This year, being the second year of the pre-anniversary season, the Home of the Parent has been lively with many pilgrims. The noon service, which started in June 2013, has been attended by an average of approximately 1,000 Yoboku and followers per performance. The total number of participants has reached 64,436 as of April 2, 2014. Many of them returned to Jiba with people suffering from illness and thus, following the performance of the service, asked staff members of the Counseling Section of the Divine Gifts and Sanctions Bureau to administer the Sazuke in the West Worship Hall. There were also many pilgrims who engaged in hinokishin on the days of the noon service. On March 21, 23, 25, and 30, which fell on schools’ spring break, many groups of people made a pilgrimage to Jiba one after another.
The noon service is designed to encourage followers to return and dedicate their sincerity to Jiba. It provides pilgrims with an opportunity to unite their minds as one, express their gratitude for being able to make a pilgrimage to Jiba, and pray for the salvation of others, thereby reaffirming their determination to advance the pre-anniversary activities. On the days of the noon service, Church Headquarters keeps the Hinokishin Information Desk open to offer information on hinokishin opportunities while encouraging people to make the most of the salvation work performed by staff members of the Counseling Section of the Divine Gifts and Sanctions Bureau in the West Worship Hall.
* * * * *
Tenrikyo Keiryu Branch Church in Oyamazaki, Kyoto Prefecture has been organizing a group pilgrimage to Jiba on the 25th of each month since January 2014. The church, headed by Rev. Hiroshi Tabuchi, has set the goals of sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings on 300,000 households a year and nurturing 300 Yoboku during the pre-anniversary season. These goals are part of the church’s effort to promote spiritual growth in the lead-up to the anniversary. The church is organizing the monthly group pilgrimage in the hope of achieving these goals by receiving the truth of Jiba.
On March 25, some 20 people participated in the pilgrimage. Among them were followers who returned from South Korea. Rev. Lee Kyo Mun (aged 70), head minister of Tenrikyo Hong Reung Church, said: “I become spirited while taking part in the pilgrimage every month. Now is the seasonable time for salvation. I would like to make a point of doing whatever I can to help save others and reflecting the Joyous Life to those around me.”
* * * * *
On March 30, Tenrikyo Honjima Grand Church in Marugame, Kagawa Prefecture conducted a “joyous group pilgrimage to Jiba,” in which 1,802 followers participated. This was one of the three activities that the grand church, headed by Rev. Kanta Katayama, is particularly promoting during the “three years, one thousand days” season. The other two activities are conveying the faith to the next generation and nurturing human resources. Following a commemorative lecture held at Dining Hall 3, participants attended the noon service and engaged in corridor-cleaning hinokishin.
One of the participants was Mrs. Kyoko Ikeda (aged 61), who attended the Besseki lecture on the same day. She was diagnosed with breast cancer toward the end of January. While cleaning the Sanctuary Corridor, she said: “I felt relieved when I returned to Jiba. I want to recover from the illness so that I can be of some help to others.”
* * * * *
On March 30, Nanki Chapter of Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association organized a group pilgrimage, attracting a total attendance of 172 people including its members and those who belong to the Students Association. After attending the noon service, they joined together to clean the Sanctuary Corridor, where their bright and cheerful voices resounded.
The head of the chapter is Rev. Shoichiro Itogawa, head minister of Tenrikyo Asuka Branch Church located in Kumano, Mie Prefecture. He said: “The group pilgrimage was organized in the hope of providing children with an opportunity to receive the truth of Jiba in this pre-anniversary season. We would like to make further efforts to invite children to participate in the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba and the chapter’s convention, thereby conveying the joy of faith to them.”
* * * * *
One of the people who had the Sazuke administered to her in the West Worship Hall after the performance of the noon service on March 23 was Mrs. Nobuko Fukui (aged 79), who returned to Jiba for the first time in two years. Since she had been vomiting for two weeks, she requested the administration of the Sazuke. She said: “When the Sazuke was administered, I felt as if Oyasama had been awaiting my return, which relieved my mind. I would like to reach out to people around me and bring as many of them as possible to Jiba.”