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

【December 2022 No.411】Greetings from the Newly-elected Church Officers (3)


Serving Together as One Church in Christ

by Kyodan Moderator Kumoshikari Toshimi

I became the pastor of Akita Narayama Church in Akita Prefecture, Northeast Japan in 1984. Four-and-a-half years later, as the 100th anniversary project of the church, we founded Akita Sakura Church, where I have been the pastor ever since. Agriculture is the main occupation there, and during the winter it snows a lot in the areas along the mountains. Akita's population has been decreasing due to declining birthrate and aging population. However, there are many churches with over a century of history, and they have been interacting and cooperating with each other for a long time. It was in this atmosphere that I was inspired to become a minister.

I was elected as moderator by the 42nd Kyodan General Assembly. I would like to fulfill the duties of my two-year term in response to God’s call.

The Kyodan had 1,666 churches and 161,103 members in 2020. There were 1,724 churches and 182,418 members ten years ago, so both have been declining. This trend started in the 1990s and is evident in almost all the other churches and denominations in Japan.

Declining membership has seriously affected the Kyodan, especially in the area of finances, which will no doubt worsen further in the future, and thus we have been considering how to restructure the Kyodan. Fewer and fewer people want to become ministers in both the Kyodan and in other denominations, and it has been increasingly difficult to find a replacement after a pastor resigns. Nowadays the situation of a pastor serving two widely separated congregations concurrently is becoming common.

Even though Protestant churches started their mission in Japan over 160 years ago, Christians are a small minority of less than one percent of the Japanese population. Small churches are struggling to continue, which testifies to the fact that each member is called by the Lord Jesus Christ and is trying hard to love and support others as well as living their own lives as Christians.

With this in mind, I am convinced that the Kyodan is a united church made up of individual churches across the country, and I want to do everything I can to strengthen this network of churches working together for mutual support in order to maintain this relationship.

The Kyodan has been helped by churches all over the world. We cannot forget that many churches prayed for us and supported us after the 2011 East Japan Earthquake Disaster--something that made us appreciate just how related the Kyodan is with other churches around the world. Thus, my desire is that all the churches around the world would be one in Christ, learning about the issues facing each church while praying for and supporting each other as we deepen our fellowship. May God abundantly bless your church.


Serving with Visions of Pioneer Evangelism

by Kyodan Vice-Moderator Fujimori Yuki

Born in 1962, I decided to become a minister 33 years ago, while I was working as a system engineer. I served as the pastor of Ibaraki Church and Fujisawa-kita Church then as the Kyodan General Affairs Secretary. I am now the pastor of Fujimicho Church, and the church is developing the mid-term and long-term plan of a ten-year mission project scheduled to start next year, with visions of pioneer evangelism.


Serving with Constituents' Prayerful Support

by Kyodan Secretary Kuroda Wakao

As the pastor of two churches in Kochi Prefecture for over 30 years, I have been supported by the forward-looking faith of laypeople in Shikoku District, which includes Kochi Prefecture. I look forward to serving the Kyodan as I endeavor to communicate the prayers and wishes of the churches in Shikoku to the entire Kyodan.

(Tr. SK)


教団総会議長 雲然俊美(くもしかりとしみ)













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