New President for Japan Lutheran Church

NRK President Tatsuomi Yoshida in a recent broadcast from his congregation.

JAPAN – The Japan Lutheran Church (日本ルーテル教団 Nihon Ruteru Kyoudan – NRK) held its 18th General Conference online on April 29, 2021, after a year’s delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During the conference, the NRK elected Rev. Tatsuomi Yoshida as the church’s new president.

“We, as part of the body of Christ, will serve the Lord and pray for God’s wisdom and guidance as we utilize the leadership and talents of these servants,” President Yoshida said of himself and other newly elected Executive Committee members. “I would appreciate it if you would keep us in your prayers.”

Prior to his election, Rev. Yoshida served as Vice President of the NRK. He succeeds President Shin Shimizu, who was first elected to the position in 2014. President Yoshida will also continue to serve as pastor of Sapporo Chuo Lutheran Church.

The International Lutheran Council (ILC) sent greetings to President Yoshida on his election following the NRK’s recent convention. “It is an honour to congratulate you,” write ILC Chairman Hans-Jörg Voigt and General Secretary Timothy Quill. “We are keeping you in our prayers, beseeching our Lord to grant you wisdom and strength to lead your church during these very difficult days. It is important to courageously face today’s spiritual, cultural, and political challenges with the confidence and certain hope that can only be found in Christ Jesus and the Gospel.”

“United in our commitment to Holy Scripture and the Lutheran Confessions,” the letter continues, “we look forward to working together joyfully in making a united witness to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as we encourage and strengthen one another in preaching the pure Gospel clearly and boldly to the entire world.”

During its convention, the Japan Lutheran Church chose a new theme for the coming triennium: “Love our Neighbour Churches as We Love Our Church,” drawing on Romans 15:2—“Each of us should please our neighbours for their good, to build them up.” To that end, the church also adopted the following action points: to “reflect on why our congregations were assembled by God and how we can serve Him,” to “cooperate with each other,” and “to walk with people who face difficulties, such as those who are impacted by natural disasters and the pandemic.”

The Japan Lutheran Church is a member church of the International Lutheran Council, a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies.

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Japanese Lutherans reelect President Shimizu

JAPAN – From May 1-3, 2017, the Japan Lutheran Church (日本ルーテル教団 Nihon Ruteru Kyoudan – NRK) held its 17th General Convention, during which time it reelected Rev. Shin Shimizu to another three-year term as President. In addition to serving as President, Rev. Shimizu serves as pastor of Totsuka Lutheran Church.

Japanese Lutheran Church President Shin Shimizu (Photo from 2015 ILC World Conference).

The next triennium will see the NRK focus on the theme “Christians as Priests and Perfectly Dutiful Servants of All—Our Reformation, Progressing from the 500th Anniversary of Luther Reformation.” The theme passage selected for the next three years was Acts 20:35—“It is more blessed to give than to receive.”

“We seriously considered what we can do to serve our neighbours, others, and churches as the body of Christ,” President Shimizu explained. “Also, we considered what we can to do serve our God by each one of us praying for both our neighbours and others, as we all go back to the basics of the ‘priesthood of all believers.’”

President Shimizu expressed thanks to the churches of the International Lutheran Council for their prayers, and expressed his desire that the NRK would continue to grow into closer partnership with the ILC in the coming years. The ILC is a global association of confessional Lutheran church bodies of which the NRK is a member. “I would like to continue cooperating with the International Lutheran Council,” President Shimizu explains, “as we further deepen our relationship with the ILC.”

The convention also reelected Rev. Tatsuomi Yoshia (Sapporo Chuo Lutheran Church) as Vice-President, and filled a number of other Executive Committee and Staff positions for the next three years.

The Japan Lutheran Church is a confessional Lutheran church body in Japan, with about 2,400 members in 33 congregations. In addition to being a member of the ILC, it is also a member of the Lutheran World Federation.

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New president for the Japan Lutheran Church

President Shin Shimizu
President Shin Shimizu

JAPAN – From May 5-6, 2014, the Japan Lutheran Church (NRK) held its 16th General Convention in Tokyon. At that time, the NRK elected Rev. Shin Shimizu to a three-year term as its President. He succeeds Rev. Yataka Kumei, who served the NRK as President from 2008-2014.

In Pentecost greetings, President Shimizu noted that the Church around the world speaks in many tongues but with one message. “After Pentecost, ‘other tongues’ have been given to the the churches by the Holy Spirit,” he writes. “Nevertheless, all of us look in the same direction for glorifying the Lord Jesus Christ.”

To that end, President Shimizu sent his greetings to Lutherans around the world, asking for “cooperation and good relationship in Jesus Christ” as he begins his service to the NRK.

“In Asia and also in some other areas in the world, we see many serious political problems,” he noted. “Christ’s Christ, which has many ‘tongues’ from the Holy Spirit, is to serve the Lord for the settlement of these problems and also for the possible unity of the nations.”

The Japan Lutheran Church has 26 pastors, 35 congregations, and more than 2,500 members throughout Japan. The NRK is a full-member of the International Lutheran Council and an associate member of the Lutheran World Federation.

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