Rev. Roger Morimoto (pictured here) served Christ United Methodist Church and then UJCC from 1990-2001. He was the pastor who brought the two congregations together 30 years ago. Here are his reflections:
The creation of the United Japanese Christian Church was not so much about the coming together of institutions as it was about personal courage and sacrifice of individuals and members of two historic Japanese American congregations. These people let go of deep emotional bonds to their past – relationships to family, friends, and parents, memories of community and the church that nurtured them to take a risk for an unknown future without guarantees. Many of these individuals knew they would not even be around to experience and benefit from this new endeavor, but nonetheless, they sacrificed, worked, and took the leap because of their deep faith and commitment to the future!
What I am trying to convey through [this] picture [of farewell gifts received] is that many lives have been touched by UJCC (Scouts, Taiko, VBS and Sunday School, and the church itself) that would not have been touched if 30 years ago, the church members of Christ UMC and Japanese Congregational Church did not embark on this merger. It took a lot of heartache, courage, and sacrifice so lives could be touched now.