Europe Chapter of the Young Men’s Association Holds 30th Anniversary Convention

On September 12, the Young Men’s Association Europe Chapter held its 30th anniversary convention at Tenrikyo Europe Centre in the presence of Daisuke Nakayama, president of Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association. A total of 91 people from various parts of Europe assembled to participate in the event.
The Europe Chapter of the Young Men’s Association was established in 1985, shortly before the Centennial Anniversary of Oyasama. In preparation of the 30th anniversary convention, members made various efforts. For example, they had regularly held committee meetings since last February and distributed brochures of the event to mission facilities in Europe. Meanwhile, they have been taking an active role in efforts to accomplish Tenrikyo Europe Centre’s goals for its pre-anniversary activities during the “three years, one thousand days” period leading up to the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama; the goals are to have 350 people make a pilgrimage to Jiba and to administer the Sazuke 13,000 times.
At 2:30 p.m. on the day of the convention, association members assembled in the sanctuary, wearing the service kimono. Then bringing their minds into a unity that encompassed the differences of their languages and skin colors, they performed the seated service and the Dance with Hand Movements.
Among them was Paolo Cazzaniga from Italy, who was dressed in a brand-new service kimono. He had studied the Japanese language and the teachings at Tenrikyo Language Institute (TLI) when he was 19 years old. In August this year, he attended a reunion of former TLI classmates in Jiba for the first time in six years. “Chatting about old days with them, I reexamined my faith and regretted that I hadn’t fully devoted myself to carrying out the tasks of the pre-anniversary season. I want to take today’s convention as an opportunity to pledge to engage in salvation work by doing whatever I can do with a renewed mind, a mind that is as fresh as my new service kimono,” he said.
At the subsequent ceremony, which began at 4:00 p.m., President Daisuke Nakayama delivered an address. He first touched upon the fact that Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association has always conducted its activities under the banner of Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path, since its founding in 1918. He said, “The mission of Arakitoryo is to both spread the teachings and seek the path at the forefront of working to realize the world of the Joyous Life.”
He next referred to the association’s slogan “Let’s build momentum for salvation” and the guidelines “Increase the number of active members and grow spiritually.” He said: “The phrase ‘spreading the teachings’ does not refer only to such actions as going around spreading the name of God and giving roadside speeches; rather, sharing the teachings of the path with your family members, relatives, and friends is also a fine example of spreading the teachings. . . . If, as befits Arakitoryo, we summon up the courage to reach out to people starting with someone close to us, Oyasama will be delighted and certainly work to help us. I sincerely hope that, during the current season, you will have the courage to take an important step forward.”
He then encouraged the participants, saying: “If you have yet to carry out the tasks of the season, please have the courage to take your first step. As for those of you who have been proactively performing these tasks, I would like you to accelerate your progress and, at the same time, work tirelessly and conscientiously to reach out to those who have yet to get started, so that they may join you in this work.”
Mentioning that they had only a little over four months left before Oyasama’s anniversary, he emphasized, “The important thing during this season is a strong sense of commitment to doing whatever is necessary to achieve the goals that we set for ourselves in our pledge to God the Parent.” He concluded his address by saying: “If we engage in our activities in high spirits and with vitality, God the Parent will surely accept our spiritedness and provide us with any kind of blessing. Let us devote our utmost sincerity to our pre-anniversary activities so that, on the day of Oyasama’s anniversary, we can be filled with joy and a sense of accomplishment and show Her the fruits of our efforts and a new level of spiritual growth we have attained.”
Following the address, Rev. Hasegawa, head of the Europe Centre, delivered a congratulatory speech. Next, Ronald Malbocs, chairman of the Young Men’s Association Europe Chapter, made a pledge. He stated that although it has been 30 years since its founding, the purpose of the Europe Chapter of the Young Men’s Association has remained unchanged. “It is to exert utmost efforts to spread the teachings not only in Europe but also throughout the world. By continuing and promoting the activities of the Young Men’s Association, we would like to make progress in our spiritual growth,” he said.
Participants then sang the Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Song in Japanese, French, and English in sequence, which brought the convention to a close.

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