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

The General Secretary's Diary:Reflections on the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan


I recently represented the Kyodan at the Presbyterian Church in Taiwan's 55th Annual General Assembly, which was held at Chang-June Girls High School in Tainan, Taiwan under the theme "Let cultures flourish; Let God's justice take root." The more than 500 delegates in attendance engaged in a lively discussion of the various agenda items, and I sensed their deep commitment to engage actively in evangelism. I was greatly encouraged by their demeanor and would like to give my impressions.
1. In the opening worship, I was very thankful that all of the foreign guests were included in the Holy Communion service. While that may seem obvious, it was an opportunity for me personally to directly experience our oneness as fellow believers in Christ and the lordship of Christ not only in the church but also in the whole world.
2. During the morning worship service and at other times when there were pauses in the deliberations, such as when votes for the officers were being counted, several PCT missionaries to other countries gave moving reports of their work. They described their deep involvement in the issues that face the people they serve. I was particularly impressed by a woman missionary to Ethiopia. She described the situation of Ethiopian women, with their low status and grinding poverty, and how she was working with them to overcome the discrimination and prejudice they face. It was a powerful witness of following Christ in service to all the poor and oppressed.
The PCT has approximately the same numerical strength as the Kyodan, and so it was a great encouragement for me to see how the church is involved not only in outreach to Taiwanese living overseas but also in sending PCT missionaries to other lands. In fact, several missionaries have been sent to work in Japan to found churches for Taiwanese living in Japan. Some of these churches are affiliated with the Kyodan. The prospects are good that the number of these churches will continue to increase.
3. Among the various agenda items were such topics as elimination of the death penalty, the homosexual issue, and gender discrimination issues--all of which are likewise being debated within the Kyodan. I was very impressed by the level of awareness of human rights and the value of human life. However, the topic that stimulated me most was the "New 'Doubling' Church Growth Plan," which is firmly grounded in the evangelical heritage the PCT received from its reformed Presbyterian roots. As the PCT stands on the doctrinal foundations of the Presbyterian Church, it has a clear picture of the roles each level of the church structure has in carrying out its evangelistic mandate.
Structurally, the denomination consists of a general assembly, which is analogous to the Kyodan as a whole, districts, and local churches (in terms that translate literally as "large assembly," "medium assembly," and "small assembly"). Each level works in close cooperation with the others in both evangelistic outreach and social outreach through educational institutions and social welfare institutions, such as hospitals and homes for elderly persons. I think PCT has a well designed plan that encompasses "human salvation" in every aspect. The New "Doubling" Church Growth Plan" is a continuation of the first "Doubling" Church Growth Plan that was instituted 20 years ago, and so I salute them for this vision. I also dream of the time when the Kyodan will be able to discuss a similar plan in its general assembly and initiate its own "Doubling" Church Growth Plan. (Tr. TB)
--Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary
台湾長老教会PCT(Presbyterian Church in Taiwan)総会に出席して
 このたびPCT 55th Annual General Assembly 6-9 April 2010第55回通常総会に、教団を代表して出席しました。500名以上が出席した活気あふれる雰囲気の中で、上程された議案が審議されていました。全体として積極的に伝道していこうとの強い意欲が感じられ、とても励まされた。その時の感想を少し語ってみたいと思います。
 1, 開会礼拝において総会議員と共に私たち海外来賓(overseas guest)も一緒に聖餐にあずかることができたのは深い感謝でした。それは当然のことながら、私たちが信じる救い主イエス・キリストは教会の主であると共に全世界の主でもあられることを身をもって味わった恵みの時でした。
 2, 朝拝の時とか、会議の進み具合をみながら(例えば三役選挙の開票作業中とか)、PCTから外国に派遣された宣教師達がした報告には感動的なものが多かった。宣教師たちが派遣された地域の人々の課題と真剣に取り組んだ様子がじかに伝わってきました。そのうちとくに、エチオピアに派遣された女性宣教師の報告は迫力があった。エチオピアの女性は地位が低く、貧困さも加わって惨めな生活を強いられている実情を見て、女性の地位向上と取り組み、職業指導などにも手を貸し、着実に女性蔑視や女性偏見を克服していく姿は、報告者も語っていたように、全ての貧しい人や虐げられた人たちに仕えられた主イエス・キリストに倣う行為(隣人愛)そのものの証しでした。
 3, 上程された議案の中で「死刑廃止問題」「同性愛問題」「性差別問題」などは、教団内の議論と共通しているところがあり、人権意識の高さ、人の命の尊さの主張などが印象深かった。そして最も刺激を受けたのは「新教勢倍加運動案」でした。この案は福音主義改革長老教会の伝統を受け継いだ教会形成を中核に据えたしっかりしたものでした。PCTは長老教会として教理的土台が一致しているため、福音宣教にもぐらつきがなく、大会(教団にあたる)、中会(教区にあたる)、小会(各個教会にあたる)が担うべき役割が明確にされていて、しかもそれらがよき協力をしながら、人々に伝道していく、しかも、教育の分野(学校)や社会福祉の分野(病院や老人施設)にも広がりをもった「人間の救い」を目指しているのは堅実にして素晴らしい内容をもった計画に思えました。20年ほど前に実施した教勢倍加運動の成功をふまえて、今回「新倍加運動実施」に踏み切ったことに敬意を払いたく思いました。そして、いつの日か教団もはっきり「教勢倍加運動実施」と銘打った議案をめぐって総会で審議するようになりたいと痛切に思ったことでした。

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