In a March 12 e-mail sent to LCMS leaders, Rev. Yutaka Kumei, president of the Japan Lutheran Church (JLC), thanked the Synod for its “many messages of concern and support. We feel very comforted knowing that there are so many people lifting us up in prayer.”
Kumei provided the first update from the Synod’s Tokyo-based partner church, and asked the LCMS to “continue to pray for those who are suffering.”
Although JLC staff are safe, another Lutheran church body, the Japan Evangelical Lutheran Church — which is not an LCMS partner church — “has congregations and preschools in Sendai, the hardest-hit area,” Kumei wrote. “Word has come that the pastor is OK, but that is all we know at this point.”
The JLC president said church leaders had been in contact with Izumi Lutheran Church, a JLC congregation in Fukushima City, a hard-hit area just south of Sendai, and while the church building suffered some damage, “the pastor, his family and staff members are all safe. They are trying to personally check on all of the church members. So far, everyone is safe.”
The pastor there also serves a congregation in the neighboring town of Koriyama, but has not yet been able to check on families there, according to Kumei. And, although electricity has been restored to the area, water and gas are not available, he said.
“A fairly strong” aftershock in the Niigata area, southwest of Sendai, did not harm members of another JLC congregation in nearby Nagaoka, he said.
“During the next few days we hope to get a better idea of the situation and what kind of help is needed,” Kumei wrote. “We will keep you informed as the situation unfolds.”
Posted March 12, 2011