Tenrikyo Church Headquarters’ Education and Nurture Department has annouced program details for the Minister Preparatory Course, which is to be launched in January 2011. This program represents a revision of the present Head Minister Qualification Course One, which is designed to qualify participants to be registered as ministers (kyoto). The new program, which provides participants with an opportunity to study the teachings of Oyasama in greater depth, is intended to train more and more Yoboku to become ministers, who are considered to be “Yoboku among Yoboku.”
The Education and Nurture Department has been working to create a system that provides different educational and nurturing programs for people in different stages and positions in Tenrikyo―ranging from followers and Yoboku to head ministers and their spouses. These programs include: the Basics Course, which is intended for those who are new to the teachings; the Three Day Course, which caters to the needs of those who cannot take sufficient leave from their work or be away from home long enough to attend Shuyoka; and the Head Ministers Seminar in Oyasato, in which head ministers and their spouses explore the teachings in greater depth. As part of the efforts to create the educating and nurturing system, the department decided to launch the Minister Preparatory Course for the purpose of training ministers, who are expected to play central roles in church activities. The goal of the Minister Preparatory Course, according to the program details, is to train ministers who will be single-heartedly devoted to salvation work while keeping in mind and implementing the teachings in daily life as well as having a strong sense of responsibility and self-awareness as Yoboku, thereby seeking to share the teachings with people around them.
The department is planning to divide the current approximately-three-week-long training course into three five-day-long sessions―namely, Session One, Session Two, and Session Three. Participants who have completed the three sessions will become qualified to be registered as ministers.
Session One will begin on the 27th of each month, followed by Session Two and Session Three. Participants can choose to take the three five-day-long sessions consecutively or have intervals between the sessions.
Yoboku with one of the following five qualifications can apply to the Minister Preparatory Course: (1) completion of the Spiritual Development Course conducted in the Home of the Parent; (2) completion of the Spiritual Development Course conducted in an overseas mission headquarters; (3) completion of the Three Day Course; (4) graduation from Tenri University (except those who entered the school in or after 2004); and (5) graduation from Tenri High School or Tenri Kyoko Gakuen High School. Yoboku wishing to attend the course with the qualification of the completion of the Three Day Course or the Spiritual Development Course―whether it be in the Home of the Parent or in an overseas mission headquarters―need to have at least a two-month-long interval before applying to the Minister Preparatory Course. Participants in the course are expected to stay in their followers dormitory for the duration of the course.
The Minister Preparatory Course will include the following subjects. Session One will cover the first halves of the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service, and of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo as well as teachings concerning the sacred rice, the Proof Amulet, and the Grant of Safe Childbirth. Participants in this session will also practice the dance for the first half of the Songs for the Service as well as the ritual procedures. Session Two will offer classes on The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo and the second half of the Mikagura-uta along with the service dance practice for the second half of the Songs for the Service as well as musical instruments practice. Session Three, which will mainly focus on the second half of The Doctrine of Tenrikyo, will include classes on the vertical mission, hinokishin, and the Kakisage (including instructions on how to administer the Sazuke).
The Minister Preparatory Course will also include new activities such as follow-up discussions, small group discussions, and workshops. Moreover, those who will consecutively take Session One and Session Two will participate in historical site visits while those attending Session Two and Session Three in a row will go out for a missionary practice.
Prospective participants in the course will need to submit their applications through the churches they belong to either on the 23rd or 24th of each month―as opposed to on the 25th as in the current system. Those who wish to use Tenri Day Care Center should go to the center for an interview and attend an explanation meeting between 1:00 and 4:00 P.M. one day before the session begins.
The Head Minister Qualification Course Two will be accordingly renamed the Head Minister Qualification Course as of January 2011 while being conducted with the same duration and program as now.