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Message to the National Christian Council in Japan's 36th General Assembly

31 January 2006

Dear Rev. Yamamoto,

The 36th General Assembly of the National Council of Churches takes place at
a time when the international community is going through a period of uncertainty
and transition. At this critical juncture Japan and its people are expected
to play a major role in promoting peace and security, not only in the region, but
also globally. Having experienced the horrors of war, the people of Japan value
peace as few others do. The theme of the General Assembly "Lord Send Me -
Towards Peace and Reconciliation" is therefore timely and encouraging. Peacemaking
is the major challenge faced by the churches in all the regions. In a troubled
and volatile world the space for dialogue and engagement is rapidly shrinking.

As such, churches have to make systematic efforts to create this space for
societies that are divided and fragmented. In a sinful world of violence and war,
churches have to witness for peace, hope and justice. In our endeavours for peace
we have the support of Jesus' teaching: "The Son of Man came not to destroy lives
but to save them." (Luke 9:55)

We in the World Council of Churches have followed the role of the churches and
the National Christian Council in Japan in promotion of justice, peace and reconciliation
with appreciation and admiration. The National Christian Council
and its members have waged a relentless struggle against the re-militarization of
Japan and for accurate recording of Japan's imperial role in textbooks of history.
The NCC Japan has also facilitated the coming together of North and South Korea
in an effort to bring about a peaceful reunification of the Korean peninsula and
its people. The ecumenical movement remains grateful to the churches in Japan
for this daring initiative and the hard work done over the years to facilitate this
process. Reconciliation restores broken and unjust relations between persons, communities
and nations. It is this important ministry of reconciliation to which
churches are called today. Reconciliation however is a difficult and costly process
as we are certain your experience must have shown. It requires courage and prophetic
witness. The people and churches in Japan are in a unique position to contribute
to this process, not only in the North East Asian region, but also at the
global level.

We hope you have a good and reflective Assembly that will be a source of joy and
celebration to the participants.

Yours in Christ,

Rev. Dr Samuel Kobia
General Secretary