Three United Church members will travel to Tokyo, Japan, to learn first-hand about discrimination and racism in that country and to share experiences from other contexts at the Third International Conference on Minority Issues and Mission.
They will join 55 international participants and 70 participants from Japan November 18–21, 2015, under the theme “Together towards a Just and Inclusive Society in Japan and the World.” The consultation aims to deepen ecumenical and interfaith efforts for justice and reconciliation, and against xenophobia and racism. It is an initiative of The Korean Christian Church in Japan, a United Church partner, and is co-sponsored by the World Council of Churches. Koreans, the largest minority in Japan, have faced systemic discrimination over the years.
Michiko Bown-Kai, a candidate for ministry with The United Church of Canada and a Master of Divinity student at Emmanuel College, Toronto, is a fourth-generation Japanese Canadian and an activist for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) justice. Michiko will participate in the young adult program preceding the consultation.
The Rev. Won Hur came to Canada from South Korea with his family in the 1970s, and was ordained in the United Church in 1994. He has spent three years in Japan as a missionary, teaching English at a girls’ high school in Hakodate, and has served congregations in Alberta and Ontario.
The two delegates will be accompanied by Patti Talbot, who serves as Team Leader, Global Partnership/Asia Partnerships at the United Church’s General Council Office.
United Church participation in this conference is grounded in the denomination’s commitments to anti-racism, to an intercultural vision, and to partnership in God’s mission.