Pray with Japan, May 26, 2024

Pray with Japan, May 26, 2024

Lectionary Selection:  John 3:1-17

Prayers for Japan 

Spirit of the Living God, we recognize and celebrate the ways you have moved among our communities of faith over the years. We give thanks for the opportunities and the gifts you have bestowed upon us, enabling us to build your beloved community around the world.

We offer gratitude for the churches in Kyoto, Japan, celebrating their 150th anniversary this year. We ask for your blessings on the congregations of the Kyoto Kyoku of the United Church of Christ in Japan so that they may continue your ministries of grace and witness through their communities. We ask for blessings on the work of the Bazaar Café as it undertakes its special ministry of welcome and service to those marginalized in Japan. We thank you for the way Global Ministries and the Kyoto Kyoku have grown closer through our shared support of the Bazaar Café.

We ask for your continued blessings upon Doshisha University and thank you for the way it has grown as an institution of higher education built on strong values of conscience and service. Bless the students and leaders of Doshisha as they reflect on their founding faith principles and how they continue to strengthen Doshisha’s educational mission today.

God of mercy, we are reminded that we are made whole because you so loved the world. As we remember the faith of our forebears, who sought to manifest your love around the world, may we also be faithful in sharing that love with others.

In the name of Jesus, whose Spirit moves in us,


Mission Moment from Japan

“The wind blows where it pleases,” wrote the Gospel writer John. One hundred fifty years ago, the Spirit of Christ was blowing in Japan. The Kyoto Kyoku (or District) of the United Church of Christ in Japan looks forward to celebrating with Global Ministries the legacy of the Spirit’s work in their region over the next year.

The Japan mission of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions, one of Global Ministries’ antecedents, established its first church in the port city of Kobe, southwest of Kyoto, in 1874. Congregationalists sent their first missionary to Japan in 1869, fifteen years after US Commodore Perry forced Japan to end two centuries of closed borders. Early on, the mission operated quietly because Christianity was still outlawed, but after the edict was lifted in 1873, the fledgling Kumi-ai, or Japanese Christian association, grew quickly.

The church in Kyoto was established in 1875. One of Kyoto’s principal leaders was Rev. Joseph Neesima, a remarkable figure who secreted away to America on a steamship owned by Alpheus Hardy, a member of ABCFM’s Prudential Committee. Hardy helped Neesima attend Amherst College and Andover Seminary, after which he was ordained and commissioned to return and start a school for Japanese preachers and teachers.

At its 1874 annual meeting in Rutland, VT, Rev. Neesima appealed to the American Board to help fund the school in Kyoto that would eventually become Doshisha University, where Global Ministries co-worker Martha Mensendiek teaches. This October, Doshisha and Amherst College will hold a special service at the UCC church in Rutland, VT, where Neesima Jo made his impassioned appeal.

Global Ministries has nurtured a closer relationship with the Kyoto Kyoku in recent years through our mutual support of the counseling and coffee-house ministry, the Bazaar Café. In affirmation of our historical connections and celebration of how the Spirit continues to move through our shared mission in Japan, the Kyoto Kyoku invites us to plan special anniversary commemorations with them throughout 2025.

Partners in Japan

More about Japan

Make a gift to support the work of the Kyoto District, National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ)