Open Circle

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Mar 2, 2014 - For more information & RSVP: Call Hiromi Sato 080-5502-5230 or email: [email protected] PLEASE NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS!

March 2014

Open Circle

The Magazine of The Tokyo Union Church Women’s Fellowship

Tokyo Union Church Women’s Fellowship 5-7-7 Jingumae Shibuya-ku, Tokyo TUC Reception Desk 03-3400-0047 Monday–Friday 10:00–14:00

Women’s World Day of Prayer

The logo for the was developed by the women of Ireland and adopted as the international logo in 1982. In the center is the cross formed by praying figures from the four corners of the earth. All are joined together within the circle of the world and enfolded in God’s love.

Open Circle

March 2014 TUC News

Dear Ladies of the Women’s Fellowship, Using the words of Paul in Philippians 1:3 – “I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy…” For 2 ½ years, I have had the privilege of working beside you in this ministry and organization we call Women’s Fellowship. I started out with the Thursday morning onigiri group, taking classes with Reiko-san and learning about her life as well as the different Japanese crafts we created. I also took a class from Ritsuko Okishige on Japanese women and learned so much about the culture of my new home. I attended the monthly programs and began to meet many and various women; some who have lived here (what seems like) forever and others who were here for only a short time. I am thankful for former-elder Tomomi Kumagai and the opportunity to work alongside her. Tomomi gave her heart and soul to the women’s ministry and cared deeply for all women – TUC members and friends – who desired a place within the church. I have great respect for Jo George, (former coordinator) and the amount of time and passion that she poured into the fellowship. I learned a lot from both of these women. Other leaders of the Fellowship have left in my short time here and isn’t that really the nature of this international ministry? “Comings and goings” “Receiving and Sending” – These could be the slogan for our organization only if we also included: “tried and true” and “steadfast and faithful”. For there are many women who have persevered and stood firm, holding us together, month after month, ever faithful in planning the programs, classes, tours and opportunities for growth and friendship. While I am sad to leave, I am so thankful to God that I got to stay longer than originally planned. And I am thankful for each of you – for your welcoming me as a friend and then as your pastor; for the support you offer to other women who are in need of a friend, a sense of purpose, or a place to have fun; for the amount of work that you do for the homeless ministry!; for your energy, creativity and drive. As quickly as people leave, new leaders will need to step in for the Women’s Fellowship to continue at the same level. Everyone can help out by doing their part. From the smallest contribution to those in leadership – there is no gift or act that is too small. 1 Corinthians 12 teaches with a great analogy: Just as a body is not made up of one part, but many, so it is with our fellowship. “Now if the foot should say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I don’t belong to the body,’ it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” Each part and each person is needed within the Women’s Fellowship. Please share your gifts – for your own sake and for the sake of this body we call TUC Women’s Fellowship. Peace and blessings to all of you, Pastor Gail


March 2014

Open Circle TUC News

Ash Wednesday Worship Service March 5 at 7:30 Special music by Sanctuary Choir Imposition of ashes Holy Communion All are welcome!

What is Ash Wednesday? Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent in the Christian calendar. Lent is a forty day period lasting until the day before Easter. Sundays are not counted in the Lenten period because Sundays are always celebrated as Resurrection. In many countries, the last day before Lent (called Mardi Gras, Shrove Tuesday, Carnival, or Fasching) has become a last fling before the solemnity of Lent. For centuries, it was customary to fast by abstaining from meat during Lent, which is why some people call the festival “Carnival”, which is Latin for “farewell to meat”. Lent is a season of soul-searching and reflection. Lent originated in the very earliest days of the Church as a preparatory time for Easter, when the faithful rededicated themselves with prayer and fasting. New converts were instructed in the Christian faith and prepared for baptism. By observing the forty days of Lent, the church and individual Christians imitate both, Old Testament characters and Jesus. Moses fasted and prayed for 40 days. During this time God gave him the code of law known as the Ten Commandments (Exodus 34:27-28). Elijah fled for his life through the wilderness, fasting 40 days and nights until he came to Mt. Horeb. There God appeared and instructed him on how to overcome his enemies. (1 Kings 19:1-18). After his baptism, Jesus withdrew to the desert to fast and pray for 40 days before beginning his public ministry (Matthew 4:12; Luke 4:1-2). Other special worship services in Lent include Holy Week, which commemorates the last week of Jesus’ life on earth: Palm Sunday (April 13- 8:30 and 11:00); Maundy Thursday (April 10 at 7:30) and Good Friday (April 18 at 7:30). Easter services (April 20) will be held at 8:30, 10:00 and 11:30. Everyone, Christian or friend, may attend these services.


March 2014

Open Circle TUC News

“At One” – Afternoon Praise Service Sunday, March 2 at 1:00 Bilingual English-Japanese service Speaker: Pastor Gail Music by Union Praise Choir With Ronnie Rucker, choir director

Holy Communion Every Sunday at 8:30 First Sunday, March 2, at 11:00

Flea Market Please pick up some of the Flea Market flyers (soon to be available in Japanese) to distribute. Supplies of flyers are available at the reception desk. See a copy this eyecatching flyer on page 7 of this newsletter. Also if you haven’t already, please sign up to volunteer!

Spring Classes There is still time to sign up now for new Spring classes commencing soon. Pleases register for classes with Rose at the Women’s Fellowship Desk in the TUC lobby between the hours of 10:00 am to 2:00 pm, Monday through Friday. The class catalogue can be located online from our Women’s Fellowship webpage:


March 2014

Open Circle Monthly Program March Monthly Program Thursday March 6th Women’s World Day of Prayer Written by the Women of Egypt 10:00 – Coffee & Tea in the lobby 10:30 – Program in the sanctuary Pastor Johann Symington will present on Egypt

Followed by the prayer service for Egyptian and all women After the program – a light lunch in the fellowship hall Please bring a food or fruit to share that might reflect on the Egyptian theme

Women’s World Day of Prayer “Informed Prayer, Prayerful Action” The Women’s World Day of Prayer is a worldwide movement of Christian women of many traditions who come together to observe a common day of prayer each year, and who, in many countries, have a continuing relationship in prayer and service.

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It is a movement initiated and carried out by women in more than 170 countries and regions. On the first Friday of March, this annual day of prayer and celebration begins at dawn, in Samoa and for 36 hours, moves around the globe until it ends in the American Samoa. Each year, women from a chosen country sponsor and write the program for that year. Then people from all races, cultures and traditions come together to pray for that country with the goal to grow in closer fellowship, understanding and action.


March 2014

Open Circle TUC Tours

Monthly Tour – Tama Forest Science Garden Enjoy cherry blossom viewing with over 2000 varieties of sakura! Date: Friday 28 March Meeting time and place: 10:15am JR Shinjuku Chuo Line No11 platform first car. Program Fee: ¥500 + ¥300 admission fee For more information & RSVP: Call Hiromi Sato 080-5502-5230 or email: [email protected] PLEASE NOTE NEW EMAIL ADDRESS! Link:

Mashiko Pottery town tour Date: Thursday April 10th Cost: Y5000 Only 12 seats available! Sign up by March 10th with Rose at Reception. Please tell your friends, as Mashiko is a beautiful little town and the pottery and ceramics they sell are a wonderful souvenir of your time in Japan. 6

March 2014

Open Circle TUC Flea Market


March 2014

Open Circle Small Interest Groups

Ah Sew Every Tuesday 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m., TUC Library These wonderful groups of ladies work throughout the year on craft and sewing projects. The proceeds of these projects go to support our outreach charities. For more information, email [email protected] or just turn up. Tokyo Survival Tips Are you a newcomer to Tokyo? Are you just brimming with questions about living here? Where to shop, what to buy, what's an earthquake kit? Women's Group member Hiromi Sato would like to help you with your questions. Please contact her at or 0805502-5230 [email protected] The Lunch Bunch Last Wednesday of the month The Lunch Bunch is a group of lovely ladies who like to try new restaurants and enjoy a chat. If you would like to join the fun, please contact Natsu to be added to the e-mail list. You'll be notified of the upcoming lunch adventure, and you can let her know if you'll be able to make it. Contact Natsu Kikuchi on 03-3913-0527 or [email protected] Onigiri Volunteers are always welcome to help us prepare Onigiri (rice balls) for the Homeless, no skills needed! Many women in our fellowship group already help to make onigiri. It takes only around one hour in the morning & is a great way to meet new people. For more information, ask at the church or email Yuka Shigeno: [email protected]


March 2014

Open Circle TUC Small Groups

INTRODUCTION TO CHRISTIANITY This small group will review major themes from the Bible and discuss questions people have who are new to the Christian Faith. When/Where: Wednesdays, 2:30pm-4:00pm in Tamachi/Mita area (family restaurant) Conveners: Chris Martinu & Rio Mitani ([email protected] or 090-47033427) THEOLOGY READING GROUP This in-depth reading group will explore theological topics through group readings and monthly discussion. When/Where: Once per month (in the evening) in the TUC B1 library Convener: Peter Mathies ([email protected]) WOMEN’S BIBLE STUDY This group meets for fellowship and study using the book, "Decisions – Seeking God’s Guidance". Come explore what the Bible says about making decisions wisely, confidently and in harmony with God’s will. When/Where: Wednesdays at 10:00am in the TUC 2F classroom Convener: Melissa White ([email protected]) MID-WEEK STUDY & PRAYER GROUP This small group meets weekly to join in song, spiritual reflection, and prayer. If you would like to join others in praying for the world, our church, or some joy or concern in your life, please join us. When/Where: Wednesday evenings at 7:15 in the TUC 2F classroom Convener: Jean Wilson ([email protected]) “BIBLE AS A WHOLE” CLASS We meet weekly to study the essential teaching of the Bible as a whole, with a focus on evangelism When/Where: Tuesday evenings at 7:00pm in the TUC 2F classroom Convener: Suzie Wheeler ([email protected]) WOMEN’S EVENING BIBLE STUDY This group will study the Bible with a special focus on how God’s word impacts our daily lives & strengthens our walk of faith. When/Where: Tuesday evenings at 7:00pm in the TUC 2F classroom Convener: Amy Mathies ([email protected]) & Tiffani Anderson ([email protected]) 9

March 2014

Open Circle TUC Small Groups

TUC MEN’S GROUP Come join us for a meaningful time of discussion, encouragement and excellent coffee! Whether you are a church member or not, you are always welcome. When/Where: 2nd & 4th Saturdays of the month from 8:00-9:30am in the TUC Fellowship Hall Convener: Peter Mathies ([email protected]) YOUNG ADULTS GROUP (YAG) A great time of friendship, study, and service for young adults. New visitors are always welcome! When/Where: Every Sunday from 1:00-2:30pm in the TUC Fellowship Hall Conveners: Steve Wheeler & Yuka Shigeno ([email protected]) CHINESE/JAPANESE BIBLE STUDY AND FELLOWSHIP GROUP A basic Bible study group that is open to everyone, with a special focus for Chinese and Japanese couples and individuals. When/Where: 1st Sunday of the month from 1:00-2:30pm in TUC 4F classroom Conveners: Ryotaro and Mindy Sekine ([email protected]) MARRIED COUPLES HOME GROUP A Christian network helping couples support each other and address some of marriage’s challenges. When/Where: 3rd Saturday of the month from 6:00-8:00pm at members’ homes Conveners: Ronald and Debbie Julian ([email protected]) INTERNATIONAL STUDENT FELLOWSHIP With plenty of great food and conversation, this group serves as a spiritual home for international students going through cultural and academic adjustments while in Tokyo. When/Where: First Saturday of every month from 5:00-7:00pm in the TUC Fellowship Hall Convener: Suzie Wheeler ([email protected]) TUESDAY MORNING BIBLE STUDY Using the best-selling book “Bad Girls of the Bible”, come explore what ten of the Bible’s best-known ‘bad girls’ have to teach contemporary Christians. When/Where: Tuesday mornings from 10:00-11:30am in the TUC 2F classroom Convener: Pastor Gail ([email protected])


March 2014

Open Circle Calendar

March 2014 Sun 2nd

‘At One’ bilingual English-Japanese service, 1pm in the Sanctuary

Wed 5th

Ash Wednesday service 7:30pm in the Sanctuary

Thu 6th

Monthly Program – World Day of Prayer (Women of Egypt) 10am

Fri 7th

Womens World Day of Prayer 7:30pm in the Sanctuary

Sun 9th

Flea Market donation & set up day TUC New Members class, part 1. For info: ([email protected]).

Mon 10th

Flea Market donation & set up day

Tue 11th

Flea Market donation & set up day

Wed 12th

Flea Market donation & set up day

Thu 13th

Flea Market donation & set up day until noon Flea Market sale day from 3pm – 8pm

Fri 14th

Flea Market sale day

Sat 15th

Flea Market sale day & clean-up day

Sun 16th

TUC New Members class, part 2. For info: ([email protected]).

Fri 21st

Homeless dinner preparation

Sat 22nd

Homeless dinner

Thu 28th

Monthly Tour: Tama Forest Garden cherry blossoms

March birthdays: Mizuka Mizuno, Dawn Otis, Kimiko Kajiyama , Kristin Cullen, Miyako Takeda, Nora Koiwai, Reiko Takahashi, Sandra Caster 11

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