Anglican Journal reports that a Japanese pastor has sued the country’s largest Protestant denomination, the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), over his dismissal for giving communion to congregants who were not baptized.
Rev. Jiro Kitamura hopes to regain his status as a minister after he was dismissed from the church. While the basis for the dismissal was doctrinal, the suit will “focus on the procedural aspect” of the dismissal and “bring justice to a certain political force within the UCCJ.”
“Through this lawsuit, I would like to criticize United Church’s control and prompt it to become a united church as it is meant to be, without discarding various differences, through patient dialogue for unity,” Kitamura told ENInews.
“I hope the disciplinary punishment of dismissal will be withdrawn, and hope to question the authoritative nature of the United Church,” he added.
One can’t help but observe that Rev. Kitamura has good company here in the Episcopal Church (even though baptism is officially required for communion in the church). Open communion (communion without baptism) is the official policy of many denominations including the Presbyterian, UCC, and United Methodist Church.