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

The General Secretary's Diary


The executive secretaries’ meeting, usually held every Monday morning, is attended by the six executive secretaries under the general secretary–seven members in total. The meeting on July 25 was centered on the reports of each executive secretary.

The Executive Secretary on General Affairs reported on the symposium to be hosted by the Kyodan at Ginza Church, Aug. 29-30, on the theme “Christianity and the Present Crisis in Japan–Issues Raised by the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake.” Oki Hideo, former president of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, is to be the guest lecturer. Four other speakers (a pastor, a theologian, a Christian educator, and a Christian social worker) are to give presentations. Announcements about the symposium are to be sent to all Kyodan-related churches. A list of Kyodan churches within Ou, Tohoku, and Kanto districts that sustained earthquake damage was also distributed that included details about the extent of the damage at each of the 47 churches as well as at 8 related facilities. A joint meeting between the Kyodan Executive Committee and Kyodan Administrative Officers is scheduled on Aug. 9, and the matters to be discussed there were also reported.

The Executive Secretary on Financial Affairs shared that the Committee for the Examination of Financial Reports had issued its report. Included was an explanation about the decision to reduce the amounts of the annual church apportionments for the 2012 fiscal year (about 6 million yen [$77,922]), for the three disaster-stricken districts and to compensate for that from a fiscal year 2011 surplus fund. For the next three years after 2012, the other 14 districts will bear this additional burden.

The Executive Secretary for the Commission on Ministry reported on the orientation that was held June 20-22 for ministers newly appointed during this fiscal year, under the theme “Working together as ministers of the Kyodan to accomplish its mission.” There were 78 participants in all, including 49 newly appointed ministers and 3 directors of Christian education. It was a good opportunity to enjoy the blessings of new encounters and fellowship, and the participants benefited from reviewing the basics of the Kyodan system. However, the conspicuous decrease in the number of participants in recent years is an issue that needs to be addressed in the coming years. Another item reported on was the discussion of issues involved in disciplinary admonitions.

The Executive Secretary for the Commission on Ministerial Qualifications reported on the fiscal year 2011 fall ministerial qualification examinations to be held Sept. 13-16 at the Osaka Christian Center. There are 58 applicants in the category of ordained minister and 19 in the category of licensed preacher. (There are more applicants for the spring examination.) Final decisions on those who have passed the examination are to be made on Oct. 14. There has been a gradual decrease in the number of applicants in recent years, which is an indication of the weakening of the Kyodan’s evangelistic strength. This is an issue that the Kyodan needs to address immediately, along with the apparent weakening in the sense of calling of those taking the examinations.

The Executive Secretary on Social Concerns reported that the emergency fundraising campaign for the Great Eastern Japan Earthquake was completed at the end of June, with more than 100 million yen being raised. The collected donations have been transferred to the Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters and are being used for relief operations.

The Executive Secretary on Ecumenical Ministries reported that the persons in charge of the United Methodist Church’s overseas disaster relief came from the U.S. to visit the Kyodan to review the situation following the great earthquake and tsunami. They were informed about the extent of damage that the Kyodan has been able to determine, especially that caused by the severe tsunami, as well as the state of affairs caused by radioactive contamination from the nuclear accident. The Kyodan-based relief operations to date were also described. Incidentally, the relief donations from various overseas churches and denominations have already reached approximately 150 million yen, and quite a large amount of funds is expected to be sent henceforth through the Kyodan to support reconstruction projects in the stricken areas. (Tr. SM)

—Naito Tomeyuki, general secretary



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