The visit to Japan of Archbishop Fred Hiltz, primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, will help inspire the faith of Japanese Anglicans whose parishes are struggling financially, says the bishop of the diocese of Chubu, Peter Ichiro Shibusawa.
Founded by Canadian missionaries as a mission diocese in 1912, the diocese of Chubu in central Japan has 1,200 lay members and 20 clergy.
Hiltz’ visit “is a great source of joy” for the diocese, said Shibusawa, writing in response to questions sent via e-mail. In Japan Oct. 1 to 9, Hiltz is meeting with church leaders and speaking at church institutions and will preach at the 100th anniversary celebration service of the Chubu diocese, on Oct. 8.
Shibusawa noted the historic relationship that exists between the Anglican Church of Canada and the Nippon Sei Ko Kai or the Anglican Church of Japan. The first missionary from the Canadian Anglican church was J.C. Robinson, who arrived in 1888. And in 1962, Archbishop Howard Clark, then primate of the Anglican Church of Canada, attended the 50th anniversary celebration of the diocese of Chubu.
On Oct. 4, Hiltz is scheduled to give an address at the 80th anniversary celebration at New Life Hospital in the town of Obuse, in Nagano. The hospital, which was established by the Anglican Church of Canada in 1932 as a sanatorium for tuberculosis patients, is now a general hospital. The hospital has had “a great impact on both staff and patients,” and is “held in deep affection by local people,” said Shibusawa. “Its special feature is the attached hospice.”
Hiltz travelled to Japan last Oct. 1 where he visited Sendai and areas ravaged by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. More than 10,000 people were killed and hundreds of thousands displaced by the disaster.
See related story about the primate’s visit to Japan here.