Reverend Hollis Hamilton Corey, who contributed deeply to the founding of Okaya St. Barnaba’s Church, was originally from Quebec, Canada, and worked in the continental region of Labrador in the northeastern area of Canada before coming to Japan.  This area has a harsh climate being close to the Arctic Circle, but Reverend Corey provided pastoral care over a wide region even under harsh conditions using dog sledding and other means.  Through a letter, Reverend Corey had reported his situation to the bishop, and in the past diocesan bulletin of the Diocese of Quebec contains detailed situations of his work.

 In April 1919, just before coming to Japan, spring had arrived about half a month earlier than usual, and there was no knowing when it would become possible to travel on sled.  He had been apart from his family since he had left home at the end of January.  Such hardships of a missionary lifestyle can be seen.  He and his family had come from such a place for mission in Japan which would accompany further difficulties.

 After arriving in Japan, Reverend Corey and his family first lived in Gifu and then in Nagoya, but not being able to tolerate the climate change, their older child suffered a serious illness.  The child was in critical condition for a time, but fortunately survived though left with a severe brain damage.  At the same time, their younger child also had fallen ill, but preoccupied by the care of their older child, they failed to notice and the younger child passed away at the age of seven.  The reason why Priest Kori was assigned to Okaya via Takada and Matsumoto was partly because of the relocation treatment of his older child. He was able to build the church in Okaya at the cost of such a sacrifice.

 Reverend Corey’s wife, Constance, is the sister of a priest colleague Reverend Spencer, but one of the family morals of the Spencer family was devoting themselves to overseas missions, and his sister Florence also came to Japan as a missionary, and the three members of the family took up work together in the Diocese of Chubu.  Reverend Spencer stayed in Japan until the year of the return of foreign missionaries in 1941 and worked for 27 years, but he fell sick and passed away the year after his return at the age of 55.

 I would like to remind you of the history that the church in Okaya and the Diocese of Chubu were built by the desperate work of the missionaries.  And, I also come to wonder how people in the future will read as historical records of our activities during the COVID-19 which started last year. 

 In an unprecedented situation, I have been working hard, but when I think about the work of these missionaries, I cannot but think that my work has not been enough.  I have to admit that I lacked in seriousness and diligence.

 When church service had to be suspended, when travel was not possible from Tokyo and giving worship ceremony or sermon through the internet, when only Distribution of the Communion was not possible even during the Holy Eucharist.  Honestly, there was a kind of emptiness and feeling of loneliness.  Now that church situation is returning to how it used to be, I have come to realize the greatness of what had been lost. 

 Paradoxically, it seems as if the church may have offered this emptiness and loneliness to us for the past year and a half.  There may be what we call our “desperation” in this age and time.  I would like to share this with you all without having to hide it from anyone.    

Revd David Shintaro Ichihara
Okaya St. Barnaba’s Church
(seconded to Diocese of Tokyo)

Asking for Gender Identity is a Violation of Human Rights

On April 18th of this year, the Ministry of Health, Labor, and Welfare announced a resume “format example” that no longer requires gender indication, and the specification of gender is optional. 

Gender indication leads to gender discrimination by potential employers, and it has been a subject of discussion that has finally reached to the point where it will be optional. 

Globally, it is generally recognized that the act itself of inquiring, to prevent discrimination based on gender, ethnicity, age, and appearance, is a violation of human rights and an illegal act.

The thought that there is no problem in leaving the gender indication if specification is optional is very Japanese.  This can be seen in “The Global Gender Gap Report 2021” released this March which shows the gender gap index that measures differences in men and women, ranking Japan 120th, the lowest level among developed countries.  However, it goes without saying that the gender column itself should have been eliminated, for the act of inquiring is a violation of human rights.  It is clear that discrimination will not end if the gender column remains, even if indication is optional. 

In July 2020, the “JIS format example” with a conventional gender column “male/female,” which needed to have either one circled, was deleted.  The understanding that the male/female gender inquiry itself is the problem has been spreading gradually, but in order to generalize the understanding that the inquiry itself is the problem, the gender column should had been deleted from the “format example.”  Let’s just hope that the remaining “optional gender column” will not continue to be used to justify the violation of human rights.

In this way, it may be a general recognition in Japan that “if there is not a recognition of discrimination, then it’s not discrimination.”  However, such thoughts show our low awareness of human rights.  

Gender columns have been present on various Anglican application forms for some time.  The overwhelming majority of such inquiries based on gender dichotomy as “male/female” has been pointed out that such is not suitable for a comprehensive formation of church.  However, even though gender mentioning has been deleted from statistical reports and the necessity to inquire on gender has lessened, church worship attendance register still separates male and female, even on visitor attendance forms.  The fact that there are gender columns that ask to check either male or female indicate that our church is not an “open church.”   

Inquiring about gender on an event application form may be for room assignments for lodging or some type of insurance.  In Japan, insurance contracts such as life insurance and chronic illness insurance have different insurance premiums and coverage depending on gender, but there is no need for gender inquiry for recreation insurance. 

As a first step aiming toward an open, comprehensive church where everyone can feel at ease, why not consider dropping gender inquiries?

Revd Ambrosia Kaori Goto
Nagoya St. Mark’s Church
Aichi St. Luke’s Church

Blessing of Praying for Each Other

There must be many who are at a loss from the weariness of self-restraint due to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic.  Since last year, we have been tossed about by the unknown virus called COVID-19, and churches within the Diocese of Chubu have been repeating suspension and resumption of their public worships following the judgment standard declared by the national and local government.  Despite wondering if this was the right decision and with much pain in our hearts, we took thorough preventive measures by limiting the number of people, listening hymns only to the sound of the organ, and live streaming to somehow keep our worship and religious life.  Unfortunately, this unstable condition will most likely continue for another few years and we may become despondent, but we hope to keep moving forward without losing hope and believing there are God’s will and blessings that are beyond human understanding.

The other day, it suddenly hit me looking at my colleague who was worrying “if there was somehow a way to at least put subtitles in the church live streaming” for the hearing impaired.  I strongly realized that, as the necessity of creating a good internet environment at church becomes unavoidable similar to society, we had solely been preoccupied by its convenience and the necessity of spreading it, and the most important attitude of giving consideration to those who are unable to deal with the situation due to various reasons was insufficient.  Many people have no choice but to give up even if they want to participate in the live streaming or refrain from worship because of their age or underlying illness even if church worship resumes.  It is essential to improve the internet environment for post-pandemic mission, but I feel it is more important to thoughtfully respond to those who are confused by the sudden changes.

According to the Gospel of Mark, finishing his ministry in Galilee, Jesus along with his disciples headed to Jerusalem where the crowd became larger as the days went by.  In the final phase of the journey, as they were setting off from Jericho onto Jerusalem, a blind man, Bartimaeus, shouted “have mercy on me!”  As the people rebuked the man, Jesus was the only one who stopped, and he demonstrated his work of healing.  (Mark 10:46~)  As described, Jesus was a person who put the presence of one single person before his own accomplishment.  He treasured the presence of the individual, especially the socially vulnerable, and tried to walk together with those who were suffering and grieving.

I have been attending various meetings lately and feel that negative opinions tend to dominate due to the uncertainty of the future.  It has been pointed out that the call for “physical (social) distancing” has led to disconnection between people and promotes separation and disparity.  However, because it is a time of anxiety, we must not forget that we have been given the blessing and the power from God to pray for each other.  By thinking about the presence of each person whom we have not been able to see in person for a while and praying more than ever, we will be encouraged to form a deeper and richer community.  For that, I feel that the church is willing to continue asking what they can do specifically.

Revd Timothy Hirozumi Doi

This Cross is Heavy, but…

The Gospels tell us about the many people who met Jesus.  Among them was Simon of Cyrene, who just happened to meet Jesus.  “Then Jesus said to his disciples, ‘Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me.’” (Matthew 16:24) Simon of Cyrene carried this cross on his back and became the first person to obey Jesus.  But it was not the case where he himself took the initiative in doing so. 

To Simon, Jesus had nothing to do with him, and in common with other people, Simon had just come to see Jesus the prisoner.  Jesus just happened to stumble and fall in front of Simon.  The angry voice of the Roman soldier was directed toward Simon, “Hey you, carry this cross on your back.” “What an unlucky man I am. Of all things, I have to carry the cross of a man who is going to be executed.” (Just imagining)

The other day, the third “state of emergency” was issued in Aichi Prefecture.  In our daily lives, there may be times when things go smooth and accordingly, but the global spread of COVID-19 and the more contagious mutant strains which cause severity, have brought to us an unprecedented situation that had never been imagined.  There are some cities and even people who have had to endure the extension of the declaration since the beginning of the year.  It is a painful, frustrating everyday life that we must endure.  Those who are experiencing anxiety and fear, leaving no room to even think about what is so painful; those receiving medical treatment, and those who cannot receive medical treatment; those who have passed away; family members and friends who are mourning and regretting; those working hard in treatment and nursing; those who have been exposed to discrimination and prejudice; I pray that the situation come to an end as soon as possible, and may we find hope and joy in overcoming it.

Legend has it that Simon was later counted as one of Jesus’ seventy disciples, and it was of his own free will to be martyred for Jesus.  He was forced to carry the cross, and for that reason, he mentioned the scene of Jesus’ death on the hill of Golgotha, and was led to encounter with the resurrected Jesus.  Upon his own initiative he carried the cross this time, and overcoming hardships, he was able to walk the road to glory. 

During Paul’s evangelism, there was a series of unfavorable situations such as persecution and imprisonment.  However, every time he encountered situations which he did not hope for or were the exact opposite of what he had wanted, the gratitude and praise to God empowered him. 

We were not only the successors to this faith that Paul had passed on, but also tellers and witnesses.  Paul’s conviction is also our conviction.  In this difficult time, let us unite our thoughts, strengths, and prayers with all people throughout the world, regardless of nationality or faith, in order to overcome and put an end to this. May each of us be made to live within the grace of God and be strengthened as those who live within this grace.

Revd Eliezer Shiro Nakao
Ichinomiya Holy Light Church

“I’ll Come Again!”

Together with the work of church, there is also work at the kindergarten.  “Good morning!,”

“Long time no see, dad,” and “Thank you mom for coming to pick up your child up,” are scenes of children when arriving and leaving from the kindergarten.  We enjoy the chatting with family members and do our best to be at the gate as often as possible.  Among them are families who come to pick up their children a little late.  These are within ten minutes, and children call this a “chat time with the principal!” and it has become the usual pattern for the two of us to sit on the bench and chat.  The topic of the chat is based on what we like; one day will be on the kind of animals; another day will be on food, TV programs or movies, and so on.  Then we expand on our conversation from there.

Then one day, the child said to me, “I’m so anxious.”  And said the same thing for consecutive days.  So, I asked the child, “Why are you anxious?” and the child answered, “Because mom is coming to pick me up soon.”  The child feels this way because the child believes the mother is coming no matter how late it will be.  Even if the child has to wait by oneself, I feel the reason the child can keep waiting with a smile is because one believes the mother will come.  It has become standard and widespread that people have mobile phones and smartphones.  Even if we are meeting, it is now a time where we do not have to be definite about the meeting place and time.  It was never this way before.  We needed to check the meeting place and time beforehand, and if we still could not meet up, we either gave up or there was a message board at the station.  The content of the messages on these boards were often funny.  It also said that these messages would be erased as time passes.  In this way, just taking the case of meeting up shows a drastic change with the times.  However, the only change is just the way of meeting up, and the feeling of wanting to meet probably has not changed with the times.    

There is a season of waiting within the church year as well.  Not only Christmas, but Easter also awaits Jesus to come.  And we continue to wait for Jesus to come to this world again.  With what kind of feeling do we wait?  I wonder if we would be waiting anxiously just like this boy, or somehow just waiting?  When I was in elementary school, I remember being nervous and restless at home alone because my parents would come home late.  As I got older and in cases where I had to stay home alone, there were times when I would go to sleep early thinking that my parents would be home soon or at least in the morning.  I would fall asleep trying to escape from anxiety.  I feel that this child has taught me once again the joy of waiting.  I was also taught to believe in being able to meet.

Then, the child waves one’s hand when leaving and say, “See you” and would hop into the car with mom.  Believing we would see each other again tomorrow morning, I wave back saying “Come again.”  I cannot help smiling.  I would like to be a person, who is able to say “Come again” to Jesus and continue to wait anxiously.

Revd. Francis Kazuaki Enatsu
Ueda St. Michael and All Angels’ Church

The Chapel Left Behind

In Spring 2019, as I was tidying up the office soon after I started working at the church in Gifu, I found in a manila envelope the Consecration of the Chapel Certificate dated October 18, 1908 for Gifu Sei Ko Kai signed by Bishop John Mckim and a one-page, B4-sized Order of Transfer by the Governor of Gifu Prefecture dated April 25, 1945.  

The Order of Transfer, based on the air defense law, ordered the four church buildings be transferred to Gifu Prefecture within 10 days by May 5, 1945.  As I was pondering this might be a valuable document, I coincidentally received a phone call from a citizens’ group, “Gifu Air Raids Historical Record Group.”  There were planning an exhibition of peace records hosted by the city of Gifu and were looking for exhibits from the time of the air raid.

The Gifu Air Raid was on July 9, 1945 shortly after 11pm.  More than 10,000 bombs were dropped on the city of Gifu by the U.S. military, and it killed approximately 900 people.  Around this time every July, Gifu holds an air-raid related exhibition.  It seems that the situations of shrines, temples, and churches at the time of the air raid have been chosen to be depicted as a special feature that same year.      

When I spoke about the Order of Transfer, they soon came to the church to have a look at it.  It was decided to display a copy of the document, and the information was relayed to various quarters.  A university researcher knowledgeable about the air defense law, which is the legal basis of the order, had contacted and told me that this was something unprecedented and valuable nationwide.  Gifu Newspaper reporters came for an interview, and the news was filled on the front page and in the city news page of Gifu Newspaper.  

It was an order of eviction to demolish the building to create fire-fighting facilities to prevent the spread of fire in the city by the air raid.  As a result, Reverend Shigeji Ogasawara (he later became the diocesan bishop), who was doing pastoral care at that time, evacuated to Mino-Ota of Gifu Prefecture, and services were held in homes of church people within Gifu City. 

Fire-fighting facilities were not something that could prevent the spread of fire during the actual Gifu air raid.  The current chapel of Gifu St. Paul’s Church is a post-war relocation of the chapel of Ogaki St. Peter’s Church, which had existed since the pre-war era.

The once chapel which had been consecrated by Bishop McKim, being built through the prayers and services of the people.  Many had listened to the Word.  The children of church-affiliated Gifu Myodo Kindergarten sang the hymns lively.  The chapel where the students of Gifu Sei Ko Kai School for the Blind, also a church operation, prayed must have been engraved with precious memories along with stories of each one who had gathered there.  However, this order of eviction destroyed these memories as if repainting them all.    

Lord Jesus calls each of our names and listens to our unique stories, just as shepherds call and take out their sheep.  Such works of Jesus are of total opposite from the Order of Transfer, a one-sided deprivation from above.

There may be times when we talk about our missionary work as if looking at people’s movement from beyond the clouds.  However, I feel we should rather listen to each one’s story standing on the ground.

Deacon John Taro Aihara
Gifu St. Paul’s Church

To All of the Diocese of Chubu

I would like to thank you all for your prayers and cooperation during the Consecration and Installation held on October 24th.  It was postponed twice due to the spread of the new coronavirus disease, but through the hard work and preparation by the people of the Province and dioceses, it has been successfully completed.  On the day, the Archbishop of Japan’s main Christian religious sect and chairpersons also attended, and we received many congratulatory messages from all over the world.  I was able to realize once again that we, the Diocese of Chubu, are supported by, not only the Anglican Church in Japan, but also by the Anglican Communion, and the ecumenical connection that transcend denominations.

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to Bishop Ichiro Shibusawa, who has guided our diocese for 10 years, and to Bishop Osamu Irie, who has managed the Diocese of Chubu, which was within the feeling of anxiety for the last 7 months.  In addition, although I will continue to work at Rikkyo University for the time being, and with the support of ministers and congregations of the Diocese of Chubu, including Reverend Hirozumi Doi being appointed as the Archdeacon, I will do my best to take on this position as bishop.  I would appreciate your continued kind support.

On a personal note, my youngest son was born by Caesarean section in a hospital in Okaya.  However, he was not breathing at birth and was in a state of severe asphyxia.  Immediately treatments in ICU were started, and the doctor showed me an MRI of the brain but it was pure white.  The doctor had told me that no primary treatment could be conducted and only secondary treatment would be possible. 

The Gospel for the Sunday after my son was born was a scene where Peter and others who were fishing were called by Jesus as disciples.  When I was meditating on the gospel, I was made aware about one thing.  “What kind of a net does a fisher have to catch people?” “The net of a fisher of men” is spun with the thread of God’s love, and no one spills out of that net. Even if my son must go on carrying various burdens from now on, he will be firmly supported in the net of love and will never spill out of it.

Maybe Jesus was telling his disciples and us to become fishers with such a “net.”  And when the resurrected Jesus told Peter and the others to go fish, perhaps it was to confirm whether the disciples had become of persons who were able to possess that “net.”  In fact, the net was full of 153 large fish, but it had not been broken even though they had fished so much.  Lord Jesus ascended to heaven after confirming all his disciples had become fishermen with a net of love that would never spill out.  I was given this conscious awareness.

In this sense, to live according to the Lord, that is, to love God and to be a person who loves people, is to be fishers of men.  “Be the one with a net which no one spills out.”  That is the teaching of the Lord.  Stretching this net to the fullest is essentially the sign of being a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You are all also “fishers of men” called by the Lord.  A fisher with a net spun with the thread of God’s love and trust.  You hold the well-spun net which no one spills out.  Let us pray and work together so that each one of us will be able to connect each net to finally become the “Diocese of Chubu,” a “network” of God’s love.

The Rt Revd Francis of Assisi Renta Nishihara

The Bad Priest

A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. (Luke 10:31 “The Good Samaritan”)

In July, as I was just about to enter the intersection with my car, a sight came into my view.  In the middle of the intersection on the right, there was a car rolled over with its windshield and roof facing toward my car.  The accident had just happened, and many people waiting for the green light were taking pictures on their mobile phones.  The police had not yet arrived, and traffic also had not been controlled, but there was no sign of people in the car involved in the accident.  It seemed that they had already evacuated somewhere.  May cars were slowing down as they passed; and the car in front of me, as it was passing the vehicle involved in the accident, made a strange motion.  It hit its brakes suddenly, and further slowed down its speed, and passed the car with its hazard lights on.  Immediately afterwards, it seemed for a moment that it was going towards the shoulder of the road, but the car went back to the center of the road and drove off. 

I was frightened by the inexplicable action of the car in front of me, and though feeling anxious, slowed down my car as I passed the car involved in the accident.  As I got a glance at the accident vehicle, I was startled to find out the reason behind that inexplicable action.  Only the two inflated airbags came into sight, but they were moving.  “People are still inside!!”  At that moment I thought, “I need to help them!” and stepped on my brakes.  I slowed down my car for a couple of meters to pull my car aside.  However, my thought had changed within these few seconds.  “It will cause a major traffic congestion.  There’s nothing I can do alone.  The police will be here any minute, and they’ll safely rescue the people.”  So, I got back to the center of the road lane and continued to drive.  I told myself, “I have an interment ceremony to go to, and I can’t be late for it.”   

In the parable of the “Good Samaritan,” it tells each one of us to “go and do likewise (*as the Good Samaritan).” (Luke 10:37, (*added by the writer)) However, the reality of us who are told to be good Samaritans, does not go as hoped.  Rather, isn’t our reality the repetition of the passers-by such as the priests and the Levite passing by on the other side of the victims?  I am a priest the same as the priest who had “passed by on the other side.”  I thought as I looked at myself, “Did the priest and the Levite who had passed by on the other side regret just like myself?  Did they convince themselves with excuses?”

“The important thing is not becoming a good Samaritan from scratch, but by regretting and repenting from the negatives as priests and Levites to be transformed into a good Samaritan.  That is the incarnation of the Word rooted in our reality.”  To be reborn from regret.  Were the priest and the Levite, who had passed by on the other side of the road, able to change?  Isn’t it the great hope for us as sinners to believe in that change?

Revd Joseph Daisuke Shimohara
Nagoya St. Matthew’s Church

By the Hokushin-Gogaku (Northern Nagano Five Mountains)

Two years have passed since I was assigned to Nagano Prefecture.  Obuse Town, where New Life Hospital is located, is a mountain village surrounded by flowers.  From the hospital, one can see the mountains called “Hokushin-Gogaku” by the local people.  Mt. Iizuna, Mt. Togakushi, Mt. Kurohime, Mt. Myoko, and Mt. Madarao.  Each one is beautiful and unique in its own.     

A mountain that stands proudly.  The colors of green change with the season, but one is fascinated by its unchanging stability.  The mountains seem to me as if they are disciples of Jesus; they look like our seniors who have had their lives changed by the resurrection of Jesus, and having built a secure foundation of life, started walking the path of faith.

I am working as a hospital chaplain at the foot of these mountains.  I am happy to have been given the role “to spend time with patients and their families who are facing and battling with illness.”  On the other hand, I come to realize that I am only looking at my own steps when I am busy.  

When going home after the Evening Service, along with the feeling of relief that “I was able to finish the day off,” I remember the people that I met in the hospital ward and the people I saw off.  There are many times where I go home with my head full thinking back on the words that were communicated and the times spent together.  “Was that the right decision?”  “Let me say this kind of greeting.”  “What should I do tomorrow?”     

However, beyond my thoughts, there is an extensive view of the mountains within the vast sunset.  I hear the birds singing, and when looking up, the mountains come out from within the clouds and looking down from the view afar.  Silent and peaceful.  The figure of the mountains within each place relaxes my feelings. 

Miss Powell, a Canadian missionary who was the head nurse at Obuse Sanatorium (the forerunner of New Life Hospital), is said to have had a liking for the Psalms which starts with “I lift up my eyes to the mountains.” (Psalms 121:1)  When I think Miss Powell had also been looking at the same view, I remember the timeless familiarity of her who had devoted her life in caring for patients right here at this place.     

As services restarted in June, I am feeling the joy being able to again pray with the lay.

I have also been given strength from those who participate in the Evening Mass.  I always long for the security like that of “Hokushin Gogaku.”  I will never come close to it, but in reality, I am always guided by the presence of security, and the many people such as brothers and sisters at church, staff members, volunteers, patients, and their families.          

Even today, there are people who are waiting to welcome me with many different facial expressions.   Smiling, happy, painful, sad, angry, and lonely.  The certainty of living comes from living each day to the fullest with such people. 

The outbreak of infectious disease and large-scale natural disasters are currently engulfing people all over the world with fear and anxiety.  However, let us lift up our eyes and believe that “my help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth” (Psalms 121:2) and continue walking holding hands with all of you.

Deacon John the Baptist Takaaki Yamato

Being Appointed as Bishop in Charge

To all the people of the Diocese of Chubu, I have been asked to be in charge of the Diocese of Chubu for the next half a year until October.  I am grateful for your cooperation.

Reverend Nishihara was elected at the Chubu Diocesan Synod last November, and along with everyone in the Diocese of Chubu, I was waiting in joy for the consecration and installation in March.

However, with the unexpected spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19), the consecration and installation were postponed to May 2. In accordance with this, I have been commissioned bishop in charge by the Primate.

I took the position initially since the term was for a month from April to May 2.

However, the infection spread more and more thereafter, and the bishop’s consecration and installation were again postponed until October 24.  Honestly, I was slightly uncertain, but I had accepted it at first and have decided to be with you all until October.

My hometown is Yokohama, but I was born in Obuse, Nagano Prefecture. My mother’s hometown is in Obuse, and my mother went back to her old home, and that is where I was born.

I remember visiting Obuse when I was in elementary school, spending many hours waiting for the train at Ueno Station during the most congested days of summer vacation.

After the war, I had repeatedly heard stories from my mother about my aunt who was a nurse at Shinsei sanatorium at that time and about doctors who had come from Canada.

Reverend Junichi Kubota is my uncle, and while he was at Iiyama Resurrection Church, I spent a week during my summer vacation there with my cousin. At that time, there were many walnuts on the veranda of the rectory.

Having been asked to become the managing bishop, I was looking forward to visiting churches in the Diocese of Chubu very fond to me.  However, the virus infection has not yet ended, and all in the Diocese of Chubu have yet to gather and worship. It seems the situation will continue for a little while longer.

Under such circumstances, it is important to our religious life that everyone pray together and listen to the Word from their respective places.

At each church, the clergies offer daily worship services, including Sundays. I encourage the laypeople to open their prayer book and the Bible to pray together from their respective places. In this way, we will be able to maintain the fellowship of our Lord.

On that occasion, please pray aloud and read the Words of the Bible. Of course, reading silently is perfectly fine, but by reading with your eyes and listening to your own reading voice, each prayer and the Word will become even more convincing and stay in your mind.

In time of hardships, the true self in people will appear. In such time like this, we must always pray, and live faithfully to the Words we hear, giving concern to each other’s pain.  Let’s help and support each other to overcome these difficulties together.

Let us all be together until the installation of the new bishop.

I pray that there be comfort and encouragement of the Lord, and guidance and protection on each one of you.

The Rt Revd Ignasio Osamu Irie