Tenrikyo Europe Centre reached a significant milestone on September 5, when it celebrated its 40th anniversary in the presence of the Shinbashira and his wife, Mrs. Harue Nakayama. Drawing 238 people from 12 countries, the anniversary was marked with a special service and a party. Those who could not find seats in the worship hall to attend the service were accommodated in the multipurpose hall downstairs, where a large screen had been installed to enable them to watch the service.
Europe Centre Head Yoshinori Tanaka began the proceedings by offering a prayer, in which he expressed gratitude for God’s boundless blessings and parental love and went on to say: “Living as we do in this world, which is taught as the bosom of God the Parent, we feel Your providence each day and, with the Divine Model of Oyasama as our guide, we will follow the true path that will settle the world―the path that teaches, ‘Through saving others, you will be saved.’ We are born and raised in various regions whose cultures and customs are different. However, all of us share the causality of origin, that is, we were created and are protected to realize the Joyous Life. We are resolved to convey and spread the intention of the true Parent ever more widely in Europe, where our predecessors have sown the seeds of sincerity, thus enabling us to respond to Your profound intention.”
After the prayer, the Shinbashira proceeded to the podium to deliver an address, which focused on two major roles entrusted to a Tenrikyo center such as the Europe Centre. The first, he said, is to provide care and guidance for followers in the local region―a role that entails making every effort to find a way to help ensure that the followers can unite their minds, become high-spirited, and grow spiritually. To fulfill this role, it is necessary, he said, to work to near the divine intention by making a sustained effort to develop an attitude of faith that is single-hearted with God. This means basing one’s thoughts and actions on the teachings rather than on worldly common ideas. The second is to serve as a model of the Joyous Life and a training center for single-hearted salvation. This means that anyone visiting a center should be able not only to experience and savor an atmosphere that accords with God’s intention but also to polish and refine his or her mind, learn the methods of living the Joyous Life, and develop proficiency in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and helping others be saved, so that more and more people may come to understand the teachings. Speaking particularly to those who are involved with running the Europe Centre, the Shinbashira said: “[This center] should serve both as the core of providing care and guidance and as a facility to promote single-hearted salvation. I would like you to fulfill these two roles while maintaining the mind of single-heartedness with God.” He concluded his remarks by asking all present to continue to support the activities of the Europe Centre and work in unity of mind towards the growth of the path in Europe.
The seated service then took place, followed by the performance of the Dance with Hand Movements. When it came to an end, Rev. Tanaka stood up to thank the Shinbashira for his presence and his warm parental love. He also asked for the Shinbashira’s continued guidance. Then addressing all present, Rev. Tanaka thanked them for attending the event and went on to say that the daily services of the Europe Centre are performed with an awareness of all followers living in Europe. He also expressed his resolve to do whatever he can to share the intention of the true Parent of humanity with more and more people in Europe.
During the party that followed, a variety of entertainment was provided in the multipurpose hall, including a dancing session, during which the Shinbashira and his wife obliged people by dancing a waltz. Also, a range of local specialties from different countries were available in several marquees set up in the yard. The couple honored each stall with their visit.
Women’s Assn. Establishes Europe Chapter
On September 4, the day before the Europe Centre’s 40th anniversary, a ceremony took place to mark the establishment of the Europe Chapter of Tenrikyo Women’s Association. With some 160 people from 11 countries attending, Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama presented Mrs. Hisayo Tanaka, the wife of the Europe Centre’s head, with a letter of appointment as chairwoman as well as the chapter flag.
President Nakayama then addressed the members. Noting that the Europe Chapter was being established in the year that marked the 100th anniversary of the Women’s Association, she stressed the importance of straightforwardly accepting God’s purpose in founding the association. She also said that members ought to get themselves moving while maintaining an awareness of being Yoboku. “If we embrace God the Parent’s intention to save all people throughout the world and thereby always maintain the mind of saving others while exerting our utmost to do whatever we can to realize the Joyous Life for all humankind, then, I think, we will be serving in the manner in which Yoboku ought to serve,” she said. “However, although we may feel that we are going through each day in a manner that measures up to God’s intention, it is not always easy for us to get a clear picture of what we are really like. That is where the Women’s Association comes in, since we are told that it is a means for bringing understanding to one another. While keeping our sights fixed on Oyasama’s Divine Model, we members can meet every occurrence by discussing and helping one another understand whether or not we have strayed from the Divine Model. The activities of the Women’s Association are meant to help us attain spiritual growth so that we may perform the tasks of single-hearted salvation and become the sort of women who measure up to God’s intention.”
Mrs. Tanaka, the new chairwoman, then made a speech, followed by statements of resolve given by Mrs. Satoko Yamaguchi, wife of the head of Dai-Roma Mission Station, and Mrs. Akie Takeuchi, wife of the head of Kyokushi London Mission Station. After a commemorative photograph was taken in the yard, a party was held in the multipurpose hall, featuring a slide show that chronicled the history of the Europe Centre with a special focus on the activities of Women’s Association members. Also provided was a variety of entertainment, which made the event a lively occasion.
While staying in Europe, the Shinbashira and his wife visited Dai-Roma Mission Station on August 31, Nagoya-Paris Mission Station on September 6, and Bordeaux Church on the 8th. In addition, they visited Castel Gandolfo on the 1st, when the Shinbashira had an audience with Pope Benedict XVI.