23rd Young Women’s Convention Brings 15,000 Together

The 23rd Young Women’s Convention was conducted in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters on November 3 under the sponsorship of Tenrikyo Women’s Association. This convention seeks to provide the younger members of the Women’s Association with an opportunity to gather together in the Home of the Parent in order to show God the Parent and Oyasama the progress they have been making through their daily activities. Starting this year, the convention is to be conducted every other year, rather than once every three years as previously done. Responding to the convention’s slogan, “Let’s Return to Jiba, the Home of the Parent,” approximately 15,000 young women between the ages of 16 and 25 assembled in Jiba to attend this year’s convention, which focused on the performance of the service.

Undaunted by the damp weather in the Home of the Parent, where it had been raining intermittently from the previous day, the participants started assembling in the Inner Courtyard at 8:30 A.M. Then, at 10:00 A.M., the convention commenced with a brief ceremony in which the association’s flag was raised while the members sang The Women’s Association Song. After a moment of worship and the opening declaration, the rain suddenly became heavier, forcing the young women to use their umbrellas.

Women’s Association President Harue Nakayama then took the podium to deliver her address. At the outset, she told the participants that the emphasis of this year’s convention would be slightly different than in previous years. “We have decided,” she said, “to focus on the service. In addition, we would like to have all of you share the joy of returning to Jiba as well as savor the purpose and preciousness of returning to Jiba.” She then reminded them that, at the Women’s Association Convention held in April, the Shinbashira had spoken about what it means for members to serve as the supporting force. “The address he delivered at the convention, “she said, “was not meant only for your mothers and grandmothers. I hope, therefore, that you young women will also give thought to the role you ought to be playing in order to serve as the supporting force for the anniversary-related activities. . . . It is from this perspective that we are trying to encourage you young women to focus your activities around the following guidelines in your daily lives: (1) Let’s visit our churches to worship; (2) Let’s do hinokishin; and (3) Let’s spread the teachings. In fact, I feel sure that if you just implement these guidelines, you will be able to serve as the supporting force for the activities leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.”

She went on to say: “Many of you gathered here are students or have jobs in society. Others have positions as live-in trainees serving at churches, and some are helping with their family household work. Despite this variety in your roles and positions, I want to ask all of you to keep your minds connected to God the Parent and Oyasama in the course of your daily lives. . . . You ought to perceive God’s blessings as the blessings they are and always be ready to express your gratitude to God the Parent. If you maintain this sense of thankfulness, I think you will naturally be able to implement those three guidelines. I would encourage you, therefore, to visit your churches frequently, keep your minds connected with God the Parent and Oyasama, and perform the service with utmost sincerity. In addition, I would like you to dedicate yourselves in efforts of hinokishin. Even if you can’t convey the teachings eloquently or haven’t yet received the truth of the Sazuke, the hinokishin efforts you make in bright and cheerful spirits will undoubtedly serve to sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings much more effectively than any words.”

With regard to their role as young members of the Women’s Association, Mrs. Nakayama told the participants: “I believe that these years you spend as young women is a time when you should be laying the groundwork for developing the qualities and traits that will allow you to become mothers who are so strong, loving, and cheerful that you will never get depressed no matter what happens.”

She closed her address by saying: “I would also like you to put your heart into whatever you are doing. Everything you happen to engage in has its significance or meaning, whether it be hinokishin activities or other events organized for our association’s young women, whether it be what you happen to be doing at work, or even the seemingly insignificant routines you might be doing. Putting your heart into your activities means, I think, to give serious thought to the significance and purpose of whatever you may be engaged in and make repeated efforts to find some means to accomplish what you are supposed to achieve. We will be performing the service together in a short while. Let all of us really put our hearts into performing it. Through this service performance, let all of us pledge to attain a new level of spiritual growth in preparation for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.”

After the proceedings in the Inner Courtyard, the participants reassembled in the Main Sanctuary, where they performed the service in unison, pledging to serve as the supporting force for the activities leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.

The afternoon activity for this year’s convention consisted of chapter gatherings, which were held at the participants’ respective followers dormitories. These gatherings were designed to provide an opportunity for the participants and the chairwomen of directly supervised chapters to have heart-to-heart talks as well as to allow them to give fresh thought to the service, which was the focus of this year’s convention. At these gatherings, therefore, the chairwomen delivered lectures on the topic of the service, carefully explaining the significance of not only the Kagura Service performed at the Jiba with the Kanrodai at center but also of the monthly services conducted at churches as well as the daily services.

Share this article:

Comments are closed.