Holy Help for Needed Change – Fourth Sunday after Easter – May 15, 2022

We welcome Rev. Paul Tsuchido Shew, as our preacher at West Tokyo Union’s 10:00 am online service.

Rev. Shew’s sermon this Sunday will examine how the Holy Spirit helps us to change for the better. The scripture readings referenced for this message are:

Psalm 148 – “Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights above. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his heavenly hosts…”


Acts 11:1-18 – “15 “As I began to speak, the Holy Spirit came on them as he had come on us at the beginning. 16 Then I remembered what the Lord had said: ‘John baptized with water, but you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.’ 17 So if God gave them the same gift he gave us who believed in the Lord Jesus Christ, who was I to think that I could stand in God’s way?”


John 13:31-35 – “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 13:34

Hymns:  89: Joyful, Joyful, We Adore Thee — 548: In Christ There Is No East or West — 384:Love Divine, All Loves Excelling

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Thank you to Kazuko who will be playing the organ and to the many members who help out with our weekly services.


Welcome to friends and members from around the world who join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers.


We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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Jesus Rose for Us – Third Sunday after Easter – May 8, 2022

Join us for our weekly online service! This week, Jon McCurley, from the Asian Rural Institute, will be preaching at our 10:00 am online service.

Rev. Jonathan McCurley has enjoyed visiting and sharing with the people of West Tokyo Union Church since coming to Japan to work with the community life as a chaplain at the Asian Rural Institute located in Tochigi, Japan.  Coming with his wife Satomi in 2009 to ARI, they both serve as missionaries through the United Methodist Church.  Jonathan was raised in Florida and Satomi, in Okinawa, so they both love the beach, ocean, and warm weather!   Even in cold Tochigi though they enjoy serving the Lord and all the wonderful people who come to the Asian Rural Institute.  Their daughter, Yuka, is 9 and they are involved in fostering and currently are blessed to have an 18-year-old living with them!

The ARI Chapel – photo by Jonathan McCurley

 
The sermon title for next Sunday is “Jesus Rose For Us.”

Jonathan writes: “Jesus rose again on Easter! Hallelujah! Have you ever wondered why didn’t the Kingdom of God just become a full reality on earth immediately or why Jesus didn’t take his followers to heaven? Jesus conquered fear and death; he came and appeared to hundreds of people to be a testimony to the power of God over fear and to commission his followers with this same power to continue preaching and living into their calling, continuing to proclaim the coming of the Kingdom of God. Sharing from the context of ARI and the pandemic, we will think about fear and the power of God in our lives.”

Hymns:  Because He Lives — UMH 364, Christ the Lord has Risen Today — UMH 302, The Hymn of Promise — UMH 707 

Scripture Readings: 1 Corinthians 15:1-11 & Isaiah 52:7-10   (Jon will be preaching from the Common English Bible.)

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Ruth brings the children’s message with help from her puppet friends. Thank you to Kazuko who will be playing the organ and to the many members who help out with our weekly services.


We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers.


We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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Saul to Paul, Soul Overhaul – Second Sunday after Easter – May 1, 2022

Join us for our weekly online service, as Malcolm Foster, journalist and artist, will be preaching at our 10:00 am online service. (See the link at the bottom of the page.) We were very happy to be able to meet in person on Easter Sunday and to celebrate the baptism of two of our church members, Akiko and Shintaro! If you missed out on Akiko’s moving testimony, be sure to read and meditate on its meaning; it is included in this post below.

The transformation of Saul (later known as Paul) from persecutor to champion of the church is one of the more dramatic turnarounds in the Bible. This Sunday, we’ll be taking a look at this episode in Acts 9. It has some good lessons for all of us, including that God can save and change anyone, even cruel enemies, and that we aren’t just saved from something, but for God’s greater purposes. Malcolm will be preaching and Kazuko will be leading our music on the organ as always. Please join us at 10 am on Sunday!

Paul’s Conversion on the Road to Damascus – Caravaggio

The scripture readings are from Acts 9:1-20, Romans 5:20 and Psalm 30.

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Ruth brings the children’s message with help from her puppet friend Grudge, (who may grudgingly assist). Thank you to Kazuko who will be playing the organ and to the many members who help out with our weekly services.

Akiko’s Testimony:

First of all, I would like to appreciate WTUC to give me this opportunity of baptism, especially Jim and Malcolm for supporting me to take this step.
I want to tell you a bit about the journey that has led me to this place today to be baptized and commit my life to Jesus.

Eighteen years ago, I experienced an enormous tragedy in my life, and I went through a period of deep despair and grief. It happened around this time of year — cherry blossom season, which normally represents the coming of spring and new life — a happy time after the cold winter. But after that tragedy, cherry blossoms came to represent sadness and loss to me.

About 11 years ago, God gave me a new reason to rejoice during cherry blossom season: My son Shintaro was born. His birthday is actually next week; he is turning 11. This new life, coming at a time that I associated with despair, filled me with joy and new hope.

Today, with my baptism, I am taking another important step toward hope by putting my faith in Jesus.
I want God to transform me in three ways:


1. I’m weak, and I want God to give me the strength to face difficulties in life and overcome them.

 2.  I’m lonely, and I want God’s companionship to walk with me through the rest of my life.

 3.  I’m a sinner, and I want God to take my burden and wash my sin away and change me so I can be clean and pure.

I want to open up my heart to God and ask him to fill me with peace, joy and rest. I want him to change me to be stronger to face the difficulties and tragedies I may face in the future. 
After the cold winter is over, the beautiful spring comes to remind us of new life. By being baptized I now see the cherry blossoms beautifully full in bloom in my heart, and I know that God will never leave me.


Thank you very much. —- 2022, Apr.17th —- Akiko Nishikata


We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers.


We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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With Glad Hearts – First Sunday after Easter – April 24, 2022

We welcome back to our WTUC service, one of our former pastors, Susan Townsley, who will be preaching at our 10:00 am online service. (See the link at the bottom of the page.) Rev. Townsley’s sermon, “With Glad Hearts,” reminds us that Easter Gladness is rooted in the entire human experience. Through the joy, in Jesus, God joined humanity in that experience.  Easter gives us access to the tools that make for joy even when our life journey takes us to the valleys.

We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers.

Our preacher this Sunday, Susan Townsley, is the pastor of South Congregational Church in Kennebunkport, ME.  Previously, she lived and worked in Connecticut serving churches and the Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ.  She concluded many years in that region as the Associate Conference Minister for Innovation, Leadership and Change.  From 2009-2013 she lived in Tokyo and served for two year as co-pastor of WTUC alongside Rev. Teresa Sherrill.  Her husband, Greg Davis, is now retired, though consulting on occasion.  She has two adult children.

The scripture readings are from Acts 2: 24-28,  Psalm 16: 5-11, and John 20:19-22

The hymns are: “Christ the Lord is Risen Today;” “Let It Breathe on Me;” and “Now the Green Blade Riseth.”

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Ruth and her puppet friends will be bringing the children’s message. Thank you to Kazuko who will be playing the organ and to the many members who help out with our weekly services.


We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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Easter Sunday Service at WTUC – In-Person & Zoom – April 17, 2022

A joyous Easter to you all! Our in-person Sunday service starts at 10:00 am JST in the regular worship room on the Tokyo Lutheran College campus. We will also be broadcasting the service via Zoom through our usual link. Dr. Reverend Jim Sack will be preaching and there will be two baptisms! Akiko Nishikata and her son, Shintaro Nishikata will be entering into the family of God through holy baptism. After the service, we are all invited to Ann Tang’s house for an Easter luncheon and egg hunt. Please contact a WTUC church member for directions.

We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers.

Jim will be preaching a sermon titled, “Mary!” and the Gospel reading is from John 20:1 – 18. The epistle, or the readings from the letters of the apostles to the Christian churches is First Corinthians 15:20 – 26. We’ll join Ruth and Hamlet the pig for children’s time and a discussion on first fruits, (provided Hamlet does not consume the object lesson first).

Link to children’s sermon (in case you missed the service):

Easter’s First Fruits as Explained to Hamlet the Pig

The Lord is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed! Hallelujah!


Opening Hymn: Christ the Lord is Risen Today
Hymn of Response: Have You Seen Jesus My Lord?
Closing Hymn: Thine Be the Glory

Please come join us remotely or in person to celebrate Resurrection Sunday. Thank you to Kazuko who will be playing the organ for our Easter Sunday service.

* Don’t forget, we are all invited to Ann Tang’s house and big yard for lunch and fellowship. We’ll car pool in several cars there and back. Pray for good weather!


Thank you to everyone who helps to make our worship services come together each week.

We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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Good Friday Service at JLC Chapel

On Friday night, April 15, at 6:15 pm, a bilingual Good Friday service will be held in the main chapel of the Japan Lutheran College (See graphic below.) The service consists of Scripture readings of the Seven Last Words of Christ from the Cross, a time of silence, Taize chants, recorded Requiem music and diminishing candlelight. Into darkness as we leave in silence at the conclusion of the service.  (No sermon or spoken message.) Please come and enter into the meaning of “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.” The service will last about 45 minutes. The photo below is all that is needed for the “bulletin.”

Please join the West Tokyo Union Church for this very special and meaningful in-person service on the Lutheran College Campus.

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He Emptied Himself – Palm Sunday – April 10, 2022

Our Sunday service starts at 10:00 am JST via Zoom through our usual link. Rev. Paul Shew will be preaching. This Sunday, April 10, we will only be gathering online, through Zoom. But on EASTER Sunday, we will gather in-person adding a remote feed for those who cannot come in person. We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers.

This Sunday is Palm Sunday, when Christians commemorate Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem, an event mentioned in all four of the Gospels. Palm Sunday marks the first day of Holy Week, also called the Passion Week. It is the last week of the solemn season of Lent that precedes the arrival of Eastertide.


Opening Hymn: 62 All Creatures of Our God and King
Responsive Reading #167 Canticle of Christ’s Obedience
Second Hymn: 278 Hosanna, Loud Hosanna


Gospel Reading:  Luke 23:1-49
Epistles:  Philippians 2:5-11
Sermon: “He Emptied Himself”


Hymn after Sermon 166 All Praise to Thee, for Thou, O King Divine

Please come join us to worship, learn and connect with one another as we prepare for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Thank you to the Shew family for providing the scripture readers. Ruth and her puppet friends will bring a children’s message and Kazuko will be playing the organ.

We hope you can join us at 10 am! Please come join us! Please see the important announcements below:

* We WILL be meeting in person for Easter, April 17, at our normal location on JLC campus. The service will also be broadcast via Zoom so others can join us. Jim Sack will be preaching.

* Akiko and Shintaro Nishikata will be baptized at Easter!

* Afterwards, we are all invited to Ann Tang’s house and big yard for lunch and fellowship. We’ll car pool in several cars there and back. Pray for good weather!


Thank you to everyone who helps to make our worship services come together each week.

We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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Putting God First – 5th Sunday in Lent – April 3, 2022

Our Sunday service starts at 10:00 am JST via Zoom through our usual link. This Sunday, April 3 and Sunday, April 10, we will only be gathering online, through Zoom. But on EASTER Sunday, we will gather in-person adding a remote feed for those who cannot come in person. We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers.

This week’s sermon is titled “Putting God First.” Last week, we took a look at God’s extravagant, self-sacrificial love for us in the parable of the two lost sons. This week, Malcolm will be looking at Mary of Bethany, who in John 12: 1-11 showed extravagant, self-sacrificial love for Jesus just six days before his death by pouring expensive perfume on his feet and wiping them with her hair. One person watching suggested that the perfume could have been sold to give money to the poor, but Jesus defends her actions, saying it is preparing him for his burial, which is just days away.

It is a bit of a curious story at first, but there are some lessons for us about Mary (not be confused with Mary Magdalene), whose siblings Martha and Lazarus were also close friends of Jesus, who wept at the death of Lazarus before raising him back to life. 

The message is based on John 12:1-11, and other Bible texts include Psalm 126 and Philippians 3:4-11.

Please come join us to worship, learn and connect with one another as we prepare for Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Mio will be liturgist, Ruth and her puppet friends will bring a children’s message and Kazuko will be playing the organ.

Mary Anoints the Feet of Jesus

We hope you can join us at 10 am! Please come join us! Please see the important announcements below:

* We WILL be meeting in person for Easter, April 17, at our normal location on JLC campus. The service will also be broadcast via Zoom so others can join us. Jim Sack will be preaching.

* Akiko and Shintaro Nishikata will be baptized at Easter!

* Afterwards, we are all invited to Ann Tang’s house and big yard for lunch and fellowship. We’ll car pool in several cars there and back. Pray for good weather!


Thank you to everyone who helps to make our worship services come together each week.

We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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The Ministry of Reconciliation – 4th Sunday in Lent – March 27, 2022

Our Sunday service starts at 10:00 am JST via Zoom through our usual link. For now, we will only be gathering online, through Zoom. We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers. We will keep you informed via email and updated website posts concerning which future services can be held in person.

For this fourth Sunday of Lent, Rev. Paul Shew will be sharing with a message called “The Ministry of Reconciliation,” based on Luke 15, the story of the prodigal son, and other scriptures.

Rembrandt Sketch – The Prodigal Son


Kazuko will be playing the organ and accompanying some traditional Wesley hymns.

Hymns for Sunday, March 27:

#57 — Oh for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

#355 — Depth of Mercy

#363 — And Can It Be That I Should Gain

Ruth and her puppet friends will offer a children’s message. We hope you can join us at 10 am!

Scripture Readings:

Old Testament — Psalm 32

Epistle — 2 Corinthians %:16-21

Gospel — – Luke 15:1-3 and 11b-32

Thank you to everyone who helps to make our worship services come together each week.

We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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Suffering and Bearing Fruit – 3rd Sunday in Lent – March 20, 2022

We meet at 10:00 am JST via Zoom through our usual link. For now, we will only be gathering online, through Zoom. We welcome friends and members from around the world to join us as we continue to worship remotely. You may be distant geographically, but you are as close as our hearts and prayers. We will keep you informed via email and updated website posts concerning which future services can be held in person.

This third Sunday of Lent, Jermy Balukh will be sharing with us about “Suffering and Bearing Fruit,” based on the lectionary passage Luke 13:1-9. He’ll talk about how God gives us opportunities to live “one more time” to bear fruit, and how God uses incidents around us as a call to remind us about his purposes to save us and the world. 

Jermy will also be sharing a bit about his home church in West Timor, Indonesia, where he will be returning in April. We’re so glad that he’s been able to join us while doing linguistic research at Tokyo University of Foreign Languages in Fuchu.


Kazuko will be playing the organ and bringing us some excellent, classical Lenten music. Ruth and her puppet friends will offer a children’s message. We hope you can join us at 10 am!

Scripture Readings:

Old Testament — – Psalm 63:1-8

Gospel — – Luke 13:1-9

Thank you to everyone who helps to make our worship services come together each week.

We are very thankful that our little community church can keep on going even in the midst of difficulties. Many friends keep contributing to our worship services and to our parishioner connections. We appreciate everyone’s prayers, financial support and weekly acts of service as we help each other in doing the work of the Kingdom.

Offering Link: Please note that the link for sending in your gifts and tithes has been changed to https://wtuc.net/offering/ and now has recurring offering and fee recovery options.

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