The Head Minister Qualification Course One was held at the Home of the Parent from August 27 to September 14. This course aims at training Yoboku to become ministers who–while maintaining an awareness of their position and mission as Yoboku–devote themselves to single-hearted salvation and strive for further spiritual growth. This year six participants attended the course; five from the United States (four from the mainland and one from Hawaii) and one from New Zealand.
The daily schedule began with the morning service at the Main Sanctuary, followed by breakfast, morning assembly, and classes. In the morning, lectures were given on such subjects as The Doctrine of Tenrikyo; The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo; and the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service. In the afternoon, there were practice sessions for the dance and the musical instruments for the service as well as the ritual procedures. Conducted throughout the day at the East Right Wing 4 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex, all the classes were taught by English-speaking instructors except for some of the practice sessions in the afternoon. Rev. Yasunari Morikura, a staff member of the Overseas Department, served as the homeroom instructor this year.
In addition to the above classes, the program included lectures given by guest speakers as well as practice sessions for delivering sermons and giving tours of the Main Sanctuary. The students were also given opportunities to sow seeds of sincerity at the Jiba through the act of hinokishin–selfless and thankful action–by carrying earth at the construction site for the westward expansion of the Sanctuary precincts and cleaning the Sanctuary Corridor.
Furthermore, the students were given an opportunity to engage in missionary work, thus enabling them to apply the teachings they learned in class. On the morning of the day set aside for missionary work, while the Japanese classes were visiting Osaka to engage in door-to-door missionary work, the English class was taken to Nara City, where the students spent half a day engaging in a variety of missionary work, such as passing out leaflets to passers-by around the Todaiji temple, making roadside speeches in front of the Kintetsu Nara Station, and walking down the main street calling out the name of God. On the same day, they visited some historical sites associated with Oyasama, such as Tenrikyo Umetani Grand Church, the former premises of Nara Prison, where Oyasama underwent the hardship of imprisonment. Another tour of historical sites was provided on a different occasion to help the students better visualize the stories in The Life of Oyasama.
All the students in the English Class successfully completed Course One and registered as minister (kyoto). Two of them will go on to attend Course Two of the Head Minister Qualification Course, due to start on September 27 and end on October 19.