THE NAME OF THE ORIGINAL CHURCH
Toshio Hirano, one of the founders of the OMS Holiness Church of North America, states in his autobiography published in 1982, that the name of the original church established in April 1921 was neither the “Oriental Missionary Society” nor the “Oriental Missionary Church,” but the “Oriental Missionary Christian Church.”

On the other hand, in a Reisei bulletin of the 1920's, other founders—including Hirano—mention that the name in Japanese was “Toyo Senkyokai,” which literally means the “Oriental Missionary Church.”

No one else has ever stated that the name was the Oriental Missionary Christian Church. Hirano began to write his autobiography in the late 60’s, recounting forty-five years of Holiness church history—several chronological and proper name errors are noted in his writings. He does mention the name Oriental Missionary Church, which concurs with the Japanese translation in the Reisei bulletin mentioned. Thus the assumption is that the original name of the church was the “Oriental Missionary Church.”

A Reisei bulletin published in early 1922 mentions the OMS Rafu (Los Angeles) Church. When and how the church's name changed is not known. However, it is assumed that “OMS Rafu Church” was not used when the ministry began at Trinity Church in Hollywood in April 1921, but rather when Sadaichi Kuzuhara was assigned to the church in June of that year. From the beginning, the founders of the Oriental Missionary Church may have strived to differentiate themselves from the Oriental Missionary Society in Japan and be identified as a church indigenous to the United States.

Currently, no one knows the precise English name of the original Holiness church in Hollywood. Some confusion exists because Hirano is the only one who referred to it as the Oriental Missionary Church. The name was used only for two months; the “Oriental Missionary Society” name has been in use ever since. Therefore, the original name must be considered OMC, rather than OMS, by modern followers.

According to the picture taken at their second meeting place at 36th and Denker, the name of the church was “Oriental Missionary Society Japanese Holiness Church Bible School” in English, with “Rafu Toyo Senkyokai” in Japanese. The church seems to have been used as a training place of worship.

[Young ministerial students: Hirano, Okamoto, Yahiro, Sakuma and friends]

During the summer of 1923, the name was changed to the “OMS Rafu Holiness Church.” As several sister Holiness churches were added, the name was changed to the “OMS Holiness Church, California District in North America” in 1931. In 1935, as the American Holiness Church became independent from the Japan Holiness Church, the name was changed to the “OMS Japanese Holiness Church of North America.” However, “OMS Holiness Church of North America” became the official name of the Conference begun at this time; the word Japanese was dropped to simplify the name.


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