Blessed are the peacemakers - the mission of youth in the NSKK

First published on: 30th July 2021

The Nippon Sei Ko Kai (NSKK - the Anglican Church in Japan) was among the first Protestant churches established after Japan was re-opened to the world in 1854, ending 200 years of isolation. These days, the Anglican population has dramatically declined in Japan, especially for young members, this reflects the Japanese national trends. However, even being a small group within a small church in a very secular nation, we the young generations have tried to engage in various activities in our local places based on our faith in God.

Peace and social contribution

The youth from several dioceses of the NSKK have been involved in activities for Peace for a few decades; especially in Okinawa and Kobe diocese (which includes Hiroshima city). These diocese have put lots of efforts to convey what happened in their regions in the past for congregation members in other dioceses in Japan, through giving opportunities like peace study, listening to survivors of the war and atomic bombing and so on.
Together with this, the NSKK has also tried to think about contributing to society as well. Because of the terrible earthquake and tsunami in Tohoku in 2011, one nuclear power facility suffered huge damage and radioactive material leaked, and many people became threatened by the effect of radiation. So the NSKK has declared opposition for nuclear power plants and keeps active in promoting this issue. This also shows the care of the Japanese Anglican community for God’s beautiful created world as we try to protect it. The youth of the NSKK are very much involved in this activity.

In addition, we never forget about people who are victims of the big earthquake: the NSKK opened centers for evacuated people to help them relax and share their anxieties with volunteers.  Many young members still continue supporting this activity and people who suffered from the earthquake by making places for them to enjoy chatting and sharing their feelings.

Motivation for those activities comes from the Bible including Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God” (Matthew 5:9 NIV) as well as the example of the Good Samaritan.
Everyone surely knows these stories and they tell us why we have to take action for various issues in our own places.

Especially for youth generation in this community, we should keep in our minds these words as Christians; who will face difficulties yet engage with helping people around us without any religious or national boundaries.
 

Interaction with other churches

The NSKK has had many opportunities to collaborate together through activities for building good relationships with several countries especially nearby countries.

Some dioceses of the Korean Anglican Church and the NSKK often have had events and interactions especially for young generations. The Korean-Japan youth seminar was launched in 2008 and young people learned each other’s culture and histories annually. Also the Korean church has sent many clergy to NSKK to relieve our lack of clergy.

The Episcopal Church of the Philippines also have built relationship with the NSKK through annual work camps for young Japanese in the Philippines, and through visiting local churches and sharing their thoughts with local congregations. These have all stopped this year because of Covid-19 problems.

USPG has also been central to mission in Japan for many years and has helped offer chances for NSKK clergy to study theology in the UK.

Through those and more interactions and cooperation with other churches in other countries, the NSKK has grown, but however, I think that NSKK is still particularly isolated because of language and cultural differences even the world has become so open. This isolation could be the next challenge for NSKK making the NSKK active more through building and creating links with the Anglican world.

We, the youth of the NSKK hope that our experiences and projects, grown from the past of our country will help the NSKK and Japan to look to the future. Especially that interaction with younger groups in other nations can be a massive stimulation to any Anglican youth group to learn to be able to walk together towards a brighter future. So we NSKK would like to put more priority in connecting with youth in other nations to create this. We really look forward to knowing other churches without any national boundaries.

We hope our experience might be an inspiration to other Christians and churches around the world: that even small groups of young people can do big things for our Lord.