On January 27 and 28, Tenrikyo Women’s Association held a seminar for chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters at Moya 38 with 258 chairwomen in attendance. The association announced that its principal slogan for spiritual maturity remains unchanged from last year, “Let’s follow the Divine Model and become the foundation for the Joyous Life,” but that its activity guidelines are now as follows: “Let all of us Women’s Association members follow the path of making repayment for the blessings we receive. (1) Let’s implement the teachings and grow spiritually to be true Yoboku. (2) Let’s nurture those close to us into true Yoboku.”
Association President Harue Nakayama, who delivered her address, began by referring to the Shinbashira’s sermon at the Spring Grand Service and spoke about the faith and footsteps of early followers around the time Oyasama withdrew from physical life. She mentioned how, after casting away human thinking, they were able to perform and duly complete the Service on the lunar calendar date of January 26, 1887. She explained that God the Parent accepts our resolve and shows us immeasurable, tremendous blessings that are beyond human thinking and went on to state the importance of embodying the spirit of single-heartedness with God.
While touching on the significance of making repayment for God’s blessings, the president next said that the path is what it is today because of Oyasama’s journey and our predecessors’ earnest efforts to follow it as if their lives depended on it. She emphasized that following the path of making repayment for God’s blessings is the association’s pre-anniversary activities in the lead-up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama. In addition to asking the chairwomen to make efforts to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and engage in salvation work, she urged them: “Let us first put the teachings into practice ourselves, firmly reexamine our footing while making efforts to become true Yoboku, and nurture those close to us into true Yoboku. I would like us to be aware of the importance of these tasks as we carry them out.”
The seminar also encouraged directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters to further develop concrete plans and efforts and increase care and guidance for their members. In addition, the seminar included lectures, study sessions, and group discussions.
The main activities for the association this year include the annual Women’s Association Convention on April 19 and the 27th Young Women’s Convention on November 4. In anticipation of the latter event, the association’s headquarters will conduct two seminars, one in mid-February for those entrusted with guiding young association members and another in May for young women leaders.
Other activities include regular events such as the Lecture for Mothers and various seminars in addition to hinokishin activities allowing chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters to sow seeds of sincerity at Jiba.
Young Men’s Association
On January 25, Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held its first meeting of the year with about 450 chapter chairmen from directly supervised churches and dioceses in attendance.
In his address, Association Chairman Masanao Nakayama explained the association’s activity guidelines, “Develop faith and spread the teachings in single-heartedness with God.” He stated his hope that given that this is the third year the association will be using these guidelines, all chapters will make a conscious effort to implement it in their respective activities.
Then, referring to the Shinbashira’s address at last year’s Young Men’s Association Convention—in which he had stated that the season of Oyasama’s anniversaries is a season for salvation and a season for spiritual growth—Chairman Nakayama said, “I would like association leaders to take advantage of the season and steer association activities by taking the initiative and setting an example as well as devoting themselves to encouraging as many members as possible to participate in them.”
He then announced the slogan “Let’s build momentum for salvation,” which is to be used to help advance the activities of directly supervised chapters as they set and work to achieve their own goals during the lead-up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama. He said that the main focuses are on engaging in dynamic missionary activities and increasing the number of members who strive to save others. Chairman Nakayama said that it was his hope that dynamic efforts in these areas will help the Young Men’s Association become the driving force that builds momentum for salvation throughout the entire Tenrikyo community.
He then announced that the association will imbue a sense of urgency into its regular activities during the “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary period. In particular, a focused emphasis will be placed on participating in the Young Men’s Association Convention this year, enrolling in the Hinokishin Corps in 2014, and conducting the Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters in 2015.
The association’s main activities for the year include the 89th Young Men’s Association Convention to be held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters from 10:00 a.m. on October 27. The goal is to have each directly supervised chapter draw participants exceeding the number of its branch chapters.
Activities of directly supervised chapters include the association’s Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters, scheduled for the week of September 1–8. Regional activities include the Heart-Clean Campaign, which allows members living in the same district to do hinokishin together once a month with their families. It is scheduled to be held on the first Sunday of every month except this August and January next year (second Sunday) and September (third Sunday). This year, the Heart-Clean Campaign’s Action Day will be conducted on July 7.
Activities to nurture young members include directly supervised chapters conducting seminars for high-school-age members between March and August.
Boys and Girls Association
On January 27, the Boys and Girls Association leaders’ first meeting of the year was held in Dining Hall 2, drawing 1,750 participants, including heads of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters as well as members of the nurturing committees of those chapters.
This year’s association activity guidelines will be the same as last year’s, “Let us embody an attitude of hinokishin and nurture children who put the teachings into practice.” The association also announced that it will continue using the following three concrete goals for association activities: (1) conducting church sleepovers; (2) enhancing hinokishin activities on the district level; and (3) making efforts to nurture members in junior high school. The association further announced that the points of emphasis for this year’s Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba will be (1) “Let every church form a pilgrimage group” and (2) “Let us work to be blessed with first-time participants.”
The meeting began with an address by the Shinbashira, who also serves as president of the association. After mentioning that we have started on the three-year, one thousand-day “path of decisiveness” heading toward the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, he spoke on the significance of conducting an anniversary and the mission of Yoboku.
As those assembled were in the position to nurture children, the Shinbashira asked them to carry out their tasks with the awarenessthat each of them is one of Oyasama’s Yoboku. He said, “I would like you to play the roles entrusted to you while fulfilling your position as Yoboku.”
Then, while speaking about the role of the Boys and Girls Association to raise Yoboku who will carry the path forward in the next generation, the Shinbashira turned to the teaching of hinokishin, which is the central theme of the association’s activity guidelines. He said: “Adult leaders must not merely pass on the knowledge of hinokishin or explain what it is but should take the initiative to engage in hinokishin themselves. You must reflect and convey to children the great joy we receive from God the Parent, that is, the joy of the Joyous Life that is in accord with Oyasama’s intention.” He then cited passages from the Divine Directions and Anecdotes of Oyasama and explained the frame of mind needed to nurture human resources.
The Shinbashira concluded his address by saying, “After reaffirming the weighty mission of nurturing those who are to follow us, I would like you to advance your activities this year while mutually solidifying the spirit of single-heartedness with God and renewing your resolve to nurture younger generations.”
Chairman Yoshiji Matsumoto, who announced the guidelines for association activities, said: “Boys and Girls Association activities that help nurture our children into good Yoboku amount to one of several major tasks we must undertake in this current season. I especially believe that making a tireless effort to invite participants to join the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba is a wonderful way to sprinkle the fragrance. I would like all of you to set firm goals and pour your efforts into your respective activities, helping create a lively atmosphere at Jiba that befits this pre-anniversary period.”
Finally, an announcement was made that a “Vertical Mission Lecture Series” will be held between August 27 and 30 in anticipation of the 50th anniversary of the association, to be commemorated in 2016.