On November 25, Tenrikyo Students Advisory Committee organized the Students Nurturers Convention in Dining Hall 2. The convention was attended by approximately 800 members of students advisory committees of directly supervised churches and dioceses.
At the convention, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Yoshitaro Ueda began his address by saying: “The Students Association grew out of students’ proactive regional activities with the focus on ‘enjoying’ those activities together. I feel that the Students Association has a potential to bring a breath of fresh air in the future activities of Tenrikyo. I hope all of you will always keep in mind what was originally intended for the Students Association.”
He then pointed to the fact that young people can stay as the Students Association’s members only for a short period of time and, therefore, may lose their faith when they go out into the world. It is important, therefore, for young people to receive spiritual guidance from the churches they belong to, he emphasized.
Further, he noted that students are at a life stage where they are open to everything and are thus full of potentials. Referring to a young person who repeatedly dropped out of high schools yet eventually became a caregiver, he said: “It was the Students Association’s activities in a diocese that brought the young person back on the right track. I believe that the person experienced at-home-ness in the Students Association. This case tells us that young people can change dramatically depending on how we guide them.”
Director-in-Chief Ueda then moved on to talk about the issues surrounding the relationships between husbands and wives as well as between parents and children–issues at stake in contemporary society. “I see that quite a few people are troubled by these problems due to the lack of religious faith. In this sense, if young people learn the teachings as the standard for their lives, they will not be led astray by those problems,” said Rev. Ueda, encouraging the participants to extend their helping hands to young people.
Toward the end of his lecture, Director-in-Chief Ueda urged the participants by saying: “My hope is that all of you will seek to nurture students in a way they will become Yoboku who have the mind of saving others and implement salvation work. Let us help and guide students in a way that they will become followers equipped with the capacity to inquire into the truth and act on their own by using the teachings as the standard for their minds, even when they move to a remote place or live away from their friends.”
After the lecture, Students Advisory Committee Chairman Tadakazu Nishiura presented the action policy for the next year. The basic policy continues to be “Let’s impart the marvelousness of the path, the parental heart of Oyasama, and the mind of saving others to students” while the activity items were selected as follows: “Let’s hold the Seminar for Students Nurturers in all directly supervised churches and dioceses”; “Let’s invite more and more new participants as well as children of head ministers to the Students Training Course”; and “Let’s enrich the program of Manabi-ba (gathering for high school students).” He then said: “At last year’s Students Nurturers Convention held in commemoration of the 30th Anniversary of Tenrikyo Students Advisory Committee, the Shinbashira spoke on the need for ‘the spiritual growth of those who lead.’ We nurturers first need to change ourselves so as to be able to encourage students to attain spiritual growth.”
This was followed by a video presentation illustrating the annual activities sponsored by the committee.