IncidentU Era of Pastor Toshifumi Aso(April,1975 "December,1996)
Pastor Aso was assigned to the Ookubo-Meeting.
Prof. Kida might persuade Pastor Aso strongly and succeeded to invite, although
Pastor Asofs, originally, hesitated so much to come the place where many of old
friends or seniors were.
Pastor Aso grew up in Hirosaki-City, northern
place of main land. He was a member of the Mitake church in Tokyo for some
reason. He graduated Aoyama University, theology course. He received
instruction from Prof. Asano and Prof. Kida. In his young days, he caught
tuberculosis and received medical treatment. After recovery, he became one of
key person in the youth group of the Mitake. As graduated just before a campus
dispute begun, he got married and left to Hirosaki assigning a Bible teacher.
He knew everybody in the Hyakunincho. There were many of seniors. So, he hesitated
to receive the offer easily.
New journey by Pastor Aso was started. Testimony
used to handle by member in the Hyakunincho. Therefore, following schedule was planed;
Pastor Aso twice a month, Prof. Kida and member once a month each. Some days
after soon, Pastor Aso received assignment of Bible teacher of Joshi-Gakuin
high school. Some of members raised an objection, but seniors agreed. Then, all
became to approve whether we liked or not. Pastor Aso had been working for
Ecumenical movement since the time of Hirosaki, and went abroad a lot. Through
those trips, he got the seeds of communication with various people at various
countries. Along with this line, he visited Korea, Philippine, USA etc, to
support several movements at there, such as total abolition of nuclear weapons,
securing right of immigrant laborer, helping to JFC children, ensuring human beingfs
right in the World etc.
Some raised voice gWe join to UCCJh. Few young
members objected. The youth swayed by fears that UCCJ made us some restriction
on the style of a Sunday service or actual activities that is free for only independent
church. After long discussion, spring general meeting decided to join UCCJ, in
order to carry out responsibility being burdened with UCCJ, after reconfirming mutually
not to loose our identity. There was, however, one problem to proceed joining
because of regulation, since other church was located the same site of Kyofu-kai
already. For clean up the situation, it took 6 years. Other churchfs name was
Ookubo missionary. Therefore, new name was requested. There were two names
nominated, one was the Hyakunincho based on the location, other was Minsu-church
(the Book of Numbers). After discussion, decision was made on the Hyakunincho
Church, and number of members was counted by people who came up to present.
(Roba 45, 50 and 99)
gDo we need church building?h gYes, we do.h gNo, we donft.h Again long
discussion! gIt is to expensive to build in Tokyo area and offering such big
money made hardship for us. Was it worthwhile to do so?h gIf so, what meaning
building has?h Discussion continued in parallel, and no conclusion. Therefore, members
agreed that it was better to rent a room for the time being, and our offering should
be used for our activities. Since then, almost 40 years we rented a room in the
hall of Kyofu-kai (Note 9).
God knows the reason why, but, after Pastor
Aso was assigned, summer retreat (Note 2) became active. One night was not
enough, then, two night program was introduced. Members enjoyed softball-game
in program. There was not only discussion time, but also time of calm for members
of busy middle age. Schedule was relaxed. Many children of members came
together. Program included hiking, grabbing fish, camp fire, ghost game, sketching
contest etc for them. Everybody enjoyed everything with children. Until late
night, discussion was made with drinking alcohol for adults. More than 50
participants showed up sometimes.
During these times of period, there was a
struggle for democratization in Korea. Members tried to support the struggle
and find a way out solidarity with Korean church. One of the Hyakuninchofs members
was a secretary-general of Theological Seminary for Rural Mission. In the
Seminary, special encounter of he and Pastor Sung Ja Park, who studied there
from Korea and develop the Jamsil Central Church in Soul, was occurred.
Sister-church relation had been decided for both sides in order to support financially
and to provide human resources. Such helps was required in Korea at that time,
since free voyage abroad to Japan was prohibited. Since then, sister relation
had been continued for 30 years. Coincidentally, Pastor Ka stayed in the
Jamsil, who became a principle pastor of the Hyakunincho later.
In early stage, a New Year meeting was
impressive. Members visited every home in turn. After service, members enjoyed
New Year drinking. Drinking became the first place somehow. More drinks made
more high spirited discussions. On a few occasions, Japanese tanka (a short
poem of 31 syllables) or haiku (17 syllables) contest was held. They enjoyed also
valuation of those. As passing through such various activities tying up of
community would be tightened. They had nothing to maintain community but
solidarity. The style of a new yearfs home gathering has been handed down the style
of having Passion Week home gathering (Note 7). In general, any meeting such as
Bible study (Note 5), a reading home circle (Note 4) or others was planed to have
Members discussed about breaking up the
Hyakunincho in every general meeting. It was, however, rejected. They decided
to go on in the light of everybodyfs belief, as thinking back on the starting