Matsudo Church of Christ History
Many of the church activities of the Matsudo Church of Christ were recorded in a booklet which commemorated 40 years since the church was begun by missionaries L.T. and Joan Gurganus. Over the years, the church has seen many added to their number and various activites in each season of the year highlighted what the church has tried to do to grow in their community near Kamihongo train station.
Children in the community at one time came to Sunday School classes each week and Christmas parties were held each year as ways to try to effect the neighborhood.
Other efforts have been tracts, Christian newspapers, and gospel meetings to try to stir some interest in reaching out to the neighborhood to tell people about Jesus. Books were gathered in the church library to try to help members further gain Bible knowledge for Chrsitian growth.
The church has had 4 or 5 preachers since the 1960's who have served the congregation for a few years. Bro. Watanabe was preacher from May, 1961 to August, 1967. Bro. Shoichi Kikuchi preached for the congregation from February, 1970 to September,1972. Bro. Terashima was preacher for the congregation from June, 1975 to April, 1978. Various preachers from Ibaraki and Tokyo areas have also come to help the congregation as best they could on a part-time basis. Bro. Shibamura served at preacher at Matsudo church from about 1990 until 2003 when he became ill and unable to continue as preacher for the congregation.
For several years, the congregation prayed for and searched for someone who would come to try to teach the members, preach weekly on a regular basis, and to help the congregation gain a vision of what they should be doing daily as Christians in their own communities. In June, 2007, Bro Stephen Carrell, missionary who had been working at the Tachikawa Church of Christ had an opportunity to respond to the need of the Matsudo Church of Christ and in October, he and his wife moved to Matsudo to begin work with the church there, agreeing also to live in the community.
Some immediate changes were the beginning of regular Bible classes each week, one on Thursdays and another on Saturdays. After having some time to settle into the new location, the Carrells have been working with the Matsudo church members to find out their needs to help them grow spiritually and to discuss together ways in which the congregation can begin to reach out more effectively into their own community. This has been with much prayer and trying to take things slowly. But there have been some good results