Sunrise Committee

Scope and Content

The Sunrise Band was the junior branch of the Japan Evangelistic Band. It was formed in c.1906, upon the initiative of Mrs Herbert Wood. The aims of the Sunrise Band were: 1) To bring boys and girls in the Homelands (i.e British Isles, Canada, South Africa, Australia and New Zealand, Switzerland and other countries) to personal knowledge of the Lord Jesus as Saviour. 2) Through the gifts and prayers of these boys and girls, to reach the Japanese children by helping the missionaries of the Japan Evangelistic Band in the Forward Movement and by supporting native evangelists.

Membership of the Sunrise Band was open to children of any age, class and denomination. The children formed in to 'Sunrise Circles', and the members of the Sunrise Circles were called 'Sunbeams'. Circle meetings took place in missionaries' homes. Scripture-reading and daily bible-study were encouraged, and Sunbeams took part in activities, outings and annual Summer Camps. The Sunrise Band published a Magazine and a Daily Prayer Calendar.

The Sunbeams' giving was directed to specific ventures associated with children, such as tent missions and children's summer schools. When Miss Irene Webster Smith opened her orphanage for unwanted girls before the war, the Sunrise Band adopted this work and it became known as the 'Sunrise Home'. In 1964 the Sunbeams saved to buy a car, which was used in the Wajiki Valley area of inland Shikoku.

The Sunrise Band Committee was formed at a Japan Evangelistic Band Council Meeting on 7 December 1933, at the suggestion of Mrs Herbert Wood and Hubert W. Werner. The Committee was responsible to the Japan Evangelistic Band Home Council. The formation of the Committee did not change the nature of Sunrise work, but it was designed to improve communication between the Sunrise Band and the Japan Evangelistic Band. In accordance with the constitution of the Japan Evangelistic Band, all decisions of the Sunrise Committee required the unanimous consent of all present at any meeting, and all final decisions "where the circumstances demand it" rested with the Home Council fo the Japan Evangelistic Band. The first meeting of the Sunrise Committee was held on 4 January 1934, at the Japan Evangelistic Band headquarters, 1 Gower Street, London WC1.

In the 1970s the emphasis of the junior section of the Japan Evangelistic Band changed to include young people in their teens and twenties. The initiative for this came from the London and Lancashire Areas, where young men and women formed committees and met for workshops. A Youth Committee was formed to join the work of these two Areas, and joint weekend Conferences were held. Soon after, Cynthia Nash was appointed Sunrise Secretary by the Home Council. The names Sunrise Band and Sunbeams were retained for the children's work, but the name Japan Evangelistic Band Sunrise Fellowship (JSF) was adopted for the young adults branch. The Youth Committee was renamed the JSF Executive and was responsible to the Home Council. Area Committees were represented on and answered to the JSF Executive.

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