From September 7 to 9, the “International Meeting of Prayer for Peace” was held at the Aachen, located in the west of Germany, under the auspices of the Community of St. Egidio, and about 700 people representing over 20 religious groups and many international organizations participated. As for Tenrikyo, Honbu-in Yoshihiko Yasuno and four other followers–three from Europe–took part and performed the service, praying for the realization of everlasting peace. The other religious groups that sent representatives included Christianity, Judaism, Islam, Buddhism, and Shinto.
The opening ceremony was held at the Eurogress Hall in the city center of Aachen. After Bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff of Aachen offered welcoming remarks and German President Johannes Rau’s message was read, Cardinal Karl Lehmann, president of the German Bishop’s Conference, delivered the opening address. Dr. Jacques Diouf, director-general of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), furthermore, made a greeting speech as a guest.
On the following day, Rev. Yoshihiko Yasuno delivered a speech about the “Future of Japan Between War and Peace” at a sectional meeting held at the Missio center expressing concerns about the current world situation fraught with unceasing armed strife and ethnic conflicts. He noted that the people of Japan, the only nation to have suffered atomic bombing, might well be asked to speak out more than ever on the reality of the present world. Having made that remark, he explained Tenrikyo’s perspective of salvation, saying: “Our lives in the present world result from our previous lives, and our present lives will lead to the future path. . . . I cannot stop praying for the realization of the Joyous Life World, which God the Parent has long awaited, and which we can together actualize by helping one another as brothers and sisters and settling in mind God’s intention in creating human beings.”
On the final day, September 9, starting from 5:30 P.M., the “Prayer for Peace” was presented by respective religious groups. Facing toward the Jiba, the Tenrikyo delegation members performed the seated service, the Yorozuyo, and the first six songs of the Teodori in a room at a local high school assigned to Tenrikyo. In addition to the local media, many members of the public came to see Tenrikyo’s prayer, and Tenrikyo leaflets printed in Italian and German were made available to them.
After completing the session, the Tenrikyo followers and other religious representatives marched toward the Cathedral of Aachen, where the closing ceremony was held. After the adoption of a declaration of peace at the ceremony, Rev. Yasuno and other leaders lit candles for peace.