From the Pastor

September 7, 2020

Greetings in Christ’s Love. 

What interesting and frightening times we live in!  Yet, God is faithful.  Psalm 46:1 reminds us, “God is our refuge and strength, always ready to help in times of trouble.”  Here at WTUC, we continue to worship and minister to our diverse and dynamic community of faith scattered throughout the neighborhoods of Western Tokyo.  And we give thanks for our many friends and alumni living around the world!  Please know we are praying for you in these difficult times!  May God strengthen, protect and sustain you.

We have just kicked off our new church year here at West Tokyo Union Church. This Fall, our worship services have moved to a hybrid format. We will be worshiping in-person in our sanctuary at the Japan Lutheran College and Seminary in Mitaka (next door to International Christian University, Musashi sakai station on the Chuo line – 20 minutes west of Shinjuku) and online via our Facebook page. You can join us for worship in-person or online.  https://www.facebook.com/WTUC on Sundays at 11:00 am Japan Standard Time (JST). 

Note: If you can view the “Facebook Live” broadcast from your Facebook application on a computer or mobile device, it will stream better.   

If you would like to join us in-person, please do not come to church if you are sick or a have a fever. Please wear a mask and use hand-sanitizer at the door. We also ask folks to social distance as much as responsible.

If you have prayer concerns for yourself or others, please send them to our prayer coordinator, Kayo Ozawa at kayo@ta2.so-net.ne.jp; and/or pastor@wtuc.net  The Steering Committee is also working on a solution for online giving.  We thank you for your continued faithfulness in supporting WTUC and ask that you reserve your tithes and offerings until we have an online giving option in place or for our next public gathering.

May God speak to you, comforting and reminding you of the deep and wonderful steadfast love ever present through Jesus Christ in the power of the Holy Spirit.  We also pray we can gather again in-person soon.  However, this Lenten season, we are now reminded of the great privilege and blessing of public worship often taken for granted.  For now, may the Lord comfort, strengthen and refresh you in worship and prayer in your homes each Sunday as well as throughout the week.

In Grace and Love, 

Christian Zebley

Pastor of WTUC

Welcome to WTUC!

My name is Christian Zebley and I am the pastor of West Tokyo Union Church. Thanks for checking out our website! We hope you will join us for worship and fellowship on a Sunday morning. We are an English-speaking, Protestant church. However, many of us at WTUC, including myself, are long-term residents of Japan and speak Nihongo. So don’t be afraid to check us out even if you are primarily a Japanese speaker. We have many Japanese members as well as people from around the world!

WTUC has been worshiping as a church community since September 13, 1963.  Thus, the 2019-20 church year will be our 56th year as a worshipping Christian community in the western suburbs of Tokyo.  We hope you will join us for worship on an upcoming Sunday in this new year.

As we enter into this new year of worship, study, service and fellowship, let’s take a moment to reflect on what Jesus said in Matthew 22:37-40:

“And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart  and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself.  40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

As people living in the world’s largest (and perhaps, most fast-paced and driven city??), how can we take this passage to heart?  What does it mean to truly love God and people even more, perhaps, than our own lives, personal success and fulfillment?  How can we do a better job of loving God and people with our hearts, souls and minds?  On a practical level, what does it mean to love God and love people in our daily lives?  Is this even possible?

Here is our simple church vision at West Tokyo Union Church:

We are an English-speaking, international and ecumenical Christian congregation in Mitaka, Japan.  Since 1963 we have been blessed with a rich diversity of people from different ethnic backgrounds, denominations and ages. We are united in our love of Jesus and desire to see God transform our lives, community and the world.  

I often hear people describe WTUC as a “family” or group of close-knit folks who encourage one another in the midst of Tokyo life.  I agree and I am thankful to be serving as your pastor. 

We are off to a good start this September with well-attended services, new faces in our midst, a fresh wind of volunteerism (several folks have stepped into needed roles in the church), renewed efforts in youth ministry and joyful worship and fellowship.  How is God calling us to grow, serve and trust Jesus in this new year?  If you are looking for a welcoming and friendly group of Jesus followers, come join us at WTUC. We don’t have all the answers but we are trusting and following someone who does.

I look forward to seeing God’s Spirit move in our midst in the 2019-20 church year.  My prayer is that we may more and more each day be transformed into a faith community that reflects the beauty, truth and joy of Christ and God’s all-satisfying, redemptive love to a broken and desperate world.  I hope to see you one Sunday this year!

In Grace and Love,

Christian

pastor@wtuc.net