Being a Lay Minister to a Japanese congregation

Published: 24th September 2020

Yuki Johnson has been one of a group of people training to be a Licensed Lay Minister (LLM) at the Queen’s Foundation in Birmingham over the last couple of years. However, she wasn't licensed with the others in Worcester, but instead will become an LLM in the Diocese of London, where she helps to lead a small Japanese congregation.

Yuki is married to the Revd Dick Johnson, Police and Fire Service Chaplain and Leader of Faith at Work in Worcestershire and they live in Bromsgrove.  “We met in 1987 when Dick was a CMS Mission Partner in Japan and we were both Anglicans working at an international, ecumenical institute,” Yuki said. “We became engaged in Japan and then I moved back to the UK with him to get married in Kent where his family was from.”

Before coming to the Midlands, Yuki and Dick lived in Greater London and it was there that she became involved with a small group trying to set up a Japanese congregation. “Initially I was busy raising our children, but I gradually became more involved with the group and after attending a conference where I met more people, I helped start a monthly service in Japanese at St Martin’s Church in West Acton, where there was an established Japanese community.”

Although Japanese Anglicans in the UK are encouraged to attend their own local church, the service at St Martin’s gives them an opportunity to connect with each other. There were also opportunities to take part in bible study led by a local retired Japanese Baptist Minister. Yuki took over after his death in 2017. Around 15 people regularly attend the monthly service, with many more on special occasions and a much wider distribution list receiving a newsletter which Yuki puts together.

Yuki Johnson preaching“I have been helping to lead services since 2011 and we have also hosted fundraising services for disasters in Japan as well as memorial services for the community. Alongside our formal worship, we’ve started a community café once a month in the church. This gives local people who might be more isolated a chance to speak the language and we have up to 60 people attending.”

Yuki has been training to become an LLM at Queens with a group from the Diocese of Worcester and this will be acknowledged during this year’s licensing service, even though she will be formally licensed in the Diocese of London. “The training has been really brilliant and will definitely help me in my ministry,” said Yuki. “I feel like I’ve got a much greater biblical knowledge and can see things from different points of view. It has given me more confidence in my preaching and lots of creative ideas for bible study – I’m looking forward to putting them into practice!”

(Bottom photo by Shu Tomioka)

Page last updated: 25th September 2020 8:21 AM
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