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

Greetings from the Newly Elected Kyodan Vice-moderator


by Ito Mizuo, Kyodan vice-moderator

pastor, Oizumi Bethel Church, North Subdistrict, Tokyo District

At the 38th Kyodan General Assembly in 2012, I was unexpectedly elected as vice-moderator. To the best of my ability, I will strive to respond to the Lord’s call.


The Kyodan at present, after 30 years of struggle, is in a period of restoring itself as a united church. However, the scars are deep, and so healing and reconciliation will take time. Patience and prayer are necessary.


In the midst of that process, the restoration of evangelism is a pressing need. We cannot afford to be lackadaisical about this because in addition to the aging of Japan’s entire population, the believers in the various Kyodan churches are rapidly aging. For that reason, the Kyodan has been emphasizing evangelism for ten years now, and at the July 2012 Executive Council meeting, an Evangelism Promotion Office was established under the Committee on Evangelism.


The Evangelism Promotion Office began functioning at the beginning of the current biennium. I want to concentrate my wisdom and energy on this office so that it can effectively strengthen the evangelistic efforts of the various churches. For the purpose of evangelism, there are many things that the Kyodan needs to do, but I think we must restructure our financial resources to be used for evangelism and downsize our organization.

Next, the Great East Japan Disaster that occurred on March 11, 2011 also shook the Kyodan at its foundation. Besides the damage caused by the earthquake and the tsunami, the damage due to the nuclear reactor accident is exceedingly serious, and so we have become aware of the mission to be fulfilled by the churches in that vast area to bear the pain of persons there and to work for their rehabilitation. Assistance from countries throughout the world and various churches has also encouraged us.


The Kyodan has set up the Kyodan Great East Japan Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters and is taking action to begin fundraising within and outside the country. A volunteer system has been organized and aid is being continued at the aid centers that have been established in three cities: Tono in Iwate Prefecture as well as in Sendai and Ishinomaki in Miyagi Prefecture. Further, in over 20 churches, financial aid is being disbursed for the purpose of rebuilding church sanctuaries and parsonages damaged by the earthquake.


Speaking about the nuclear reactor accident, there has also been aid for kindergartens and nursery schools affected by radioactive pollution (for acquiring air conditioning equipment, et cetera; for a temporary program for children’s recuperation; and for the acquisition of radiation measuring devices).


Furthermore, the extent of the effects of the nuclear reactor accident within all of Japanese society is extremely widespread, and we thought that a message should originate from the church regarding this issue. So the Kyodan has decided to hold an international conference in Sendai in March 2014 with the theme “Against the mythology of nuclear energy—The fundamental quest of Fukushima,” and I am the one responsible for that event. I think I would like to appeal for participation from overseas churches as well. It would be a blessing if you would seriously consider participating. (Tr. RT)


「副 議長に選ばれて」伊藤瑞男

第 38 回教団総会において思いがけず副議長に選ばれました。精一杯主の召しに応えたいと思います。

教団は、30年以上に及ぶ紛争を経て今は、合同教会としての自らを立て直しつつある時期にあります。しかし、紛争の傷跡は深く、 癒し と和 解には時間がかかります。忍耐と祈りが必要です。

そ の中 にあっても、伝道の立て直しは急務です。のんびりするわけにはゆきません。なぜなら、教団の諸教会の信徒は、日本の人口全体の高齢化以上 に、急速に高齢化しているからです。それゆえ、ここ10年の間、教団は伝道を強調してきましたが、去る7月の常議員会では、伝道 委員 会(Committee on Evangelism)の もとに伝道推進室の設置を決めました。

今期から、この伝道推進室が動き始めました。それが教団諸教会の伝道力を強めるために良い働きをするように、知恵とエネルギーを 注ぎ たい と思います。

伝道のためには、教団がなすべきことは、多くありますが、財的資源を伝道のために用いるために組み直すことと、組織のスリム化を 考え てい ます。

次に、2011年3月11日 に起 きた東日本大震災(Great East Japan Disaster)は 教団をも根底から揺り動かしました。地震と津波の被害に加えて原発事故による被害は極めて深刻、広範囲でそこに置かれた教会は地 域の 人々 の苦しみと復興を共に担うべきであるという使命に、私たちは目覚めさせられました。世界の国々と諸教会からの援助も私たちを励ました。

教団 は、救援対策本部(Kyodan Great East Japan Disaster Relief Planning Headquarters)を立ち上げ、地域の復興と教会の再建のために 国内 外か ら募金を行い、活動を始めました。岩手県遠野市、仙台市、石巻市の三か所に支援センターを設けて、ボランティアを組織して、救援を続けて います。また、地震によって損壊した会堂・牧師館再建のために、20以上の教会に財政的支援を始めました。

原 発事 故について言えば、放射能汚染の影響下にある幼稚園・保育園の環境整備(エ アコ ン設置など)、 子供 たちの短期保養プログラム、放射能測定機購入補助等の支援を行いました。

さ ら に、原発事故が日本の社会全体に及ぼした衝撃は極めて大きく、教会はこの問題についてメッセージを発すべきであると考え、教団は、2014年3月 に、 「原発神話に抗して―福島からの問いかけ」と題して、国際会議を仙台で開催することを決め、私がその責任者となりました。海外の諸教会にも参加を呼び掛けたいと思います。


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