since 1863

Yokohama Union Churchfile://localhost/Users/Preschool/Sites/YUC/Welcome.html
 

History Of Yokohama Union Church

BEATING SWORDS INTO PLOWSHARES:ssThe Occupation Years and Beyond (1945 - 1976)

After the war, during the American occupation of Japan, returning members of Yokohama Union Church and others who had come to assist in the rebuilding of Japan joined in the worshiping fellowship of the U. S military chapel center. The interests of Yokohama Union Church were looked after by a committee of missionaries and businessmen. The manse was rented to American families. An effort was made to resume worship as a Union Church in 1961. With the availability of the military chapel and the legal difficulties caused by the post-war confusion, this didn't prove feasible at that time. From 1962 on Mr. Walter Schmidt, Ms. Miyo Sugiyama and Ms. Yasuko Koga kept the property intact as that of the Yokohama Union Church, and other members of the church kept the embers of faith, hope and love -key elements of any church- alive until they could be re-ignited in 1976.


In the years of uncertainty, the members of Yokohama Union Church, though worshiping in other places, still remembered the interdenominational and international flavor of Union Church. They longed to worship once more in this church with its rich history.


In an effort to revitalize the Union Church, a meeting of the Board of Elders was scheduled on September 12, 1976 at the Yokohama Chapel Center.


Rev. Karl Karpa served as chairman of the Board, Mr. Roi Koike as treasurer (later replaced by Mr.Takamitsu Ito) and Ms. Miyo Sugiyama as secretary, positions they would hold for the several critical years following. Some of the others who provided leadership during this time were C.A. Weisel, Sam Park, Reggie Mettler, Helen Zander, J. Davis, Ted and Mary Flaherty, Helen Zander, Rev. Russell and Eleanor Norden and Rev. John Scott.


All through these years the church had been struggling with some major obstacles - the legal status of the property , financial assets of the church, providing a place of worship on the property (restricted by not having shukyo hojin status), remodeling of the manse and revising the church constitution. To aid the church in handling these problems an agreement was made between the church and Standard Chartered Bank and Tokyo Union Church allowing the title to the property to be held by the Bank until such time as the church received government recognition.


When the remodeling of the manse had been completed, the congregation began holding occasional Sunday afternoon worship services there conducted by missionary pastors. This gave the church new life on its old site so that by 1979 weekly afternoon worship services were possible. Efforts were made to increase attendance by advertising at the Yokohama Country and Athletic Club and the Union Supermarket. The Board was also discussing what percentage of their mission offerings should be for mission outreach.

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