Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters in Taiwan, located in Taipei, celebrated the 70th anniversary of its establishment on November 14, with the presence of the Shinbashira and his wife. Some 1,500 followers assembled from all over Taiwan to share in the joy of marking a new chapter in the history of the mission headquarters. Following Bishop Takenori Hashimoto’s reading of the prayer, the Shinbashira took the podium and delivered an address, in which he looked back on the day of origin of the path in Taiwan and urged the congregation to make a further effort to grow spiritually toward the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
In anticipation of the 70th anniversary, the mission headquarters had been conducting a variety of activities during the three years since 2001, when the installation of Bishop Hashimoto took place. One such activity, a pep rally, was held at the Home of the Parent on October 25, 2003, a little over a year before the 70th anniversary, drawing approximately 500 participants. After performing the prayer service at the Main Sanctuary, they joined in the earth-carrying hinokishin and made a decisive resolve to make progress worthy of the anniversary in their spiritual growth.
Prior to the pep rally, Taiwan O-Uta Choir was organized in October 2002. This choir became the first overseas choir to join in an O-Uta Concert held at the Home of the Parent on October 25 this year, thereby strengthening momentum for holding the first overseas O-Uta Concert, which is scheduled to take place in Taiwan in April 2005.
On the day of the anniversary service, Taipei was blessed with mild weather. Buses and cars filled with Yoboku and other followers arrived at the mission headquarters one after another while the members of the Taiwan Students Association spiritedly participated in hinokishin at the reception desks. Not only the worship hall but also the outdoor stairs, the third floor meeting room, the basement, the courtyard, and even the walkway outside the mission headquarters premises were overflowing with followers. Large outdoor display screens were set up to show the proceedings of the service taking place in the worship hall.
At 10:00 A.M., the anniversary service started with Bishop Hashimoto’s reading of the prayer, in which he stated, “Following in the footsteps of our predecessors who spiritedly walked the path of the Divine Model in Taiwan, we would like to take a great step on the path to attain further spiritual growth.”
Following the prayer, the Shinbashira took the podium and delivered an address. After looking back on the beginnings of Tenrikyo’s Taiwan mission as well as expressing his appreciation for the sincere efforts the congregation had been devoting to the path each day in Taiwan, he carefully explained the significances of the mission headquarters. He said, “In order to realize the Joyous Life, it is very important for those who live in the same region to unite their hearts.” Thus, one of the significant roles of the mission headquarters, he said, is to motivate the followers in the region to join their efforts for the progress of the path in a unity of minds. After emphasizing the local followers’ indispensable role in conducting the activities leading up to Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary, scheduled for January 2006, he closed his address by calling on the congregation to respond to Oyasama by showing Her a new level of spiritual growth in the year of Her Anniversary.
The seated service was then performed joyously with the Shinbashira and his wife as the center. It was followed by the performance of the Teodori, the Dance with Hand Movements. After that, Bishop Hashimoto thanked the Shinbashira and then addressed the followers who attended the service.
Commemorative photographs were taken after the service performance, and a reception was held at a different site to celebrate the occasion. At the end, everyone joined together in singing the “Oyasama 120th Anniversary Song.”