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Rural leaders' training centre wins Japanese ecumenical prize

posted May 3, 2012, 11:11 AM by Craig D. Rice

Rural leaders' training centre wins Japanese ecumenical prize

Ecumenical News International
Daily News Service
25 July 2008

Rural leaders' training centre wins Japanese ecumenical prize

By Hisashi Yukimoto
Tokyo, 25 July (ENI)--A Christian-based training centre for rural leaders
of all faiths and none, who come primarily from Asia, Africa and the Pacific
has received the annual Ecumenical Contribution Award from the Japan
Ecumenical Association.

"Though the term 'ecumenical' is a Christian term, we have people who are
not only Christians but also from other faiths," Toshiaki Kusunoki,
secretary general of the prize-winning Asian Rural Institute, told
Ecumenical News
International after receiving the award on 29 April. "It is good that we
have lived with people from other faiths for 35 years since our establishment.
The appreciation of this is shown by the award."

The institute was the 14th winner of the award. In 2007, the accolade went
to the Rev. Toshitsugu Arai, a Japanese pastor of the United Church of
Christ in Japan, who is also a former staff member of the World Council of
Churches, and one-time acting general secretary of the Christian Conference of

The rural institute can take up to 30 students, who attend nine-month-long
courses in sustainable, organic agriculture techniques, leadership and
community development.

The St. Paul's parish of the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church in Tokyo
hosted this year's award ceremony, and Japan's weekly newspaper The Christ
Weekly reported that organizers said the institute had received the award
because of its open, Christian-inspired philosophy.

A Japanese Christian leader, Toshihiro Takami, began the Asia Rural
Institute in 1973. From the beginning, its mission has been "to build an
environmentally healthy, just, and peaceful world, in which each
person can live to
his or her fullest potential".

To carry out this mission, the institute, which is based in Nasushiobara, a
rural area north of Tokyo, "trains and nurtures rural leaders for a life of

Christians make up barely one percent of Japan's 127 million people,
although there are many Christian-backed or founded educational institutions in
the north Asian country. [327 words]

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posted by Craig D. Rice @ Monday, July 28, 2008 - 4:25 PM