October 1, 2010
[The Nippon Sei Ko Kai - Japan]
Opening Speech by the Most. Rev. Nathaniel Uematsu, Primate and Chairperson of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) General Synod in 2010
Mission and challenges to be encountered by NSKK
The 58th General Synod of Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) was held from 25th to 27th May 2010 at St. Barnabas Church, Ushigome in the Tokyo Diocese. In the opening address I recollected several issues, both in and external that would be considered important which we have confronted during the two-year period from the 57th to the 58th General Synod, and commented on our approach and standpoint.
(1) It is strongly felt that the disorder in the Anglican Communion has increased. The dangerous possibility of a split in the Anglican Communion continues to deepen. During the two-year period from the 2008 to the 2010 General Synod, several important conferences took place, including the Primates Meetings, Lambeth Conference, and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) where requests and recommendations for solving the issue were made and Archbishop of Canterbury has repeatedly given appeals and requests to address the problems. In spite of the recommendations and appeals the Episcopalian Church of the USA (TEC) and Anglican Church of Canada (ACC) have proceeded with the ordination of a homosexual Bishop and recognizing the 'marriage' (union) of same sex couples, further complicating the situation and resulting in some provinces threatening to sever relations with both the TEC and the ACC, while other provinces have expressed their intention of establishing a separate "Province". These unfavorable movements have created the situation where a number of provinces, dioceses and churches are unsure of where they stand dangerously affecting their identity within the Anglican Communion. Furthermore, certain movement has occurred that may create a new Anglican Communion which excludes the TEC and the ACC even going as far to say they may even exclude the Archbishop of Canterbury…
(2) The Anglican Covenant was presented in the previous General Synod. This Covenant was first proposed as a measure to resolve the confusion as per the above. The Covenant provides that all the provinces of the Anglican Communion would be ruled by this one agreement. One of the major characteristics of the Anglican Communion has been that in its long history the richness of diversity has been widely appreciated. Within NSKK the House of Bishops and Theological and Doctrine Committee have expressed their opinion that such a Covenant should not be necessary, as it provides restrictions and exclusions. However given the present situation of confusion and disagreement among the Anglican Communion, the expectation of the Anglican Covenant is increasing and NSKK needs to consider its suitability.
(3) Mission-in-Partners with Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK) and the Anglican Church of Korea (ACK): During the current two-year period from the 57th to the 58th General Synods, mission-in-partners of NSKK and ACK has already produced results. At the Lambeth Conference in 2008, the NSKK-ACK Cooperative Mission work on peace in the North East Asia received attention. Given the current state of the Anglican Communion worldwide, two countries who were once enemies joining hands and working together for reconciliation and peace impressed the participants. In addition given the present storage of ministers in NSKK, 18 collaborate missionaries from ACK have been sent to NSKK and are engaged in pastoral mission work within eight dioceses in Japan. Youth exchange between Japan and Korea as well as study on social mission work are also being maintained.
(4) Last year, NSKK celebrated its 150th Anniversary of the Mission in Japan. At the Anniversary Eucharist we invited the Archbishop of Canterbury, the Most Rev. Rowan Williams to preach and more than 3,000 people attended the service including more than 150 people from the Anglican Church of Korea. We need to continue to consider the theme "Put out into the Deep". Now, as a Christian, in addition as clergy and laity of the Anglican Communion we need to consciously ask ourselves what this means.
Reports and updates including the above-mentioned issues were presented at the present General Synod. I would like to specifically mention that Working Committee for the Second Anglican Community Peace Conference, to be held in Okinawa in June 2011, has been established (the first Conference took place in Paju, Korea in November 2007). It is anticipated that for this global Conference, not only NSKK and ACK but also Anglican/Episcopal members from China, Taiwan, Philippines and USA will also be participating. It is necessary that this International Conference be held in tight cooperation between NSKK and ACK.
As I mentioned above, we should sincerely be considering the meaning of the theme "Put out into the Deep", and as a consequence it has been decided that NSKK will hold an NSKK Mission Consultation in August 2012 taking grass-root concerns into consideration. In this regard as we prepare I believe the NSKK Mission Consultation is a provincial project, but it must be noted the Consultation should not be just a social get-together, but every member of NSKK, both clergy and laity, should be considering what being a Christian means in addition to what does it means to the clergy and laity of NSKK. Without our conscious consideration to the situation, the resolutions proposed by the Mission Consultation may be deemed irresponsible from a bystander's perspective. Everyone needs to be responsible for the future mission work for NSKK.
There was also one very important resolution proposed at the Synod, which is liable to be overlooked, and was for the establishment of a Sunday to pray for a better environment. Environmental preservation has been taken into consideration even at the Lambeth Conference and Anglican Consultative Council (ACC) as a matter the Church should take into consideration. Environmental preservation is deeply related to world peace or human rights issues. I sincerely hope we can direct our attention to this matter in our Church life.
While we are confronting a number of problems and trials at present, we have to listen carefully to the voice of our Lord "Put out into the Deep". We earnestly believe in the presence of our Lord Jesus at our fishing place and believe a bountiful catch will be given to us. In anticipation of this bountiful catch I believe we need to take a new step forward.
On the establishment of The Fund for Educational Activities of Peace in Missions.
To encourage young generation to realize peace
Rev. John Makito Aizawa
Provincial Office of Nippon Sei Ko Kai
The 58th General Synod is over and Nippon Sei Ko Kai entered into the new synod year. Various church activities and works of NSKK have begun. This does not mean the total renewal of the activities but the positive continuation of the past and the promotion of the new tasks for the future. One task I would like to share is the establishment of 'The Fund for Educational Acitivities of Peace in Missions' in the Province. To make good use of the Fund I would like to share the following.
An intellect said, 'One who cannot remember the past will be destined to repeat the past again.' In other words, the saying will be able to be abbreviated to 'history will be repeated'. Jesus said, "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called the sons of God". (Mathew 5:9) and as we practice Jesus' teachings, the intellect's words take on a greater meaning.
Japan has an extraordinary past and remembering this is something we can do. Okinawa, Hiroshima and Nagasaki. There are also many other past events around the country associated with the lack of peace we should remember. Confronting these realities and looking at what they tell us is an important exercise to undertake.
With this in mind I hope Junior and high school students and others of their generation visit these sites experience them by themselves. I hope for them to be peacemakers Jesus requested of us both now and in the future. With this as our hope, the establishment of the fund was proposed to the General Synod and approved.
I participated in the programme 'Journey to Okinawa in Okinawa Week' in June 2010. This was my 3rd participation in this programme. Each time I visit Okinawa I feel privileged to visit the site of the historic battlefields. Seeing them helps me realize what Okinawa is trying to tell us and I am overwhelmed by the weight of the message being conveyed and again physically feel the tension.
There is a book Matin Brun (Brown Morning) by Franck Pavloff. It is a fable telling us everything turns brown when people think there will be no other way without pursuing other ways, or when realise something unusual is happening but do question what it is and let it go. Other colours fade away. The book was published in France, and for the French brown symbolises the Nazis. This association further spreads into Nazism, Fascism and Totalitarianism. The force that changes everything brown sneaks up on people without them knowing. By the time people are aware of the situation it is too late.
When intending to realise peace, and consequently realising the Kingdom of God, it is important to understand the message of this book.
I would like to ask all junior and senior high school students and others of the same generation to obtain valuable experiences remembering the past and consequently making good use of this Fund. Furthermore, I would like to ask those who are around them to recommend this programme. Let us too join in the project to realize peace as Jesus Christ has taught us.
Rules for The Fund for Educational Activities of Peace in Missions.
Article 1. Naming
This fund is called The Fund for Educational Activities of Peace in Missions.
Article 2. Objective
To promote and support junior and senior high school students or others of the same generation who are the members of NSKK to apply to 'the fund of educational activities of peace in missions.
Article 3. Qualifications
Persons who will be able to apply are Junior or senior high school students or others of the same generation who are members or incumbents of NSKK and recommended by any clergymen or diocese.
As necessary an attendant will be provided.
Article 4. Application procedures.
Applicants need to submit an application, including an estimation of the money required, to the General Secretary NSKK. The applications will be decided at Secretary's Meeting.
Article 7. Enactment.
These rules will be enacted from the end of the 58th General Synod 2010.
(Apply in person for the further information.)
Short reflection on my visit to Hiroshima
The Most Reverend Roger Herft
Archbishop of Perth, Australia
"It was important for my first journey to Japan to make a journey to Hiroshima. The welcome and hospitality offered to me by Augustine Kobayashi and the family was overwhelming.
In the midst of this vibrant, modern city is a sensitively constructed reminder of what took place on 6 August 1945 at 8.15am. As I entered Peace Park and the museum there were hundreds of primary school children engaged in study tours. I was disturbed and distracted by the shrieks of excitement that accompanied their conversation – after all I wanted to be quiet to take in the agony and anguish of those who had been vaporized by the atomic blast – and then it hit me – this is how it was on that morning. Men and women travelling to work, children in school or on their way neatly dressed in their uniforms, lunch boxes intact, all of them engaged in the animated conversation of the innocent - and then in a moment the promise of life with its potential snuffed out in the name of peace?
A drone of a plane, a dazzling light and radiated destruction – flesh melted as its heat spread, unfathomable mayhem and death over several miles – its mushroom cloud and the disastrous effects of its malignant power evident in children born to this day.
My reaction was one of inner silence, tears and the wrenching of emotions, profound sadness and burning anger. I was reminded of St Augustine's words "Faith has twin daughters. Anger at the way the world is – humanities sin – and Hope that in Christ there is the assurance that the world can be different".
I prayed for the victims of war and the many wounds that remain. I prayed for those whose memory is imprisoned in the hatred that generated such atrocities. Such calculated violence takes a great deal to be healed and transformed.
On my return to Australia I preached on my experience in Hiroshima. The reaction from many in the congregation shocked me. I had touched a nerve that remained as raw as ever. People angrily retold stories of the war. In the midst of the emotions was an understandable desire to justify the actions of a highly civilized, sophisticated, scientific group of nations saw the dropping of the atomic bomb as the only way to end the war.
I was left with the thought that the war has not ended. There are no winners, all of us are losers - human beings scarred and who bequeath their wounds on generations to come.
On 6 August the Anglican Church, the Church of the Advent, in Hiroshima was, with the rest of thousands of people and the buildings around it, crushed into rubble. When the church was rebuilt it was renamed The Church of the Resurrection. Expectation of a forgiven world where enemies have become friends and who live out that transformation in hope. The NSKK keeps this fervent hope before the Anglican Communion and the world.
It may be that the world has lost the sense of anger that things are not the way God created it to be. So we settle for complacency and compromise rather than take serious the call to the peace we pray for in the world."
Cleanup and Maintenance of Foreigners' Graves in Aoyama Cemetery, Tokyo
The Following was written in The 58th General Synod as a report by the NSKK Secretary Administration and was detailed in the general report and included on the agenda.
"Continuation and management of Foreign graves in Aoyama Cemetery"
Generally the maintenance of graves within Tokyo Metropolitan Cemeteries is restricted to the family and relatives of those buried in the cemeteries. However, the graves of foreigners in the Aoyama Cemetery was designated as a historically important by Tokyo the Metropolitan Government and hence corporations with close connections to the cemetery and recognized in society are allowed to be involved in the maintenance. On December 20, 2006 NSKK, as a Religious body, obtained permission to maintain 8 graves in the Aoyama Cemetery from the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. Those graves are under the names of the late Bishops, Rt, Revd. McKim, Rt. Revd. Partridge, Rt. Revd. Hamilton and others.
In February 2010, the Administration office of the Cemetery notified us that one of the graves NSKK maintains was in poor condition and in need of restoration because of leaning headstones.
In March we restored and maintained the headstones and the expense was 200,000 yen. Seven other headstones were also in need of maintenance. Since the Administration Office of USA Episcopal Church Oversea Department closed in 1972, the NSKK Provincial Office assumed the responsibility and therefore paid the maintenance fee for the cemetery.
On April 4, 2007, the Opening Ceremony of the Monument to honor late foreigners in Aoyama Cemetery was held. From NSKK the following people attended the ceremony: Mr. Teiichiro Isayama from the Historical Documents Committee, the Rev Maeda from the Tokyo Diocese Historical Documents Committee, and me, Ryuichi Sakata, Secretary of Administration for the NSKK Provincial Office.
In Aoyama Cemetery, next to the graves managed by NSKK, is the grave of Dr. Arthur Lloyd the late President of St. Paul's (Rikkyo) School. Also in the cemetery of St. Andrew's Church, is the grave of the Rev Alexander Shaw an SPG missionary and in the neighboring areas there are more graves. All are well known people who greatly influenced the modernization of Japan.
In February 2010 we received notice indicating the need to restore leaning headstones. The General Secretary and I conducted an inspection of the cemetery. Although NSKK had paid administrative expense for many decades, the cemetery has been left in the state of ruin. The General Secretary after conducting the inspection recommended cleaning the area with staff from the Provincial office. This was done in May 2010. Eight members of NSKK including the General Secretary, myself the Secretary of Administration and other staff got together at 9:30 and spent 3 hours weeding the area of 8 graves. Upon completion of the tidy-up we conducted a worship service at the area in front of the grave of the Rt. Rev McKim. The celebrant was the Rev Aizawa, General Secretary of NSKK. Following the service we enjoyed a relaxing lunch together. The entire experience was gratifying and a meaningful way to start the next period after the Synod.
(Ryuichi Sakata, Secretary of Administration)
Brothers and Sisters in Christ, Message for Peace on August 15, 2010
The Most Rev Nathanael Makoto Uematsu, Primate of NSKK and Bishop of Hokkaido
The Rt. Rev David Shoji Tani, Chairman of the Peace and Justice Committee, NSKK and Bishop of Okinawa
August 15 is the day when Japan was defeated in WWII. Every one of us should, through our own faith in our Lord, reflect upon the errors Japan committed in the past and pray for peace in the world asking for the courage and power to do what we can do ourselves.
This year sees the 100th anniversary of Japan's forced annexation of what was then known as the Korean Empire. The Annexation of Korea Treaty, signed on the 22 August, 1910 and issued on the 29th of the same month, stipulated that Korea should be Japan's colony, thus making it possible for Japan to incorporate Korea into the so-called Great Imperial Japan and rule over the peninsula. In reality 40 years prior to the conclusion of the treaty, the Meiji Government had planned to put the Korean peninsula under its control as Japan considered Korea a requirement (lifeline) for it's advancement onto the Asian continent. After the Sino-Japanese War (1894-95) and the Russo-Japanese War (1904-5), both of which were waged over the control of the peninsula, the Annexation of Korea Treaty was signed under Japanese military pressure. We must look back afresh upon the past history of Japan before and after the treaty, through which it violently and thoroughly oppressed the fierce protest, struggle and movement for independence in Korea by slaughtering many people, making the Korean people "the Emperor's subjects", renaming them in Japanese, and forcing them to pay homage to Shintoist shrines. Thus, we must sincerely regret and repent for the humiliation; loss and despair Japan inflicted upon the Korean people, and make a fresh pledge never again commit such a gross error.
At the same time, we must request the current Japanese government to resolve at the Diet session to put into practice the reparation and compensation to those who suffered under Japanese colonial rule, particularly to the soldiers drafted into the Japanese army, to the civilian employees in the army, to the forced laborers brought to work in Japan, to the sex-slaves for the Japanese army (comfort women), as well as the Korean residents in Japan who discriminatively have been called "the third nation", and deprived of the freedom of selecting their own nationality. To date no reparation or compensation has been made to those people. We consider this as a most serious problem that Japan needs to solve immediately. Only when this problem has been solved, can we create a community, hoping for peace in Asia in solidarity with the Asian peoples for the future. Considering one of the greatest consequences of the Japanese colonial rule is the division of Korean peninsula, we must also hope for and help realize the reconciliation and peaceful reunification of the two Koreas in spite of all the difficulties.
The 46th regular General Synod of NSKK in 1996 adopted the "Declaration on the War Responsibility of NSKK", and in the "Pastoral Letter of the House of Bishops on the 150th Anniversary of the Nippon Sei Ko Kai" issued last year, we admitted that "Japan engaged in armed conflict and undertook a program of occupying and colonizing neighboring Asian countries. The church, lacking a clear understanding of the Christian faith and the Gospel, at that time proved unable to speak out against these events." At the same time, the pastoral letter said, "We especially felt called to repent and seek reconciliation and deeper engagement with our neighbors in countries throughout Asia who had first suffered under Japanese occupation and colonization, and then been made subject to economic control under Japan's post-war development. We were especially blessed by our fellow Anglicans in the Anglican Church of Korea (ACK), who opened their hearts to us even before Japan had come to terms with and apologized for its role in the colonization of the Korean peninsula. As brothers and sisters sharing the same faith, even as the ACK drew our attention to the inadequacies and errors of Japan's historical awareness, they also opened the door to exchanges between individuals, churches, dioceses, and at the provincial level." We express our gratitude once again for the fact that this communion with our Lord supports our understanding of history and provides the conditions for improved relations.
The resurrected Jesus, our Lord, stood among the scared disciples, first saying to them, "Peace be with you." We cannot deny that there is a very strong affirmation of violence working in the depth of human minds. The affirmation of violence is based on the fear of death and the defense of one's own life. Jesus, our Lord, took all human violence on his shoulders. He died on the cross, and was buried, and opened up the way for a new life of human beings – a resurrected life. He leads us to the joy of living a life in which we need no violence, and need not fear death. The way for this resurrected life, new eternal life, was opened by the Holy Spirit for all nations and peoples. The path to peace is provided exactly in this encounter with the resurrected Jesus, our Lord. Let us go faithfully along the "way for peace in our Lord," critically looking at our history.
Members of the English Version of NSKK Newsletter, October 2010 are: as follows:
Ms. Kazuko Takeda, Ms Toshiko Yoshimura, Ms. Yasuko Date, Rev. Akira Iwaki, Ms. Suzanne Cooper,
Editor-in-Chief: Hajime Suzuki