Message from the Chief Chaplain


At the 2013 Entrance Ceremony

Chief Chaplain Shoji Igarashi

Congratulations to all the new students joining us this year.
Student life at Rikkyo University lasts for but a short period of time. I hope that you spend the time wisely, with many things to look forward to. Your time here as a student will have a major influence on your life to come.

Rikkyo University’s founding principles are based on the Christian spirit. And at the same time, they are also based on the spirit of the Episcopal Church. The Episcopal Church is a denomination of Christianity that grew with the history and culture of England, and within the United Kingdom, it is called the Anglican Church. The Church has been influenced by the United Kingdom, a country that values its history, and throughout history, the Church has diligently applied faith and reason in its constant pursuit of the truth.

This Church later made its way to the United States as well, where it became known as the Episcopal Church. In 1859 (154 years ago), the Episcopal Church sent the future founder of Rikkyo University on a mission to Japan: Bishop Channing Moore Williams. Bishop Williams worked to contribute to Japanese society through education and medicine, and founded several churches and schools. In Tsukiji, alongside the Sumida River, he founded Rikkyo Gakuin and the hospital that was the predecessor of St. Luke’s International Hospital.

In the teachings of Christianity, Heaven, Earth, and all things between were created by God, and we, mankind, are one of His creations. It is said that space was created 10 or 15 billion years ago, and 4.6 billion years have passed since the Earth was born. Perhaps one could say that it took 4.6 billion years of preparation for us to be born in this world. But for what purpose were we created - or Heaven or Earth, for that matter?

The Old Testament book of Psalms (102:19) gives us the following phrase, which serves as a guide for those considering this question. “The people which shall be created shall praise the Lord.” Mankind, the people of God, were created to worship our Lord God.
All things created by God, mankind included, were created to worship Him.
One can also find the following words in the Bible.

When we accept that all things were created to worship God, is it not necessary for us to seek a way to live in harmony with nature? I would like you to remember that Rikkyo University has an environment that allows you to study in this way.

One may say that the history of mankind is a continuous record of mankind’s weaknesses, errors, and arrogance, but also a record of becoming humble and setting out once more in pursuit of love and peace. Perhaps accepting our history and learning from different points of views is a valuable way to continue this search for peace.

There are many things that you will be able to come into contact with and encounter as a result of studying at Rikkyo University. I hope that you will enjoy a good, fruitful life here.

I pray that God’s blessings will be with you.

(April 2013)