Meeting of the Christian Churches in Sendai

“The Association of Christian Churches in Sendai” made up of a variety of Protestant denominations gathered at the Emmaus Center to share information about the damages to churches, and to plan ahead to cooperate in sharing information and supporting one another.

Nozomu Konishi

Scenes from Arahama Beach (March 22)

Two of our young members (Shin-ichi Watanabe and Sin-ichiro Asayama) entered the coastal area which was most hardly hit near to the city of Sendai.
The area east of route 6 is closed to car traffic. In this area all houses and buildings have been destroyed. What we saw were heaps of debree. There were houses turned upside down, roves of temples, road signs and telephone poles washed away by the tsunami. Firemen were walking the area looking for dead bodies. The area hit by the tsunami is so vast! It is next to impossible for volunteers to do anything there.
It is hard to believe that such destruction has happened only 10 to 20 miles from the city center of Sendai. Even though we belong to the same city of Sendai, on one side of the road the houses are leveled, while on the other the houses are intact.

  1. In the mountains of dibree we found daily accessories, cars, beds and all sorts of familiar things.
  2. A car destroyed by the tsunami
  3. A rare building that was not taken away by the tsunami.
  4. Inside the building. Most everything in the surrounding area was leveled.

Report of Visit to Ishinomaki (March 16)

Report of Visit to Two Churches in Ishinomaki on March 16th
Today, March 16th, we visited Ishinomaki Eiko Church and Ishinomaki Yamashirocho Church. Due to the effects of the tsunami, the church yard was covered with mud. Salt water had seeped into the toilet sewage tank, causing the excrement to overflow, and the putrid smell was terrible.
We also visited the house of a church member nearby. We heard from this church member of how he helped people who were being swept away by the tsunami, and then all spent the first night together. The devastation in Ishinomaki is greater than we imagined, and they have suffered tremendous damage. We also were able to offer a bit of help by providing a hot meal to the people sheltered at the church.
Below are moving images taken on route to Ishinomaki that show the situation there.

  1. A long line of cars waiting at a gas station along route 4 in Sendai
  2. A scene of the destruction in Ishinomaki. An overturned 4-ton truck, and many cars and furniture scattered.
  3. Showing the moment when we confirmed the safety of Mr. Miyamoto, member of Ishinomaki Church (and committee member of the Emmaus Center Communication Committee.)

Started to accept relief funds (March 17)

[Official announcement] We have started to accept relief funds (March 17)
The Standing Committee approved acceptance of contributions to the Disaster Relief Fund
We are now officially collecting monetary donations to our relief fund. These funds will be used for the support of disaster victims.
Yucho Bank
– Branch: 818
– Regular account: 0962494
Name: 日本基督教団東北教区 (Nihon Kirisuto Kyodan Tohoku Kyoku)
If sending from the post office, the number is:
If sending from a Yucho Bank account through an ATM, there is no transfer fee. 
If sending cash at a teller window, there is a fee of 525 yen for sending under 30,000 yen and 735 yen for over 30,000 yen (for transmission in Japan).

Disaster Report #1 (March 14)

March 14, 2011
First Report of Disaster Situation
Tohoku District District Moderator, Kazuhito Takahashi
Praise be to God
I give my heartfelt thanks for the immediate response – the many warm words, sympathy and kind offers of help, as well as visits from afar – following the disaster caused by the massive earthquake and tsunmai. With a large area of this district cut off from any means of communication, and the life lines inoperable, we were not able to get information from the disaster sites or to send you a report sooner.
Finally I am able to give you a report about the situation, though somewhat incomplete. Some church buildings were damaged severely, but many churches at this point have suffered small-scale external damage. However the aftershocks continue. We still have people that we have not been able to contact and there is still much cause for concern.
Yesterday, the UCCJ Moderator and 5 others went to investigate the disaster sites and churches in northern Miyagi Prefecture. We were speechless at what we saw of the disaster and are at a loss for words to describe the tragic reality. These areas are still in the midst of the disaster and we are not able to grasp the full extent of the damage, but we must as a church respond quickly and also make plans for the long term.
Specifically, we the UCCJ, Ou District and Tohoku District are working together to start up and proceed with relief activities. We will inform you of details as we progress, and ask for your cooperation.
We need your prayers and cooperation. We will put our utmost strength to the task at hand and ask for your support.
We pray that God will hear our cries and give strength to those who are weak in body and spirit due to anxiety and fear.
In Peace,

Moving image agreeing to setup Relief Center

Moving image agreeing to establish “The UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center”
UCCJ Tohoku District Agrees to establish “Support Center” at 1:00pm, Tuesday, March 15th, 2011.

The image of that moment (filmed by Jun Arai)
Speaking is Guest Ken Joseph (Agape House). Others include members of Tohoku District and supporters from Niigata District.

Setup of UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center

UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center Established at Emmaus Center on March 15th.
We at the Emmaus Center have been discussing how best to gather and provide information and offer disaster support. On March 15, along with Emmaus Center Director Matsumoto, and Student Center Director Jeffrey, we arrived at the conclusion that Emmaus Center will be the focal point of this support. Based on this, along with District Moderator Takahashi who had returned from a meeting at Ou District, we agreed to establish the UCCJ Tohoku Disaster Relief Center, housed at the Emmaus Center.
We do not know how much we will be able to do, but supported by your prayers, we have decided to begin activities to stand with the people who have suffered.
We will continue to provide details.
We give thanks from the bottom of our hearts for remembering the disaster stricken areas and for your prayers.

– Etsuya Kataoka (Pastor, Wakamatsu Sakae-machi Church)