6.26.2006

Report of the Japan Presbytery to the Synod 2006

   The Japan Presbytery has met seven times in regular session since our last report to the Synod. In addition, there were two special sessions on Jan.9, and April 3, for the elder’s preaching license examination of Elder Seigo Kitani, and for the concern about Mukonosoo congregation. Elder Seigo Kitani was given the license. The Ad Interim Commission has met seven 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 covenantal promises even to 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 pray that God will continue to provide pastoral leadership for each of our congregations and mission stations. After Pastor James C. Pennington’s retirement on April, 2005, Kasumigaoka congregation’s pulpit has been vacant.

Congregational Highlights:
    The Presbytery currently has five teaching elders and eight ruling elders on its roll. One teaching elder is a retired missionary, and one ruling elder is inactive.

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 almost completed, and the contract was made with an architecture office.  Now the process is just before the selection of the contractor and the start of demolishing the old building.  Thankfully enough fund has been prepared by the congregation.  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. Please pray for the church’s worship and activity during the construction. 
   Mrs. Ayumi Yamashita was received into communicant membership by profession of faith and baptism in Dec. 2005, with her daughter Yuka’s baptism. 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 providing the Word of God.

Kasumigaoka (Tarumi): Elder Hikoshi Yamaguchi, the moderator of the session
   Though the pulpit has been vacant, but we thank God for the faithful service of ordained leaders and members of the congregation. The session was enriched by Elder.Seigo Kitani’s preaching license, 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 helped congregation in the summer, and in the fall there was short term supply of the pulpit by Pastor Jim Pennington. The Session plans again Pastor Leach’s and Pastor Pennington’s short term supply of the pulpit in the Fall. The session appreciates FMB’s transportation assistance for such preachers.
   But the session feels need of overseeing eyes of the pastor to the members of the congregation as well as the inquirers in the worship keenly now. Please ask for God’s clear leading and provision for pastoral leadership in near future.
   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
   Elder Fukuya became inactive because of difficulties, two provisional members from the presbytery has been assisting the session since last December.  Two families have left the church. Elder’s wife has been active and Elder could join recently sometimes. The Lord has sent several new people to the worship, and this is encouraging. The children’s Sabbath school is also one of main concern of the prayer always. Among the members, there is a young woman among the member who works for the churches in China, and a young man lives in Thailand.
   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 for two years, and once presented his resignation to the presbytery in last April, but he withdrew the request of resignation in this April, and now continuing his ministry with renewed dedication.

Okamoto Keiyaku: Pastor Shigeru Takiura
   Please pray for the humbleness of the heart and true repentance of the sins before the Father within the congregation, pray for the real trusting in and praying for our redeemer Lord, and pray for the victory over the spiritual battle within us. Please pray for free and joyful self-dedication of the members to His will and His grace.
   Please continue to pray for effective outreach and the conversion of people. The Lord has sent us about ten people who attend worship regularly and seek to be the member.  Please pray for their conversion, baptism, and/or 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 sick, as well as some of these who are out-of-bounds, living quite a distance from the church.  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 evangelism 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.
   Mr. Kihei Takiura became a student of theology under-care of the presbytery and plans to study at RPTS from this fall.  He finished B.A. as well as two years of KTH training.
   2007, 50th anniversary of the start of our worship by Missionary Gene Spear, is our target of church’s activity as well as plan for maintenance of the church building. 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.    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 physical and spiritual welfare.

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. Members are Pastor Sakai, Pastor Kanamori, and Pastor Endo, the moderator.  The work has been growing and now the plan of a baptism and profession of faith is going on.
   Pray for God’s leading and provision of growth of the members spiritually under the leadership of the new pastor, for much fruit from the outreach, 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. Dr. Sakai has been struggling with his illness recently.  The Lord has provided good result time to time, but the strategy of the work needs to be reviewed soon.
   Pray for renewed vision and leadership for this work.

Kobe Theological Hall
   This was the tenth school year of the Kobe Theological Hall. We had thirteen course students including Bible training course, plus some 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, plus Monday for English training which Dr. Patricia Boyle is newly in charge. There are some male students seriously considering the full time ministry. Please pray for their calling and training.
   KTH has e-distant course using IC recording for the distant Bible Training course student. Most of the lectures were recorded and kept in the computer of the class room. Student can copy anytime from them and listen to them, too.
   KTH has been richly benefited by the teachings of Dr.Roy Blackwood, Pastor Jim Pennington, Pastor Bob McFarland, and Dr.David McKay from Ireland.
   Dr. Patricia Boyle brought a new strength to the faculty as she works as the dean of the student, filling the necessary vocational, mental and academic care into the student body. She mainly teaches Basic Academic Training and English Training for seminary students, but she also teaches a part of Christian Education as well as Educational counseling.

Activities of the Presbytery
   Based upon the extensive discussion with the team from FMB in March 2005, which was very fruitful for future relationship between FMB and Japan presbytery,
we recognize that we have been moved from the missionary stage to the partnership stage fully, but not reached to see the possibility of independent Japanese RP synod yet.  And the presbytery walks now towards the following directions:

  1. Need of new full time pastoring and teaching Missionary for vacant congregation, for teaching of KTH, and for maintaining the mutual enriching and fellowship between North American and Japanese RPCs for Christ’s Crown.
  2. Need of financial and ecclesiastical support for Pastor Kanamori of Mukonosoo RPC and Pastor Endo who is sent to Kitasuzurandai as our home missionary.
    Ask help of FMB for substantial financial support for their living.
  3. Further training and placement of future graduates from KTH    
  4. Awareness of the limit of possible financial package as the FMB’s supporting ministry to Japan Presbytery    
  5. Ask help of FMB for the need of short term missionary or pastors to support vacancy of the pulpit, and for the teacher’s limited transportation and matching scholarship of the KTH.    
  6. Support to Dr. Patricia Boyle’s half-tent making service within Japanese RPC.    She works as the Professor and Dean of the student of KTH, as the missionary to support each congregations’ fellowship and evangelism.  She chose Mukonosoo as her present main worship place, but bi-weekly goes around our congregations’ various fellowships and effectively support and lovingly counsel the hearts. Her Japanese life experience and language ability mean a lot. She works for two days as the lecturer of Kobe Women’s Univ. for her living. Partial support for her living has been provided by FMB and WMF.  Japanese RPC appreciates her dedicating work, and asks prayer for her.
  7. The Book-store(CBS) and literature ministry as in the perspective of Japan RP Mission.  There were the publications of: Japanese Translation of Westminster Shorter Catechism, Christ in the Psalms for Singing in Japanese (revised test version) by CBS. Japan Presbytery and CBS helped the publications of Prof. Kazuo Matsuda(KTH Lecturer)’s  VanTil’s Ten Commandments’ Japanese Translation, and of John M.L.. Young’s Two Empires’ Japanese Translation.
Fraternal Relations
   The fraternal relations with Reformed Church of Japan and Presbyterian Church of Japan were maintained.

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

RPM&M
   Japan Presbytery is 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.  Each congregation pays to the presbytery budget the assessment: \12,000/resident communicant member in good standing.

Covenanter Book Store
   Although this ministry is under the direct supervision of the Board of Foreign Missions, the Presbytery presents routinely including 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 and ministries:
  1. Summer Youth Conference at Kwansei Gakuin-Sengari Camp site.
  2. All Church Fall Conference - September 23 in the Park Hall of Miki city The partial Translation (mainly first three chapters) of the Directory of Church Government was distributed and studied.
  3. Life of Christ in the Psalms - December 23 in Luna Hall of Ashiya city.
  4. 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.
  5. The youth enjoy singing the Psalms, Bible study, and then praying together.    
  6. Restarted Japanese Psalter Committee continued its editing work of few of new psalms.    
  7. Mr. Nathan Beards was approved to be the summer intern among our congregation in July through September 2006. Three RP youth, who were traveling around the worldwide RP missions, visited Japan RPC in Dec. 2005 to Jan. 2006 and left rich fellowship in the Lord. (Mr. Martin, Mr. Stewart, and Mr. O’Neill).
  8. There was a proposal from Japan Presbytery to FMB concerning to the   participation in RTF’s educational ministry.    
  9. Covenanter Center Building was cared under a committee of the presbytery with the help of women from congregations. Also the presbytery purchased the Power Point equipment mainly for CCB.
  10. The presbytery created the fund available for the congregation whose building’s toilet and/or kitchen are not separated from the pastor’s manse.To prevent serious inconveniences of the pastor’s family, the fund is ready for the necessary addition at least partially.
   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