At a recent monthly meeting of the Kanamekai (an association comprising the head ministers of all directly supervised churches), Rev. Masahiko Iburi–then Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs–formally announced that the Head Minister Qualification Course One would be changed to the Minister Preparatory Course (tentative English title). This program revision, due to take effect in January 2011, represents the first major change since 1988, when the then-called Head Minister Qualification Course was divided into the Head Minister Qualification Course One and Course Two.
In the new program, those who have fulfilled all their course entry requirements will take three five-day-long training sessions–instead of the current three-week-long training course–in order to be qualified to be registered as ministers (kyoto). This revision is designed to respond to the increasing needs of those Yoboku who cannot take sufficient leave from their work or be away from home long enough to attend the current course. “Our hope is that more and more Yoboku will become ministers–who we consider to be ‘Yoboku among Yoboku’–so that they will be able to experience a deeper joy of faith and take further steps toward the realization of the Joyous Life,” says an official of the Education and Nurture Department. The Head Minister Qualification Course Two will be accordingly renamed the Head Minister Qualification Course while being conducted with the same duration and program as now.
At the Kanamekai meeting, Rev. Iburi explained that participants in the Minister Preparatory Course can choose to take the three sessions consecutively or have intervals between the sessions. In the latter case, participants should be encouraged to gain support from their churches during intervals to foster their awareness and spiritual development as Yoboku so that they can move toward being qualified as ministers, he said. The Education and Nurture Department is now working on program details and hopes to announce them by the middle of 2010.