The New Year’s meeting of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters was conducted in the Assembly Hall following the evening service on January 4. Attending this meeting, at which the Shinbashira delivered his New Year’s Address, were 707 officials 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 began his address by extending New Year’s greetings to the participants as well as expressing his appreciation for the efforts and contributions they made during the past year. He then spoke on the annual Sechi Festival conducted at Church Headquarters between January 5 and 7, noting that rice cakes made at regional churches are brought to Jiba and offered at the Main Sanctuary before being served to pilgrims attending the Sechi Festival. He then talked about how precious it is that followers come together at their churches to make rice cakes and offer them to Church Headquarters with a sincere heart.
The Shinbashira went on to ask whether sufficient efforts have been made to pass down to younger generations the skills and procedures necessary to make rice cakes and, using this case as an example, he impressed upon the listeners—all of whom are leaders who play core roles in the tasks of the path—how important it is to guide and nurture followers through various activities. He then added: “Even in regular activities, you can try to bring people together and thereby guide and nurture them. I believe you can find these opportunities depending on how you take advantage of those church activities.”
The Shinbashira moved on to talk about activities conducted by churches and different associations. He said: “There must be meanings and purposes for conducting the activities that you are promoting. My sincere hope is that you will continue to make sure and steady progress while keeping those meanings and purposes firmly in mind. I would like to ask you all to exert your utmost efforts in your respective roles and positions so as to be able to show God the Parent how far you have advanced on the path of spiritual growth—even if it is just a step or half a step forward.”
He concluded his New Year’s Address by saying, “I would like to ask you all to work hard to fulfill the roles entrusted to you while keeping your minds united as one.”
Preceding the Shinbashira’s address, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Yoshitaro Ueda offered New Year’s greetings to the Shinbashira on behalf of those attending the meeting. Rev. Ueda pledged their commitment by saying: “All of us assembled here are determined to once again reflect upon the roles we need to fulfill as those who are in responsible positions. We vow to work hard to carry out the tasks of the path in high spirits while uniting our minds so as to be able to live up to the intention of God the Parent.”