About Yokohama Union Church

What is a Union Church?

It is part of the Christians Abroad in International Congregations. Millions of people are living in lands other than their own, struggling to understand another language, culture, a way of life. They seek community, support, a grasp of hope and reality. Persons in such situations can be lost, uncertain, confused. For these and all who might by touched by the Good News in Jesus Christ, there are oases where Living Water is to be found. Christians abroad find fellowship in International Congregations, gatherings of like-minded and like-experienced people who seek God’s presence and to follow God’s leading. These assemblies of believers focus their lives and activities together under six significant common characteristics. – By Rev. Arthur Bauer, Past Director of International Congregations


is the chief and theological characteristic for an International Congregation. It sees the “Gospel” the Evangel, as the principle sign, idea for a Christian. It points to Jesus Christ, the center and key for God’s church. “Evangelical” says that a church focuses on Jesus, who He is and what He does and means for us. Being evangelical means that Jesus is first, that He is Lord and Savior of all.


is the cultural characteristic. The Christian faith is always wrapped in a cultural robe. There is no way to receive the faith outside of the cultural context. Congregations seek to connect individuals to a faith that acknowledges an inter-cultural reality by being part of a trans-cultural experience. The joy and amazement derived from association with these congregations stem from the fact it is possible to transcend human differences that often divide people.


is the sociological characteristic. In the churches each person (left and right, liturgical and non-liturgical, fundamentalist and liberal, traditional and experimental) finds the welcome mat out. The affirmation “one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church” takes on a new depth as openness, and inclusiveness, gives a truly “Pentecostal” flavor to international congregations.


is the functional characteristic. It is for mission that the church exists: “As the Father has sent me, so I send you.” Mission is expressed in word and deed, in telling and doing, in acting and being. Churches do not live only to perpetuate themselves, but to be servants of their Servant Lord. A mission-minded International Congregation reaches out to English speaking persons even when they are not within the normal social or economic circle of the congregation.


is the political characteristic. Vast changes are erasing old boundaries and diluting old ideologies. International Congregations testify to a willingness to embrace all persons into one community in Christ.


is the linguistic characteristic. The English language now ties people within and among nations together. Some nationals affiliate with English-speaking congregations because they are married to an English-speaking spouse or studied English, or are more at home in English than any other language. As language was a key in the diverse company of the first Pentecost, so it continues to weld men and women into community.

International Congregations visualize the united, world-wide church of Jesus Christ without regard to separations of confession, race, culture, or nation. They are a network of congregations in more than 65 countries. The theological base or statement is the same “Jesus is Lord and Savior.”

» International Congregations Directory
» National Christian Council in Japan

Yokohama Union Church Past and Present Ministers

Records incomplete due to the building being destroyed by an earthquake (September, 1923) and fire-bombing of the church during WWII (May, 1945).

1861-1874 Dr. S. R. Brown D.D.

1874-1876 Pulpit supply by missionaries

1876-1877 Rev. Luther H. Gulick

1878-1879 unknown

1879 Rev. W.C. Davisson

1880-1882 Rev. E. S. Booth

1882-1886 unknown

1887-1998 Rev. George M. Meacham

1998-1902 Rev. E. S. Booth

1903-1908 Pulpit supply by missionaries

1908-1912 Rev. T. Roseberry Good

1912-1913 Rev. J. Blackburn

1913-1914 Rev. G. Chapman Jones

1914-1919 Rev. William Martin

1919-1921 no pastor

1921-1922 Rev. Herbert Manchester

1922-1923 Rev. Dr. Charles L. Noyes

1923-1924 no pastor or church building

1924 Pulpit supply by missionaries

1925-1928 Rev. Herbert Manchester

1928-1929 Dr. James Alexander

1930-1939 Rev. H.W. Schenck

1939-1945 Church closed

1945-1960 Worship at Naval Chapel Center

1960-1976 Pulpit supply by missionaries

1976-1983 Rev. Karl Karpa

1983-1986 Seminary Student Susan Kendall

1986-1987 Rev. Tina Pinnell

1987-1989 Dr. John & Ann Piet

1989-1992 Rev. Del & Trudy Vander Haar

1992-1994 Rev. Eugene & Joyce Vander Well

1994-1996 Rev. James Girling

1996-2019 Rev. Ken Saito & Rev. Linda Schmidt

2019-2019 Rev. Missy Hart (Interim)

2019-2023 Rev. Devora Umipig-Julian (Along with other guest preachers)

2023-Present Rev. Claudia Genung-Yamamoto