Tenrikyo Associations Announce Their Guidelines and Plans for 2008

Women’s Association

Tenrikyo Women’s Association Headquarters held a seminar for chairwomen of directly supervised chapters and diocese chapters on January 27 and 28 in the Home of the Parent, drawing 258 chairwomen. This year–the second year in the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the association’s 100th anniversary–the association will once again be promoting its slogan for spiritual maturity: “Let’s follow the Divine Model and become the foundation for the Joyous Life.” The guidelines for association activities, which have been carried over from last year, were also announced during the seminar. They are: “In anticipation of our association’s 100th anniversary: ‘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 an address by the association president, Mrs. Harue Nakayama. She first touched on the enrichment of church substance: “What is it like to be a church that accords with God the Parent’s intention? What is a ‘real’ church like? It is a place where people come together. Once they go there, they should be able to experience the Joyous Life. They should be able to have some ideas as to what the Joyous Life is. It should have a sufficient number of service performers. It is a place where followers put their hearts into performing the service just as it was taught, sprinkle the fragrance of the teachings, and engage in salvation work.”

Mrs. Nakayama then said, “It is very important for association members living in the same region to always help and encourage one another.” She thus expressed her wish for the association members to strengthen the bonds–not only within their directly supervised chapters but also within their diocese chapters–that were cultivated through the Young Women’s Convention and various other events. She went on to say: “I strongly believe that receiving the blessings that will enable a church to become a ‘real’ church is absolutely essential for the Joyous Life World to come about.”

Regarding the crucial juncture presented by the association’s 100th anniversary, Mrs. Nakayama said that it is an opportunity for them to reflect on the Story of Creation so that they may better understand and fulfill the roles entrusted to them as women. “Let us study the association’s day of origin so that we may make progress toward what it was established for.” She asked the members to work hard at fulfilling their role as “the foundation of the path” in their local churches.

Furthermore, Mrs. Nakayama reflected on the efforts that the members made during the first year of the “three years, one thousand days” season leading up to the 100th anniversary, saying: “During the first year, we reflected on the day of origin of our respective churches as well as our families’ faith. We also reflected on the resolutions that our predecessors made as well as the manner in which our predecessors lived each day.” She then encouraged the members to put more effort into implementing the resolutions that they themselves had made in the first year. She concluded her address by saying, “I hope that we will be making progress so that, by our 100th anniversary, we can attain the level of spiritual growth desired by God the Parent.”

Then, 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 participants then listened to lectures and took part in discussions.

The Women’s Association will be holding a convention as well as other activities such as the Lecture for Mothers and various seminars. In addition, the association headquarters will be sponsoring the “100th Anniversary Seminar for Branch Chapter Chairwomen” at directly supervised chapters between February and July.

Young Men’s Association

Tenrikyo Young Men’s Association held its first monthly meeting of the year at the association headquarters on January 25. It was attended by a total of 337 participants including the chairmen of directly supervised chapters and dioceses chapters. This year marks the 90th year of its establishment.

At the meeting, Association Chairman Chikara Iburi, who was installed last October, first referred to the new activity guideline: “Maintain the Awareness of Being Arakitoryo and Take Action.” He said: “Let us reflect on the footsteps of our predecessors and take to heart the awareness of being Arakitoryo. Let us also make progress toward world salvation in unity of mind, combining our youthful vitality.” Seeing this as a critical time for the association, Chairman Iburi expressed his strong wish for all members to make special efforts to engage in association activities. “These efforts that we make during this year,” he said, “will prepare us to take a great leap forward and lay the groundwork for enriching the association activities in the years to come.” He called for an increase in the number of members who actively take part in the association activities with a clear awareness of being Arakitoryo, the pioneers of the path.

Chairman Iburi then explained the pillars of this year’s activities, namely, “Gatherings for Tenri Young Men: Unity and Progress” and the 84th Young Men’s Association Convention. He said that the gatherings, which are to be held regionally in each diocese and in overseas countries between the end of August and December, are prime opportunities for discovering new association members and announced that the association will be trying to draw a total of 50,000 members to the gatherings. This year’s convention will commemorate the association’s 90th anniversary. To cap the special efforts that the association members will be making this year, they will try to bring as many members as possible to the convention, which will be held in the Inner Courtyard of Church Headquarters from 10:00 a.m. on October 27.

Regarding the Seminar for Successors, which is currently being held and is scheduled to continue until April, the association will try to ensure as many members as possible participate, and it will also try to provide follow-up care for the participants so that they will find it easier to join in the association activities.

As for the activities of the chapters based in churches, the “Missionary Campaign Week for All Chapters” will be observed between September 7 and 14. Regarding the activities for the chapters based 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), August (second Sunday), and September (third Sunday). This year’s Action Day for the campaign will be conducted on July 6.

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.”

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