At regional churches, the monthly services are performed on their respective days sanctioned by Church Headquarters. In Japan, a church conducts the monthly service on a fixed date each month, but there are overseas churches, including those in Brazil and the U.S.A., that perform the monthly service on a specific day of the week, such as the first Sunday. The time for the service is set by each church.
The head minister of each church officiates the monthly service, and all service performers wear service garments. At the beginning of the service, the chief officiant reads a service prayer, in which he or she expresses gratitude and resolve for the month to God the Parent. Upon the completion of the prayer, the chief officiant leads the worshipers in paying their respects together to God.
The performance of the service consists of three parts: the seated service, the first half of the Dance with Hand Movements, and the latter half. For each part, service performers change roles—the dancers, musical instrument players, and lead singers. As people’s faith deepens and allows them to take active roles in the service—such as playing musical instruments—their joy will increase. Following the service performance, which lasts about two hours, a sermon is delivered. Although the sermon should be listened to attentively, worshipers would do well to remember that the most important part is the service itself.
According to Anecdotes of Oyasama (no. 59), Oyasama taught, “Festival (Matsuri) has the meaning ‘to wait.’ (matsu: wait, ri: principle).” We should thus eagerly await the day of the monthly service, when we can express our gratitude for the blessings we have received over the past month, and attend and take part in the service spiritedly and joyously. That is how we can bring joy to Oyasama.
Usually, a church provides a meal for worshipers after the completion of the monthly service. They can enjoy conversations and one another’s company over the meal.
It should be noted that we can make progress in our spiritual growth as we work to bring as many people as possible to the monthly services.
From Tenrikyo no kangaekata kurashikata published by Doyusha Publishing Company