The New Year’s Day Service of Church Headquarters, which ushered in the 166th year of the Teaching, was conducted in the Main Sanctuary with the Shinbashira presiding. It commenced at five o’clock in the morning as the gagaku music resonated throughout the Home of the Parent, where large numbers of followers had gathered not only from the nearby districts but also from distant regions. Instruction Two, announced at the Autumn Grand Service last year, presented the guidelines for the activities to be conducted in preparation for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, and this year marks the beginning of the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the anniversary.
Entering the Main Sanctuary at the head of the other Service performers, the Shinbashira proceeded to ascend the dais to deliver the prayer, in which he first offered gratitude for the blessings that were received over the course of the previous year and extended his New Year’s greetings to God the Parent. Then he expressed his resolve for the “three years, one thousand days” season by saying, “As we greet this new year, which marks the first year of the activities for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, we Yoboku are all determined to take a major step forward during the present season by dedicating our sincerity in the cause of spreading the teachings and saving others, while firmly maintaining the pledge we made last autumn.”
After the prayer, the Kagura Service and the Dance with Hand Movements were joyfully performed. Despite cloudy skies, which hid the New Year’s first sunrise from view, the joyful sounds of the Service performance echoed in the New Year’s skies as dawn broke.
Following the performance of the Service, the Shinbashira proceeded to the Foundress’ Sanctuary in order to offer Oyasama his New Year’s greetings, in which he made the following resolutions: “As we enter the first year for implementing our activities for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, we are committed to making steady progress in constructing the Joyous World, while conveying the intentions of the original Parent to the world and settling in our minds the joy of being Your instruments for world salvation.”