神を敬い、人に仕える(4代目学長 山田耕太)

For NWC and Keiwa Relationship: Opening Address[2016-03-07]

2016. 3. 7.
Kota Yamada

147 years ago, in 1869, Dutch Reformed missionaries, Rev. Samuel Robins Brown, his wife, Elizabeth Bartlett, and Miss Mary Eddy Kidder came to Niigata as the first Protestant missionaries to Niigata. Brown used to be a minister of Sand Beach Reformed Church at Owasco Outlet near Auburn in New York State. Kidder was a Sunday school teacher of the same Sand Beach Reformed Church.

Brown was hired as an English teacher by the Local Prefectural Government of Niigata. Students asked him about the Bible so he opened his private Bible classes at his house. But at that time Christianity was still prohibited in Japan. As a result, he was fired. After staying in Niigata for just eight months, he went back to Yokohama.

Brown was involved in the first translation of the Bible into Japanese with another Dutch Reformed missionary Guido Herman Fridolin Verbeck (later, he became an adviser to the Meiji Government) and a Presbyterian medical missionary James Curtis Hepburn (later, he made the first Japanese-English & English-Japanese Dictionary) with Japanese assistants. Brown’s private school in Yokohama, together with other private schools, developed into Meiji Gakuin University today, the first private university in Japan. Kidder’s private school in Yokohama also developed into Ferris Women’s University today, the first private women’s university in Japan.

Brown’s private house school in Niigata and Kidder also taught girls housekeeping etc. and her private house school in Niigata were the first spiritual predecessors of Keiwa. The second spiritual predecessors of Keiwa were Hokuetsu Gakkan (Northeastern Academy) and Niigata Women’s College, which lasted for 5 years since 1887.

Christianity and mission schools started from the five ports in Japan, first opened port towns to foreign countries at the time of Meiji Restoration in 1868; Nagasaki, Kobe, Yokohama, Niigata and Hakodate. But mission schools in Niigata were short-lived by religious, political and social reasons. They could not survive at the tide of the big current change from Westernization of Japan to the imperial Nationalization of Japan at the end of 19th century.

Piling prayers and desires for restoring Christian schools in Niigata after the Second World War, Keiwa High School was at first opened in 1968 by UCCJ (United Churches of Christ in Japan) supported by United Methodist Churches in America and German Evangelical Churches, Keiwa College was then founded in 1991 supported by Shibata City, Seiro Town and Niigata Prefecture.

About120 years have passed since the first foot step of the Dutch Reformed Mission, a Methodist missionary and the second principal of Keiwa High School, Rev. John Moss advised Prof. Muneharu Kitagaki of Doshisya University, the first president of Keiwa College, to have an international relationship with Northwestern College.

On account of passionate educational zeal and friendship by Prof. Lyle VanderWerff and President Kitagaki, Northwestern College and Keiwa College made the sister college contract in 1990, five months before the opening the college, and Orange City and Shibata City made the sister city contract in 1995.

Here I bring Keiwa College Booklet No.2, entitled “Young Men See Visions,” published in 1997, edited by me. Most essays are speeches by President Kitagaki and at its end Prof. VarderWerff ’s “Mission and Vocation” is included. This essay was presented at the second graduation ceremony when he was awarded his honorable doctoral degree from Keiwa College in March, 1996.

Prof. VanderWerff mentions at first Christian liberal arts vision common to both Northwestern College and Keiwa College. First, he indicates, that the sacred vision is for all the human beings “made in the image of God.” Second, the sacred vision is for the suffering human beings in disaster under the broken human relationship in the need to be restored. Third, students after their graduation are sent to the world in order to save the people and in order to reform the world, for these reasons our character must be brushed up and reformed. He concludes quoting Francis of Assisi’s “Prayer for Peace” and his own poem, ”Vision” of Heavenly Restoration.

  A vision I have
  Of earth’s inhabitants
  The world made whole
  Humanity healed
  Sons and daughters reconciled
  To God and their neighbors
  Brothers and sisters gathered
  Round the Messiah’s banquet.

  Broken, bleeding, fragmented
  The created to be related
  Image of God on human face
  Scarred, marred, disgraced
  Serpent’s subtle lie bought
  Sin’s sickness caught
  Sexuality, love, labor lost
  Earth’s terrible cost.

  Towers mortared, nations scattered
  Severed, shaken, shattered
  Yet Yahweh’s covenant calls
  To patriarch, prophet, peoples
  New community generated
  Family with faith imbued
  Prototype of true humanity
  Transcending ethnic boundary
  
  Humans of the globe unite
  Your revelator resurrected lives
  Good news breaks the dawn
  With rising sun the earth awakes
  A glorious kingdom comes
  Join the ranks of vision
  Pilgrims moving with mission
  International host of Christ.   Amen.

2016.3.7学長ブログ

For NWC and Keiwa Relationship: Opening Address

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