The Congo Brazzaville chapter of the Boys and Girls Association held its second convention on July 30. About 150 members participated. The chapter was formed in September 2006 on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of Congo Brazzaville Church. The chapter held its first convention last summer and has since conducted service dance and musical instruments practices on the fourth Sunday of each month.
At their second convention, the members performed the seated service and the service dance through Song Two. This was followed by the reading of a congratulatory message from the Shinbashira, who is also president of Tenrikyo Boys and Girls Association. Then, the head of the Congo Brazzaville chapter, Mr. Matelama Guy, gave an address. The convention concluded with a recitation of the association’s pledge and the singing of “Minna de tsukuro Shonenkai” (Let’s build the Boys and Girls Association together) in Lari, a local language.
Prior to the convention, Congo Brazzaville Church held its annual “Children’s Festival” on July 28 and 29. This activity, which coincides with the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, has been held five years in a row for members who lack the opportunity to return to Jiba. While this event was independently conceptualized and organized by Head Minister Pierre Bazebibaka and local members of Congo Brazzaville Church, staff members from Tenrikyo Overseas Department have added their support toward preparing for the event since the formation of the chapter. The event has become a main activity for the chapter along with the convention and fife and drum band activities.
The first day was referred to as “Practice Day.” After Rev. Bazebibaka led everyone in the opening prayers, Mr. Guy gave a lecture. This was followed by a practice of the service dance and musical instruments as well as a fife and drum band performance.
The second day was referred to as “Sports Day.” Participants split into four teams and competed in such events as relay races, three-legged races, and soccer. Since schools in the Congo do not hold athletic festivals, the event drew a large number of people from the community. This afforded Mr. Guy the opportunity to give a one-man play explaining the purpose of the Children’s Festival and the teachings of Tenrikyo in general.
Meanwhile, a doctrinal study seminar was held from mid-July to mid-August at Pointe-Noire Mission Station. A total of 42 people attended parts I and II of the seminar.