Thomas Kemper Invited to Lecture at Kwansei Gakuin
Thomas Kemper, who leads the United Methodist General Board of Global Ministries, will present two lectures at the Methodist-related Kwansei Gakuin mission school in Japan. The lectures are part of the school’s 125th anniversary celebration.
In 1889, the Rev. Walter R. Lambuth, a missionary of the Methodist Episcopal Church South, founded Kwansei Gakuin. While gakuin is a Japanese word meaning academy or school, today Kwansei Gakuin is a comprehensive, integrated educational institute teaching kindergarten to graduate school. A total of 24,000 students attend. Seiwa College, which has similar Methodist roots, recently merged with Kwansei Gakuin to form a School of Education within the university.
As a mission school in Japan, Kwansei Gakuin takes its Christian heritage very seriously. Christian studies is a required subject for all students from kindergarten through university, and more than 50 chapel services are held throughout the institute’s campuses during the course of a single week. Kwansei Gakuin’s values emphasize peace, human rights, social justice, and cross-cultural understanding. Its mission is to inspire world citizens who can transform society.
On February 13, Kemper will present a lecture titled, The Heart and Soul of Wesleyan Mission Theology.” The lecture will offer insights into the core understandings of mission theology from a Wesleyan perspective. Kemper will explain how the foundational beliefs of global Methodism find contemporary, pragmatic application in United Methodist mission work.
On February 14, Kemper will lecture on the World Council of Churches 10th Assembly: God of Life; Lead us to Justice and Peace. The lecture will focus on ways the assembly affected contemporary Christian mission and how it related to the work of Global Ministries and mission partners in Asia.
While he is at Kwansei Gakuin, Kemper will meet with some of the United Methodist missionaries who serve in Japan. Ruth Grubel is the school’s chancellor and faculty member in the Department of Sociology; Tim Boyle is a Christian studies professor; Claudia Genung serves in social outreach and evangelism in Kobe, and Kennis Lam is a youth minister at the Okamoto Church in Kobe.