He’ll Go To Japan To Help Spur Congregations To Build Churches
YPSILANTI — A 79-year-old Ypsilanti pastor who has spurred congregations to build churches with their own labor will try to transfer the spirit of volunteer service to a group of Japanese ministers, including one who first sought such guidance eight years ago.
The Rev. Charles G. Morse, pastor of the Central Blvd. Baptist Church, and Mrs. Morse will leave for Japan Monday.
While there he will tell the story of the churches he has helped congregations build to the group of pastors and church workers, brought together by the Rev. Yasuji Shiima.
He will also speak to students of the Kanto Gakuin University in Yokohama, under an invitation from the university’s president whom he met two years ago at the American Baptist Assembly in Wisconsin.
Correspondence with the Japanese pastor started in 1949 after a Japanese religious newspaper reprinted pictures of the Rev. Mr. Morse’s work published in Life magazine. The newspaper challenged Japanese pastors to lead their people the same way, and the Rev. Mr. Shiima wrote ‘‘Please guide and teach me.”
Guidance in helping congregations develop their faith, spirit of co-operation and willingness to sacrifice can be best offered by telling the story of those who have succeeded, the Rev. Mr. Morse believes. But since he also feels mail isn’t adequate for the purpose, he regards his trip to Japan as his first real chance to help.
He will have for examples the work of the congregation of the Central Blvd. church, being built by volunteer labor, as well as three churches in Lansing, one in Indiana and one in Imlay City constructed through the same process.
Any group can follow the example, he believes, if it has faith and is willing to sacrifice. He explains that sacrifice involves overcoming a frequent tendency to look down upon manual labor or even upon doing a job different from a person’s usual work.
Although offering help is his main interest in the trip, it isn’t the only reason. The Morses will visit their son, Lt. Col. Gillman E. Morse, stationed in Tokyo. And Mrs. Morse will contact Baptist missions and local units of the WCTU.