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

Two Events Held for Youth and Young Adults in 2012


During the summer and fall of this year, the Kyodan held two gatherings for youth and young adults. The first was the National Church Conference for Junior and Senior High School Youth and Young Adults, which was held at Megumi Chalet in Karuizawa, Aug. 21-23, on the theme “For evangelism inJapan– being called and sent out.” The purpose of this conference was to serve as a kind of precursor of a conference being planned for 2017 to commemorate the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, and thus the vision being promoted is to nurture the next generation of evangelists to serve the cause of evangelism inJapan.


There were 270 participants in total, including seven young people from the Presbyterian Church inTaiwanwho came toJapanas youth mission participants and five youth from churches inKorea: one from theKoreanMethodistChurchand four from the Presbyterian Church in theRepublicofKorea. Participating as facilitators were Kondo Katsuhiko, president of Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, together with his colleague Osumi Yuichi, Professors Sakon Tomu and Ogura Yoshiaki fromSeigakuinUniversity, and many other pastors. Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo was able to attend part of the conference, and he gave words of encouragement, saying: “You all are the future and hope of the Kyodan.”


Two pastors from the areas affected by the Great East Japan Earthquake and Tsunami gave reports, and the participants joined together in prayer for the churches as well as the survivors in those regions. The conference was truly a time of blessing, as our sense of calling to communicate the gospel was strengthened by feeding our spirits through Bible study, the sharing of testimonies, and the strengthening of our mutual bonds through singing hymns and praying together.


The other conference was held at Tokyo Union Theological Seminary on Saturday, Sept. 29. Entitled “A Gathering of Youth Who Will Lead 21st Century Evangelism,” this has been an annual event held in late September since the program was instituted 14 years ago by a coalition of seven churches along with the faculty of TUTS. The original purpose was to reach out to young people in theTokyometropolitan area to share with them the joy of dedicating oneself to evangelism. The coalition has since grown to nine churches, and while various changes have occurred, the original vision of praying for youth to receive a calling to become 21st century evangelists and of encouraging and training them has not changed. Thus, this year’s event was the 14th such youth gathering, with a total attendance of about 180.


Every year, several youth have made that commitment (some years numbering more than 10), with many of them enrolling in TUTS. The planning committee for this event consisted of over ten church youth, most of whom are seminary students, together with one TUTS professor and one pastor from the organizing coalition. At the opening worship service, a TUTS professor gave a message on the theme of the conference concerning the joy of evangelizing. The conference attendees were then divided into ten groups to discuss various themes. Afterwards, two young pastors who both had graduated from seminary about ten years ago, one male and one female, shared testimonies of faith experiences since they became Christians. Their descriptions of the great joy and satisfaction they felt in giving their lives to the spreading of the gospel spoke deeply to the youth attending, and we were filled with hope as voices of praise echoed throughout the sanctuary.


As an additional option for those interested, TUTS President Kondo gave a short lecture designed to resemble one they would receive if they enrolled at TUTS. The youth listened intently, and as they left to return to their homes, it seemed that their faces were aglow. (Tr. SM)


—Naito Tomeyuki, former general secretary

今年の 夏から秋にかけて教団では二つの若者の集いが開かれた。一つは8月21日~23日 『恵みシャレー軽井沢』を会場にして開かれた全国教会中高生・青年大会である。その主題は『日 本伝道のためにー証明と派遣―』。

この大会は5年 後の2017年 に宗教改革500年 を記念する青年大会を見据え、そのプレ集会として位置づけられ、日本伝道の幻に仕えるため、次世代の教会を担う青年を育て、伝道者が 起こされることを願うものであった。

この青年大会には、折からユースミッション・メンバーとして来日していた台湾長老教会青年7名と、韓国教会青年5名 を含めて総勢270名 の参加者があった。指導者、奉仕者の中には東京神学大学学長近藤勝彦先生、大住雄一先生をはじめ聖学院大学の左近豊先生、 小倉義明先生さらに着手の牧師多数が参加してくださった。それに教団総会議長(Kyodan Moderator Ishibashi Hideo)の石橋秀雄牧師も部分参加だったが参加され、『皆さんに教団の未来 と希望がある』との激励の言葉を語られた。また、この会では東日本大震災被災教区の二人の牧師より報告があり、被災地の教会や被災者を覚え て祈りを合わせた。聖書の学びを通して信仰を養い、証しをきき、共に賛美を歌い、祈りの絆を深めることができたし、福音伝道への志を 与えられた恵みの時であった。

もう一つの会は9月29日 (土)東神大を会場にして開かれた『第14回・21世 紀伝道を担う青年の集い』である。この青年の集いは14年 前首都圏の教会青年に呼び掛け、伝道の喜び、献身の喜びを分かち合おうと7つ の発起人教会の牧師と東神大教授会が協力して始めたものである。(その後発起人教会は9つ になる)いろいろ変遷があったが基本は変わることなく21世 紀の日本伝道を担う青年たちの中から一人でも多くの伝道献身者が与えられるようにと祈りつつ、青年の信仰の養いと励ましになることを 願って年一回9月 下旬に開かれてきた。それが14回 目となったのが今回の『青年の集い』である。(実際に今までこの回の出席者の中から毎年数名の献身者が多い年では10名 を越す)東神大に入学している。

この「青年の集い」は神学生を主なメンバーとした教会青年10余 名が実行委員となり、東神大教授と発起人教会牧師一人が加わって具体的計画を立て実施してきた。今回は開会礼拝において東神大教授が 主題にそって伝道の喜びの深さをメッセージとした説教を語った。礼拝後のテーマ別の10分 団ではそれぞれ熱心に語り合い、更に「証しと賛美の時」には神学校卒業後10年 前後の若手牧師二人(男女一人づつ)から、自らの入信以来の信仰体験をふまえた証しをしていただいた。献身の喜び、伝道の喜びに溢れ たその証しの言葉は青年の心を打つものであった。また賛美の声は礼拝堂にひびきわたり、それが希望に満ちたものであった。

その後、有志の方々に公開された近藤学長のショート・レクチャーは東神大での日頃の講義の一コマを再現されたもので、青年たちには興 味深いものであった。散会して帰路についた青年達の顔は輝いて見えた。この会の参加者は総勢180名 だった。内藤留幸前総幹事

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