Newsletter from UCCJ No.2   PDF:Newsletter from UCCJ No.2

1. The UCCJ 37th GA Executive Council’s Executive Meeting on Tuesday, March 22, 2011

The Executive Meeting established the Relief Planning Headquarters  (chaired by Rev. Ishibashi, UCCJ moderator), which largely takes over  the tasks of the Relief Planning Committee in charge of gathering  information and doing the initial planning. The headquarters is to formulate the long-term goals and is charged with the following tasks:

1)      To control the whole UCCJ relief activities and send the appropriate information.

2)      To assist the communities suffering the disasters through the UCCJ local churches, sub-districts and districts.

3)      To create a relief desk in the UCCJ General Office.

4)      To place the Relief Center in Tohoku District and dispatch an executive in charge.

5)      To support the health of local church pastors.

6)      To open a session of District Moderators’ Conference and discuss the relief plans.

The UCCJ Relief Fund fuels the relief goods & activity expenditures. This will be in a bottom up procedure: The UCCJ will not cover the costs, unless the Districts’ Relief Planning Committee approves such relief activities. The UCCJ Relief Planning Headquarters (and the UCCJ Relief Planning Committee), then, make a decision of payment for those applications that have passed the district’s screening above.

In the meanwhile, the UCCJ Relief Planning Committee (in charge of the initial planning) decided, on Wednesday, March 23, to wire the relief fund of JPY 10,000,000 (equivalent to USD 125,000) each to three districts under disaster, i.e. Ou District, Tohoku District and Kanto District.

2,   UCCJ Local Churches  (mainly from http://www.douhoku.org/ as of March 24, 2011,

and http://esashihoikuen.com/2011ouukyouku/newpage1.html )

* Hachinohe Konakano Church

One member lost the house by the tsunami.

* Miyako Church

The tsunami reached, and the heavy oil thickly covered the ground floor of the chapel.

Rev. Moriwake is visiting church members to encourage. The pastor and volunteers are now trying hard to clean it up, so that the second floor of the church can be used as refuge for those who lost their houses.

<YMCA volunteers and Rev. Moriwake>   <The volunteers helped cleanse the floor.>

* Hanamaki Church

The public relief supply does not reach those staying at their own houses as of March 14.

* Tohno Church

The UCCJ related Keiwa High School, in Niigata Prefecture, dispatched a wagon charged with relief goods to a public refuge center. This resulted in the community’s joy and appreciation.

* Shinsei Kamaishi Church

Rev. Yanagiya kept the service alone on the Lord’s day, March 13.

Ten members came to the church, by overcoming the debris, and joined Rev. Yanagiya for the service on Sunday, March 20. They together sang worship songs. The gospel was proclaimed.

Two members are still missing. No telephone. Some members lost their houses.

A team of an NGO “Crash Japan” came to the church and rearranged everything inside.

<Pastor’s house (left) and the chapel (depth)>

<Church surroundings>

<The “Crash Japan” at work>

<Rev. Yanagiya in counseling>

* Semmaya Church

Rev. Mikawa and his family are take refuge in an inn.

(See the picture on the right, taken by Rev. Ohara, Ou District moderator.)

*Ohfunato Church










The pastor and the members are fine.

The neighboring city, Rikuzen Takada, was completely destroyed by the tsunami: Water, electricity and gas systems do not work there.

The picture, taken by Ou District Moderator, Rev. Ohara, shows destroyed houses alongside of the national route No. 45.

*Ishinomaki Eiko Church

The tsunami reached its garden, but the buildings remained safe.

The church and its kindergarten were used as temporary refuge for four days.

The death of a member is confirmed.

Needs gasoline, foods and men’s underwear, but the electricity and the telephone are recovered on March 23.

* Sendai Kita Church

One member is still missing.

* Sendai Kawadaira Church

One member lost the house by the tsunami.

* Sendai Kita 3-bancho Church, which the CGMB missionary, Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek, attends.

Seven members are still missing.

* Sendai Higashi Church

The church has hosted fifteen refugees, both members and non-members.

* Sendai Itsutsubashi Church, which the CGMB missionary, Rev. David Murchie, attends.

Five members are still missing.

* Sendai Minami Church

The church has hosted thirteen refugees.

* Miyagino Aisen Church

The church has hosted sixteen refugees, but has no more food available.

* Iwaki Church

A staff of a related nursery school died on the day of earthquake, while communicating with the kids’ parents.

Another staff of a related nursery school is still missing.

* Tohoku District Center, where Rev. Jeffrey Mensendiek is the director of its Student Center.

A number of volunteers have gathered.

For more info, visit http://ameblo.jp/jishin-support-uccj/

N.B. The supply of gasoline is being recovered in some places of Aomori Prefecture.

3. The story of the tsunami survivor

The survivor spent the night on the roof of a three-story building while snowing.

The UCCJ team of four pastors gave him a ride from the coast area to Sendai City on Monday, March 14. No wonder his colleagues bursted into joy when he arrived at his company, because his presence had never been confirmed before.



NewsLetter from UCCJ No.1 PDF:Newsletter from UCCJ No.1

As the response to the devastating earthquake & tsunami disaster on Friday, March 11, the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ) established the Relief Planning Committee the following morning. The committee is responsible for the initial actions, i.e. investigation, consolation visit & planning. It appointed Rev. Naito, UCCJ general secretary, as its chair. Dispatched to Tohoku & Ou Districts were four UCCJ executives:

1)      Rev. Ishibashi, UCCJ moderator

2)      Rev. Morita, UCCJ Committee on Social Concerns

3)      Rev. Fujimori, UCCJ executive secretary on general affairs

4)      Rev. Kato, UCCJ executive secretary on ecumenical ministrie.

<Ishinomaki Eiko Church & its garden>

They left Tokyo in the early morning of Sunday, March 13, attended the Sunday morning service on the way at UCCJ Tokamachi Church in Niigata prefecture, bought relief food & goods, and finally arrived at Tohoku District Center in Sendai late in the evening. On Monday, March 14, they visited eight churches around Sendai city, escorted by Rev. Takahasi, UCCJ Tohoku District moderator. Due to the food shortage, they ate no more than some small pieces of banana on Monday before returning to the Tohoku District Center late in the evening.

They found that the major damage was caused not by the earthquake itself, but by the tsunami. The city of Ishinomaki was annihilated along the coast by the tsunami. The church building of Ishinomaki Eiko Church was OK, but the tsunami reached its garden.

Rev. Suzuki, senior pastor of Ishinomaki Yamashirocho Church, was caught by the tsunami. The water covered his body to the breast level, but survived. He was safe and encountered the UCCJ team by coincidence on the mountain ten minutes (on foot) away from the church. The shortage of water was prevailing, and their distribution of drinking water was literary welcomed with tears. The gasoline was one of the scarcest resources.

<Revs. Suzuki & Bae in the middle>

<The view of Ishinomaki City, viewed from the mountain,ten minutes on foot from Ishinomaki Yamashirocho Church>

<Revs. Fujimori & Morita, giving water at Shiogama Higashi Church>

On Tuesday, March 15, they had an executive meeting with Moderators of both Tohoku and Ou Districts at Ishinoseki Church, after visiting two more churches. In the evening of Wednesday, March 16, they all returned home safe.

They found UCCJ pastors safe after the disasters. But the local pastors had hard time contacting with their church members, since the telephone system was largely down.

Upon return of the team, the UCCJ Executive Council’s Executive Committee will take place on Tuesday, March 22, and will try to form the actual relief plan.

In the meanwhile, the PCT representative, Rev. Ng Tiat-gan (Huang Che-Yen), program secretary on church and society, flew all the way from Taiwan, visited the UCCJ office and handed the PCT relief donation. The PCK dispatched Rev. Lee Seung Youl and others from the Department of Social Service Ministry to Tokyo, and visited the UCCJ office, too, on Wednesday March 16.

For any financial assistance, below is the bank account info:

Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation (SMBC)  …(SWIFT: SMBC JP JT)

Takadanobaba Branch (273)

2471703 …. for the US dollars

3291280 …. other than US dollars

The United Church of Christ in Japan

The UCCJ appreciates your prayer.

<Giving a ride to a tsunami survivor>

<The survivor joins his colleagues>

<At Shiogama Higashi Church>

From left: Rev. Morita, Rev. Kato, Rev. Fujimori, Rev. Takahashi (Tohoku District), Rev. Tsumura (the local church pastor) and Rev. Ishibashi.

Cf. UCCJ churches & disaster As of 13:35 AM, March 14

(a rough translation from http://www.douhoku.org/)

<Hokkai District: Hokkaido>

1. Horoizumi Church … Flooded above floor level.

2. Urakawa Preaching Point … Some members are sick.

Other than above, pastors and church members are safe.

(No info obtained for 1/3 of churches in Hokkai District.)

<Ou District: Aomori, Akita & Iwate Prefecture>

  1. Miyako Church … Tsunami reached the church, contaminated by heavy oil. Unable to use the building. The city is destroyed completely along the cost.
  2. Kitakami Church … Damaged.
  3. Shinsei Kamaishi Church …Tsunami stroke the building completely.
  4. Sen’maya Church … Damaged everywhere. Dangerous. Unable to contact the members living in the coast area.
  5. Ofunado Church … Some members are missing.
  6. Shibajuku Church … Light damage.
  7. Shunan Church … Light damage on the tower.


Pastors look fine, but the UCCJ has little info about the members of some of the churches in Iwate Prefecture.

<Tohoku District: Miyagi, Fukushima & Yamagata Prefecture>

  1. Odaka Preaching Point … Tsunami almost reached the church, but no damage.
  2. Kashima Eiko Church … Ceiling fell.
  3. Shiroishi Church … Pastor’s house is disorderly inside.
  4. Natori Church … Tsunami destroyed the lower part of the city. A part of the church ceiling fell.
  5. Fukushima Church … Chimney, walls and ceiling fell. Cracks.
  6. Fukushima Shinmachi Church … A part of the walls fell.
  7. Hobara Church … Cracks.
  8. Asaka Church … Cracks.
  9. Koriyama Church … Pastor’s house damaged.

10.  Koriyama Hosonuma Church … Severely damaged.

11.  Sukagawa Church … Cracks.

12.  Yabuki Church … Cracks in kindergarten.

The district executives are trying hard to collect info, but still little info for some of churches.

<Kanto Kyoku: Tochigi, Ibaraki, Saitama, Gumma & Niigata Prefecture>

  1. Utsunomiya Church … Ceiling fell.
  2. Utsunomiya Uwamachi Church … Walls fell.
  3. Yaita Church … Cracks in Kindergaten.
  4. Nishi-Nasuno Church … A number of cracks. Pipe-organ needs repairs.
  5. Mito Church … Cracks.
  6. Mito Chuo Church … Whole building needs repairs.
  7. Shimodate Church … Cracks.
  8. Ishioka Church …Cracks.
  9. Mitsukaido Church …Cracks.

10.  Ryugasaki Church … A crevice appeared in the kindergarten.

11.  Katsuta Church … Cracks.

12.  Kashima Church … Crack in a ground. No water.

13.  Morokawa Preaching Point … Cracks. A part of the ceiling fell.

14.  Tsukuba Gakuen Church … Pipe-organ needs repairs.

Pastors and members are fine


<Tokyo District: Tokyo & Chiba Prefecture>

  1. Bancho Church … Cracks.