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2015 Sack Newsletters

November 27,2015

 

Dear Praying Partners and Supporting Congregations:

Once again we send greetings to you in the name of Jesus, who makes a difference in each of our lives. In this newsletter we want to share with you some changes here at the Japan Lutheran College and Theological Seminary. On September 18th the redevelopment project of the JLC campus was celebrated with an opening ceremony held outside at the new “Main Gate” of the college-seminary campus. After a short ceremony, the participants walked along the new path to the front of the also newly finished multi court. This marked the end of a three and one half year process to implement a plan for renewing the space we occupy here at our school. These changes may seem only cosmetic, however the changes have brought a new spirit to our campus. (We will attach pictures below)

 The result of all the efforts put into this plan is a very beautiful and inviting campus. As you enter from the main gate your eyes are treated with a luscious view of green grass and a path with gentle curves and a slight incline as you proceed forward to the buildings and multi court.

The cross that has been placed on the outside of the chapel is illuminated every night. We think that the nighttime views of the campus are particularly beautiful. Likewise the pathway is lined with gentle light. Along the path is a small oak tree that is a third generation oak tree that came from Germany in the form of an acorn and is a grandchild of the tree Luther gazed upon. 

 Almost unanimously the opinions about the new campus have been very positive. The students really enjoy both the pathway and the multi court, which allows them to play tennis, badminton, and volleyball. Wheelchairs are able to be used on the court, and frequently physically challenged students eagerly join in various activities.

 One of the main purposes of changing the looks of the campus is not only to make it more attractive, but to serve as a visible presence of Christ and encourage people from our neighborhood to freely access  and enjoy our space. A pre-school just a few blocks away brings all their young members twice a week to the campus to play and enjoy the gift of nature. Another group of adult members from the community offers their volunteer services to look after the numerous varieties of flowers and bushes we have here. We are so happy to have the “aroma of Christ” reach out into our community.

 

We ask your prayers for:

1)    Our community at the college-seminary, that many will hear and receive the Word of God as it is preached in our chapel.

2)    Our school, that qualified high school students will choose to study at our school. The entrance exam season will start in earnest in just a couple of weeks. 

3)    Carol and my ministries to both students and adults who continue to learn throughout their lives. May they experience the grace of God in concrete ways. 

4)    President Eto (for the college and graduate school) and President Ishii (for the seminary) that they will be guided by the Holy Spirit and be filled with the wisdom of God in their leadership. 

5)    For those who do not know Christ yet, but will attend Christmas services on Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

We continue to enjoy good health and excitement for out work in Tokyo. May each of you be truly blessed during this Advent season.

 

In Christ,  

Jim and Carol Sack 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

March 3, 2015

Dear Friends in Christ:

 We wanted to wait until Sunday to send this newsletter out because we had a wonderful ordination of 4 new pastors on that day and we wanted to send their pictures along. The Japan Evangelical Luther Church has 119 churches throughout the country, but in the next decade over 30 pastors will retire. Therefore is was very special and exciting to have 4 new ministers ready to go proclaim the Good News throughout Japan. Their names are Rev. Tomoaki Kai, Rev. Mitsuchika Seki, Rev. Takanobu Watanabe and Rev. Katsuhiro Watanabe. Please remember them in your prayers.

 Like many of you may have experienced this winter, in Japan we too have some very significant winter storms throughout the country. Luckily, so far Tokyo has not been too badly affected. We wanted to share with you a recent happening in our lives.

 Carol and I have created a new class for seminary students as well as lay people from our various churches call “Sensible Spirituality.” In Japanese the literal meaning of the course is “Experiencing Christian Spirituality Through our Five Senses.”  Our first class was attended by the 4 first year seminary students and 18 lay people. It was wonderful to have a project that Carol and I could do together again. We made use of a Taize worship service (picture) as well as an eleven circuit labyrinth (picture). Each week was a challenge as we set up the room in different ways each week. We also experienced a nature walk on a very cool rainy day. Throughout the semester we were able to make use of all five senses during each class. We used candles, darkness, rocks and sand, water, incense, and even food. 

 One of the main elements of the course was to make our own “Pearls of Life” bracelet (picture) developed by Martin Lonnebo, a retired bishop of the Sweden Lutheran Church. Each pearl on the bracelet represents some aspect of the Christian journey through life: God, silence, baptism, desert, love, resurrection, etc. We were so pleased to read feedback in regard to the course, that indicated almost everyone had personal encounters with God through their participation in the course. Starting next year we hope to take various aspects of what we presented in class, out to individual churches throughout Japan. 

 I have also included some pictures of our chapel at school. The stained glass windows were put in this last year. The theme is water and the window on the left represents the OT, while the one on the right symbolizes the NT. In a small room off to the right you can see a kneeler in font of a statue of Jesus. This quiet area can be used to both meditate and to confess to our Lord. ( 4 pictures) We have a very, very old organ and are currently having a campaign to be able to buy an organ. Sometimes the sound just stops in the middle of a hymn.  That way we get good at A cappella singing. The plan is to install that in about one more year and a half. 

 In March, five seminarians will graduate and begin serving churches throughout Japan on April 1. We give thanks to God that young people are still hearing the call to serve God as ordained pastors. We ask that the Lord will inspire each one of the graduates and guide them and give them wisdom as they go out to start their ministries. Please pray with us for these servants of God. 

 We are thankful for the partnership in Christ we have with you. May God’s richest blessings be with you all.

 In Christ,  Jim and Carol Sack

 Tokyo, Japan

Pearls of Christ

 

 Labyrinth



JLC Chapel altar



JLC Stain glass



JLC Confessional



L to R  Rev Watanabe K.  and Rev. Watanabe T.


L to R   Rev Kai and Rev Seki

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