Rev. Pierre Bazebibaka received sanction to become the fifth head minister of Congo Brazzaville Church on June 26. On this occasion, about 70 people affiliated with the mission in the Congo gathered at Moya 38 on June 27 and were honored by the presence of the Shinbashira. This was the second such gathering, the first having been held four years ago.
The mission in the Congo began when the second Shinbashira visited there in 1960. Six years later, Congo Brazzaville Church, the first church in Africa, was founded. In the same year, a medical clinic called “Ikoi-no-Ie” was also founded and Tenrikyo sent a number of medical staff members there on 13 occasions (1966-76) in an effort to support the people in the Congo. Since the founding of the church, the path in the Congo has been difficult due to the turmoils of coups d’etat and civil wars. In recent years, the church building was partially destroyed by armed strife that took place nearby the church and the properties were plundered. In such a difficult situation, a number of the Overseas Department staff members were sent to support the followers in the Congo and worked together with them to rebuild the church organization.
Several former heads of the Overseas Department, including Director-in-Chief of Adminstrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi, as well as some former staff members of Ikoi-no-Ie medical clinic and some followers from the Congo were reunited at the gathering.
Addressing the gathering, the Shinbashira said that the path in the Congo has continued to this day due to the sincerity of the followers in the Congo despite the difficult situation of the country and also due to the supportive efforts made by various people. He also expressed his hope that the followers in the Congo would help one another so that the path in the Congo would grow steadily and flourish.
Following the addresses delivered by Director-in-Chief Iburi and by Congo Brazzaville Church counselor Naohisa Takai, Rev. Bazebibaka addressed the audience. He first pointed out that they were at a new beginning as he had received sanction to become the head minister of the church. He then expressed his wish that the followers in the Congo would work diligently for the path in a unity of mind and consolidate the foundation of their church’s organization so that the path in the Congo would flourish in the future.