On May 17, Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters of Hawaii celebrated the 60th anniversary of its establishment in the presence of the Shinbashira and his wife. Approximately 300 followers assembled for the anniversary service from various parts of the state. Filled with the joy of marking a new chapter in the history of the mission headquarters, they pledged to one another to work toward the further growth of the path in Hawaii.
Under the slogan “Now is the time for mutual help. Hinokishin with a smile,” followers in Hawaii had made various efforts in anticipation of the anniversary service. For example, they conducted clean-up hinokishin on a local highway once a month so as to broaden the circle of mutual help in the local community. They have also been putting emphasis on nurturing young generations. As a part of the effort, the Mission Headquarters of Hawaii re-established the Students Association this past January and has promoted activities to develop human resources who will carry the path forward in the next generation. Moreover, in order to support cultural activities, the mission headquarters has proactively utilized Tenri Cultural Center—which comprises Tenri Library and Tenri Hawaii Judo Club—not only for Tenrikyo followers but also for others in the local community to foster interaction with one another. Amid the growing momentum to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and work for the salvation of others in Hawaii, the “Oyasama 130th Anniversary Yoboku Gatherings” were held at four venues in March of this year, drawing a total of 220 people.
On the day of the anniversary service, two 14-seater shuttle vans ran back and forth between the mission headquarters and the cultural center, where a temporary parking area was made available. Those who reunited with their friends hugged and slapped a high five with one another while exchanging greetings: “It’s been a while! How’ve you been?”
At 10:00 a.m., amid the solemn sounds of gagaku music, the Shinbashira and his wife proceeded to the sanctuary. Led by the Shinbashira, the congregation paid their respects to God the Parent, Oyasama, and the Mitama-sama.
Next, Bishop Yamanaka read the service prayer in both English and Japanese. After thanking God the Parent for the boundless providence and parental love that have led the path in Hawaii to what it is today, he said, “Inheriting the path in Hawaii built and handed down to us by our predecessors through their many long years of great sincerity and painstaking efforts, and taking this fine occasion today as a new start, all of us are fully determined to strive to do our utmost so as to further advance the path in Hawaii and move forward toward the Joyous Life World by receiving God the Parent’s blessings, having firm trust in the guidance of the everliving Oyasama, and uniting hearts and efforts of the congregation.”
Following the prayer, the Shinbashira stood at the lectern to deliver his address, whose English translation was simultaneously shown on a large screen set up in the worship hall. He began his address by expressing his appreciation for the sincere efforts the congregation had been devoting to the path each day and looked back on the history of the path in Hawaii. Noting that 24 churches had already been established in Hawaii by the time the mission headquarters received sanction for its establishment, he carefully explained the significance of performing the anniversary service.
The Shinbashira next spoke about the role of a mission headquarters. Quoting a Divine Direction that refers to “weeding and fertilizing,” he first explained that the role of a mission headquarters is to provide nurture for followers who live in the same region so that they can unite their minds and encourage one another. “To fulfill such a role, it is necessary to straightforwardly receive the truth of Jiba, which is the source of care and guidance, and convey it to others without error. I would like you to maintain a stance of faith that is single-hearted with God at all times,” he said.
The Shinbashira then pointed out that there is another aspect to the role of a mission headquarters because it has the truth of a church name. This means that, as with any other regional Tenrikyo church, a mission headquarters should serve as a model of the Joyous Life in the local community through conducting the activities of single-hearted salvation. In order for a mission headquarters to project a bright and high-spirited image to people who visit there, he told the congregation that they should seek the teachings, polish their minds, implement the Joyous Life, and spread the teachings.
In addition, the Shinbashira emphasized the importance of maintaining a sense of gratitude, saying, “We are where we are today thanks to the repeated efforts of our predecessors.” He went on to say, “We should take firm steps along this path we inherited from our predecessors and work toward the future path; this is our responsibility.”
Reminding the congregation that the Tenrikyo community is in the middle of the anniversary-related activities leading up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, he further said: “The path of world salvation that Oyasama sought to hasten even by withdrawing from physical life will only open if we Yoboku make repeated efforts to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings and help save others. It is important for all of us to make a personal effort to sow the seeds of the Joyous Life by working with those around us.” He concluded his address by saying, “To take advantage of the 60th anniversary of this mission headquarters to ensure that the path in Hawaii extends and expands further and develops greatly, I hope that all of you will carry out meaningful and fulfilling activities in unity of mind.”
Following the service, a reception was held outside the sanctuary to celebrate the occasion. It included a variety of performances such as the Women’s Association’s singing in a chorus and dancing Hula.
Prior to the events at the mission headquarters, the Shinbashira spent three days visiting six local churches.
Hawaii Chapters of Women’s and Young Men’s Associations Hold Joint Convention
On May 18, the day after the 60th anniversary of the mission headquarters of Hawaii, the Hawaii chapters of the Women’s Association and the Young Men’s Association, both established at the same time as the mission headquarters, held a joint convention after the May monthly service of the mission headquarters in the presence of the Shinbashira, who serves as president of the Young Men’s Association, and Mrs. Harue Nakayama, president of the Women’s Association. The convention drew a total of 216 people including members from both associations.
At the convention, the Shinbashira took the podium to deliver an address. Having clarified the mission of Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path, he said: “Young men are endowed with youthful energy and enthusiasm for action. I hope you will make good use of those qualities in striving to achieve the goals set by your respective directly supervised chapter and doing your utmost to spread the fragrance of the teachings and help save others.” Referring to the activities of the Oyasato Construction Young Men’s Association Hinokishin Corps, which also marked its 60th anniversary this year, he went on to explain the importance of proactively sowing seeds of sincerity at Jiba.
Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama then delivered her address. After quoting from the Shinbashira’s address at this year’s Tenrikyo Women’s Association Convention, she said: “We must pour our utmost efforts into nurturing others while bearing in mind that the way we can repay God the Parent for the blessings we receive is to nurture our own children and those close to us into true Yoboku.”
In response to their addresses, Moses Nakao, chairman of the Hawaii Chapter of the Young Men’s Association, and Sachie Yamanaka, chairwoman of the Hawaii Chapter of the Women’s Association, delivered their pledges on behalf of their members. The members then sang the “Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Song” and the “Tenrikyo Women’s Association Song.”
Bishop Shugo Yamanaka said: “Now in Hawaii the number of third- and fourth-generation locals of Japanese descent is increasing, so in some cases, the language barrier makes it difficult to convey the faith even from parents to children. With the help of knowledge and support from our predecessors of the path, we followers in this region would like to nurture human resources in unity of mind and thereby increase membership in Hawaii.”