latest edition of the NSKK Newsletter
December 29, 2008
[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan] Items featured in this issue:
* The 57th Regular General Synod of Nippon Sei Ko Kai
* Message from Rev. John Makito Aizawa General Secretary The Provincial Office of Nippon Sei Ko Kai
* The Joint Service of NSKK and Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church
* New Bishops
The 57th Regular General Synod of Nippon Sei Ko Kai
The 57th Regular General Synod of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) was held from 27th to 29th May 2008.
Recently, there have been several issues which have arisen in the Anglican Communion, not only in Japan but worldwide. As chairperson of the Synod, I mentioned in my opening address, that the NSKK has been dealing with these issues, and also how the NSKK should take action. The following is a summary of the proposed actions:
- The severe crisis of a split in the Anglican Communion is being felt. “Homosexuality” is not the only cause of this crisis. At present, secularism and globalization are rapidly infiltrating into people’s minds, causing radical changes in people’s sense of values, which are very different to conventional ideas of values. These are considered to be the root of the present confusion. All of us should realize that the present situation is one of the unsettling factors that goes with church mission. We will have to take into consideration the confusion which the current church mission will encounter.
- In order to overcome the present confusion in the Anglican Communion, the Communion is groping for the “Anglican Covenant”, that is, a covenant which covers all the Anglican Churches in the world. However, the House of Bishops of the NSKK does not necessarily agree to this proposal.
- The Anglican Church of Korea (ACK), our next door neighbor, has pronounced “the Peaceful Unification of South-North Korean Peninsula” as a mission of the first priority. For the past several years, NSKK has cooperated with this movement, and will actively continue to coordinate with the ACK movement.
- There are at present 11 dioceses in the NSKK. According to the report from the Committee for Reorganization of the NSKK Diocesan System, each diocese has a different environmental and internal situation, in particular, there are distinctive differences in ministers’ salaries, which have hindered the mission work of the NSKK. We have to take this situation into consideration. On the other hand, as there are specific regional factors in this country, there is a possibility that the existence of the current 11 dioceses may further contribute to activate the church mission and pastoral works of the NSKK.
- In the year 2009, NSKK will celebrate the 150th Anniversary of the NSKK (The Anglican Church in Japan). It is an absolute necessity that the NSKK should establish a positive mission project in order to cope with a time when all values are changing.
At the Synod, the expectations for the NSKK’s mission work for the forthcoming 150th Anniversary was enthusiastically discussed. During the discussion, several important points were raised, that is, the House of Bishops should have strong leadership, and that Mission Councils should be organized, including outspoken voices from the members of the churches in the different areas. While listening to the discussions, we were fully convinced that the active body of the mission should include bishops, priests, lay members and all the churches, that is, the whole NSKK itself. In other words, everyone belonging to the NSKK organization should realize and strive for the mission work, as his/her own responsibility.
NSKK is a small organization, which can be compared to a ship pulling out to sea. NSKK is proceeding through raging waves. In the Bible, God often orders “Go forward!”: Following God’s word, Abraham, Moses and the astrologists from the East went forward according to the directions God had ordered, without hesitating, and despite several hardships. As a result, they finally achieved blessings from God.
In the present NSKK Synod, we have had a similar experience. We all know there are a number of anxieties, problems and concerns, and sometimes we have encountered mutual distrust or renunciation during discussions. It is, however, necessary to recognize that we have to go through these hardships to move forward to the final goal. We all trust in God who will lead us on the right road to his final blessings. So we have made the first step toward a new stage of the NSKK’s Synod.
Message from Rev. John Makito Aizawa General Secretary The Provincial Office of Nippon Sei Ko Kai
I was nominated as the Secretary General of the Provincial Office at the NSKK General Synod held this May and have arrived at my post. Not much time has passed since I started my work, but I am thinking about the whole congregation and the churches in Japan. I hope to find a way to practice in which each individual church and each diocese can be full of vigor and serve the one mission of NSKK. I have to think about what we, as the Provincial office, can do.
At the same time, I am also thinking about the work for the overseas churches. As a Secretary General I hope to be able to work more with overseas churches in the future. But for now I will report on the present state of the NSKK.
The greatest issue for NSKK now is the 150th Anniversary Celebration of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (The Anglican Church in Japan) in 2009. The date planned for the 150th Anniversary is September 23, 2009. The Implementation Committee for it has started its work, and all members are getting ready for the celebration.
A resolution was adopted to hold a meeting of [Partners in Mission Consultation in NSKK] for the purpose of drawing out the future vision of missionary work.
Therefore, in 2010 a preliminary meeting of Partners in Mission Consultation will be held to identify tasks for missionary work. In 2012, we hope to show the direction of NSKK missionary work at the Partners in Mission Consultation Conference.
Two projects have been set up to enable the body of the Partners in Mission of NSKK to function more effectively. The first one is the [Inter Diocesan Liaison] project. The theme of this project is to form blocks of dioceses, of which there are 11 at present. The project will be continued over 4 years to activate missionary work in the NSKK. Another task is contact and coordination between dioceses as well as collecting information, and attending to public relations.
The second project is the [Provincial Clergy Compensation Parity Task Force]. This project concerns the disparity in clergy’s pay between dioceses. Their task is to make out a standard chart of pay and research to build up the pay support system. These improvements will make it easier when there are personnel exchanges between dioceses.
There are other resolutions from the General Synod. To put these resolutions into practice, one by one, I would like to work together with, and support all the staff of the Provincial Office.
Now we are in a new Synod Period, we hope to keep working for our church missions throughout the NSKK.
The Joint Service of NSKK and Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church
The joint service of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) and the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church (JELC) was held at the NSKK St. Andrews Church in Tokyo diocese on Whitsunday, at 3 p.m., on May 11th.
The joint service was planned to commemorate the publication of the miscellany of dialogues and documents “Called to Common Mission – Dialogues and Visions of NSKK and the Lutheran Church.”
In Japan, the churches are not in a state of full-communion service as in the United States. But following the principles of Eucharistic Hospitality, that was included in the book “Called to Common Mission” as the proposal for collaboration of both churches, the joint worship service was realized by the NSKK inviting Lutheran members.
A NSKK bishop presided over the service and the sermon was given by Lutheran pastor, the Rev. Yoshikazu Tokuzen. The NSKK prayer book was basically adopted as the order of service but in some places the Lutheran order of service and music, such as the anthem, hymns and The Confession were adopted.
Through this experiment, we realized a new style of Eucharistic harmony could be created each bringing their traditional treasures. The utmost accomplishment of this experiment for me was that this joint service was held in Holy Communion.
We were so happy to have the Rev. Tokuzen as a preacher on this occasion. He was most suitable. Through St. Paul’s letter to the Colossians, which was read as the Second Reading, those in attendance of the service, were able to recognize God’s grandiose plan of redemption. Also this worship service reminded us of the great many things we discussed at the working process on the translation of the Porvoo Common Statement (Document of the conversations between British and Irish Anglican Churches and Nordic and Baltic Lutheran churches).
Collaborative activities between NSKK and Lutheran Churches will progress more and more on the local level. We hope they will make the most of this order of service for joint worship services as the starting point of the collaborative activities of both churches.
It is our great joy to report the ordination of two new bishops.
The Rt. Revd Lawrence Yutaka Minabe was ordained as the 11th Bishop of Yokohama Diocese, Nippon Sei Ko Kai (Anglican Church in Japan), and installed on June 20th 2008
The Rt. Revd Samuel Osamu Ohnishi was ordained and installed as the 7th Bishop of Osaka Diocese, Nippon Sei Ko Kai, on September 20th 2008.
Members of the English Version of NSKK Newsletter, December 2008 are: as follows:
Ms. Kazuko Takeda, Ms Michiko Kikawada, Ms Toshiko Yoshimura, Ms. Yasuko Date, Ms. Claire L. Gelder
Editor-in-Chief: Hajime Suzuki