive Council members. The General Assembly Preparation Committee had proposed having delegates select up to ten names on their individual ballots, but council member Okada Nobuyoshi put forth the proposal that the entire slate of council seats be voted for on each ballot. His primary rationale was that council members are not to be mere spokespersons for an individual district but that they should be elected in a process that expresses the thinking of the entire General Assembly. Likewise, such a process would be based on the principle that it is the right of each assembly delegate to elect the entire membership of the Executive Council.
In opposition to this proposal, other council members favored respecting the decision of the 2008 General Assembly to allow only seven names to be written on each ballot, noting that it is not appropriate to introduce a proposal at a council meeting that differs from that of the General Assembly Preparation Committee. Despite these objections, Okada's proposal was adopted with15 of 29 members expressing approval.
New Committee for Screening Agenda Items
The second item of note concerned discussion on the proposed formation of a committee to screen items submitted for inclusion on the General Assembly agenda. The proposal is an effort to avoid the kind of confusion that prevailed at the 34th (2004) General Assembly when there were numerous separate agenda items with essentially the same content. It seems necessary for a committee to review the various proposals to identify ones with essentially the same purpose or ones that basically are contrary to the Kyodan Constitution and Bylaws. Okamoto Tomoyuki, chair of the Commission on Faith and Order, explained what "agenda screening" specifically entails and suggested the format that rules on parliamentary proceedings should take.
With this as a background, the proposed Agenda Screening Committee was defined as a mechanism to help the moderator streamline parliamentary proceedings by performing the following roles: 1) combining proposals that express the same objective; 2) dividing complex proposals involving more than one issue into separate agenda items; and 3) weeding out those proposals that are basically contrary to the Kyodan Constitution and Bylaws. The proposal was adopted with 14 of 27 members in favor. The following council members were selected to serve on the committee: Fujikake Jun'ichi, Miura Osamu, and Takahashi Jun.
Revised Level-Two Church Requirements
One final agenda item involved issues surrounding the changes in the Kyodan Bylaws that concern "preaching places" (fledgling churches). Following the report by the Commission on Faith and Order in 2008 on the disparity between the provisions of the bylaws related to preaching places and the actual situation such small churches face, the Task Force to Study the Organizational Structure and Status of Preaching Places was established, with Sasaki Michio as chair.
Sasaki explained that since the Kyodan is presently unable to deal with the sensitive issue of ecclesiology per se, the one step it can take to alleviate problems caused by the present bylaws is to first adjust the prerequisites for allowing a preaching place to become a level- two church. Presently, at least 20 members are required for recognition as a level-two church. It was proposed to reduce that requirement to 10 members and, even if that number is not reached, to allow a preaching place to apply for level-two status by holding a church annual assembly or by forming a church administrative board. The proposal was adopted by majority vote and will be presented to the 2010 General Assembly for approval. (Tr. TB)
--Kato Makoto, executive secretary
 第三は「伝道所関連の教規変更に関する件」である。2008年、信仰職制委員会の「伝道所について教規と実態とに乖離がある」との答申を受けて、今36 総会期に「伝道所の内容と位置づけに関する検討小委員会(佐々木美智夫委員長)」を設立した。佐々木委員長は「教会論に踏み込めない教団の現状の中で、取り得る最低限の一歩として伝道所の教会的機能と教務の位置づけを明確にした」と述べ、議案説明を行なった。変更の要点は、第2種教会の条件を現行のおおむね20名から「おおむね10名」とし、伝道所がこの条件に達していない場合でも、「総会を行い、あるいは役員会を組織するに及んでいる場合は、第2種教会になることができる」とした。表決の結果、賛成多数で可決承認された。これらの議案は第37回教団総会に提案される。

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