日本省 - Japanese Ministry
In 1942, during World War II, Japanese Canadians living on the pacific coast of British Colombia received an order from the Government of Canada to evacuate the coastal region. In an era of heightened xenophobia, it was a purely racist policy which received wide support. Eventually Canada apologized for this sinful action which had such dramatic effect on the lives of so many innocent people.
About 1200 people moved into southern Manitoba, most forced to work on beet farms. Many of these people were Christians. When one of the community members died, they searched for a church willing to hold the funeral. Knox was the only church open to that hosting, and furthermore, welcomed the people in to hold Japanese language services. The first Japanese speaking minister, Yoshi-mitsu Akagawa was hired by the fall of 1942.
Knox United Church Board officially created the Manitoba Japanese United Church on May 14, 1944. Six ministers were called to specifically serve the needs of the Japanese community. The ministry is now led by Yoshi Masaki, Minister Emeritus.
The congregation might have better been named the Manitoba Japanese “Ministry”, because the duties of the pastor were to Japanese Canadians throughout this region. When Yoshi Masaki arrived in 1973, he recalls responsibilities stretched to pastoral care for northern Ontario (east to Thunder Bay) and the western area of Brandon, even as far as Regina.
The Manitoba Japanese United Church was amalgamated with Knox 1999 as the needs of the Japanese Canadian community evolved and a language and cultural specific congregation was no longer needed. David Murata, called to Knox in 1999, supported the amalgamated congregation and focused on the beginnings of the intercultural ministry which has taken hold as the core of Knox now. At the time Yoshi was appointed as an Associate Minister for the Japanese language ministry (part time) and later when he retired as Knox Minister Emeritus.
Sunday Services in Japanese are held once a month in the Chapel. For those whose first language is Japanese it is very important to sing hymns and receive the gospel message in their own language. Because the members are mostly elderly, the provision of pastoral care, in homes and hospital, is a significant part of the ministry.