On April 12, Tenrikyo Mission Center in Singapore conducted its April monthly service, which was also performed as the dedication service for the installation of the seventh head of the center, Rev. Masaharu Matsuda. With Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi and Asia I Section Chief Shoji Sato of the Overseas Department attending as guests of honor, the service drew about 70 followers.
After worshiping at the sanctuary, Rev. Iburi, who served as chief officiant, read the service prayer, in which he made a pledge to God the Parent on behalf of local followers, saying that they were committed to praying for the salvation of those who, even though the country has been advancing dramatically, are still suffering from illness and other problems. Following the prayer, service performers spiritedly performed the seated service and the dance to the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo and the Twelve Songs.
After the service, Rev. Iburi took the podium to deliver the sermon, in which he first thanked the former head, Rev. Motoharu Kirinuki, for his dedication and contribution. He then turned to the followers and asked them to help promote activities of the center, with Rev. Matsuda as the core, and to advance toward the 40th anniversary of the center and the 130th Anniversary of Oyasama, which should become new milestones on their journey to spiritual maturity. To help them accomplish those tasks, he mentioned “three guiding principles,” namely “the spirit of single-heartedness with God,” “the attitude of hinokishin,” and “the unity of mind,” and carefully explained how they should live their lives as Yoboku.
Rev. Matsuda then delivered his greetings to the congregation. He started off by expressing his deep respect to Rev. Kirinuki and the early followers who put great efforts into the mission in Southeast Asia. He then told the congregation that he would first strive to reach the Joyous Life with those who were connected to the center including staff members, and then work to expand the circle of the Joyous Life in the wider community and beyond. He concluded his speech by making a resolution to create an atmosphere at the center that would attract people’s minds even more strongly than before.
Drawing 62 followers from various parts of Europe, Tenrikyo Europe Centre (located in Antony, France) observed the April monthly service also as the installation service for its sixth head, Rev. Yoshinori Tanaka, on the 12th. The service was performed with Overseas Department Head Yoichiro Miyamori attending as a guest of honor, and those present included followers from France, the U.K., Italy, and the Netherlands.
Rev. Miyamori read the service prayer at the outset of the installation service, followed by a resolution offered by the new head, Rev. Tanaka, who said, “I will strive to polish my own mind, exert my utmost efforts in following Oyasama’s Divine Model, and make sure that we proceed with everything by talking it over with one another so that, coordinating support from followers residing in various parts of Europe, we may be blessed with more and more buds of the Joyous Life sprouting from the seeds of sincerity sown by preceding missionaries here in Europe.”
The seated service and the Dance with Hand Movements, both accompanied by the musical instruments, were joyfully conducted in the sanctuary of the Europe Centre.
Rev. Miyamori then delivered his sermon to the congregation. He explained that “the center should inspire all of you to join your efforts and combine your energies to create an exemplary model of the Joyous Life.” He also said: “Those of you who serve at the center need to take great care to make sure that this center is a vibrant and joyous place of worship where as many people as possible will bring their minds and hearts together. As for those of you who were kind enough to take the time to come here today, I would like to ask you to make full use of this center as a place to savor the joy of faith, a place to sow seeds of sincerity, and a place to achieve spiritual growth.”
Rev. Tanaka then delivered his greetings to the congregation and said: “Next year, on September 5, 2010, we will perform the monthly service which also commemorates the 40th anniversary of the center, with the Shinbashira and his wife, Mrs. Harue Nakayama, attending the occasion. Toward the next milestone in our journey of spiritual growth, let us make steady progress in unity of mind.”
After the installation service, a reception party was held using both the inside and the outside space of the center, followed by a group photo session in commemoration of the occasion.