On June 17, the North America Chapter of Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held a pep rally for the 100th anniversary of the association in the presence of President Daisuke Nakayama. Some 150 followers including 81 association members attended from different parts of the U.S. mainland and Canada. In his address, President Nakayama touched upon the significance of the activities to be conducted in the lead-up to the 100th anniversary and encouraged the audience to implement the Joyous Life in their daily life.
The North America Chapter regarded this year’s convention as their pep rally for the 100th anniversary and had encouraged as many association members as possible to attend.
In order to stay closely connected with the members living in different parts of the diocese and boost the activities toward the convention, the chapter organized a mission caravan. Chapter Chairman Steven Yukimoto (33, future successor to Central Fresno Church head minister), and two other members visited three cities—Portland, Oregon; Seattle, Washington; and Vancouver, Canada—where they encouraged the association members to participate in the convention.
The convention began with the singing of the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo, followed by President Nakayama’s address.
He started off his address in English. He first expressed his appreciation for the efforts the North America Chapter had been putting into the association activities in their daily life and went on to explain the activities leading up to the 100th anniversary of the Young Men’s Association.
He said, “Seeing the anniversary as a season for a ‘return to one, a new beginning,’ we are returning to the founding ideals of our association and working to carry out the activities that look 20 or 30 years into the future.” He stressed the importance of following the example of our predecessors and of maintaining the joy of faith in our everyday life.
Saying, “How attractive our association is depends on its members,” he asked the congregation to put their effort into polishing their minds and explained in detail the content and significance of the association’s slogan, “Work with your mind—open up the world.”
Then he said with emphasis, “To promote our anniversary activities, I want to ask you to first implement the Joyous Life.” He further stated: “I am convinced that our anniversary activities will shape the future of Tenrikyo. . . . [This anniversary] is not a goal but the beginning of our new endeavor to shape the future of Tenrikyo. I want us to focus on implementing the Joyous Life and giving joy to others so that we can transform our mind. . . . We can create a bright future for the path if more and more members carry out these activities.”
Following the address by President Nakayama, Bishop Hiroshi Fukaya delivered his congratulatory speech. After that, on behalf of the North America Chapter members, Yosuke Kimura (34, future successor to Washington Church head minister) and Teruaki Nagao (33, future successor to Seatac Church head minister) gave faith experience speeches.
Chairman Yukimoto said, “Pioneers of the path serve an important role in connecting people from different geographical, social, and cultural backgrounds.” He encouraged the further implementation of association activities, saying: “We are capable of producing joy and of spreading that joy to our spouses, children, and neighbors, as well as others in the wider community. We are capable of accomplishing something far bigger and greater than any one individual can.”
The next day, President Nakayama attended the monthly service at the Mission Headquarters. After the service, he sprinkled the fragrance of the teachings in the neighborhood and engaged in door-to-door missionary work with some 30 association members. He also participated in discussions with them to explore how to further improve association activities in their diocese.