20th Anniversary of Mission Center in Mexico Celebrated in the Shinbashira’s Presence

Taking advantage of its 20th anniversary, Tenrikyo Mission Center in Mexico, located in Mexico City, conducted the enshrinement of the omedo (symbol of worship) for both God the Parent and Oyasama on May 14 with the Shinbashira serving as the chief officiant. The following day, the service was joyously performed to mark the enshrinement as well as to commemorate the center’s 20th anniversary, drawing about 400 people including local Yoboku and followers.

The Mexico mission began in 1922 when Rev. Shinako Takane moved to Mexico in order to engage in missionary work there. In 1929, the second Shinbashira visited Mexico, which provided the momentum for advancing the mission in the country further. In April 1961, Mexico Church was founded as the first Tenrikyo church in Mexico, and Rev. Takane was installed as its first head minister.

In November 1979, the Mission Office in Mexico (forerunner of the Mission Center in Mexico) was opened under the supervision of the Mission Headquarters in America. Then in May 1985, the Mission Center in Mexico was established with the then Overseas Mission Department Head Masahiko Iburi as its first head. At present, there are two churches and eight fellowships as well as 217 Yoboku in Mexico.

During the three years preceding the anniversary, the Mission Center had been discussing how to conduct its 20th anniversary. After repeated discussions, a decision was made to apply for the bestowal of the omedo for God the Parent and Oyasama. The center also issued the following activity guidelines for the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama: “Promoting the mission,” “Enriching the substance of churches and fellowships,” and “Nurturing successors.” Furthermore, the following committees were established to help promote those guidelines: Mission Committee, Construction Committee, Committee for Nurturing Successors, Rituals Committee, and Public Information Committee.

The ceremony to enshrine the omedo, conducted on the 14th, drew over 100 people. Following the enshrinement ceremony, the Shinbashira led the participants in performing the seated service in a unity of mind.

The following day, about 400 people assembled from all over the country to commemorate the occasion. The service began with the service prayer, which was delivered in both Japanese and Spanish by Mission Center Head Minoru Kokuryo.

The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver his address. He said: “Today’s service has two significant purposes. The first is to commemorate 20 years since the former mission office under the supervision of the Mission Headquarters in America was reestablished as the Mission Center in Mexico. The second is to mark the enshrinement of the omedo for both God the Parent and Oyasama.”

Concerning the role of a Tenrikyo center, the Shinbashira reminded the listeners: “A Tenrikyo center is not merely a regional office of Church Headquarters that handles administrative work. Rather it is a place where we ought to provide care and guidance that is conducive to the spiritual growth of the followers who live in the region. It is also a place where people can help and encourage one another to attain spiritual growth. . . . A Tenrikyo center also serves as a base from which to spread the teachings.”

Further, with reference to the activities to spread the teachings, he encouraged the listeners: “Though you live quite far from the Jiba, I would like you to keep your mind connected to God the Parent and Oyasama by visiting the center as well as churches or fellowships in the region. I also want to suggest that you read the Scriptures often and make an honest effort to follow Oyasama’s Divine Model.” Regarding the enshrinement of the omedo, the Shinbashira said: “I presume that your request for the enshrinement of the omedo stemmed from your desire to take this 20th anniversary as an opportunity to embrace fresh resolve and take strides in your spiritual growth. . . . The pre-anniversary activities leading up to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama are now in their final stage. I hope you will work in high spirits so as to bring joy to Oyasama throughout the remainder of the season.”

The Shinbashira’s address was followed by the service performance and a sermon delivered by Rev. Kokuryo. A reception was then held on the premises of the center with the presence of the Shinbashira and his wife, who enjoyed a variety of entertainment such as Mexican music and dance as well as Japanese gagaku music performed by local followers.

During their stay in Mexico, the Shinbashira and his wife also visited two churches and six fellowships between May 10 and 16.

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