Lutheran Church of Australia (LCA) International Mission has partnered with LCA Reconciliation Ministry to provide short-term scholarships and workshops for partners in Biblical Reconciliation Ministry.
One of these partners is Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church in Japan. Reverend Shigeo Sueoka, president of the church, was a participant in the first scholarship in 2017, which involved spending six weeks in Australia. ‘During training, I started to understand the reconciliation we need to know is the reconciliation of faith, grounded on the biblical understanding of Lutheran theology.’
Recently, Kinki Evangelical Lutheran Church welcomed LCA Pastor Paul Kerber for a three-day seminar on Biblical Reconciliation.
‘In Japanese culture, people are bound by shame because of the strong influence of the fusion of Buddhism, Confucianism and Shintoism. Through the seminars, many people were released from the bondage of shame, focusing on Christ on the cross, who carried the sin of the world’, Rev Shigeo says.
Participants also learnt about how they can forward God’s forgiveness onto their neighbours.
One participant was a mother who felt guilty when she remembered her nasty words and strict attitude towards her daughter. In the lecture, she felt God’s guidance and, returning home, confessed her guilt to her daughter and asked for forgiveness.
One of the pastors also experienced reconciliation with another pastor after they made time to talk and proclaim forgiveness to each other.
‘We face many difficulties in our church life and the centre of the gospel often becomes unclear. Through the seminar, we could regain the joy of the gospel and we want to practise what we have learnt!’ Rev Shigeo says.