The Oyasama 120th Anniversary Path Leaders Rallies, scheduled to take place between February and May, have been successfully concluded at all 106 venues, including eight overseas, drawing some 35,000 path leaders. The rallies, sponsored by Church Headquarters, were intended to ensure that church head ministers and their spouses as well as mission station heads, who are to serve as the “core” of the followers of the path, would rouse themselves and take leading roles in implementing single-hearted salvation during the rest of the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
In the last few days of the four-month period designated for the Path Leaders Rallies, the final rallies were held at 8 venues on Saturday the 29th, at 16 venues on Sunday the 30th, and at 1 venue on the 31st.
Among the pep rallies held on these three days, one was conducted in Wakayama. In the rally, Rev. Kiyoo Hatabayashi, superintendent of Wakayama Diocese, made an opening address. In his speech, he explained that the rally aimed to provide an opportunity for all head ministers of churches and their spouses as well as mission station heads to gather at one place and listen to the “voice of Jiba,” thereby enabling them to make a fresh start once again as they engaged in the pre-anniversary activities during the second half of the “three years, one thousand days” season.
Following the opening address, Honbu-in Yoshihiko Yasuno, who served as lecturer for the rally, gave a lecture entitled “Leading and Implementing Salvation Work is the Mission of Path Leaders.” In the lecture, he told the audience that, with only one and a half years remaining in the “three years, one thousand days” season, the Shinbashira asked the followers to accelerate their progress in the pre-anniversary activities and make a concerted implementation of single-hearted salvation. He went on to say that, in response to the Shinbashira’s call, they ought to accelerate their progress in spiritual growth so that they may near the intention of the Parent.
Honbu-in Yasuno then said that the leaders of the path ought to take a leading role in sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings and engaging in salvation work so that all followers of the path could make concerted efforts, thereby creating a whirlwind of implemention activities for single-hearted salvation.
While sharing his joy of faith with the audience, relating his experience of being saved from paralysis he suffered after he broke his neck, he earnestly explained how Yoboku should govern their minds and take steps forward during this special season.
To conclude his lecture, Honbu-in Yasuno encouraged the audience by saying: “The season leading up to the anniversary of Oyasama is filled with Oyasama’s parental love that is rooted in single-hearted salvation. It is a season for saving others and also for being saved. The time is ripe.” He continued, “We would like to respond to the intention of the Parent by following the path during these years we have set aside to implement the teachings tirelessly in high spirits, always keeping joy in our minds.” He thus urged the participants to take action now so that their effort may bear greater fruit in the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
This was followed by two faith experience speeches, given by Rev. Masashi Kubota, head minister of Kiiseiju Branch Church, and Rev. Akihiko Ishibashi, head minister of Kido Branch Church. Rev. Kubota, referring to the fact that he administered the Sazuke, the Divine Grant, as many as 4,800 times in the first four years after he became the head minister of his church, said that he was determined to administer the Sazuke 10,000 times by the end of 2006, the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, as part of his resolution for the special season. Rev. Ishibashi said that he came to realize that he ought to follow the path with clear self-awareness of being a Yoboku not only when he is wearing a happi coat but also when he does not have it on. “Together with the followers of my church,” he said, “I will put my utmost effort into making progress towards the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.”