Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital’s Shirakawa Branch Hospital, which had been under construction since last spring, was completed at Shirakawa, Iwaya, Tenri. On June 30, the ceremony to celebrate the completion of Shirakawa Branch Hospital was held with the presence of many distinguished guests including the Shinbashira and his wife, the former Shinbashira, Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Tomoo Itakura, and Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi as well as about 150 people who were involved with Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital or the construction work. The opening of a branch hospital with a Psychiatry Ward, which had been strongly desired ever since the opening of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital in 1966, brought great joy to all parties concerned.
At 8:30 A.M., a service to offer thanks to God was performed in the South Worship Hall of Church Headquarters. The participants expressed gratitude for having been able to complete the construction work, which had lasted for about one year and two months.
At 10:00 A.M., the Shinbashira and his wife as well as the former Shinbashira arrived at Shirakawa Branch Hospital. They cut the ribbon at the entrance hall of Building A and made rounds to see the interior of the building. Then, they moved to Building B, which is used for the Psychiatry Ward, and, once again, cut the ribbon and made rounds to see the interior of the building.
Proceeding to the Exercise Therapy Unit on the third floor of Building B, the Shinbashira delivered an address. After expressing appreciation for the great pains the parties concerned had taken, he said: “Ikoi-no-Ie is run based on our religious belief. Whether Ikoi-no-Ie [literally “house of rest”] truly becomes a House of Rest depends on whether the persons concerned feel pride in succeeding to the founding purpose of the hospital.” He went on to say: “It is important to succeed to and develop its founding principle without being swayed by the current of the times or the changes in society. That is to say, it is vital to succeed to the enthusiasm and faith of the people at the time of its founding who intended for it to play a part in universal salvation so as to respond to Oyasama’s parental desire for single-hearted salvation.” He then quoted verses 9 and 10 from Part IX of the Ofudesaki, The Tip of the Writing Brush, which read: “Though there should be nothing called illness in human beings, no one knows the beginning of this world,” and “Because of My desire to have you know this, I began doctors and medicine for weeding and fertilizing.” Referring to these two verses, he said: “The purpose of medication or medical treatment is not limited to curing patients’ illnesses. It also aims to have them settle in mind the intention of God the Parent. Accordingly, it is not enough to cure illnesses alone. We must also be concerned about patients so that they can lead the Joyous Life desired by God the Parent.” He concluded his address by saying: “I would like to ask you, once again, to keep in mind the purpose of founding Ikoi-no-Ie as well as the significance of locating it in the Oyasato-yakata building-complex. Nonetheless, there should be no change in the desire to have it play a part in universal salvation regardless of the change in place and building. I sincerely hope that these facilities will be utilized in accord with the founding purpose.”
After the ceremony, a reception to celebrate the completion of the branch hospital was held in the lounge on the first floor of Building A.
Shirakawa Branch Hospital has an area measuring about 70,000 square meters and consists of the three-storied Building A, which houses the Recuperation Ward and the Rehabilitation Ward, and the three-storied Building B, which houses the Psychiatry Ward, in addition to a worship hall and other buildings. The total floor space measures about 15,000 square meters. There are also three parking lots for 312 cars.
Building A is provided with 50 beds for patients undergoing long-term recuperation as well as 50 beds for patients undergoing rehabilitation. It is provided with facilities that are intended to enable patients to prepare themselves to return to society, such as the Speech Auditory Therapy Unit, Practical Domiciliary Care Unit, Practice Therapy Unit, and Occupational Therapy Unit.
On the other hand, Building B is provided with a closed ward with 43 beds for the Psychiatry Ward and an open ward with 43 beds. In addition to the Practice Therapy Unit and Occupational Therapy Unit, a worship room is provided on the third floor. Further, patients are able to view flowers in the courtyard from season to season from the dining hall.
Especially for psychiatric treatment, an open or spacious environment had been deemed necessary ever since the opening of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital, and the completion of the branch hospital fulfills this need.
Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital comprises three departments: the Medical Treatment Department, Religious Guidance Department, and Service Department. It has thus been pursuing salvation from the standpoints of medical science, religion, and human life. In this respect, the Religious Guidance Department, ever since the hospital’s opening, has performed the morning and evening services every day and provided religious guidance concerning illnesses and troubles. Under these circumstances, a worship hall, which is connected with Building A by a passageway, has been constructed so that patients can be saved both physically and spiritually. The worship hall, where the kanzane (the symbol of worship) is enshrined, faces toward the Jiba and has 38 tatami mats. It is available for patients as well as their family members and others. The monthly service is also conducted every second Saturday.
Opening Ceremony Held
On July 7, the opening ceremony of Shirakawa Branch Hospital was held in the lounge on the first floor of Building A. The ceremony began with a moment of worship, which was followed by the performance of the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo. Then, Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital Board of Directors Chairman Takehiko Nakata delivered an address. He said: “It is easy to say ‘Smile and Kindness,’ the motto of Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital. However, putting them into practice depends on the mind of each of us.” He then encouraged those present by saying, “With the president of the Shirakawa Branch Hospital as the core, I hope that you will comfort patients through your warm heart and warm words while uniting your minds together.” This was followed by addresses from Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital President Hidehiro Okumura as well as Shirakawa Branch Hospital President Shuji Hashimoto.