In Memoriam: ARAI Toshitsugu
In Memoriam Toshitsugu ARAI
Von der Familie von Dr. ARAI erreichte uns die folgende Pressemitteilung, verfasst von einem Freund der Familie und Teilnehmer an der International Conference of Religions in Fukushima im Dez. 2012:
Asia’s renowned ecumenical leader Toshitsugu Arai remembered
By Hisashi Yukimoto
JAPAN--Rev. Dr. Toshitsugu Arai, a former staff member of the World Council of Churches (WCC) and a former Associate General Secretary of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA), has passed away at 8:45 a.m. on January 16th due to pneumonia, his family members have said. He was 80 years old.
The funeral service will take place on Saturday, 19 January, from 12:00 noon at Kawasaki Church, the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ, 11-13, Ogawa-cho, Kawasaki-ku, Kawasaki City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan), presided by the Rev. Yoo-Gu SON, the pastor of Kawasaki-Tote Church, UCCJ, where Dr. Arai has attended after coming back to Japan, according to an English letter to the CCA from his wife, Mrs. Akiko Arai.
“He has been in hospital for 2 years and 5 months to treat his bed sore,” she said in the letter. “Our heartful thanks extend to your prayer for him and his family.”
Arai is survived by her and their daughters and son.
Born in Tokyo in January 1933 and baptised at the Church of Christ in Japan in 1950, he studied at Methodist-run Aoyama Gakuin University in the city before he completed his studies at the graduate schools of Tufts University and Hartford Seminary, as well as Harvard Divinity School and Pacific School of Religion in the United States. In 1958, he was ordained as a minister of the Montvale Congregational Church in the United States.
After serving as the assistant pastor of the International Christian University (ICU) Church in Tokyo, Arai worked as the CCA’s Secretary for Education in Singapore from 1976 to 1981, and Associate General Secretary for Finance in Hong Kong from 1991 to 1997. Since 1978, he served as an ordained minister of the UCCJ. He also served as secretary of Lay Academies of the WCC’s sub-unit on Renewal and Congregational Life from 1984 to 1991.
After he returned from Hong Kong to Japan, he worked as the ecumenical coordinator and director of then-Tokyo Office of Nippon Christian Academy. He also served as the chairperson of the International Relations Committee of the National Christian Council in Japan (NCCJ) and taught a history of Christianity in Asia at the Japan Biblical Theological Seminary in Tokyo until his retirement in 2002. In 2007, he received the annual Ecumenical Contribution Award from the Japan Ecumenical Association for his work.
He was author and editor of several publications in English and Japanese on the subject of churches and education in Asia and interfaith dialogue, including Children of Asia (CCA, 1979), The Church and Education in Asia (CCA, 1980), Spirituality in Interfaith Dialogue (Orbis Books, 1990), and Dialogue and Hope: Towards the 21st Century (Nippon Christian Academy, 1999).
Arai was a close friend of Dr. Oh Jae-Shik, a renowned ecumenical leader from Korea, who passed away in Seoul on 3 January.
WCC mourns the death of Toshitsugu Arai
The World Council of Churches (WCC) general secretary Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit has expressed sadness over the death of Rev. Dr Toshitsugu Arai, a renowned Asian ecumenical leader and former staff member of the WCC and the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA).
Arai passed away on 16 January at the age of 80 in Japan.
Along with being an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), Arai served as secretary of Lay Academies of the WCC’s sub-unit on Renewal and Congregational Life from 1984 to 1991.
Arai was “known for his pastoral care, collegiality, spirituality and ecumenical commitment,” said Tveit in his condolence message to the UCCJ. “He led a principled life devoted to promote ecumenism, peace building, interfaith relations and ecumenical leadership development,” Tveit added.
Arai worked as director of the Nippon Christian Academy in Japan and executive secretary for the CCA’s ecumenical education programme, as well as in the capacity of its associate general secretary in the 1990s.
He was author of several publications in English and Japanese on the subject of churches and education in Asia.
Arai’s funeral will take place on 19 January at the Kyodan Church, Kawasaki City in Japan.
Message of condolences on the death of Rev. Dr Toshitsugu Arai
It is with great sadness that we received the news of the passing away of the Rev. Dr Toshitsugu Arai, former staff member of the World Council of Churches and Christian Conference of Asia (CCA).
“Tosh”, affectionately called by colleagues and friends was known for his pastoral care, collegiality, spirituality, and ecumenical commitment. He devoted his entire life to the church and ecumenical movement and his contributions in the field of ecumenical leadership development will be remembered by the ecumenical family. Through his untiring work as Director of the Nippon Christian Academy in Japan, as Executive Secretary for Ecumenical Education of the Christian Conference of Asia, Associate General Secretary of CCA, Secretary of Lay Academies of the WCC’s sub-unit on Renewal and Congregational Life.
Tosh Arai demonstrated outstanding leadership in training future ecumenical leaders in different parts of the world. Tosh Arai was instrumental in developing an annual Asian Ecumenical Course for younger generation of Asian ecumenists in 1970s which still continues through CCA.
Coming from the Japanese Buddhist spiritual and cultural traditions, the underlying convictions of his Christian and ecumenical life began to take shape at an early age. He has been an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ in Japan and throughout his life he led a principled life devoted to promote ecumenism, peace building, interfaith relations and ecumenical leadership development.
On behalf of the World Council of Churches, I take this opportunity to express our heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family, friends and all members of the United Church of Christ in Japan.
May his soul rest in peace.
Rev. Dr. Olav Fykse Tveit
WCC general secretary