Report of the Japan Presbytery

    The Japan Presbytery has met seven times in regular session since our last report to the Synod. In addition, there were five special sessions on May 31, June 6, Feb.11, March 21, and April 11, for the eligibility examination of Lic. Katsunori Endo, the extensive discussion of our mission policy with the four members of FMB in March, and for the concern about Mukonosoo congregation. The Ad Interim Commission has met six times. Officers elected to serve for 2005 are: Shigeru Takiura, moderator; Sumito Sakai, clerk; Akira Funahashi, treasurer. Auditing of Presbytery financial reports is by the entire Presbytery. Pastor Katsunori Endo was appointed as youth secretary and Dempei Takiura as assistant. Members of the Religious Bodies Organization which handles government related business are: Pastor Takiura, Pastor Sakai, and Elder Ishii.

    We praise God for His continued care and blessing on the Reformed Presbyterian Congregations in Japan and on the Japan presbytery itself. The Presbytery has continued oversight of the four organized congregations and two mission stations. We thank God for the faithful service of pastors, elders, and deacons, as well as the members of each congregation. We pray that God will continue to provide pastoral leadership for each of our congregations and mission stations. Pastor James C. Pennington retired from his pastorate on April 20, 2005 and gone back to the United States. Kasumigaoka congregation’s pulpit became vacant. Pastor Katsunori Endo was ordained and installed on June 5, 2005 as the home missionary sent by the Japan presbytery to Kitasuzurandai mission station as their pastor. We all thank to our Lord for His goodness towards us for this new minister of the gospel. He is the first RP pastor from Kobe Theological Hall’s nine years of the theological education. He also graduated from RPTS and had field work in Irish RPC.

Congregational Highlights:
    The Presbytery currently has five teaching elders and eight ruling elders on its roll. Pastor Nobuo Miwa had been working for his interdenominational evangelistic work and teaching ministries in Seoul, Korea, for long years. He notified the presbytery in the Fall of 2004 about his recent joining to the Independent congregations’ Association of Korea. So the Presbytery removed his name from the roll. The presbytery continues to pray for him and his ministry in Korea be used well for the Lord.

Higashi Suma: Pastor Sumito Sakai
    The session and congregation express thanks to God for His blessings:
    The plan of the construction of a new church building has been proceeded through the work of the committee. Special family conference, study sessions were held. The financial need seems to be met within the congregation, and now the committee is discussing to select the contractor. The building is old and damaged extensively by the earthquake 10 years ago. Please pray for this plan be realized according to His will under His protection from any evil, and it will become for His glory and for the church’s healthy growth.
    Mr.Kozi Okudaira was received into communicant membership by profession of faith and baptism in October, 2004. Mr.Okudaira and Keiko Hamada, communicant member of Higashisuma, were joined in marriage after his baptism. Miss Keiko Yamaguchi is in preparation of her profession of faith. Pray for the saving work of the Holy Spirit in behalf of several inquirers who regularly attend the morning worship service. Pray for God’s blessing on the children's S.S. class on the Lord’s Day. Please pray for Pastor Sakai and his family in his leadership in the ministry there as well as his further study.

Kasumigaoka (Tarumi): Pastor James Pennington through April 2005
    God has richly blessed continuously the congregation, spiritually and financially, during the past year. Especially the last stage of the ministry of Pastor Pennington was full of blessings. Though the pulpit became vacant, but we thank God for the faithful service of ordained leaders and members of the congregation. The session was enriched by a newly ordained elder, Mr.Seigo Kitani, who graduated four year theology course of KTH and working at Covenanter Book Store as manager and a member of its board.
    The present moderator of the session, Dr.Yamaguchi also had one-year training of KTH and holds presbytery’s elder’s preaching status. The pulpit has been tentatively supplied time to time mainly by other reformed pastors nearby including OPC missionary Woody Lauer. Pastor Charles Leach is to help congregation this coming summer. The session plans to ask other short term supplies of the pulpit including Pastor Jim Pennington. But the session feels need of overseeing eyes of the pastor keenly now. Please ask for God’s clear leading and provision for pastoral leadership in near future.
    Praise God for His rich blessing of baptism of Mr. Junichi Honda, his wife Kimiko and Mrs. Miya Kawasaki. Pray that the Holy Spirit will continue His work in the hearts of other inquirers, both old and new. Continue to pray for opportunities to reach out to unsaved family members, friends, and the community through personal witness and the ongoing ministries of the congregation.

Mukonosoo: Pastor Hiroyuki Kanamori
    Praise God for Miss Yuko Shiotsu who transferred her membership from Southfield RPC. Mr.Yuji Makino expressed his desire of baptism after his 40 years of attending the church and the preparation has been progressed. The effort of evangelism has continued. We had the evangelistic service in November 21, 2004. Mr. Minoru Takagi, a district leader of IVF Japan, was the messenger. In March 20, Pastor Bob Hemphill gave the message at our evangelistic. The children’s Sabbath school is also one of our main concern of the prayer always. Among the members, Mr.Susumu Takayama in living now in Thailand and taking KTH study through CD and e-mail. There is a young woman among our member who works for the churches in China.
    Give thanks for the faithful pastoral leadership of Mr. Kanamori and for God’s care and blessing on his family. Pastor Kanamori felt difficulties in ministering the congregation time to time since last fall, mainly due to the relationship with some of the members, and even presented his resignation to the presbytery. The presbytery counseled the matter and the effort has been made for more biblical understanding of the church, especially of the importance of the respect to the word preached, and for the reconciliation within the congregation.

Okamoto Keiyaku: Pastor Shigeru Takiura
    Praise the Lord for the baptism of Mrs.Yoshiko Yamashita. Continue to pray for effective outreach and the conversion of people. The Lord has sent us four people who attend worship and seek to be the member recently, so please join with the congregation as they rejoice in God’s blessing in bringing new inquirers into our worship and fellowship. Please pray for their conversion, baptism, and incorporation into the life of the congregation. Pray for children and youth from non-Christian families who are attending worship services. Pray too for non-Christians in the community who are relating with the activities of the congregation.
    Please pray for the spiritual blessings to our church members, especially those who are in the hospital or the aged people’s home, as well as some of these who are out-of-bounds, living quite a distance from the church. We thank God that our member Mr.Katsunori Endo who was ordained as the pastor of Kitasuzurandai. Our prayer and support continue for his family.
    Pray for our youth as they seek to witness for Christ in the work place and school.
    Ask God to provide Christian spouses for them, thereby establishing more Christian homes. Pray for aged members of the congregation that they might enjoy good health and be faithful in their church life. Pray for the conversion within the families of the member. Pray for matters for prayer in each members’ family as well. Pray also for KTH students who are members of the congregation.
    This is the 30th year from establishment of the session, so we had the special conference to study about branch church ministry in March. Pastor Dave Long gave us a good instruction about the theme, and the congregation started periodical prayer fellowship in the 5th Sabbath afternoon praying for the start of the branch meeting. We are praying for the new officers of the church as well. 2007, 50th anniversary of the start of our worship by Missionary Gene Spear, is our next target of church’s activity as well as plan for extensive maintenance of the church building.
    We ask God to enable the church and its families to maintain a solid witness for the Kingship of Jesus Christ in their lives and in the Japanese culture. We also ask you to pray for the work of Pastor Takiura and his family for continued good health.

Kita Suzurandai Mission Church: Pastor Katsunori Endo
    Kitasuzurandai Mission Church was blessed richly at the ordination and installation of Pastor Katsunori Endo as a home missionary pastor on June 5, 2005.
    A provisional session had continued to oversee the ministries of the congregation, took quite effort for the arrangement of this installation. Members are Pastor Sakai, and Pastor Kanamori, and now Pastor Endo is joined as the leader of the work.
    Pray for God’s leading and provision of growth of the members spiritually under the leadership of the new pastor, and for eventual organization as a congregation, according to His schedule. Please pray for his wife Yuko and his two children.

Hontamon Mission Station: Higashi Suma Session
    A small group continues to meet twice a month for worship. They meet in the medical clinic of Dr. Sakai, father of pastor Sakai. Dr. Sakai is an elder of the Higashi Suma Congregation and the mission station is under the oversight of that session.
    Pray for renewed vision and resident leadership for this work.

Kobe Theological Hall
    This was the ninth school year of the Kobe Theological Hall. We had eleven course students including Bible training course, plus about ten credit taking or auditing students. More than half of the students are from our congregations.
    All pastors of Japan Presbytery share the teaching role, and students study three days of the week, about 6 hours per each day. There are some male students seriously considering the full time ministry. Please pray for their calling and training.
    KTH started its e-distant course using IC recording for the distant Bible Training course student. Most of the lectures of 2004-5 school year were recorded and kept in the computer of the class room. Student can copy anytime from them and listen to them, too.
    Presently four students are taking this e-distant course from Kyushu-island, Hokkaido, Okayama and Thailand.
    KTH has been richly benefited by the teachings of Rev. Andrew Stewart of Geelong RPC, Dr. Christian Adjemian, and Dr. Denny Prutow.

Extensive Discussion with the team from FMB in March 16-22
    Four members of FMB visited us for extensive discussion. We had a good overnight discussion at Mt. Hiruzen Campsite, and a special presbytery meeting at the Covenanter Center Building downtown. Items discussed were as follows. Discussion was very fruitful and blessed for future relationship between FMB and Japan presbytery.
    We recognized that we have been moved from the missionary stage to the partnership stage fully, but not reached to see the possibility of Japanese RP synod yet.

  1. Need of New Full Time Missionary
  2. Limit of Possible Financial package as the FMB’s supporting ministry to Japan Presbytery at present
  3. Need of Short term missionary or pastors to support vacancy of the pulpit and teaching of the KTH.
  4. Discussion about Dr. Patricia Boyle’s possible areas of her service within Japanese RPC.
  5. Importance of the Bookstore and literature ministry in the perspective of Japan Mission in relation to the presbytery’s vision.
  6. Need of the mission house in view of new missionary family as the joint work between FMB and the presbytery.
  7. Amending the agreement between FMB and Japan Presbytery.

Fraternal Relations
    The fraternal relations with Reformed Church of Japan and Presbyterian Church of Japan were maintained. Japan Presbytery sent official greetings to the synod of Irish RPC.

RTF Japan Board
    RTF Japan Board continues its work of raising fund for RTF among Japanese reformed Christians. Pastor Kanamori is representing and Pastor Endo is to help.

Assessment
    There was an extensive discussion about congregations’ assessment to the presbytery budget. The present criteria: number of resident communicant member was unchanged, but it was agreed that the session may delete some members from the number when the session is in the process of their discipline procedure.

RPM&M
    Japan Presbytery decided to start to encourage congregations to give to the synod’s RPM&M once a year in September 30 in memory of Dr. Sam Boyle. We call it as the Boyle memorial contribution.

New Japanese Bible 3rd edition
    Japan Presbytery studied and decided to introduce 3rd edition of New Japanese Bible (Shinkaiyaku Seisho) for our congregation’s use this year. Over 900 corrections were made from 2nd edition.

Covenanter Book Store
    Although this ministry is under the direct supervision of the Board of Foreign Missions, the Presbytery presents routinely includes a brief report to the Synod. The three members of the Board of Directors elected by the presbytery, one member at a year for three years term, continue to take an active role in the management of operations and finances.

Other Presbytery-sponsored Activities:
  • Summer Youth Conference - August 9-11 at horse Land Park in Miki city, with the theme of “focusing in Christ”. 41 in attendance.
  • All Church Fall Conference - September 23 at Hyogo Kosei Hall. Theme: “Christian’s Apologetics”. Main speaker: Pastor Hiroyuki Kanamori. 66 in attendance.
  • Life of Christ in the Psalms - December 23, with over 100 in attendance
  • Short Term Mission Team - The Team faithfully served in Japan a month during July and August. They assisted with VBS., took part in the youth conference, participated in the monthly youth meeting, participated in worship and fellowship at each of churches, and shared testimonies as invited. Once again, the desire to serve was evident and deeply appreciated by the Japanese Christians and churches. They left the fund for Japanese youth’s participation for STMT work in future.
  • Joint Youth Meetings continue to be held on the first Lord’s Day of each month.
    The young people enjoy singing the Psalms, Bible study, messages by the pastors, sharing prayer requests from each congregation, and then praying together. They also spend significant time discussing plans for the summer youth conference.
  • Japanese Psalter Committee was restarted and Ps 77A, B, C were completed and distributed as the first fruit of the restarted work.

    The Session records of each congregation have been examined, and nothing found contrary to the law and order of the church.
    The statistical report and roster have been forwarded.


Respectfully submitted,
        Shigeru Takiura, Moderator
        Sumito Sakai, Clerk