The Shinbashira delivered his New Year’s address at the New Year’s meeting of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted in the Assembly Hall following the evening service on January 4. The meeting was attended by 677 participants, including resident staff members of Church Headquarters, head ministers of directly supervised churches, superintendents of dioceses, members of the Assembly, committee members of Tenrikyo associations, and heads of Tenrikyo facilities.
The Shinbashira opened his address by saying, “We have embarked on the final year of the ‘three years, one thousand days’ activities leading up to the anniversary.” After expressing his appreciation to the congregation for their efforts in the previous year, he said, “I hope that you will continue your efforts in high spirits this year.”
He then looked back on last year, the second year of the pre-anniversary activities, touching upon the “Oyasama 130th Anniversary Yoboku Gatherings,” which were conducted between March and June in order to promote the pre-anniversary activities and the most recent “Visits by Church Headquarters Officials,” which were held, as one final push, to help us fulfill our goals and pledges set for the anniversary. He explained: “An anniversary of Oyasama marks a milestone in our journey of spiritual growth. Spiritual growth is something that we ought to be constantly working on in the course of our everyday life. . . . The significance of setting aside a pre-anniversary period is to encourage us to pay greater attention than in ordinary times to the need to work toward further spiritual growth.” He went on to say: “In Instruction Three, I especially urge that all of us Yoboku maintain a full awareness of our mission and proactively engage in salvation work, thereby making significant progress in spiritual growth and bringing joy to Oyasama. However, are all Yoboku adequately responding to this urging? I feel there is still a lot to be done.” He indicated how we should spend the third year of the pre-anniversary activities, saying that, in addition to reaching out to inactive Yoboku, we need to ensure that those who have been carrying out salvation activities redouble their efforts in this regard so that we can make this year an active year as befits the concluding stage of the pre-anniversay activities. He concluded his address by saying, “I hope that you will continue to engage in your respective activities in harmony and unity of mind this year.”
Prior to the Shinbashira’s address, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Yoshitaro Ueda offered New Year’s greetings to him on behalf of the congregation. He then made the resolution to further increase their efforts to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings, engage in salvation work, and provide care and guidance for others during this year in order to bring joy to Oyasama with tangible fruits that are appropriate for the concluding stage of the pre-anniversary activities.