The Japanese-American united church : its history, challenges, and opportunities

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Nathan Brownell


On September 13, 1953, the two Japanese-American Christian churches in New York City formally united. They called themselves the United Church of Christ, Japanese-American (UCCJA). The uniting congregations were the Japanese-American Church of Christ (Reformed) and the Japanese Methodist Church.

The Japanese-American Church of Christ (Reformed) was already a unification of two Japanese-American churches in the Reformed tradition. In 1949, the Japanese Christian Institute (1897) and the Japanese Christian Association (1909) pooled their resources in order to survive the hardships of the first years after World War II. The sale of their two facilities enabled these Reformed congregations to bring desperately needed financial resources to the united endeavor. The Japanese Methodist Church (1901) had the larger membership of the original three Japanese-American ministries and was thus able to contribute the necessary human capital for the united endeavor.

The unification brought both benefits and complications. It took eighteen years to sell the three facilities and to find, purchase, and renovate a new church building. Thus, from 1953 to 1971 , the UCCJA sojourned at the Grace Methodist Church on West 104th Street, and at the West End Collegiate Church.

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How to Cite
Brownell, N. (2002). The Japanese-American united church : its history, challenges, and opportunities. Reformed Review, 55(3). Retrieved from