Introduced to Effects of Prejudice at a Youth Camp in India

by Shimada Naomi

Kwansei Gakuin University, Theology Department


I enrolled in the youth camp that was sponsored by CSI and held Nov. 12-17, 2012 in Chennai (Madras), India. The camp was international and ecumenical, with 85 participants from Nigeria, Scotland, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Japan, and all over the India.


The title of this camp was FEST-ZOE, which means “celebration of life,” and so Indians, who love to dance and sing, were singing and dancing all throughout this camp. There was a campfire on the last night, but for some reason, it actually started from 8 p.m. inside the room. We just sang and danced to loud music. Finally, we went outside at 1 a.m. and had the campfire until 3 a.m. People asked me, “What did you do at the camp?” I said, “Just danced and sang.” It was like being in Bollywood.*


Of course, we did not only dance and sing. There were sessions about globalization, youth culture, mission, and leadership. What really left an impression on me was the discussion about the influences of the caste system on Christianity and women’s rights. Although 80 percent of Christians are Dalits (untouchable), many churches refuse Dalit pastors. Even though they are Christians, they are only allowed to marry people of the same caste. If a person likes someone who is Dalit and wants to get married, the parents and society will never allow their marriage. I asked young people, “If your child wants to marry a Dalit, will you agree with that?” They replied that they would.


Thus, it seems that with the change in generations, along with the change in society, this issue is being resolved. When it came to the issue of women’s rights, I was very shocked and even had tears in my eyes. In Hinduism, women who are menstruating are not allowed to enter a temple. Even in some Christian churches, while they are allowed into the church for Sunday services, they are not allowed to participate in communion. Likewise, in recent years, while women are being accepted for ordination, I heard that they are sometimes not allowed to officiate at a communion service.


In my daily life, I just live, go to church, and go to school, normally. However, I learned that my normal life is not normal for other people. Also, I learned that we are all equal in God’s sight, but there are lots of unequal things in Christian society.


*”Bollywood,” a portmanteau word derived from Bombay (the former name for Mumbai) and Hollywood (the center of the American film industry), has become the informal term popularly used for the Hindi-language film industry based in Mumbai in Maharashtra, India. The term is often incorrectly used to refer to the whole of Indian cinema.


 報告者 加藤 誠


 2013年2月19日~25日の間、南インド合同教会(以下Church of South India)の招きにより、日本基督教団より世界宣教委員会委員長の秋山徹牧師と大三島義孝宣教委員会幹事及び 加藤 誠世界宣教幹事がチェンナイにあるCSI本部を訪れた。目的は共に合同教会である両教団の理解を深め、人事交流を含め、どのよう な宣 教の分野で協力できるかを協議するためであった。20日(火)朝の礼拝からプログラムが始まった。秋山徹牧師が説教を担当した。靴を脱ぎ、カーペットに 座って 礼拝を守った。本部の中の各部署を案内していただいた後、午後から第一回目の協議が始まった。CSIからは教団総会議長(Moderator & Bishop)であるRev. Dr. G. Devakadashamビショップを始めとして副議長(Deputy Moderator)、総幹事General Secretary)、財務責任者(Hon’ Treasurer)と4人のディレクターと婦人会担当幹事(General Secretary, Women’s Fellowship)が出席した。最初それぞれの教団の歴史を紹介し、具体的な分野での協議に入った。 CSI側からは、豊かな人的資源(信徒数400万)、活発な宣教活動(国内信徒宣教師2000人)を背景に、短期間であっても共に伝道活動をすることや、ミッションスクールに教師を派遣すること が提 案された。農業指導者や社会福祉、特に高齢者のケアーについての専門家を派遣して欲しいという要望がなされた。教団からは将来インド の青年を含めた国際会議の開催を日本で開催したいこと。牧師、青年、教育主事等の交換プログラムを企画し、相互交流に力を入れた い事 等が提案された。21日の午後まで会議は続き、相互の教会創立記念日を互いに覚えて祈ることが約束された。

 22日からはナマカルに向けて小旅行をした。途中ベルーアではCSIの農業センターを訪問し、あきたこまちに今年はトライすることを知った。ナマカルは人口170000に対し14000人がHIVポジティブである。 CSIは センターを設置して(HIV/AIDS CSI Profect Namakkal in Coimbatore Diocese)支援している。24日は二つの教会の礼拝に参加した。 日本 では考えられない音量の讃美に少々圧倒された。

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