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Words of appreciation from the Chancellor and Chairman of the Board of Directors
Chancellor & Chairman of the Board of Directors of Seigakuin University & Schools
Seigakuin Schools are celebrating the centennial of their founding. Seigakuin University chapel has been completed at this time and on this plot of land, and today we have been permitted to celebrate the dedication of the University Chapel. We have been honored by the attendance of all of you. We have been privileged to have words of congratulation from:
UEDA, Kiyoshi, Governor of Saitama,
FUKAMACHI, Masanobu, Chancellor of Aoyama Gakuin,
ARAI, Kohji, Mayor of Ageo,
MURATA, Hajime, Associate Moderator of Kanto Kyoku (Region),the United Church of Christ in Japan
I want to express our heartfelt thanks for the message from each of you.
Two years ago there was a grape vineyard here where the chapel now stands. Architecture is not a skyscraper floating in space but a work grounded in the earth. Without the cooperation of people in the community who cooperated by allowing Seigakuin to buy the land extending from this chapel to the Kamo (wild duck) River, and without the assistance of the officers and staff of Ageo City, this construction would have been impossible. We remember that, and express our deepest thanks and appreciation.
As former Junior College President Kroehler said in his address, for a long period of time we were unable to carry out the construction of the chapel. We remember the many people who had a part in making it possible for us to experience this joy today. To make certain that we will never forget this, a room in this building has been set aside as a Room of Remembrance for Joshi Seigakuin Junior College.
During that long waiting period, which began nearly eight years ago, we requested the services of KOHYAMA, Hisao-sensei, at that time Professor of Architecture in the Department of Engineering at the University of Tokyo. He spent more than seven years devoting his energy to the completion of the architectural plans.
With the completion of the architectural plans, the actual construction was undertaken by Toda Construction, Inc. They completed this task in the record time of only thirteen months. Their resolution and skillful efforts have made it possible for us to be here today.
As you approach this chapel on the path between Building #2 and the Disciples Building, if you look at the wall at the foot of the steps that go up to the left and to the right, you will see a bronze plate that Kohyama-sensei has inlaid. This plate has the cross, grapes and lilies engraved in it. I am certain that this embodies Kohyama-sensei’s special thoughts and feelings about this construction project. I want to express our deepest thanks to him.
Kohyama-sensei, during one of his lectures for the NHK Television University. (He is a Professor at the TV Univ.) talked about the Seigakuin University chapel. He explained the development of the concept of the Seigakuin University Chapel. In conclusion, Kohyama-sensei quoted his mentor Louis I. Kahn’s words, “Silence to Light.” He shared his thoughts about this creative work.
“Silence” is chaos. An architect goes from there to light, to structure. However, it is difficult to see where the road to the light is leading. It is like traveling when you do not know where you are going. But guidance is not completely lacking. There is some hidden order. A moral and ethical belief in that order leads to light, though not in a straight line. It rises up in a spiral.
His words left a deep impression on me: unpretentious but profoundly courageous, honest and supremely beautiful. I felt that it went beyond architecture and aesthetics to the spirit of religious pilgrimage. And this is where we see the structure--we are inside the structure.
This is not an ordinary university chapel. It is certainly appropriate to call this a “magnificent building.” (The literal translation of the Japanese “Dai-sei-doh” is a “great holy building,” the Japanese word being composed of three Chinese characters.)
I was deeply moved. The Japanese word for “to be moved” is composed of two Chinese characters, “to feel” and “to move.” Standing here, I have a feeling of what Seigakuin Education points to. And we are called to face the future and move forward.
In English we might call this magnificent building an “edifice.” The verb is “to edify.” This word originally had two meanings, to build and to edify. Seigakuin Education is like “building” new persons. Seigakuin education is not simply education (to draw out what is inside) in the Latin sense of the word.
The Apostle Paul called himself an architect (a master builder). Building in the sense of edification and Christian Education are in essence the same. The challenge to education in the midst of the modern world that spews out chaos, is “edification,” the formation of “a new man” (Kahn) and a new society. The means is “nature” (Kahn). At that time, there must be order that guides the new man in the new society.
Paul taught us the three words, Faith, Hope and Love. Niebuhr explained the guiding meaning of Faith, Hope and Love as follows:
Nothing that is worth doing
can be achieved in our lifetime;
we must be saved by hope.
Nothing which is true or beautiful or good
makes complete sense in any immediate context of history,
we must be saved by faith.
Nothing we do, however virtuous,
can be accomplished alone;
we are saved by love.
(Japanese translation by OHKI, Hideo)
Modern education and politics tell us only of future illusions. But Seigakuin Education is guided by the hidden order of faith, hope and love, and it must be edification that comes to terms with the reality: from chaos to structure.
The person who endeavored to bring these three: faith, hope and love, into Seigakuin Education was HIRAI, Yohkichi-sensei. He was intimately related to Takinogawa Church, Joshi Seigakuin (Girls’ Junior-Senior High School, and Seigakuin (Boy’s Junior-Senior High School) as pastor of Takinogawa Church and as Principal of both schools.
In a marvelous way, this tradition of Seigakuin Education has been expressed and been given structure here by the eminent architect Kohyama-sensei. The “Sei” in Seigakuin (the same Chinese character as “holy” in “a great holy building”) has been expressed in a wonderful way in this chapel.
Standing here, the tradition of one hundred years of Seigakuin Education is reborn. Standing here, the chaos of modern times will be overcome in the future. The edification of persons, and the formation of community will be enabled. And for that reason, I want to express the heartfelt appreciation of Seigakuin to Kohyama-sensei and everyone who has been involved in this construction.
An original brush-writing calligraphy of “Faith, Hope and Love” by Hirai-sensei is framed and hangs in Takinogawa Church. On this occasion of the dedication of the University Chapel, a copy will be given to the University and Ryokusei Church, and we would like this to be hung in the Room of Remembrance for Joshi Seigakuin Junior College, tying the 100 years of all Seigakuin Schools to the future in witness to the bonds of our common mission.
Kahn said, “A work of architecture is an offering.” Seigakuin dedicates this great holy building, this magnificent building to God. We want Seigakuin Education to be an offering to God. We desire to dedicate all of Seigakuin to God.
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