The Shinbashira and his wife, Mrs. Harue Nakayama, visited the United States between July 14 and 20 accompanied by Honbu-in Yoshitaro Ueda, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs. The Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama made their first visit to the new sanctuary of New York Center, which was completed in December 2008, before attending the installation service for the 11th bishop of Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in America, located in Los Angeles, California.
The Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama in New York
The Shinbashira and Mrs. Harue Nakayama left Narita Airport on the morning of the 14th and arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport around noon, local time the same day. It was their first visit to the Big Apple in 13 years, their last visit being December 1997.
They first made a tour of the new sanctuary of New York Center and went to visit the two churches in the area, Sunrise Church and Meishin America Church. On the next day, the 15th, they visited the Fellowship of Joy in New Jersey before going to Tenri Cultural Institute of New York for a detailed tour. That evening, they attended a welcome reception and spent a relaxed evening with about 150 followers. They then departed for Los Angeles before noon on the 16th.
Installation Service for 11th Bishop
Not a cloud could be found in the Southern California sky on the day of the installation service on the 17th. Roughly 600 people from across the U.S. and Canada attended.
At 10:00 A.M., the Shinbashira led the opening prayers to God the Parent, Oyasama, and the Mitama-sama. This was followed by the reading of the service prayer in both English and Japanese by Bishop Hiroshi Alex Fukaya. The Shinbashira then took the lectern to deliver an address.
After citing a Divine Direction delivered when Tenrikyo first established a diocese system—”[Establishing dioceses], in a sense, is part of weeding and fertilizing. Weeding and fertilizing will continue to be required. If seeds are sown but left at that, there will be no harvest” (Osashizu, July 13, 1902)—the Shinbashira said, “The raison d’etre of a mission headquarters is to make every effort to find a way to help churches, fellowships, Yoboku, and followers in its local region to near the intention of God the Parent so that they can grow spiritually; this, I believe, must be the focus of a mission headquarters’ activities.”
Regarding the change at the helm of the Mission Headquarters in America, the Shinbashira noted that it could be said that the path in the U.S. has approached a significant milestone. He then asked the bishop and everyone to unite their minds as one and advance activities that would allow them to receive the blessings of further enrichment of substance within the congregation. After the seated service and the Dance with Hand Movements, Bishop Fukaya delivered an address and pledged to aim to “make further efforts for the expansion of the path in the U.S. and Canada that has been built by those who came before us.”
After the installation service, various forms of entertainment were presented on a stage set up in the outdoor area in front of the multi-purpose hall of mission headquarters. The entertainment included performances by the fife and drum band and Yoki Daiko (Japanese drumming group) in addition to singing and skits.
The Shinbashira and Mrs. Nakayama attended the July monthly service of mission headquarters on the 18th and later visited North America Church. They arrived back in Narita Airport on the evening of the 20th and returned to Jiba via Itami Airport.