Kobe, a city of about 1.5 million souls, is located within Hyogo Prefecture. As of March 21, 2020, Hyogo had 107 confirmed cases of COVID-19. All major events have been cancelled, and schools have been closed. The governors of nearby prefectures are requesting a cessation of all unnecessary travel into and out of the Osaka-Hyogo area. So we are all quite cautious in our daily living: we wear masks; wash our hands; use alcohol spray at the door; and avoid close, face-to-face conversations and meeting in small, closed rooms.
Kobe Theological Hall
Kobe Theological Hall (KTH) postponed the last two weeks of their winter semester, but resumed classes on March 19 through Facebook live/Skype. The Lord has graciously enabled us to make suitable arrangements for each of our 18 students. We’ve held one in-person class: a one-day Preaching Practice at our downtown Covenanter Centre campus. From 7 pm until 10:30 pm, six brothers presented their careful, Biblical sermons and received feedback from our two professors. These Preaching Practices are some of the most important occasions in the KTH curriculum. Therefore, considering the great value of hearing these sermons face-to-face, we decided to facilitate Preaching Practices. It was a small group that gathered, and we all exercised precautions diligently. For those present, it was an encouraging and positive occasion.
Fear God and Honour the King: Obedience in Light of COVID-19
It has been a challenging time for our sessions and for the KTH faculty. We seek to make all decisions with a balanced and Biblically accurate view of God’s calling upon us. In view of the principles of Ten Commandments–balanced between 6th, 5th, and 4th, 1st, 9th, even 8th–we are all responsible to preserve the lives of each other. The advice of the government needs to be honored. At the same time, our spiritual responsibilities should not be erased. Through the serious and careful leading of each session, we’ve so far maintained all our sabbath worship. We watch the circumstances carefully and evaluate our calling.
Rev. Shigeru Takiura teaches Greek and New Testament studies at Kobe Theological Hall. He and Rev. Kihei Takiura serve together as pastors of Okamoto-Keiyaku RPC. KTH was established in 1996 under the oversight of the Japan Presbytery of the RPCNA. Rev. Shigeru has six children and eleven grandchildren. His wife, Masako, passed away 8 years ago.