1. How we began
In November 2015, Japanese churches hosted the 3rd International Conference on Minority Issues and Mission, with support and participation from partner churches of several nations.
Conference participants affirmed the need for deeper coordination among Christians to overcome the spread of intolerance and discrimination against minorities in Japan and other places around the world, and vowed to work for reconciliation and harmonious coexistence of all people.
Soon after the conference the churches of Japan began preparations for the Center for Minority Issues and Mission in Japan (CMIM).
Receiving much encouragement and support also from ecumenical partners abroad, CMIM celebrated its opening in April 2017.
2. Our Logo
The crown of thorns represents Jesus’ suffering for our sins—here think of dehumanization, segregation, mockery and indifference toward minorities—and his promise to suffer and stand with society’s excluded, despised and forgotten.
Jesse’s stump comes from Isaiah 11:1, which reads, “A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse; from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.” Aside from the allusion to, or prophesy of, Jesus birth from the house of Jesse, this verse tells of God’s promise of recovery and life, even after tragic loss and deep sorrow.
Isaiah 11 is also where we find this beloved vision of God’s reign:
and the lion shall eat straw like the ox.
We acknowledge with thanks Mr. Masahiro MATSUBARA for his design of the CMIM logo.
2. CMIM’s 4 Pillars
（A）Struggle Against Racism
- ➀ Minorities Roundtable
- Host “roundtable” meetings, where representatives of diverse minority groups can share stories, discuss challenges and plan common actions that point toward inclusivity.
- ② International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21st)
- Coordinate with churches and other groups in Japan activities that celebrate and promote the UN-designated International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination.
- ③ Solidarity with churches overseas
- Learn from and work with churches engaged in mission with minorities; for example, aboriginal peoples in Taiwan, Australia or Canada, immigrants, migrants and other discriminated groups in the U.S., Germany or India.
- ④ Advocacy for stronger legal framework to protect minorities in Japan
- Advocate, toward government and legislators of Japan, enactment of laws to protect human rights of minorities, such as a “Basic Law for the Elimination of Racism,” or “Basic Law for Non-Japanese Residents.” Contribute to NGO reports toward international human rights institutions, and welcome monitors, like the UN Special Rapporteur, during official country visit/study.
- ➀ Minority Youth Forum
- Plan and implement multi-day programs that feature field study and workshops in places like Osaka, Hokkaido and Okinawa, where minority communities still confront challenges.
- ② “Youth and Mission” Working Group
- An ecumenical committee of young people will meet to plan Youth Forum and other activities. This will also serve as a place for the exchange of information about programs and events of interest in Japan and abroad.
- ③ “Café” events
- Host a regular “Café” event, where Christian youth engaged in minority issues can meet one another. Responding to participants’ interests, the café will feature topical talks, music, art/photo exhibits, film, prayer circle, etc.
- ④ Leadership development for youths of churches in Japan
- Support the development of youth leaders through field study, internships and the dispatch of youth delegates to conferences related to minority issues.
（C）Spirituality of Reconciliation and Peace
- ➀ Bible Study Forum
- Contribute to the build-up of a learning network among Christians by providing a place for the exchange of views on Biblical interpretation, theology, Christian education and mission work relate to minority issues. These discussions will be shared further at conferences, etc. through articles, Bible studies, or workshops.
- ② Joint Festival
- Plan and implement a collaborative festival, which will utilize fruits of the Bible Study Forum, while also celebrating multi-ethnic, multi-cultural inclusivity through prayer, dance, drama, gospel music and worship.
（D）Communicate with Domestic and International Churches and Partners
- ① CMIM Newsletter (4 times/year, Japanese and English)
- ② Minority Issues Journal (1 time/year, Japanese and English)
- ③ Topical Booklets (1 or 2/year)
- ④ Internet Communications (Website, SNS, blog)