Boys and Girls Association
The Boys and Girls Association leaders’ first meeting of the year was held on January 27 at the Home of the Parent, drawing 1,751 participants–including heads of diocese and directly supervised church corps and nurturing committee members from those corps as well as from district chapters–who were fully aware of the particular significance this year has for Tenrikyo as a whole as it is the first year of the specially designated three-year period preceding the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
The leaders first listened to an address delivered by the Shinbashira, who serves as the president of the Boys and Girls Association. He emphasized the need for the adult leaders to perceive, assimilate, and live out Oyasama’s intention embodied in the Divine Model. “If those of us senior members who have acquired Oyasama’s teachings set an example by actually walking the path in our own lives, we can instill confidence in those who will follow in our footsteps,” he said. “The aim of the Boys and Girls Association is to work with children–starting when they are very young–to help them lay the foundation that will enable them to live their lives based on the conviction of faith that is single-hearted with God.”
Association Chairman Harunobu Nakayama then announced the new activity guideline: “Let us convey the mind of single-hearted salvation from parent to child–promoting activities leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.” He also stated three concrete goals to be pursued this year, goals that are designed to help this association implement the activity guideline. They are: “Promoting participation in the 50th Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba,” “Conducting overnight stays at churches and encouraging parent-and-child visits to churches,” and “Enhancing activities that allow junior high school students to take leading roles.”
Young Men’s Association
Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held the first monthly meeting of the year on January 25 and announced that it would continue to uphold the guidelines “Enriching the Substance of Chapter Activities and Consolidating the Strength for Missionary Work” this year. Working toward the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, the association plans to increase the number of people who attend the Besseki lectures.
Association Chairman Tomoyuki Itakura said: “After the 110th Anniversary of Oyasama, we decided to set our sights on the 120th Anniversary and promote missionary activities as well as nurturing activities over the next ten-year period.” Concerning the “three years, one thousand days” season preceding the 120th Anniversary, he said, “We would like to establish a goal and work ever more vigorously to achieve it.” He further explained, “By promoting our activities, we would like to increase the number of people who attend the Besseki lectures and thereby enrich the substance of chapter activities.”
The Young Men’s Association also announced this year’s activity plan based on the association guidelines. The association is going to hold the 79th Young Men’s Association Convention at 10:00 A.M. on October 27 in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters. At the convention, the Shinbashira, who is also the president of the association, is going to deliver an address that encourages an attitude of being Arakitoryo, pioneers of the path.
As to the activities of the chapters based in churches, the association is going to hold the Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters from September 7 to 14. In dioceses and districts, it is going to promote the “Heart-Clean Campaign,” which is designed to let participants share the joy of hinokishin with fellow members and reflect that joy in their communities. Regarding the activities relating to the overseas mission, it is going to sponsor the Australia Study Tour between August 7 and September 4 to discover and nurture young members who are willing to spread the teachings overseas in the future. The association is also going to encourage the chapters based in directly supervised churches to hold a seminar between March and August for the members who have just finished the program of the Boys and Girls Association and entered the Young Men’s Association. This seminar is designed to help those young members have an awareness of being members of the association and also encourage them to participate in chapter activities.
On January 27 and 28, Tenrikyo Women’s Association held the Seminar for Chairwomen at the Home of the Parent. Mrs. Harue Nakayama, president of the Women’s Association, first delivered an address to the chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters. Each section of the association’s headquarters then explained specific activities being planned. This was followed by discussions among the participants. The seminar provided the participants with guidelines to bear in mind during this pre-anniversary season as well as pointers on the attitude necessary to implement them.
Since the 80th Anniversary of Oyasama, the Women’s Association has consistently been promoting the same slogan for spiritual maturity: “Let’s Follow the Divine Model and Become the Foundation for the Joyous Life.” Along the lines of this slogan, the following guidelines for association activities were announced this year: “Let’s Be the Supporting Force for the Oyasama 120th Anniversary Activities: 1) Let’s seek and learn the teachings; 2) Let’s impart the joy of faith to those around us; and 3) Let’s cultivate the mind of saving others and implement salvation work.” These guidelines are provided in the hope that the members as individuals will become fully aware of their roles and perform their tasks, starting with anything near at hand.
In terms of the concrete association activities, the 85th Women’s Association Convention will be held at 9:30 A.M. on April 19. The 9th, 10th, and 11th sessions of the Seminar for Chairwomen of Branch Chapters, which started three years ago for the benefit of newly appointed chairwomen, will be held in May, August, and November, respectively. The annual Lecture for Mothers held at the Home of the Parent, on the other hand, has been canceled this year due to repair work on Tenri City Auditorium. Instead, there will be study meetings in February, June, September, and November for potential organizers of similar lectures intended for young mothers in the hope that these programs may regularly be offered both at the regional level and at the levels of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters.
In regard to the activities for young women, the 23rd Young Women’s Convention will be held on November 3. As of this year, this convention will be held once every two years. After attending the convention in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters, all the participants will regroup in the Main Sanctuary to perform the service. After the service, they will go to their respective followers dormitories, where they will hear a lecture delivered by the chairwoman of their directly supervised chapter. In preparation for the convention, the Seminar for Young Women Leaders will be held in June.
Moreover, the Women’s Association intends to encourage the directly supervised chapters to implement the “Follow in Kokan’s Footsteps” program designed for church head ministers’ children between the ages of 16 and 18.