4. Around-Table Talk
A discussion meeting by participators joined after 1990

 At the time of Hyakunincho 40 year’s anniversary, there are few new members other than who joined from beginning. A round-table talk was arranged for them to talk about reasons of joining, impressive episode, or frank opinion on the Hyakunincho.
Moderator:  Please start to talk frankly about an impressive matter or a reason why coming.
M:  I began to come from 2004. My senior in Korea recommended coming to the Hyakunincho. When I came to Japan for study, my senior recommended meeting with three people. One of among three was pastor Ka.
 I preferred such church that was small; pastor could take care one by one of member, and had active on social movement. Therefore, I thought the Hyakunincho was my ideal church.
 As I had been attending a Sunday service with my wife for 6 years, the big impressed matter in my mind was we became respect own belief each other. My wife comes to a church nearby sometimes even at present, since she could not get on well with atmosphere in the Hyaknincho. Actually, I wish to come the church together with all family. But at now, I have become to respect her thinking of the church, and she has become to take good care of my thinking to the church.
H:  I came here firstly on August, 2004. My wife (T) recommended.
 At that time, I was student and lived in Sendai. I had kept in touch with my wife a few times in a year. She came to the Hyakunincho, and tells me about the Hyakunincho. She said to me the Hyakunincho was important place for her since they cared of human social ties deeply. Her talk made me interest of the Hyakunincho. I attended the Hyaknincho alone while she went out to USA. At that time the Hyakunincho church was located in the Kyofu-Kaikan still, and it was not so easy for me to be there. I had experience to come to the church in student hood, but it was quite ordinal church. The Hyakunincho was way different from that, and I was surprised and felt even fear. After a Sunday service, I thought I could know why she felt important on the Hyakunincho, since I could catch a feeling how much the Hyakunincho cared about real life.
 The church I came before gave a rift somewhere in my mind. At that time I was still not a Buddhist priest, but it had been decided to succeed a title of Temple. Therefore, staying in the church gave me something ambiguous and uncomfortable feeling. It was, however, something different in the Hyakunincho. When I introduced myself as a priest, many members said “It is wonderful”, and also Pastor Aso said, “One of my friends is a priest and act together with him”. This was my impressive episode experienced in the first Hyakunincho, as getting me positively.
T:  I had Bible in my hand firstly when I went university on Christian basis. I went also the Sendai Student Center of UCCJ, and I met a person (H) who was married with me later. The Sendai Student Center had an atmosphere to accept anybody softly, and I joined to guitar class and study tour.
 After spring of 2002, I came out to Tokyo and started working. I could not get friends at beginning, and also my work was not getting well at all. So, I tried to go out several churches. However I could not feel at home as like the Sendai Student Center. On occasion joining to study tour, I talked with T.M, who brought me Bangladesh together, about my feeling. Then, he suggested me the Hyakunincho would be fit you and had me “Roba”.
 This was why coming here. And I thought the Hyakunincho would be my church by intuition. As well as I had interest on testimony, I felt more exiting about response followed with that. Then, I decided to come next week also. Fortunately I lived in Koishikawa near Pasto Ka, he drove with me to the church.
 My impressive episode was my surprise which was assigned me in charge of testimony soon after I joined. Another one my husband became an honorary member of the Hyakunincho even though he was a priest.
K:  I might come here for the first time in 1993. I assumed Pastor Aso was principal but was changed to Pastor Ka. I was maintaining a reasonable distance from the Hyakunincho. Therefore, I could not understand why I became one of editorial committee member. I was baptized at the Christmas in 2005. Since baptized, I felt something duty to accept role of an editorial committee member.
 At old days, I was scary to attend, since they had severe talk and it’s very deep statements. I thought it was better for me to come here a few times in a year but not always. At present there are not much severe statements than before, since they do not to have a strong quarrel at all.
M:  Even though now, we have some special theme to be worth to quarrel.
K:  Response was so severe before, but now, everything becomes calm as like a round statement without sharp edge. I remember well some female talk was also severe and scared for me before. There were a lot of school teachers and they were expert to talk.
 In other church it can be said families attended a service together, therefore, that made single person difficult to attend alone. But in the Hyakunincho, attendance comes alone in most cases. I had experience to attend other church together with my friend in student hood. At Takamatsu, I attended a local church twice, and I felt slight difficulty to get into since mostly they came as a family. Nevertheless mentioned so, I think still the Hyakunincho have an atmosphere not easy to get into. (All laughter)
R:  After leaving for Tokyo, I went other doctrine’s church, which my former teacher attended. I met him in my Christian university. At last autumn, I transferred to the Hyakunincho, since I had various problems which lead me not to attend, and furthermore, I would like to cancel my membership of that church. In order to do so, I have to transfer my membership to other church at first. That’s why I transferred to the Hyakunincho.
 The reason why I decided to the Hyakunincho is I had experience to work in Tomisaka, and I saw Pastor Ka, but I had not much chance to talk directly in office. Vegetables from the Aso Farm used to send to Tomisaka, and I ate it without knowing come from Aso Farm. Then I knew Pastor Aso and Ka were in the Hyakunincho. That’s why I asked to transfer to the Hyakunincho.
 I was surprised when coming in the first time, since it was different from the church I attended by all means. But I could fit atmosphere of the Hyakunincho, since I thought important matter was what good thing was for me.
 Impressive matter for me was the style of retreat. Participants sat down as like student circle and having discussion. Response was also impressive for me.
S:  I came here about spring in 2006 for the first time. It might be just before getting married, and it was during I was thinking of marriage. My home religion was Buddhism, but my husband now (Moderator) brought me to the church. By the words of my husband, the Hyakunincho was interesting since I could hear not only pastor’s talk but also other various people’s talk. And he wished to keep those stories in common.
 At beginning, I thought I came here just for listening to testimony, but the Hyakunincho did not allow me so, and requested to introduce myself. I very much surprised and I feel the Hyakunincho was something different from others. Also it was my big surprise there were no Cross at all.
 When I joined, I could not have enough time to come the Hyakunincho every week. I had to prepare for marriage, and also change my job. Recently, I could have a time going retreat last year firstly, and met pastor Ka at parking area. I talked with him I might become Christian in the future. Soon after Pastor Ka encourage me for receiving baptized.
K:  Pastor Ka was very much rough for me, since he asked me for receiving baptized. He forgot I was baptized already. I told so, then he apologized me. (All laughter)
H:  In that connection, it might be possible Pastor Ka would ask me for baptizing even though I was a priest. (All laughter uncontrolled)
Moderator:  The first half is introduced just on good things, and therefore, the latter half is better indicated about more bitter matters please.
K:  The service duration was getting longer, although it was ended about 1:00PM before.
M:  The present Hyakunincho gives much tense for first comers, and also has him pressure to talk something. The Hyakunincho is too much academic always.
T:  Since there are few scholars, and contents of discussion is rather difficult. Pastor Ka’s talk is difficult, and the contents of response are also difficult. In addition of that, it is not so good always the same person has response. It has not easy atmosphere everybody can respond. Even though many keeps silence, I am sure they have something to express.
MHonest opinion! Moderator requests more bitter opinion, then, I dare to say something. Atmosphere of the Hyakunincho gives me some feeling that they thought the Hyakunincho would be “the church selected”. For example, members talk much about the Hyakunincho is special, something unusual, unique, and different from ordinal church. When they talked, everybody laughed. I think this is an expression of their pride. Personally, it is not bad for me, but it becomes a burden on new comers. Since new comers from other church have a feeling it might be criticized on my church. To mitigate such feelings, it is better to have more chance explaining carefully about way of thinking the Hyakunincho has.
S:  We discussed about need of young people or new member in the Hyakunincho recently. Has somebody idea on that? I remember idea to suggest enriching home page of internet.
T:  I believe it is not necessary to increase members intentionally, since it is one of good and basic atmosphere of the Hyakunincho. So, we need not to act positively to catch, however, we have to make some good system which can inform person who wish to have a church as like the Hyakunincho.
Moderator:  Is it not necessary to have action of propagation in Buddhism since many patrons of Buddhist temple are there?
H:  It had been so, but now it is changed. Most of churches are supported by family members. The temple is the same since children belong to the temple where parents belonged. In principle, they would not change the temple because of grave. Therefore, temple is there because of custom to do so. I have a sense of crisis for the situation now. Since family style is going change now on, it would not be happened that child uses parent grave automatically.
 For example, song of “becoming thousand winds” became very popular. In that, song sings “I have not been staying in grave”. It is denial of the temple act till now in total. (All laughter) It is, however, received from common people, and it means such consciousness might be embedded in all people’s heart. Therefore, I think Buddhism propagation would be required from now.
 Temple might propose gathering place. I think this is the same for churches. Role making such gathering place is responsibility of churches or temples.
What I am talking is temple should back to original figures such as children’s home, a welfare facility for old, a mother-and-child shelter, and a school, since temple used to be people’s gathering and living place.
r: It is interesting story, but now I’d like to back about the Hyakuninncho.
K:  I am concerned about location of our church. Should we rent here for all of future? I know rental fee is way high in Tokyo metropolitan.
S:  I remember well some retreat became in a tangle about discussion of church place. At that time, one opinion was indicated it might be better to purchase church building for sale of auction. Then, Pastor Ka strongly objected on that.
K:  If we get real property, it would become big work for management, as Japanese current churches in relation with UCCJ.
R:  I come the Hyakunincho with no property from the church having real property. I feel it is good matter not having real property, since I experienced various problems were raised from those in former church. But on the other hand, I think it might be better having chapel located in the area for active works to that area.

 I heard before Christian should disperse to local area. From that idea, it might be good for Christian to disperse various places. Place also would be varied many times. My image is more moving than staying.
T:  I talked that only limited person had voice in response. I feel there is another method called sharing, which superintendent of UCCJ student center (SCF) put on high value. I went there and experienced every people speak one word in turn as sitting in circle.
 The present response was made by the people who would like to talk, but in “the year last service” of the Hyakunincho was different and everybody spoke one word. I’d like this style much. If doesn’t like to talk, doesn’t. If feel something, talk about that, and others should have no criticize at all, just listen to.
 Even though the Hyakunincho gives me comfortable atmosphere, it might be less time to receive personal feeling of heart as it was.
Moderator:  If such occasion would be arranged once a month, Pastor Ka would be pleased since he makes testimony just one time in a month. (All laughter)
A round-Table Talk, May 16th, 2010