Student Communities – Circles

TCU (Tokyo Christian University) offers many opportunities in regard to classes, internships, and church experience. However, at TCU, there are also a variety of choices regarding fellowships and joining communities based on personal passions. Many such opportunities are student initiated, giving others the chance to fellowship with other students and form tight-knit communities. Circles at TCU are incredibly wide ranging from sports to fashion and arts, to clubs that promote Japanese culture and those that focus on prayer and worship.

Students at TCU are encouraged and are given opportunities to come together as a community through circles. Circles provide spaces for free interaction and allow students to get to know each other better through their talents.

“When Jesus sent out the disciples, he sent them out two by two, so that they wouldn’t be discouraged.

So, we are supposed to be doing this together and there is strength when we come together in unity.”  Henoke, a fourth-year student at TCU shares this when speaking about his experiences with the student community at TCU. He reveals that he has been impacted by the prayer of fellow students and is encouraged during worship to continue reaching out to others.

Throughout the week there are multiple sports that students gather to play including basketball, volleyball, badminton, and so on. Many of these sports are played casually giving students who want to learn a new sport the chance to do so without feeling intimidated by other players. Although, certain sports also host tournaments, so that students also have the chance to play more seriously and those who want to improve their skills in the sport are able to do so while playing against others who also have the aim of boosting their own abilities. Jason, another fourth-year student shares how these weekly sports circles also serve as a place to grow relationships through regular interactions and joint practices.

Volleyball tournament (Isomin Cup)

Beyond the campus, TCU students are also actively engaging with the broader community through prayer and outreach. Brian, a third-year international student shares how he has been able to continue ministries from his home country through the support of other students at TCU, and how reaching out to the Japanese people has given him more confidence to continue seeking God for his own personal ministry even after graduation. For many students, prayer meetings and worship sessions are more than spiritual exercises; they are opportunities to form deep relationships built on the love of Christ and bridges that connect students across language barriers, uniting the Japanese and International students. As one student says, “During worship, being unable to speak Japanese does not matter, it’s such a great time to be able to worship the Lord together, and also forms a really good camaraderie”

(photo 2) Prayer Walk near the station for outdoor worship in Japanese and English

But it’s not all structured activities and formal gatherings. There are also several unofficial circles, where students get together just to hang out and build relationships in a relaxed setting. These circles offer chances for students to converse freely in both English and Japanese. These groups often create better chances to interact with other students because of the sense of freedom to have in-depth conversations without any interruptions.

An unofficial circle, “Ice Walk”, initiated to spend more time in fellowship

Dance circle

Chin, a third-year international student observes, “Circles are a way to get to know people for who they are, and form close relationships with people who you may not usually have the chance to talk to.” She also appreciates how these circles provide students with a space to interact with others, in the most comfortable way for them, out of their own volition.

I, too, hope that more students will join the various circles in TCU and form lasting relationships in a multicultural setting, united by shared passions and interests.

Written by Joanne