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History/Testimonies 日米合同教会の歴史/証

History/Testimonies 日米合同教会の歴史/証

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

100th Anniversary of JAUC in 1994
1994年100周年記念 - 三教会合同と新しい教会堂探索

By Fujio Saito


The U.S. Census figures for the year 1890 show that there were 2,039 Japanese in the United States. Most of the immigrants remained in the West working mainly on farms and for the railroads. The young men who came to New York were hired at the Brooklyn Navy Yard to serve as cooks, stewards and kitchen workers on American battleships. In his autobiography, The Shinning Stars, Dr. Toyohiko Takami, a prominent pioneer Issei leader in the New York Japanese community, states that at the age of 17 he was appointed as chief cook on the U.S.S. Vermont. At that time there were 400 to 500 seamen in the area. When not at sea they lived in boarding houses run for the Japanese residents. Dr. Takami describes the seamen as a rough, heavy drinking lot. There was much quarreling and many fights between the drunken men. "It was certainly not a very encouraging environment."

In 1893 a young Japanese evangelist by the name of Kinya Okajima came to Brooklyn by walking across America from Portland, Oregon because he felt that it was his mission to preach the Gospel to the Japanese in New York and because he did not have the train fare. Dr. Takami writes about their meeting and that eventually Mr. Okajima started the first Japanese mission in New York in 1893 on the second floor of a house on Sands Street. Later the mission moved to 17 Concord Street and was known as the Concord Mission. In 1901 the Japanese Methodist Church was established in Brooklyn with $125 support from the New York Methodist City Society. In 1902 the Concord Mission merged with the Methodist Church and in 1920 moved to its home at 323 West 108 Street in Manhattan.

In 1897 Rev. Yoshisuek Hirose from Chicago established a boarding house at 52 Prospect Street in Brooklyn near the Navy Yard where he conducted Sunday services and Bible studies for the Japanese in the area. In time the Navy Yard stopped hiring Japanese and many moved to Manhattan to work in American households. Thus in 1899, Rev. Hirose moved the mission to 105 East 54 Street in Manhattan. Then in 1901 the mission moved to 330 East 57 Street due to increase in the number of boarders and it was named the Japanese Mission. In 1912, Rev. Hirose returned to Japan and the mission was left without a minister. At that time through the efforts of Rev. Earnest Atsushi Ohori, who had founded the Shudokai (Japanese Christian Association) in 1909 with the support of the Women's Board of Domestic Missions of the Reformed Church in America, encouraged the Women's Board to support Rev. Sojiro Shimizu, a recent graduate of McCormic Theological Seminary who was on his way to Scotland, as the minister for Japanese Mission. He was hired for one year but continued to serve for 35 years when he retired in 1948. In 1916 the Japanese Mission became officially the Japanese Christian Institute.

As described above, the Japanese Christian Association was formed in 1909 with the Rev. E.A. Ohori as the first minister. In the beginning the congregation met at the Bible Teachers Training School for Sunday services at Lexington Avenue and 49th Street and later in a room of the Harlem Reformed Church at 103 West 123rd Street. In 1927 the Church purchased the two buildings at 453 and 455 West 143rd Street. In 1929 Rev. Giichi Kawamata was appointed as assistant minister and succeeded Rev. Ohori who passed away in 1931. Upon the retirement of Rev. Shimizu, the two Reformed missions merged to become the Japanese American Church of Christ (Reformed).

In 1924 the Japanese Exclusion Act was passed and no further immigration was permitted from Japan. As a result the Japanese community in New York was stabilized. The immigrant parents established families, so that at the time of the outbreak of World War II the three mission churches were adequate to meet the needs of the community. However, on the West Coast the government uprooted all Japanese, citizens and non-citizens, from their homes and corraled them into ten Relocation Centers, a total of 110,000. In time the government allowed the internees to move out of the camps eastwards away from the West Coast. Many of the evacuees came to New York. In order to meet the needs of the newcomers it became apparent that the three small mission churches should merge and pool their resources to accommodate the enlarged congregations. Thus, in 1953 the three mission churches merged to become the Japanese American United Church. The three brownstone mission/dormitory churches were sold and in 1970 the United Church moved into its current building at 255 Seventh Avenue.

In 1952 the Walter-McCarran Immigration and Naturalization Act was passed which ended the Japanese Exclusion Act of 1924. It also gave citizenship rights to the Isseis for the first time. Although the immigration quota for Japan was only 185, it allowed the Japanese to immigrate to the U.S. again. Although most of the pioneer immigrants (Isseis) are gone, today the cycle continues and the United Church, a bilingual Church, continues to bring the Gospel to the newly arrived Japanese-speaking participants.

 

We worked in the beginnings to gather strength to seek Redress and sweet justice. We commemorated the signing of Executive Order 9066 through programs where we could reclaim dignity, shed tears and tell our stories. There has been a joy in coming together annually to see old friends, make new relationships and reaffirm our ties to our unique and rich cultural heritage.

As the Redress movement has begun to resolve itself (though there is still work until all the injustices are redressed), the Day of Remembrance Committee moved to honor our own cultural heroes in our programs, passing on legacy and history to the younger generation. We are involved in oral history projects, creating permanent documentation of our New York Nikkei history through programs honoring different people and groups such as artists, journalists and long time activists in our community.

Today, on behalf of the Japanese American Community, The Day of Remembrance Committee gives heartfelt appreciation to the WWII Veterans. We honor you for your humanity, your personal sacrifice, and courage. We respectfully pay homage to your fallen comrades, and salute your service and valiant testament of character of behalf of your families and your community.

      
ディー・オブ・レメンバランス(Day of Remembrance) 
2000年3月4日(土曜日)JAUCにてディー・オブ・レメンバランス「追憶の日」の団体が集会をもちました。 1980年から続けられているこの集会は第二次世界大戦で日系人が受けた体験を次世代の人々に伝えるためのものです。 今年は、その収容所での生活を、一世、二世の女性が家族のバックボーンとなり支えてこられたことに焦点をあて、 その方々に敬意を表す集まりとなり、この団体の訴えに耳を傾けるよい機会になりました。

These are the salty flavors of my life, what I was weaned on, what my mother was raised on, and her mother before her. When I eat otsukemono with rice, I hear the stairs creaking, as Grandma goes down into the basement to find a jar of homemade otsukemono, the brown kind. Years ago, her mother used go down to her basement to get otsukemono, which she kept in a bucket of kasu. She'd pull it out of the salty mud each time she needed to slice some.

They were salty women, my grandma and great-grandma, raising families in a poor farming town in California. They were like many other nisei and issei women, who endured with their families a time when this country betrayed and imprisoned them. Deep within, they had the spirit to survive, a kind of saltiness that enables a person to suffer with dignity, to have patience, or to fight for justice.

The stories of women of the camps have been rarely told. Volumes have been written about the internment of Japanese Americans, but almost exclusively from the perspective of men - military men determining military necessity, men being detained by FBI, men volunteering for the MIS/442/100th Battalion. What happened to the other half of the people who experienced the camp years? Why aren't the stories of women remembered, recorded, and retold? Who are the women of the camps?

Issei women came to America, first at the turn of the century, then in larger numbers from 1915 to 1920. Most were picture brides, strangers to their husbands and strangers to this country, but full of hopes for a new life. The majority were disappointed. Most ended up sacrificing their own aspirations and labored to give everything to their children. From dawn to dusk, they worked the land, washed clothes, sold vegetables, and raised children, eking out a living. Over time, the issei women became as salty as their sweat and tears.

Some say that issei women survived by clinging to the ways of the old country, accepting the Japanese understanding of women's lot in life. For instance, many lived by the belief, Shi Kata Ganai (it cannot be helped). Such values may have helped issei women cope with the rampant racism against Japanese in this country before World War II. Though their marriages weren' t what they dreamed they would be, the unions did satisfy the issei woman's understanding of her role in society. And what they did not and could not achieve, they hoped their daughters would.

Nisei women were born with salt in their blood - born an American citizen entitled to this country's rights and opportunities, yet faced with hatred and humiliation because of her race, something that confronted her at school, at play, and at work. In addition, she inherited the sexism of two cultures, deeply entrenched in both traditional Japanese society and in America. She would expect more of her spouse than her mother. She would also expect a good education and a good job.

Nisei women were bridges between the traditional culture and the new. They understood both languages and the underlying assumptions of both cultures. They would pass on some valuable features of Japanese culture to their children, while struggling themselves to become fully Americanized.

When they and their families were imprisoned in concentration camps, issei and nisei women were torn from homes, schools, and loved ones. Husbands and fathers being taken away for questioning. Sons and brothers being sent oversees to fight for their country, many of whom would not return. Sometimes, it was the women who held their families and the community together, struggling to make life in camp as normal as possible. Some women volunteered for the armed services.

Years later, many women of the camps would overcome numerous obstacles of racism and sexism, becoming successful professionals, mothers, and leaders in the community. Some led the fight for Redress and other struggles for justice. Many women came forward and gave powerful testimony during the Redress hearings. Now in their 60s, 70s and 80s, many continue to educate students and community groups about the internment of Japanese Americans.

Women of the camps are the salt of the earth, unassuming yet as essential to us air and water. Many have gone, but those who are living have merely become saltier with age. It is strength and wisdom earned by hardship, that only they as women of the camps endured.

A couple months ago when Fred Tsutagawa lifted up a communal prayer regarding his yet-to-be Christian family, I immediately felt that this would be a new beginning for the congregation to begin the conversation on this issue that is common among the members who come from Japan, where the Christian population has been less than 1%. Some have shared, in pastoral meetings the challenges, struggles, and even agonies with their families’ different faith traditions. At about the same time, a long-time communal member passed away unexpectedly. She left us while remaining unbaptized. When I had a few separate conversations with her regarding her faith before her health declined, she believed that she was “unable” to be baptized due to her duty to protect her family gravesite in Japan where her parents rest. I asked Fred to share his testimony on this issue with us, which he did during a Sunday worship Service last month.                                                                       (P.K.T.)   

 

Fred Tsutagawa

With the death of our beloved sister last month, the issue of how to be good Christian witnesses to our unsaved family members came up. Today, I would like to briefly share with you the key scriptures that I follow on how to witness to unsaved family and friends. First, I need to say, however, that I do not believe I am very good at sharing my faith with my family yet. I am still learning how to do this well, so this is definitely a work in progress!

 

1.     I think it is most important to let our actions, not words, do the talking.

James 1:22-25—But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.

James 2:26—For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.

Most importantly, our actions should look like what is written in Galatians 5:22-23:

Galatians 5:22-23—But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.

I would add that, if our actions do not look like this at all, then we are hypocrites and shouldn’t be talking at all to anyone about Christ! Sadly, we would be doing more harm than good, and I am afraid this actually happens more often than it should.

2. Limit how much we actually say about our faith and don’t argue, because our words can sometimes do more harm than good.

James 3:5-10—Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so it is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell. For every kind of beasts, and of birds, and of serpents, and of things in the sea, is tamed, and hath been tamed of mankind: But the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison. Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be.

3. But when we do have the opportunity to share the gospel, do so with a lot of humility and wisdom.

James 3:13-14—Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? Let him show out of a good conversation his works in meekness of wisdom. But if you have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth.

4. Most importantly, however, pray for them!

To close, I think as Christians we should let our actions of love, patience, gentleness, joy, and goodness do most of the talking. By building up good will with our friends and family, we put ourselves in a position to be able to share the gospel of Jesus Christ much more effectively. I think I have built up a lot of good will with my family, but admit that I probably don’t talk about Jesus enough! So my next step would be to look more actively for opportunities to share the gospel with my parents. With that, thank you for your time and for listening, and I hope this was helpful for you all.

二か月ほど前の日曜礼拝でのコミュニティの祈りの中で、フレッド蔦川兄が主キリスト以外への信仰の伝統をもつ家族のための祈りを捧げてくださった時、多くの日本人クリスチャンに共通したこの問題について話し合う機会を主が与えてくださったと感じました。教会員の間でも、ご家族との信仰の違いについて悩み、苦労されてい方々がいらっしゃいます。ちょうど同じころ長年会友として礼拝に参列し、教会活動を様々な形で支援してくださってきた方が亡くなられました。生前違った時期に二度ほど受洗されることをお勧めしたのですが、御両親が眠られる千葉にあるお墓を守る義務があるので、受洗することはできないと固辞され、受洗されないままこの世を去られました。これを機にフレッドに証をしてはくれないかと頼んだところ、快く引き受けてくださり、先月の礼拝で会衆と分かち合ってくださいました。以下はその再録です。(高橋記)

フレッド蔦川兄の証

先月、私たちの愛する姉妹が亡くなってから、どうやって私たちがまだ救われてない家族にとっての良いクリスチャンの証人になれるかを考えるようになりました。今日、私は、皆さんがまだ救われてない家族や友達に証しするために私が従う主な御言葉をお話したいと思います。私はまだ私の家族と私の信仰を共有するに至っているわけではありません。けれど私はこのことを今勉強中ですが、間違いなく進歩の途中にあると信じています!

第一。言葉ではなく、私たちの行動が示すことが最も重要だと思います。

ヤコブの手紙1:22‐25―また、みことばを実行する人になりなさい。自分を欺いて、ただ聞くだけの者であってはいけません。みことばを聞いても行なわない人がいるなら、その人は自分の生まれつきの顔を鏡で見る人のようです。自分をながめてから立ち去ると、すぐにそれがどのようであったかを忘れてしまいます。ところが、完全な律法、すなわち自由の律法を一心に見つめて離れない人は、すぐに忘れる聞き手にはならないで、事を実行する人になります。こういう人は、その行ないによって祝福されます。

ヤコブの手紙2:26―たましいを離れたからだが、死んだものであるのと同様に、行ないのない信仰は、死んでいるのです。

最も重要なことは、私たちの行動はガラテヤ人への手紙第5章に書かれているようでありたいということです。ガラテヤ人への手紙5:22‐23―しかし、御霊の実は、愛、喜び、平安、寛容、親切、善意、誠実、柔和、自制です。このようなものを禁ずる律法はありません。

もし私たちの行動がまったくこのように見えないならば、私たちは偽善者であり、キリストについて誰とも話すべきではないと思います!もしそうならば、悲しいことですが、私たちは善よりも害を及ぼすことになってしまいます。そして、これは実際に頻繁に起きていることではないでしょうか。

第二。私たちの信仰についての言葉は時には善よりも害を及ぼすことがあるので、言いたいことを吟味し、議論にならないように気を付けましょう。

ヤコブの手紙3:5‐10―同様に、舌も小さな器官ですが、大きなことを言って誇るのです。ご覧なさい。あのように小さい火があのような大きい森を燃やします。舌は火であり、不義の世界です。舌は私たちの器官の一つですが、からだ全体を汚し、人生の車輪を焼き、そしてゲヘナの火によって焼かれます。どのような種類の獣も鳥も、はうものも海の生き物も、人類によって制せられるし、すでに制せられています。しかし、舌を制御することは、だれにもできません。それは少しもじっとしていない悪であり、死の毒に満ちています。私たちは、舌をもって、主であり父である方をほめたたえ、同じ舌をもって、神にかたどって造られた人をのろいます。賛美とのろいが同じ口から出て来るのです。私の兄弟たち。このようなことは、あってはなりません。

第三。しかし、私たちが福音を分かち合う機会がある時、充分に謙虚さと知恵をもって行いましょう。

ヤコブの手紙3:13‐14―あなたがたのうちで、知恵のある、賢い人はだれでしょうか。その人は、その知恵にふさわしい柔和な行ないを、良い生き方によって示しなさい。しかし、もしあなたがたの心の中に、苦いねたみと敵対心があるならば、誇ってはいけません。真理に逆らって偽ることになります。

第四。しかし、最も重要なことは、彼らのために祈り続けることです。

ヤコブの手紙5:16―ですから、あなたがたは、互いに罪を言い表わし、互いのために祈りなさい。いやされるためです。義人の祈りは働くと、大きな力があります。

最後のまとめですが、私たちクリスチャンは愛、忍耐、優しさ、喜びと善良の行動で宣べ伝えをしたいと思いますね。友人や家族とこのような慈しみの行いをたくさん保ったら、私たちはイエス・キリストの福音を分かりやすく伝えることができると思います。今、私は自分の家族と親密な関係を感謝しながら保ってると思いますが、おそらくイエス様のことを十分に話してないのかも知れません。私の次のステップは、私の両親と福音を分かち合う機会をもっと積極的に探すことです。この話しがお役に立てば幸いです。

(フレッド蔦川兄は10月29日の午後のプレイズ・タイムでも、この証と関連した証をしてくださる予定です。

Yoshiko Kasuga

In March 1963, I married my husband, a Nisei, in Tokyo and moved to New York in May.

The previous year, my husband lost his wife, and he was left alone with two girls, one 2-year of age and one newborn. Though his friends kindly helped him, he was dismayed by this loss. At that time, I was working in a kindergarten, and I had a long-time wish to raise my own children in the future. My friends, who knew my wish, strongly recommended me to marry him, go to New York, and to help his children. The relatives of my husband also asked me to do so. Finally I made the decision. In New York, two of my husband’s brothers were living on the same street and kindly gave me support. In my neighborhood, the number of Japanese businessmen and their families gradually increased and they also offered help. However, my everyday life was a battle. The reality of raising children was completely different from the practicum which I took in Japan. I was deeply frustrated trying to figure out how to teach Japanese to the children while outside home everyone spoke English.

However, the most frustrating thing was the difference in values between my husband and I. I suffered terribly because I could not
understand his sense of value. Everyday, I cried to God “Lord, why? It can’t be! Help me!” If this took place in Japan, I think I would have fled from such a life. But God sent me to a foreign land far, far from my home. Now, I can understand that God gave me time to consider His love through such experiences, but at that time, I was just repeating “God, why?” everyday. Every Sunday, I sent my children to Sunday School at the Methodist Church in my neighborhood, while I attended the services. However, the messages were delivered in English, and I could not understand them. It was so stressful! There were many, many things.

Ater twenty years, God suddenly whispered to me. I thought that I could not understand my husband at all, but God spoke to me about him. He told me: “He (my husband) is the same as you. As you could not understand him, he suffered too because he could not understand you. He was patient with you as much as you were with him.” At that moment, my heart became much lighter. “Oh, it was the same situation with him.” Until that day, I had thought that I alone was a victim, and I did not have compassion. For what purpose had I gone to the church to learn the Words of God? I was so ashamed. Now I understand that, considering his background, it is understandable why my husband has such a sense of value.

As I review the paths of my life, I strongly felt the significance of patience. “No temptation has overtaken you but such as is common to man; and God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will provide the way of escape also, so that you will be able to endure it.” (I Corinthian 10:13) When I was in trouble, I relied on these Words. “All discipline for the moment seems not to be joyful, but sorrowful; yet to those who have trained by it, afterwards it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness.” (Hebrews 12:11) “For since He Himself was tempted in that which He has suffered, He is able to come to the aid of those who are tempted.” (Hebrews 2:18) “My son, do not regard lightly the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when you are reproved by Him. For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines, and He scourges every son whom He receives.” (Hebrews 12:5- 6)

There are many other Words which supported me. Now I know that God has always been with me. Now I know why God paved my way to a foreign land on the opposite side of the earth from my home country.

June 2007

 

春日祥子姉記

今から44 年前のこと、1963 年3 月、東京で日系 2世の主人と結婚式を挙げ、同年5 月にニューヨークに来ました。主人はその前の年に同郷人であった前妻を胃がんで失い、周りの人々に助けられながらも、2 歳と0 歳の女の子を抱えて困り果てていました。その頃、私は日本の幼稚園で働いていて、いつかは自分の子供を育ててみたいと願っていました。主人の状況を知った私の友達は、丁度良いからニューヨークに行き、助けてあげてはと薦めてくれました。更に亡くなった前妻のご両親や主人の姉にどうかお願いしますと頼まれて、一大決心をして主人との結婚、そしてアメリカ生活に飛び込んだのでした。

アメリカに来た当時、主人の兄2 人が同じ通りに住んでいたため、何かと助けてくれましたし、又まわりに少しずつ日本からの駐在員家族も住み始めていたので力になってもらいました。しかし、毎日の生活は私にとって戦いでした。子育ても頭の中の教育実習通りにはいかず、子供達に日本語を理解させたいと焦ったり、でも一歩外に出れば英語の世界なのでもうヘトヘトに疲れていました。

一番大変だったのは、価値観の違いから主人を理解できなくて苦しんだ事でした。毎日毎日、私は「こんな筈ではなかった、神様どうして?」と問いかけ、終いには「神様助けてください!」と叫んでいました。これが日本に居たのであれば、多分私は逃げ出していたかもしれません。神様はこんな遠くに私を遣わして、イエス様の愛について考えるときを与えて下さっているのだと今だから思えるのですが、当時は毎日の問題に「何故?」「どうして?」の問いかけの繰り返しでした。日曜日には近くのメソジスト教会の日曜学校に子供たちを送り、私は礼拝に出席するわけですが、英語の説教を理解できず、ストレスがたまるばかりでした。本当にいろいろなことがありました。

20 年位たったある日のこと、神様が私にささやかれました。あんなに“わからんちん“だと思っていた主人の事を「あなたと同じなんだよ。あなたが悩んだと同じように、あなたの夫もあなたを理解するのに苦しみ、同じように我慢してきたんだよ。だからおあいこさ。」と。その途端に私の心がすーっと軽くなったのを覚えています。「ああ、そうか。おあいこだ…。」そして主人の生い立ちを思えば、今なら価値観の違いも理解できるのですが、当時は自分ばかりが被害者であると思い込み、愛の無い私でした。何のために教会に行き、み言葉を学んでいたのでしょう。恥かしいことでした。

気がついたら子供たちは皆独立してそれぞれ家庭を持ち、私は年寄りになっていました。私は今自分の歩んできた道を振り返り、”耐え忍ぶ“ことの大切さを思います。「あなたがたの会った試練で世の常でないものは無い。神は真実である。あなた方を耐えられないような試練に合わせることばかりか、試練と同時にそれに耐えられるように、逃れる道も備えてくださるのである。」(コリント人への第一の手紙10 章13節)つらい時はこのみ言葉にすがりました。「すべての訓練は当座は喜ばしいものとは思われず、むしろ悲しいものと思われる。しかし後になれば、それによって鍛えられるものに平安な義の実を結ばせるようになる。」(ヘブル人への手紙12 章18 節)「私の子よ、主の訓練を軽んじてはいけない。主に責められるとき弱り果ててはならない。主は愛するものを訓練し、受け入れるすべての子を鞭打たれるのである。」(ヘブル人への手紙12 章5-6 節)

まだまだ私を支えてくださったみ言葉はたくさんあり、神様はこうしていつも近くに居て私を今日まで支えてくださっています。この年になってやっと、なぜ神様が私の道を地球の反対側に備えられたかをかみ締めることができているのです。

 

Sayoko Yoshida

On the left-side wall in the sanctuary, there is a painting of Christ praying in the garden of Gethsemane. The title of this painting is “Christ – Still Praying for Mankind.” It was painted by Henry Yuzuru Sugimoto in 1978, when he was over 70. He painted and dedicated it to the JAUC sanctuary. Since being baptized in 1920, Henry and his wife, Susie Mae, had been very pious Christians. He left many paintings, but all the paintings reflect the spirit of Christianity even if they do not depict the direct image of Christ.

In this painting, Henry depicts his prayer for peace. In the left back, there is a cathedral and peaceful town. Beautiful flowers, small birds, a rabbit, and a squirrel are surrounding Christ, and they are the symbols of peace. In the right back, a mushroom cloud symbolizing the atomic bomb and people’s suffering in fire are vividly depicted. The message is clear: Christ is still praying for peace and welfare of human beings. Henry once said: “I hope that my art works contribute to the art society in the world and that they will be for the glory of God.”

 

吉田小夜子姉

皆さんは礼拝堂の左前方上のイエス・キリストがゲッセマネの園で祈られている絵画をよくご覧になっていると思います。この絵は”Christ ? Still Praying for Mankind” という題で、1978年に杉本ヘンリー譲画伯によって画かれたものです。同画伯が70歳を過ぎてからに日米合同教会の礼拝堂に捧げるために画かれた作品です。杉本画伯は1920年に受洗されてから奥様スージー・メイ姉と共に敬虔なクリスチャンであり、絵筆一筋に生きられた方です。多くの作品を遺されていますが、どの作品にもキリストの姿はなくとも背景にはキリスト教の精神が宿っています。

この作品には杉本画伯の平和への思いが画かれています。キリストの左背後に教会と平和な街、膝元には草花、小鳥、ウサギ、リスなどを平和の象徴とし、右後ろには原爆のきのこ雲、被災者の炎の中での叫びが画かれています。世界平和と人類の存続を今もなお、主イエスはとりなしの祈りを続けておられるのです。杉本画伯は「私の作品が世界の美術社会に貢献できることが私の願いで、それが神への栄光となることです。」

 

Kumiko Bauman

When I was 32, God helped me to survive a very difficult ordeal. At that time, I thought that the only way left to me was to die with my children. One night, I tried to strangle Keita, the eldest child. However, though he was just 6, he kicked off my hands with an unbelievable strength.

Next morning, I went to Aomori alone with plans to kill myself by jumping into the sea from a ferryboat, but my plan failed because all the doors to the deck were locked and watched by crews of the ship. When I was sitting totally powerless, I heard someone whispering to me: "I am with you. I am with you." Then I noticed why all of my attempts to die failed: "Lord, is it you? So you protected me! I am sorry for my attempts. Thank you Lord, thank you." Weeping, I returned to Tokyo.

Throughout the several years after this incident, I lived in poverty. My children suffered too. Because they could not study well and they were not living with their father, they were ridiculed by their classmates and even by their teachers.

When I was 40, I passed the admission exam of Aoyama Gakuin University. When I found my number in the bulletin board, I was so happy that I hugged and kissed the gate of the school. My acceptance encouraged my children very much. They thought: "If Mom could do this, we can make it too!" They helped with the daily chores so that I could go to the school after work. We three studied together for the final examinations. Finally, both of my children could enter universities. God transformed my children to diamonds, and even after that He added more blessings to my life.

I always pray "Lord, what can I do for You to express my gratitude?" I am currently dedicating 80% of my time and energy for work and 20% for God. Money-wise, my goal is to offer 50% of my income to God, but I have not achieved that yet. Sometimes, after offering, I feel "Maybe half of the amount would have been enough." So far I am offering 40% of them. From this year, I am serving as a member of the Board of Directors. I promise God to serve faithfully, always keeping this Bible verse in my heart: "Not my will but Your Will be done."

 

バウマン久美子姉

32歳の時でした。神様は私を背負い苦しい時を乗り越えさせて下さったのです。その日、もう子供たちと一緒に死ぬしかないと追い詰められていました。夜中に寝ている慶太(長男)の首を絞めました。しかし私は、その時6歳だった慶太の猛烈な力で蹴り上げられてしまいました。

翌日一人で青森へ向かいました。連絡船から飛び込むつもりでした。ところが甲板への出口は鍵がかかっていたり、人が立っていて飛び込む事が出来ませんでした。無力感でぐったりしていた時、ささやく声を感じたのです。"私がついているよ。私がついているよ。私がついているよ。” 私は"神様、あなたですか。あなたが私を守ってくださったのですか。慶太の信じられないような力も、甲板へ出られなかったのも、あなたが守ってくださったのですか。ごめんなさい。有難う。ごめんなさい。有難う。"と泣きながら東京へ戻りました。¢その後の数年間は極貧の生活でした。子供たちは勉強ができないことや母子家庭を理由にいじめられ、先生にも馬鹿にされていました。40歳の時、私は青山学院大学を受験しました。自分の番号が合格者一覧の中にあるのを見て嬉しさのあまり校門に抱きついて頬擦りしてしまいました。子供たちも勇気づけられました。"母ちゃんに出来るなら俺たちも出来るかも”と希望を与えられたのです。昼は会社、夜は学校という生活が続けられる様にと二人は家事を助けてくれ、期末試験の時は三人で黙々と勉強しました。二人は大学へ入学できました。神様は子供たちをダイヤモンドに変えてくださったのです。その後も幸せを増し加えてくださり、神様はとうとうここまで私を幸せにしてくださいました。

神様、あなたへの感謝のために私は何をしますか?といつも祈ります。現在私の時間や能力の80%は仕事に、20%は神様にです。「お金の50%は神様に、50%は自分に」が目標ですが、献金した後、"半分の額でも良かったのに”という気持が残ることがあり心が整えられていません。今は40%献金を守っています。"私の思いではなく、神様のみこころがなりますように。"この御言葉を心にしっかり据えて、理事として誠心誠意奉仕することを誓います。

 

Mary Yamada

One of our most beloved church members, Mary Yamada, had her 94th birthday on Jan. 25th. Born in 1913, she grew up in L.A. until the age of 19. She went to University of Southern California for two and a half years to study premed and attended Bellevue School of Nursing in New York to receive RN. She continued her education at Teacher’s College of Columbia University and received BS in Nursing and MA in Guidance to be a School Counselor. During WWII, she volunteered for the army nurse corps for 27monthes. After the war, passing the exam, she became one of the first licensed high school counselors and worked for high schools until she retired at the age of 63 due to her mother’s health. Since then she has been enjoying her free life. She was baptized when she was 15 in L.A. According to her Sunday school teacher, she was the first Japanese Christian at the church. Her favorite Bible verses are; “I lift up my eyes to the hills- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth (Psalm 121),” “Make a joyful noise unto the LORD, all ye lands. Serve the LORD with gladness: come before his presence with singing (Psalm 100),” and “And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful (Colossians 3:15).” Her life itself is a great testimony to us. “I don’t remember many things in my life, but I would say my life was not always easy. However God was always with me and I made it through those hard times,” she said with a smile.

 

山田メアリー姉

私達のとても敬愛する信徒、山田メアリー姉が1 月25 日、94 歳の誕生日を迎えました。1913 年にロサンジェルスで生まれ、19 歳までそこで育ちました。南カリフォルニア大学で医学を勉強した後、ニューヨークのベルビュー看護大学に出席、看護婦の資格を取得。その後、コロンビア大学ティーチャーズカレッジにて看護の学士号、また学校のカウンセラーになる為のガイダンスの修士号を取得。第二次世界大戦では、看護婦として27 ヶ月陸軍に奉仕しました。戦後、テストを受け、正式な高校カウンセラーの第一号の一人となりました。63 歳で母親の健康の理由で高校を退職してからは今日まで自由な人生を送っているそうです。??洗礼を受けたのは15 歳の時で、当時の日曜学校の先生によると、その教会では始めての日本人クリスチャンだそうです。好きな聖書の言葉は、「わたしは山に向かって目を上げる。わが助けはどこから来るであろうか。わが助けは、天と地を造られた主から来る(詩篇121 篇)」、「全地よ、主に向かって喜ばしき声を上げよ。喜びを持って主に仕えよ。歌いつつ、その御前に来たれ。(詩篇100 篇)」、そして「キリストの平和が、あなた方の心を支配するようにしなさい。あなた方が召されて一体となったのは、このためでもある。いつも感謝していなさい。(コロサイ人への 手紙3 章15 節)」山田姉の生き方そのものが私達にとって大きな証です。「余り沢山の事は覚えていないけど、楽な人生じゃなかったとは言えるわ。でもいつも主が一緒にいてくださって、苦しい時期も乗り越えられたわ。」と笑いながら彼女は語っていました。 いつまでも主の光を放つ信仰の先輩であられます事を感謝。

 

Yoshinori Shiraishi

My name is Yoshinori Shiraishi, but I am called Yoshi Shiraishi professionally.

I came to New York 20 years ago on March 30, 1987. I graduated from Mushashino Fine Arts University with a major in architecture. Subsequently I worked for Nomura Kogeisha, one of the largest designing companies in Japan. I was responsible for the interior design of Seibu Department Store and Parco. 20 years ago, I won the grand prize at an international design contest and soon after that joined an American design company owned by the head of the selection committee.

Ten years ago, I became independent and established Yoshi Design, NY, Inc. In Japan I have been involved with redesigning the interior of Ginza Mitsukoshi and am participating in the development of Tokyo Midtown Project which is located at the former site of the Self-Defense Force in Roppongi, as well as in the commercial redevelopment of Marunouchi. In New York, I have worked on Itoen-Kai Restaurant on Madison Avenue, and Doubletree Metropolitan Hotel.

In the past 20 years, I have traveled altogether 200 times between New York and Tokyo. I am now the Japanese designer in the States who is responsible for the greatest total designed space.

As I was preparing for my wedding, I realized I wanted to become a baptized Christian. On November 22 last year, we were happily married as Christians at a church in Guam. My wife, Mariko, has been a Christian since her college days. But I grew up in a typical Japanese family that had a Shinto altar and held a funeral in Buddhist style.

When I was 20 years old, I traveled through Europe by myself for two months. I was overwhelmed with the sacred atmosphere of Westminster Cathedral in England and the Vatican. (I traveled to 46 countries and am aiming at 100.)

I attended the baptism classes conducted by Rev. Suzuki for five weeks and was able to learn the essentials of Christian faith and was baptized at JAUC on November 12, 2006, surrounded by brothers and sisters in Christ. It was truly a moving experience.

I will be a father in February. With the help of Christ, I pray that our home will be filled with happiness and love.

Larry Kern

I miss a feeling that I had at JAUC. It's been two years since my lung transplant and I have not attended church services on a regular basis because my immune system is suppressed. At JAUC, simply by participating I was often left with a sweet feeling inside. Because of that feeling I found that it was easier for me to look inward in devotion, but without an active church life I've encountered dry spell.

There is a novel called "Robinson Crusoe" about a man who was marooned on an island. In the book he says he was busy with common sense activities all day and did not spend time looking upwards or inwards. As a result he was left with a certain stupidity of soul without desire of good or conscience of evil. I've noticed the same stupidity of soul increasing in myself.

man at rehab told me that he counts his blessings until 3 am, so I attempted to copy him with limited success because it felt like a dry exercise. Then I reread the passage in the Sermon on the Mount, where Jesus says "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God". I began to be more sensitive about the impurities in my heart and to pray for help in dealing with them. I have found that if you have a purer heart, you will see God more when you think about your blessings. As a result I am starting to get some of that sweet spiritual feeling back that I used to have at JAUC.

ラリー・カーン

日米合同教会(JAUC)で感じていた気持ちが懐かしいです。肺の移植をしてもう2年がたちました。体の抵抗力がないので近所の教会には通常行っていません。JAUCに参加するだけでよく心の中に“甘い気持ち”を感じていました。今思うと、その心の中に与えてられていた甘い気持ちが私個人のデボーションを楽しくしていました。しかし教会生活なしではデボーションが
枯れ始めていきました。

私は「ロビンソンクルーソー」と言う島流しにされた男の冒険物語を最近読みました。彼はは霊的な乏しさを感じていました。毎日常識的な生活を送り上を向いて神様を求める時間も内側を向いて自分を見つめる時間もありませんでした。結果的に良きを求めず、悪に対し鈍感な心になっていったのです。私はこれを読んで自分も心の鈍感さが増えてきたと思いました。

私が通うリハビリで、ある男性が自分は毎朝3時まで祝福を数えると語っていました。私はそのまねをして自分の祝福を毎晩数えましたが、単なる運動にしか思えませんでした。その時イエス様の山上の垂訓のある節をまた読み返しました。「心の清い者は幸いです。その人たちは神を見るから。」その後、自分の心の中にある不純さにもっと敏感になり、それに対処できるように祈り始めました。すると祝福を数えることが楽しくなりました。心が清いほど自分の祝福を考えると神様の手が見えてきます。そのおかげで、JAUCで感じていた霊的な気持ちが戻り始めました。

 

Gerri Yoshida

It’s hard to have an attitude of thanksgiving in the midst of a family crisis. It is much easier to feel sorry for yourself; bitter, angry, hopeless, helpless. I grimly faced the Family Budget Worksheet to request additional financial aid for their exorbitant tuition for my son’s last semester. Tax forms, pay stubs, receipts for every expense lay strewn around in untidy piles. Due to illness, surgery and home recuperation, Peter, my husband, has worked 14 days this year. How many jobs and auditions have I turned down to go to the hospital, clinic appointments, pharmacy for and with him? Yet God’s light shines in our darkness. As I added up the pay stubs I was surprised to learn that instead of earning less this year, the total Yoshida family income is greater this year than last year. The Lord in His mercy has provided all that we needed when we needed it. Like manna it arrives neither early nor late; it is never too little nor too much. God’s grace has not been dependent on my actions or attitudes but is due to his abundant goodness and love for each one of us. He will never leave you nor forsake you. There is nothing that I can do to earn his providence. All He asks is a humble and grateful heart, a willingness to repent of our sins of doubt, ingratitude; and our desire to share this good news with others that they may see the same hope of salvation for all people. To God be the glory!

December 2006

吉田ジェリ

家族が困難にある時、神様に対して感謝の心を持つことは難しいです。自分を憐れんだり、腹を立てたり、希望を失って嘆く方がはるかに簡単です。息子の学費援助を申請するために家計の記録をまとめていて、私は暗い気持ちになりました。卓上には納税書類や出費のレシートが山と積まれています。夫のピーターが病気で手術を受けたため、彼は今年は合計14日間しか働けませんでした。そして、私も彼と病院や薬局に通うため、何度仕事やオーディションの話を断ったか知れません。

けれども、この真っ暗な状態の中に神様の光が差し込んだのです。収支を計算し終えてみて、私は驚きました。家族全体の収入は、私達の必要をカバーする分与えられていたことがいたことが分かったのです。主は私達家族の必要を満たして下さいました。旧約聖書の出エジプト記に出て来る天のマナのように、それは多すぎもしなければ少なすぎもせず、また早すぎもなければ遅すぎもしない時に与えられたのです。

このような恵みは、決して私の行いや心がけによるのではなく、ただ私達一人ひとりに対する神様の愛によるものでした。私達は、自分達の手柄で主の恵みを稼ぐことは出来ません。主が私達に望まれていることは、ただ、謙遜に感謝する心を持ち、疑ったり感謝を拒む心を悔い改めることです。そして、私達を見捨てない主の福音を他の人々と分かち合おうと願うこと、これを主は望んでおられると思います。

The life of Mrs. Konokawa ---"Tell Your Children & Grandchildren. . .

"Tell your children and grandchildren that there is someone who always gratefully remembers Mr. Konokawa. A long time ago, Mr. Konokawa taught me about self-sacrifice, not through words but through deeds ... For children without a mother he was just like an angel. He cleaned the dirty house and washed the soiled sheets. In crisis he was always there. When father became ill, and at his death he was there. At the time of burial he was there and held me... When I was seven I lost my father... but I inherited the most important thing from Mr. Konokawa... He taught me that Jesus is always with me and I am lonely no more."

Mrs. Miyeko Takezaki, the youngest of Rev. Fumio Matsunaga's four children, sent these words to Mrs. Asae Konokawa in 1986. Mr. Konokawa inspired by the words of Jesus, "There is no grater love than this; that a man should lay down his life for his friends" (John 15:13) in 1919 at the age of 29, left a successful career with Morimoto Co. in Vancouver to come to New York and care for Rev. Matsunaga and his children, as the Reverend had lost his wife to divorce and was himself dying of cancer.

Mrs. Asae Konokawa always humbly pointed away from herself to the testimony of Jesus in her late husband. The Holy Spirit always points away from self to Jesus. Mrs. Konokawa was like the presence of the Spirit among us. Let us honor her by telling the story of a women who lived humbly by the Spirit, always pointing to the testimony of Jesus in others, to our children and our grandchildren.

From the Japanese American United Church in the City of New York
This Twenty-fifth day of April. Anno Domini 2000
Rev. Nathan Brownell

Please contact JAUC for more inoformation about "Blazing the Way - A short biographical sketch of the Life of the Rev. Mr. Fumio Mtsunaga)" written by Mr. Harry S. Konowa.

Sangfoon Lee
(Student of Union Theological Seminary)

I was born in a Christian family. My grandfather was a pastor. And my father became an ordained minister when he was over fifty years old. Going to Church on every Sunday has been part of my life since my childhood. I enjoyed my church life by meeting my friends and singing hymns. However, one question had always remained with me. Because of this, I felt distance between Christianity and my self. The question was deeply related to my ethnic background.

am a third-generation Korean in Japan. Koreans in Japan are products of Japanese imperialism. Because of Japanese colonization from 1910 to 1945, Koreans were forced to come to Japan. From 1910 to 1918, the Japanese government deprived Korean farmers of their lands. As a result of this, many farmers went to Japan in order to survive. From 1939, the Japanese government forcibly brought Koreans to Japan and other places to work in industries and mines. In 1945, when Japan was defeated by the Allied Powers, the were over 2,100,000 Koreans in Japan. Many of them went back to Korea soon and approximately 600,000 stayed in Japan for some reasons.

Since the beginning of their community, Koreans in Japan has been suffering from Japanese discrimination. Today, although Koreans in Japan are getting accepted by Japanese society, they still encounter discrimination and prejudice. For instance, they are frequently refused jobs and apartment leases because of their ethnic background. Faced with this discrimination, many Koreans in Japan feel compelled to use a Japanese name, instead of a Korean name, in order to hide their Korean heritage.

Fortunately, I did not experience harsh discrimination because I lived in a place where there were many Koreans in Japan. But I always felt tension toward the Japanese society because I heard and witnessed my people's sufferings. My mother, a second-generation Korean in Japan, often told me of her bad experiences in her childhood. For instance, she was often bullied by neighbor children with a scornful phrase, "Korean, go back to Korea (Chosenjin, Chosen Kaere)"! Probably, some of you have had experiences similar to my mother's. Suffering stories such as my mother's made me as a question of how Christianity could respond to the sufferings of Koreans. I even thought that if Christianity failed to give Koreans in Japan a vision for their liberation, it was nothing but the religion of oppressors.

Unfortunately, I could not find an answer for the question in my churches. My pastors preached about the gospel nicely. But their message did not touch my heartstrings because they did not connect the gospel with social justice and how Koreans ought to be in order to end social evils. Afterwards, I was given the answer by participating in a national young adult association of my denomination.

When I entered the university, I started participating in the young adult association. In the group, we shared our experiences as Koreans in Japan. We insisted that we had to struggle against social injustices with Christian faith. Yet, what I was most impressed with at the group was their interpretation of Jesus' cross. According to them, the cross of Jesus is a symbol for being what we are. Further, to bear our own cross means to struggle for being a Korean in Japan. For instance, bearing cross is "coming out" as Koreans in Japan for those who hide their Korean background. Thus, in our context, it is impossible to be a Christian without affirming our wounded Korean-ness and without fighting against social injustice. Here, Korean-ness and Christianity are interrelated in my faith. This realization was the gospel for me because this would solve my question of how Christianity can respond to the sufferings of Koreans in Japan. And this was one of the factors that made me pursue the study of Christian theology.

I want to bring up two things, which I learned from theological education. First, great Christian forerunners like Paul and Martin Luther King Jr. understood gospel in their social context. This brings me to a conviction that my experience regarding gospel mentioned above is not unacceptable. Second, I have to listen to other's understandings of gospel. By so doing, I can go beyond my tiny understanding of gospel and enrich it. While not forgetting these things, I want to work for realizing a genuine reconciliation among human beings with my Christian faith.

January 23, 2000