2016 New Year's Service

Update´╝ÜJanuary 6, 2016

The 2016 New Year's Service was held at the university chapel on January 6 (Wed).

The service conducted by Rev. Shoko Kitanaka began with a chorus of Hymn "Ring Out, Wild Bells, to the Wild Sky" by all those in attendance, and continued with a Scripture Reading of Romans 12:3-8.

Following the Scripture Reading, President Junko Hibiya delivered her message.

Full text of President Hibiya's message is below.


Hymn: "Ring Out, Wild Bells, to the Wild Sky"
Scripture Reading: Romans 12:3-8

Happy New Year! Let us celebrate the New Year in happiness, faith and gratitude. I look forward to a wonderful and prosperous year with the ICU community.

As you are all aware, ICU has thoroughly devoted itself to the realization of its founding ideals, to nurture promising students who serve God and humankind. To fulfill this mission, we have been implementing our 60th Anniversary Project in 2011 with the objective of improving the campus and educational facilities, as well as the scholarship system and academic program. This five-year project will be completed in less than three months.

We started this project with a lecture entitled Expectations for Environmental Studies at ICU, a month after the Great East Japan Earthquake. Other programs have followed, leading to the ICU Archives and Special Collections' The Legacy of Diffendorfer and Troyer: Setting the Stage for a New University, on exhibit from October last year until March this year. During this period, ICU appointed two 60th anniversary professors; international conferences took place including Inter-religious Understanding and Peacebuilding, a symposium we co-organized with the United Board for Christian Higher Education in Asia, as well as the Global Compact Japan Network China Japan Korea Roundtable Conference and the Aspen Cultural Diplomacy Forum. Since 2013, alumni have joined us on campus for the annual Homecoming event during the ICU Festival.

I would like to express my deepest appreciation for the many who have contributed through donations to the success of this project. After it ends in March, we will hold an event to review it in mid-June and make plans for the future.

In initiating our project five years ago, our slogan was "Creating the Next 60 Years." We expressed our determination on our Website "to respect the efforts of our forerunners and to take over responsibility in creating the next 60 years." In the year 2016, we will be taking a new step for the next 60 years. As we just read from the Letter of Paul to the Romans chapter 12, verse 5, "so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually we are members one of another." This year marks a new beginning for the ICU community to strengthen our bond and form a new foundation for the next 60 years.

As we all know, each part of our body has a different function but all are interconnected to serve the body as a whole. In similar manner, God has each given us unique abilities and positions to fulfill different tasks. Whatever they are, we need an overall view to work out how best to make use of our gifts to fulfill our expected roles. Paul urges in the verses that precede verse 5, "not to think of yourself more highly than you ought to think; but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned."

From verse 6, Paul writes of the seven Christian gifts which build up the Church, including prophecy, ministering, and teaching. If each one of us works with humility by using our gifts, we can work in harmony and achieve better results. I urge everyone in the ICU community to work in generosity, in diligence and in cheerfulness throughout the New Year.

Let us pray. Our Holy Father, we thank you for your blessing in the past year. Help us be humble in serving you by fulfilling our roles. May all of us at ICU be ever united in moving forward with hope. In the name of your son, Jesus Christ. Amen.