Long-term Mission Co-Worker in Japan, Jeffrey Mensendiek, was instrumental in coordinating humanitarian relief during and in the years following the 2011 Fukushima “Triple Disaster” of tsunami, flooding, and nuclear contamination. Since then he has facilitated an exchange of Christmas cards between U.S. congregations and those of our partner church in Japan. Last year 38 UCC and Disciples churches wrote cards to 86 churches in Japan. Jeffrey’s letter to participating churches is also an invitation to any new congregations to take part this Advent season. You can find stories and current information on what is happening in Japan from Jeffrey’s blog http://jeffreyfromjapan.blogspot.com/. Those interested in participating can contact him or Global Ministries East Asia Pacific Executive, Derek Duncan (firstname.lastname@example.org).
I am looking for UCC and Disciples churches interested in participating in the Christmas Card Project this year with churches in Japan, which have faced many unprecedented issues as a result of the ongoing nuclear disaster in Fukushima. The Kyodan, or United Church of Christ in Japan, which has historical ties to our UCC/Disciples denominations, has asked that we continue this project. I am encouraged to see how the Spirit is leading us in new patterns of partnership.
To participate you will send a Christmas card to one or two churches in early December and lift these churches up in prayer during the advent season. I will send participating churches the names and current information about the Japanese churches you will be assigned. If you have participated in this project before, I will try to match you with your same churches. Please let me know by October 10th whether your congregation would like to participate, and I will send you contact information in plenty of time to send Christmas cards by early December.
Now in its fifth year, the Christmas Card Project is an opportunity for churches globally to lift each other up in prayer. Fukushima reminds us that sometimes we have to live with hope even in toxic and dangerous environments. Even as you pray for what is happening in and around your congregation, your gesture of solidarity means a lot to our partners in Japan. In this way we share mutually in the ministry of God’s mission.
Yours in Christ,