The Rev. George Oshiba, president of the eastern district of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church, reported March 13 that he had made contact with the pastor of Sendai Lutheran Church, the Rev. Hiroaki Fujii. Sendai is a city of more than 1 million people in northern Japan and was near the epicenter of the earthquake and the tsunami.
Oshiba reported that Fujii, his family, and all of the children in the congregation’s preschool program are safe. However, some of the preschool program’s teachers have not been heard from. Cell phones do not work and gasoline supplies are scarce, he said. “The greatest need is food and water,” he said.
Dana Dutcher, an ELCA missionary stationed in Tokyo who teachers conversational English, wrote, “Now the church is looking into relief efforts and trying to find out in what ways we can help. Our prayers are now focused on Sendai and Fukushima prefectures as they were affected severely in hte earthquake and the tsunamis. We are praying that further devastation does not come, but are preparing for the worst.”
The ELCA, along with predecessor churches has worked in Japan since 1892. Currently, there are 22 missionaries serving in Japan, and all are safe.
The Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church is a 22,000-member church, and like the ELCA, is a member of The Lutheran World Federation, a global communion of churches with more than 70 million members.
“Please continue to pray for those affected by this disaster,” said the Rev. Daniel Rift, director for the ELCA World Hunger and Disaster Appeal. “Your [financial] gifts will be used to assist those whose lives and livelihoods have been affected by this disaster in Japan and other affected islands. Your prayers and partnership are needed.”
Excerpts from “Japanese Lutheran Church President Thanks ELCA Members,” ELCA News Service, 3/14/11
Find prayers and liturgical resources compiled in response to the earthquake and tsunami here.
Learn more and give online from http://www.elca.org/japanearthquake