A United Methodist Presence in Japan
October 03, 2022
By Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, Conference Secretary for Global Ministries
The United Methodist Church continues to reach around the world. While we do not have any official churches in Japan, there is a presence. The Rev. Claudia Genung-Yamamoto is a missionary with the General Board of Global Ministries of The United Methodist Church (GBGM) and serves as the lead pastor of Kobe Union Church in Kobe, Japan.
Rev. Claudia has been a missionary for 27 years. She became a GBGM missionary associate in 1980-82 and worked in the Bott Memorial Children’s Home in Machida, Tokyo, Japan. Later she and her husband, Toshi, returned as missionaries in 1993 to work at the National Christian Council of Japan in Tokyo (NCC-J) primarily with peace, justice, human rights, and other Christian related social issues.
Then they went to Kobe, Japan, and she worked with the Kagawa Center Kobe Jesus Band Church and Tengokuya (Heaven’s) Café for almost eight years working with community outreach and church development. In 2019, she was called to be a pastor at Kobe Union Church, where she would be primarily involved with community outreach and church development.
Kobe Union Church is a diverse congregation filled with Japanese, Filipinos, Africans (from Ghana, Tanzania, Congo, Guinea), Malaysians, Chinese, Korean Japanese, Jamaicans, Europeans, and a few Americans.
Rev Claudia often cites her favorite scripture when discussing her work as a missionary from Romans 15:13: “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in God, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”
Her husband, Rev. Toshi Yamamoto, is a Global Ministries Volunteer in Mission and former General Secretary of NCC-J as well as a former Global Ministries missionary. Toshi retired in March 2020 as the Dean of Chaplains and professor at Kwansei Gakuin University. He has authored books in Japanese and written articles on ecumenism and peace in Northeast Asia. The two have two adult children living in the United States.
The United Methodist Church is connected across the world from our towns in Georgia to Africa, Europe, Asia and Tonga, in the middle of the Pacific Ocean. God is working through people and places most of us have never heard of, let alone will ever go. Give to the Advance so God’s kingdom can continue to Advance on the Earth.
To give to the Advance send a check to the following:
458 Ponce De Leon Ave, NE
Atlanta, GA 30308
To give to Rev. Claudia send a check marked with Advance #11868Z.
Rev. Garth Duke-Barton, pastor of Epworth United Methodist Church in Jesup, also serves as Conference Secretary for Global Ministries.