News from the United Church of Christ in Japan

News from the United Church of Christ in Japan

Global Ministries primary partner in Japan is the United Church of Christ of Japan (UCCJ). The UCCJ has formed a Disaster Relief Committee and is in the process of assessing the situation and doing pastoral visits to the disaster areas.  You can find a chronological report of their work here: 

We will continue to post on this page information that we receive from the UCCJ. 

March 25:
Dear UCCJ friends,

The UCCJ Moderator Rev. Ishibashi and General Secretary Naito sincerely appreciates your prayers and big financial support. Rev. Kato, executive secretary, visited Sendai again and spent a whole day there yesterday to attend the Tohoku District’s Executive Committee. He is back to the UCCJ office this afternoon. I will also try to visit the damaged areas mid-next week, with Rev. Kato, by car. I would assume my reporting to you will become slower then.

Please find here the UCCJ update for this week, which also contains much of info and photographs that I sent you earlier this week.  


Teruki Takada, staff
Commission on Ecumenical Ministries
The United Church of Christ in Japan

March 24:
Dear UCCJ friends,

Here is the UCCJ update as of March 24, 2011:

1. Local Churches

* Hachinohe Konakano Church:  One member lost the house by the tsunami.

* Shinsei Kamaishi Church:  A team of an NGO “Crash Japan” came to the church and rearranged everything inside. (Photos below)

* Ishinomaki Eiko Church: The death of a member is confirmed.

* Sendai Kita Church: One member is still missing.

* Sendai Kawadaira Church: One member lost the house by the tsunami.

* Sendai Kita 3-bancho Church — where 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 — where the CGMB associate, 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.

2. The story of the tsunami survivor (photo below)

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


Teruki Takada, staff
Commission on Ecumenical Ministries
The United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan)

 Clean-up inside Shinsei Kamaishi Church

 Clean-up inside Shinsei Kamaishi Church

Tsunami Survivor

March 22:
Dear UCCJ (Kyodan) friends,

Please find the four photos taken by Rev. Ohara, moderator of Ou District. He visited Shinsei Kamaishi Church, where the tsunami hit the first floor and the heavy oil made the building unrecoverable.

The UCCJ is touched by your prayers. The messages which reached the UCCJ office by Friday, March 18,  are now translated and distributed amongst the UCCJ executives.


Teruki Takada, staff
Commission on Ecumenical Ministries
The United Church of Christ in Japan (Kyodan)

Inside Shinsei Kamaishi Church

Outside Shinsei Kamaishi Church

Pastor’s house

Kamaishi and the Pacific Ocean

March 14:
In recent days an assessment of damage to church properties and members has been reported.

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 coast.
2.      Kitakami Church – damaged.
3.      Shinsei Kamaishi Church – tsunami took the building completely.
4.      Sen’maya Church – damage 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. 

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.

Little info available for some 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 the 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.