Church leaders across the world have expressed sadness over the death of the Rev Dr Toshitsugu Arai, a renowned Asian ecumenical Christian leader.
Dr Arai died on 16 January 2013 at the age of 80 years. His funeral took place on Saturday 19 January at the Kyodan Church, Kawasaki City in Japan, where he passed away.
The World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary the Rev Dr Olav Fykse Tveit was among those who paid tribute to am man who was a former staff member of the WCC and of the Christian Conference of Asia (CCA).
Along with being an ordained minister of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), Arai served as secretary of Lay Academies of the WCC’s sub-unit on Renewal and Congregational Life from 1984 to 1991.
He was “known for his pastoral care, collegiality, spirituality and ecumenical commitment,” said Dr Tveit in his condolence message to the UCCJ. “[Dr Arai] led a principled life devoted to promote ecumenism, peace building, interfaith relations and ecumenical leadership development,” he added.
Dr Arai worked as director of the Nippon Christian Academy in Japan and executive secretary for the CCA’s ecumenical education programme, as well as in the capacity of its associate general secretary in the 1990s.
He was author of several publications in English and Japanese on the subject of churches and education in Asia.