On September 14, all eight students in the English class–four from Uganda, two from Australia, and one each from the Philippines and the United States–successfully completed Head Minister Qualification Course One, a 19-day course offered in East Right Wing 4 of the Oyasato-yakata building-complex at the Home of the Parent. Running concurrently with the English class were three Japanese classes, one of which included six Nepalese students, for whom about half the lectures and lessons were given by Nepali-speaking instructors in a separate classroom and the rest were simultaneously interpreted in Nepali. Altogether 128 students completed course one.
The course seeks to train and nurture ministers (kyoto) who have a heightened awareness of being Yoboku (“useful timber” for building the Joyous Life) and who aspire to work for single-hearted salvation with a strong sense of mission.
The daily routine began early with the morning service at the Main Sanctuary, followed by breakfast and morning assembly. In the morning, lectures were given on such subjects as The Doctrine of Tenrikyo; The Life of Oyasama, Foundress of Tenrikyo; and the Mikagura-uta, The Songs for the Service. In the afternoon, the students mostly practiced the dance and the musical instruments for the service as well as the ritual procedures.
In addition to the above lessons, the course included discussion sessions, opportunities to practice delivering sermons and giving tours of the Sanctuaries of Tenrikyo, and lectures delivered by guest speakers, who provided their insights into the teachings of Oyasama and shared their experiences in faith and missionary work. The students also had chances to implement hinokishin, selfless and thankful action, by cleaning the Sanctuary Corridor.
On September 7, the students of the English class were joined by the six Nepalese students in visiting some historical sites associated with the life of Oyasama, such as the Yamamura Palace, where She was summoned to appear before a prefectural official, and the site of the former Nara Prison, where She was imprisoned on three occasions. One afternoon, the English class also visited the historical buildings preserved in the garden behind the Foundress’ Sanctuary to help the students better visualize the scenes in The Life of Oyasama.
All students in the English Class have applied to register as minister (kyoto). One of them is planning to attend Head Minister Qualification Course Two, due to start on September 27 and last until October 19.