Tenrikyo Women’s Association Headquarters held a seminar for chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters on January 27 and 28. Convened in the 4th-floor auditorium of the Oyasato-yakata’s South Right Wing 1, the seminar drew 776 women including not only chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters but also leaders of branch chapters. The association headquarters invited branch chapter leaders for this year’s seminar in order to ensure that all members would be well informed of the guidelines for association activities and unite their efforts in making spiritual growth during the period leading up to the association’s 100th anniversary.
In anticipation of commemorating its 100th anniversary in 2010, the association announced new guidelines for association activities: “Let’s inquire into the origin and become the foundation for our families and churches. (1) Let’s put our hearts into performing the service. (2) Let’s sprinkle the fragrance and strive to save others.”
The seminar began with a talk by Mrs. Harue Nakayama, president of the Women’s Association. She told the listeners, “Our objective in conducting the association’s 100th anniversary convention will be to show God the Parent and Oyasama that we have attained a level of spiritual growth befitting the 100 years of our association’s history.” After reminding the audience that the number 100 signifies “a return to one, a new beginning,” she told them: “I would like us to settle the association’s day of origin firmly in our mind, learn God the Parent’s intention embodied in the founding of the association, and exert our efforts to come closer to being in accord with that divine intention. It is important for us to reflect on the story of the creation of humankind and the world, so that we may better understand and fulfill the roles entrusted to us women.” After explaining the new guidelines for association activities, she concluded her talk by saying, “I would like all of you to convey the intention contained in the guidelines for association activities to every association member affiliated with your churches.”
Next, the various sections of the association headquarters made presentations on the concrete activities planned for this year and gave reports on last year’s activities. The remainder of the seminar was held in Moya 38, where the participants listened to lectures and took part in discussions.
Young Men’s Association
The Young Men’s Association Headquarters announced its guidelines for this year at the monthly meeting on January 25. The association will once again be promoting last year’s guidelines, “Implementing the Teachings and Establishing Strong Faith,” so as to help its members grow spiritually and engage in activities at the forefront of the path. An announcement was also made regarding the activities that the association would be conducting in commemoration of the association’s 90th anniversary, which will be observed next year.
At the meeting, Chairman Zenpei Kubo, reflecting on the Shinbashira’s address at the convention last year, explained the association’s guidelines: “The association activities are not to be conducted only by particular members. They should be carried out by all members. It is my hope that all members will implement the teachings on a daily basis, make efforts to advance their spiritual growth, and cultivate the kind of faith that is characterized by single-heartedness with God.”
Chairman Kubo emphasized that, during the lead-up to the association’s 90th anniversary, all members should reflect on the fundamental spirit embodied in the establishment of the association and devote themselves to missionary activities while seeking the path. He also announced that regional gatherings for association members would be held between August and December next year.
Based on these guidelines, the association headquarters is planning a variety of activities. The 83rd Young Men’s Association Convention will be held on October 27 in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters. As for the activities to be conducted by the chapters based in churches, the “Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters” will be observed between September 2 and 9. Regarding the regional activities in dioceses and districts, the association will be promoting the “Heart Clean Campaign,” which is held on the first Sunday of each month except January (second Sunday) and September (third Sunday). This year’s Action Day for the campaign will be conducted on July 1.
As for the activities related to the overseas mission, 12 members of the 9th Group of the Human Resource Overseas Dispatch Program are being sent to eight countries–including the United States, Brazil, and Paraguay. The association will start recruiting members for the 10th group on April 25.
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 will focus primarily on the youngest members, who will be joining the association after completing their membership in the Boys and Girls Association.
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 1,776 participants including heads of diocese corps and directly supervised church corps as well as nurturing committee members from those corps and district corps.
Last year, the association celebrated its 40th anniversary and renewed its determination to take a new step forward. This year, the following new activity guideline was announced: “Let’s convey Oyasama’s Divine Model to every boy and girl and nurture them to implement the teachings straightforwardly in their daily lives–providing care and nurture for members of the Boys and Girls Association through the association activities in ordinary times.” Along with the new activity guideline, four concrete goals were also announced: “(1) Conducting and continuing overnight stays at churches and encouraging parent-and-child visits to churches; (2) Conducting and continuing association activities in dioceses; (3) Upgrading activities that allow junior high school students to take active roles; and (4) Promoting the spiritual growth of nurturing committee members through seminars and study meetings.”
The meeting commenced with an address by the Shinbashira, president of the association, who began by reviewing the association’s aim, which is to “impart the joy of faith to children.” He then said that the adult leaders should make efforts to help children learn the teachings while they are still young so that they will try to find the joy of faith in their own ways and want to grow up to be fine Yoboku.
He also referred to a remark that the second Shinbashira made in the early days of this association and that has been quoted time and again: “In 50 years’ time, this association will have matured to the point where 15-year-old members will take active roles in promoting the association activities.” He said that, when the second Shinbashira made that comment, some might have regarded it as little more than an unrealistic dream. Yet, within a decade we will reach that point in time, said the Shinbashira, adding that, if we are to remain true to his words, we cannot relax our efforts merely because the year of Oyasama’s 120th Anniversary is over.
Then with reference to the new activity guideline and the four concrete goals for association activities, he put emphasis upon “conducting and continuing” the association activities. He stressed the significance of making it a practice to bring children close to God the Parent while they are still young and encouraged the leaders to continue to focus on parent-and-child visits to churches so as to connect children’s mind to God the Parent.
He also spoke about the importance of strengthening the relationship and cooperation between the Young Men’s Association and the Women’ Association in nurturing children of the path. He went on to say that the Boys and Girls Association activities should lay the foundation for nurturing children who can carry the path forward in the future. He asked the adult leaders to constantly keep sight of the original aim of the Boys and Girls Association and conduct and continue the association activities at the corps and diocese level without slackening their minds’ attention.
Chairman Michikazu Takahashi then expressed the association leaders’ resolution, saying, “In order to live up to the parental heart of the second Shinbashira, who established this association, and respond to the encouragement of the Shinbashira, we association leaders will work together in unity of mind.”
He then referred to the latter part of the new activity guideline, “providing care and nurture for members of the Boys and Girls Association through the association activities in ordinary times.” He said, “I sincerely ask for your kind support and dedication so that we can conduct the association activities not merely for the sake of conducting them but truly for nurturing children who will put the teachings into practice straightforwardly.”
Based on the concrete goals for association activities, he reaffirmed the goal of this year’s Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba: “Let us ensure that all churches’ corps return to Jiba on the Children’s Pilgrimage to Jiba for the 170th year of the Teaching.” Then he said, “Without losing last year’s momentum, let us take a new step forward in nurturing children so that we can achieve the goal of having each and every church’s corps return to Jiba.”