A Word from Our Pastor 2011 July Being a Japanese American Church 2

Being a Japanese American Church 2

Summer is here! Look forward to being interviewed, if you are an active member of the church! As we have been saying during announcement time in worship, everyone will be interviewed in preparation for drafting a new mission statement for BMUC. We want the mission statement to reflect the best, most successful aspects of our past ministry, and how we might build on those for the future. Therefore, I hope you will be thinking about the best ministry that BMUC has offered in the past, and may be able to offer in the future.

During worship, we have also been talking about what it means to be a Japanese American church, when increasingly, we are not so much Japanese American in race, and certainly not in language. What is our culture as Japanese Americans: what is it that makes you feel deeply “at home,” and how can we share that sense of belonging with others? I spent several Sundays talking about Japanese values such as loyalty, self-sacrifice and “gamman” or perseverance — along with how these values are reflected in Christian faith. These were values that were taught to me growing up, and I think, are fairly common among Japanese Americans. Were there others that were important to you and your family?

On June 19, at our Father’s Day celebration, we heard about the impact of one particular Japanese American’s life, Lindsay Hiratzka’s grandfather. On June 26, we heard about the lives of several of our beloved Nisei members. Did their stories resonate with your life and your family experience (even if you aren’t Japanese American)? What about their lives makes our community vibrant and faithful? On July 3 and 17 we will consider several other aspects of our life together. On July 31, Bishop Roy Sano will speak; and on August 7, Rev. Lloyd Wake will speak; both will offer their reflections on the Japanese American Church — past, present and future. Both of them have been guiding lights for the Japanese churches as a whole; they spearheaded work with other Asian Americans, and were instrumental in making sure that the Ethnic Minority Local Church missional priority (of the whole UMC) continued for 12 years. They have given their lives to the Japanese American church, in many ways.

Hopefully, all of these sessions will help us to face the future with great confidence. We will be reminded just how much we stand on the shoulders of giants — who led the way for us by creating a Japanese American Christian community. We will be empowered by their strength to envision how this community may change to meet the challenge of the future. . .I know, that with God’s guidance, and our loyalty, self-sacrifice and gamman, anything is possible!!!

On another note, please be ready to welcome our new youth minister, Youngmi Jung, who will begin work with us part time in July (she will have to be absent on two Sundays in July). I am sure you will enjoy getting to know her. She is a second-career minister (she worked in business), and is studying at PSR. We are delighted that she will be joining us!

Rev. Naomi