Tenrikyo Women’s Association Headquarters held a seminar for chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters on January 27 and 28. Convened at Moya 38 in the Home of the Parent, the seminar was attended by 272 chairwomen.
The seminar began with a talk by Mrs. Harue Nakayama, president of the Women’s Association, who asked the participants to bear in mind that one of the principal objectives of their activities was to nurture the members of their chapters. “To be successful in nurturing others,” she said, “we leaders must first strive to attain a level of spiritual growth befitting our leadership role. That must be our priority.” She went on to describe the stance of mind that she hoped the participating chairwomen would maintain throughout the year: “Let us work harder and study harder than anyone else, and yet keep our minds humble. Let all of us, together, exert every ounce of energy we can muster so that what we accomplish this year will be worthy of the final year of our pre-anniversary activities.”
During the two-day seminar, the chairwomen listened to lectures and took part in discussions. In addition, the various sections of the association headquarters made presentations on the concrete activities planned for this year. The participating chairwomen took advantage of this occasion to confirm their understanding of the role they are to play, and they pledged to implement the association activities in a wholehearted manner befitting the concluding year of the pre-anniversary season.
The concrete activities specified included holding the 87th Tenrikyo Women’s Association Convention in the Home of the Parent on April 19 as well as conducting chapter meetings and organizing chapter gatherings as avenues to heighten the members’ spiritual growth.
The association headquarters announced that it would like to see the Lecture for Mothers take root on a regional level. In recent years, it has been encouraging local chapters to organize these lectures for the benefit of young mothers, and it will be sponsoring seminars in May and June to train members involved in organizing them. The Lecture for Mothers will also be offered at the Home of the Parent once again, now that the renovation work on its former venue, Tenri City Auditorium, has been completed. It will be held at Tenri City Auditorium in August, September, and November this year.
The 24th Young Women’s Convention will be held regionally between September and November this year under the sponsorship of the association headquarters. It is hoped that holding the convention regionally instead of in the Home of the Parent will enable greater numbers of young women to attend and, thereby, add momentum to their activities during the period leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. In anticipation of that event, the association headquarters will conduct two seminars in the Home of the Parent, one in February for those entrusted with the role of guiding young association members and one in June for young women leaders.
Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association Headquarters held its first monthly meeting of the year on January 25. At this meeting, which was attended by the chairmen of chapters based in directly supervised churches and dioceses, the association headquarters announced its new activity guidelines for this year: “Implementing the teachings and establishing strong faith.” In addition, the participating chapter chairmen were encouraged to make headway in the association’s pre-anniversary activity: “To increase the number of people who attend the Besseki lectures.”
Association Chairman Zenpei Kubo reminded the participants that this year marks the concluding year of the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. He went on to emphasize, “Since our association has committed itself to the goal of increasing the number of those attending the Besseki lectures, I hope you members will be resolute in doing whatever it takes to get it done.” He went on to say: “Enriching the substance of our regular activities will also produce results in our pre-anniversary activities. That is why it is important to ensure that our association activities help members heighten their awareness of being followers of the path, implement the teachings on a daily basis, and live each day of their lives while keeping their minds established in the conviction of faith.” That, he said, was the incentive for designating this year’s activity guideline as “Implementing the teachings and establishing strong faith.”
The various sections of the association headquarters then made presentations on the activities planned for this year. Among them were the following announcements.
The 81st Young Men’s Association Convention will be held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters from 10:00 A.M. on October 27. The association’s Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters has been scheduled for September 4-11.
With regard to diocese and district activities, the association headquarters asked every district to regularly conduct the Heart-Clean Campaign, which allows members living in the same district to do hinokishin together once a month. Besides providing an avenue for the members to share their joy of faith, it seeks to help them reflect that joy to their communities. It is scheduled to be held on the first Sunday of every month except January (second Sunday) and September (third Sunday). This year, the Heart-Clean Campaign’s Action Day will be conducted on July 3.
Regarding overseas-related activities, it was announced that the Australia Study Tour, which seeks to recruit and nurture members who aspire to spread the teachings overseas, will be conducted between August 28 and September 13.
As part of the effort to nurture young members and get them involved in association activities, directly supervised chapters will conduct seminars for new members between March and August. These seminars focus primarily on the youngest members, who recently joined the association after completing their membership in the Boys and Girls Association.
The Boys and Girls Association leaders’ first meeting of the year was held on January 27 in the Home of the Parent. The meeting drew 1,690 participants including heads of diocese corps and directly supervised church corps as well as nurturing committee members from those corps and district chapters. The new activity guideline announced for this year is “Let us convey the mind of single-hearted salvation from parent to child–promoting activities befitting the concluding year of the pre-anniversary season.”
The meeting began with a talk by the Shinbashira, president of the association, who began by reviewing the significance of the day of origin of Oyasama’s anniversaries and the significance of observing them once every ten years. He said that, although the pre-anniversary activities were principally geared toward adults, he hoped the adult leaders would ensure that the boys and girls at least sensed that there was something special about this season leading up to Oyasama’s anniversary. Touching on the fact that Oyasama withdrew from physical life in order to hasten the completion of the Service, he said that the Boys and Girls Association’s activities represented the first step in bringing the Service to completion. He went on to say that boys and girls in junior high school ought to be making a conscious effort to grow spiritually. “Even if they are not given a role in the service performance,” he continued, “they ought to attend the services so that a unity of mind can be maintained among the entire congregation.” Regarding concrete chapter activities, he said: “It is fine to have entertaining activities planned for children, especially if those activities result in a larger turnout for the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba. Yet, please bear in mind that what is important in all association activities is the extent to which they help children grow spiritually and thus lead to the completion of the Service.”
Chairman Michikazu Takahashi, announcing this year’s activity guideline, explained that the first half of the guideline, “Let us convey the mind of single-hearted salvation from parent to child,” had been selected based on the Shinbashira’s intention presented in Instruction Two and would be used once again this year for the third consecutive year. He said that the second half of the guideline, “promoting activities befitting the concluding year of the pre-anniversary season,” was newly chosen to stir up a level of enthusiasm worthy of this important season.
In addition, he announced the association’s four concrete goals for this year and explained them as follows.
(1) “Enhancing the spiritual growth of nurturing committee members through seminars and study meetings.” Since the success of corps and district activities depends on having qualified people who can take the lead, directly supervised church corps are being encouraged to sponsor seminars to nurture human resources, particularly young people who will be shouldering responsibility for those activities in the near future. The directly supervised church corps were also asked to continue holding the Vertical Mission Seminar.
(2) “Conducting overnight stays at churches and encouraging parent-and-child visits to churches.” This goal combines the two most basic association activities and appeals for renewed enthusiasm in implementing them.
(3) “Upgrading activities that allow junior high school students to take active roles.” This goal is designed to encourage corps to devise activities that will reach out to junior high school students and ensure that all boys and girls in that age group learn the joy of doing their utmost for others.
(4) “Promoting participation in the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba, which is the culmination of all association activities.” The Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba has been designated once again this year as the pre-anniversary activity for boys and girls, who are all being asked to invite at least one friend to join them on the pilgrimage.