In his address at the New Year’s meeting, held by Tenrikyo Church Headquarters in the Assembly Hall after the evening service on January 4, the Shinbashira asked the participants to try their best to enrich their activities in ordinary times as Tenrikyo starts anew toward the next milestone. He suggested that they once again reflect upon and make sure they understand the significance of the activities they are conducting in their particular roles and positions, so that they could make a steady step forward, thereby making this year meaningful.
The meeting was attended by 661 participants, including resident staff members of Church Headquarters, head ministers of directly supervised churches, superintendents of dioceses, members of the Assembly, committee members of Tenrikyo associations, and heads of Tenrikyo facilities. The Shinbashira began his address by expressing his wishes for the New Year. He then said that he was truly grateful that last year, the year of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama, went without any serious incidents or problems. He offered them a word of thanks, saying, “I would like to express my heartfelt gratitude to all of you for making sincere efforts to fulfill your responsibilities in a variety of fields last year.” The Shinbashira then stated: “Oyasama’s anniversaries are not finish lines. They are merely milestones on our way to the Joyous Life.” He said that the activities related to the anniversaries are the special efforts we make for those occasions and that we must take advantage of such special efforts to enrich our activities in ordinary times. He thus made clear how we should conduct our activities in the period following the anniversary year. He then referred to the sermon that he delivered at the Autumn Grand Service last year, in which he said, “In terms of the work of our churches, the activities that should be conducted at all times include performing the services and spreading the teachings.” He went on to stress the importance of “making efforts to ensure that the service is performed properly in accord with God’s intention” as well as “engaging diligently in conveying the teachings of God the Parent to as many people as possible.” Furthermore, the Shinbashira stated, “It is important for those belonging to a church to make efforts to bring their church into accord with God’s intention in such a way that its atmosphere can serve as a model of the Joyous Life as befits God’s intention.” In addition, the Shinbashira made clear that, like the activities of churches, those conducted by the Tenrikyo associations and facilities including schools are designed to help achieve the Joyous Life. He concluded his address by emphasizing, “We ought to make progress toward what we are aiming for–the Joyous Life.”