Original Japanese written by Izumi Koshiyama, No Nuke Project
The English below written and arranged by Heeday, based on the original Japanese
The English edited by Rev. Dr. Henry French, ELCA
The little town of Shinchi, Fukushima, was devastated by the gigantic tsunami caused by the seismic catastrophe of March 11th, 2011. The devastation from the ocean brought serious harm to all the members of St. John’s Church—an Anglican congregation—who were living close to the church. Three of the church’s members were killed. All the other members who survived the catastrophe had no choice but to settle down somewhere else as refugees. How about the church building? It was demolished as a “dangerous building” on February 16th, 2013.
The Tohoku Diocese, Anglican-Episcopal Church in Japan, launched the “Rebuilding Project of St. John’s Church, Isoyama” and has been striving to rebuild the church over the last five years and nine months. The Diocese bought a new piece of land in Kumano, Shinchi and reopened the church under the name of “St. John’s House of Prayer, Isoyama.”
While the general rebuilding of Tohoku, the hard-hit region of the 2011 seismic disaster, is still in progress, many refugees from the vicinity of Fukushima Daiichi are still living in temporary housing in Shinchi.
At 4pm, Sunday, December 25th, 2016, the “House of Prayer” celebrated its first Christmas Mass, attended by 31 people. Worshipers included St. John’s own members as well as visitors from Nagoya, Sendai, Aizu, Onahama, and Koriyama. After the Mass, they spent time sharing peace and gratitude for the reopening of the church.
The House of Prayer (with its parking lot behind)
Scenes from the Christmas Mass