Jesus’ Jubilee – 3rd Sunday after Pentecost – June 26, 2022 at 10am JST

Join the West Tokyo Union Church community for the last online service of the summer season. After this June 26th worship service, we will take a break from our regular online communal services until we resume once again on the first Sunday in September. We hope that you will all find communities to join for worship services this summer, either online or in person.

Our preacher for this coming Sunday will be Rev. Paul Shew and his message is entitled, “Jesus’ Jubilee.” We hope that you all can join us.

Old Testament Reading: Leviticus 25:8-17

New Testament Reading: Luke 4:14-22

Our Call to Worship will be based on the beautiful Psalm 19:

Call to Worship:

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.

Day after day they pour forth speech;
    night after night they reveal knowledge.
They have no speech, they use no words;
    no sound is heard from them.
Yet their message goes out into all the earth,
    their words to the ends of the world.

The law of the Lord is perfect,
    reviving the soul;
the decrees of the Lord are sure,
    making wise the simple;
the precepts of the Lord are right,
    rejoicing the heart;
the commandment of the Lord is clear,
    enlightening the eyes;
the fear of the Lord is pure,
    enduring forever;
the ordinances of the Lord are true
    and righteous altogether.
More to be desired are they than gold,
    even much fine gold;
sweeter also than honey
    and drippings of the honeycomb.

Let the words of our mouths and the meditation of our hearts
    be acceptable to you,
    O Lord, our rock and our redeemer. Amen. 

Hymns:

#57 — O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing

#196 — Come, Thou Long Expected Jesus! Born to Set Thy People Free

#454 — Open My Eyes that I May See

Please come join us for worship at 10 am using the link below!

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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Sharing, Repairing, and the Ties that Deepen Relationships – 2nd Sunday after Pentecost – June 19, 2022 at 10am JST

The miracle of the multiplication of the loaves and fish may not be so much a conjuring up of food out of thin air, but the beautiful things that happen when we make ourselves vulnerable and share ourselves. Join our online worship this Sunday as Charles McJilton shares the message.

Charles McJilton is the Founder and CEO of Second Harvest Japan, Japan’s first and largest food bank. Second Harvest Japan is celebrating its 20th anniversary this year. Its food project in Okinawa is now in its second year. Sherilyn Siy is a writer and educator. Together, they have three children and recently adopted two cats.

Hymns:

#85 We Believe in One True God

#428  For the Healing of the Nations

#664 Sent Forth by God’s Blessing 

Gospel Reading — Luke 9: 11-17

Old Testament Reading — The miracle of the bread: 2 Kings 4:42-44

Ruth will be bringing the children’s message with the help of her amiable puppet pals.

Please come join us for worship at 10 am using the link below!

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Ruth’s puppet friends are cycling across Japan and will join us on the following Sunday. 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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The Power of Hope – First Sunday after Pentecost – June 12, 2022

Hope keeps us going, doesn’t it? We all have things we look forward to, things we hope will happen — but not all of them come true. But the hope God offers “doesn’t disappoint,” as the Apostle Paul says in Romans 5:1-5, the main text for this Sunday’s service. That’s because it’s not wishful thinking, but it’s grounded in the reality of Jesus’ death and resurrection.

If the Gospel is true, and Jesus did overcome death and sin, then we have nothing to be afraid of. We can have hope that everything is going to work out for good, as lay preacher Malcolm will be sharing in his message on “The Power of Hope.” Love, justice and good will win. 

This hope is powerful weapon against the anxiety and fears we all experience. So many times in the Bible, we hear the words, “Don’t be afraid” and “Don’t worry,” and yet we still fret. The hope God gives us means that ultimately we can be optimists — realistic optimists. Because we know the world is evil, that we will all suffer, as Paul talks about as well. But even death is not something we need to fear. And that hope can carry us through those tough times, too. It’s something solid, we can build our lives on.

Please come join us for worship at 10 am using the link below!

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Ruth’s puppet friends are cycling across Japan and will join us on the following Sunday. 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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On the Breath of God – Pentecost – June 5, 2022

Our next Sunday service for the West Tokyo Union Church community will be held in person at our traditional meeting place on the campus of the Lutheran Seminary in Mitaka. It will also be broadcast remotely via our regular Zoom connection. We welcome all to join us one way or another. We often wear red on Pentecost Sunday as a reminder of the fire and the Holy Spirit that descended to inspire and bless those early Christians. Thank you to Dr. Jim Sack, who will be preaching the message for this Pentecost service.

The assigned texts being used are Romans 8:14-17 and Acts 2:1-21.

The sermon
title is “On the Breath of God.”

Hymns are “Breath on Me, Breath of God” #420 all 4 verses
“There’s a Spirit in the Air” #192 verses 1,2,6
“Take My Life, and Let It Be” #399 verses 1-3

Please come join us in person and remotely to worship together. The children’s sermon has been pre-recorded with the help of a sheep for ease of incorporation into this Sunday’s service format. 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.

Announcement: WTUC member, Ruth Ingulsrud, will be going on a 500 km fundraising bike ride June 9 – 12 raising money for educational programs for orphans in Japan. Prayers and donations are much appreciated. Link to the donation site is here: https://www.globalgiving.org/projects/kiwl-2022-events/ Please mention “JOEE” in the link labeled “In Honor.” The link to Ruth’s Joyful Opportunity English Education website is here: https://joee.jp


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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Discerning God’s Path – Sixth Sunday after Easter – May 29, 2022

We would like to extend a warm West Tokyo Union welcome to our guest preacher, Lu Dong, who has traveled the world and currently lives in Tokyo. Lu will be giving a very personal and powerful message about how God guides us on our journey through life using every experience, even dangerous or tragic events to guide us to the powerful love of Jesus Christ. Lu’s testimony will take look at Paul’s journey and his shipwreck and draw parallels with his own life. This year, he is focusing on reading the Bible as a whole and wonderful story. Take a look at the detailed map below to follow Paul’s eventful journey.

Some of the Scripture texts that will be touched on are as follows:

Romans 8:28 — “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Acts 27 and 28 — These two chapters show an amazing journey with many turns of events that demonstrate how God works through natural and supernatural events and through the unlikeliest of people to bring glory to his name and to guide those who are faithful to his call. Please take some time to read these chapters as we get ready for the Sunday service.

Hymns:  The story behind “It Is Well With My Soul” is worth reading. The song’s author, Horatio Spafford, suffered many tragedies in his life, including a shipwreck that claimed the lives of all four of his daughters. He wrote the hymn while passing over the spot where their ship sank. The link to the story can be found here: Christian Discipleship Lessons

#378  Amazing Grace  (Verses 1-4)
#377  It is Well With My Soul  (Verses 1 – 4) – Repeating this hymn from last week!
#398  Jesus Calls Us (Verses 1-5)

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Ruth’s puppet friends will be joining us for the children’s sermon. 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’ Gift to Us – Fifth Sunday after Easter – May 22, 2022

This coming Sunday, Dr. Jim Sack will be our preacher at West Tokyo Union’s 10:00 am online service. His message is titled, ”Jesus’ Gift to Us” and he will be preaching on the theme of love and peace.

The scripture texts for the day are:

Revelations 21:10 and Rev. 21:22-22:5

John 14:23-29 –

Jesus replied, “Anyone who loves me will obey my teaching. My Father will love them, and we will come to them and make our home with them.24 Anyone who does not love me will not obey my teaching. These words you hear are not my own; they belong to the Father who sent me.

25 “All this I have spoken while still with you.26 But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. 27 Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

28 “You heard me say, ‘I am going away and I am coming back to you.’ If you loved me, you would be glad that I am going to the Father, for the Father is greater than I. 29 I have told you now before it happens, so that when it does happen you will believe.

Hymns: 

#364  Because He Lives  (Verses 1-3)
#377  It is Well With My Soul  (Verses (1,2,4)
#396  Oh Jesus, I Have Promised (Verses 1-4)

Please come join us remotely to worship together. Ruth’s puppet friends will be joining us for the children’s sermon. 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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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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