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“You shall love the Lord your God.” Matt. 22:37

Mission Connections
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Photo of Carol and Tom Hastings

Tom and Carol Hastings

Email: Tom and Carol Hastings


Tom ended his service in July with the United Church of Christ in Japan with the Tokyo Union Theological Seminary and is now the program director of research and development, Center of Theological Inquiry in Princeton, N.J.. Carol was a local congregation director of Christian education and continues under appointment through the end of October 2008. She is available to speak as schedule permits, and Tom may join her as his schedule permits. Email them to extend an invitation to visit your congregation or organization.


Tom and Carol Hastings have been under appointment as PC(USA) mission co-workers in Japan since 1988. At the request of the United Church of Christ in Japan (UCCJ), the Hastings have been serving in Tokyo, Japan, with Tokyo Union Theological Seminary since 1995. Tom is professor of practical theology and Christian education. Carol, besides caring for one child at home and keeping in touch with three children overseas, is involved in the local church, where she is director of Christian education, serves on session, leads a weekly Bible study, sings in the choir, teaches and sometimes preaches.

Besides his teaching, research and writing, Tom preaches and gives seminars and lectures in churches and related organizations. He serves on the board of directors at Joshi Gakuin, the American School in Japan, and the UCCJ’s publishing division. He is also a trustee at TUTS. Tom is involved in his local church doing music ministry, preaching, teaching Sunday school and leading a weekly evening Bible study.

With the assistance of colleagues, Tom translated the PC(USA)’s First Catechism and Study Catechism into Japanese. Now in their second printing, these catechisms have helped to strengthen the educational ministry of Japanese churches and even lead a number of inquirers to faith. Tom and some Japanese pastors and lay people are introducing the approach to worship and Christian education that Sonja Stewart and Jerome Berryman describe in Young Children and Worship and Godly Play.

Carol serves as PC(USA) mission representative on the board of directors of the organization that manages mission properties in Japan. She has also taken an active part in planning and supervising the construction of two new PC(USA) housing projects near their home in Mitaka. The first was completed in December 2003 and the second in January 2005. In addition to her church duties, Carol also pursues her love of piano by teaching children and playing organ at church and on occasions such as weddings.

Tokyo Union Theological Seminary, where Tom teaches, has its roots in the 19th century beginnings of the Protestant missionary movement in Japan. It was first established in 1904 as the Tokyo School of Theology, an independent Japanese seminary. After the founding of the United Church of Christ in Japan (Nihon Kirisuto Kyodan) during World War II, the seminary’s current name was given. TUTS provides well-trained church leaders for the Kyodan and the larger Protestant community in Japan. It is the largest Christian seminary in Japan with a diverse student body and the only seminary which is accredited by the Japanese Ministry of Education, offering the equivalent of B.Div., M.Div. and Th.D. degrees. Presently about 20 percent of its student body are women and about 40 percent are first-generation Christians.

The Hastings first came to Japan in 1979 for two years as English teachers at the Yamanashi YMCA in Kofu where their first daughter, Rose, was born in 1980. After some years in the United States and further study at Wheaton College Graduate School, they returned to Japan in 1987 with three children in tow. Their first appointment as PC(USA) mission co-workers was at Hokuriku Gakuin Junior College in Kanazawa where Tom was in charge of the foreign teachers and taught English and Bible.

In 1992 they were reassigned to Kobe where Tom was associate professor of Christian Education at Seiwa College. Their fourth child, Katie Jo, was born in Kobe in 1994, just four months before the big earthquake there.

Tom has a B.A. in English from Boston College and an M.A. in educational ministries from Wheaton College Graduate School in Wheaton, Illinois. In May 2004 he was awarded his Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary.

He has taught with the Peace Corps in Western Samoa, the YMCA in Kofu, Japan, and Williamsburg Christian Academy in Virginia. Carol earned her B.A. in music from Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota, and did graduate work in piano at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston, Massachusetts. She has almost completed a master’s in Christian education from Princeton Theological Seminary. Carol, too, has taught with the Peace Corps in Western Samoa and with the YMCA in Kofu, Japan.

Rose, Paul and Sarah are all college graduates and all doing work related to Japan. Katie remains at home to keep her parents feeling young. She is a student at the American School in Japan, which is just a five-minute bicycle ride from where they live in Mitaka.

Tom is a clergy member of the Presbytery of West Jersey, and Carol is a member of First Presbyterian Church of Cape May, New Jersey.

Birthdays:
Tom - October 12
Carol - November 5

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