On June 27, the day after Church Headquarters’ Monthly Service, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Masahiko Iburi announced at the monthly meeting of the Kanamekai (the association comprising the head ministers of all directly supervised churches) that, in anticipation of the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama to be observed in three years and a half, officials from Church Headquarters will visit directly supervised churches between November 20 this year and late February next year, followed by the “Oyasama 120th Anniversary District Lectures” scheduled to start in March next year.
Director-in-Chief Iburi explained that the decision to organize these events was made in the course of discussions held by the three committees–committees for Promoting Salvation, for Sowing Seeds of Sincerity in Oyasato, and for Studying the Doctrine–that had been established in April under the Preparation Committee for the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. The Preparation Committee itself had been formed in February in response to the Shinbashira’s New Year’s Address and Spring Grand Service sermon, both of which referred to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama. The Preparation Committee is led by Director-in-Chief of Religious Affairs Tomoo Itakura and Director-in-Chief Iburi.
The core message to be conveyed by Church Headquarters’ officials visiting directly supervised churches will be based on the Shinbashira’s sermon to be delivered at the Autumn Grand Service in October, and their visits will be carried out in accordance with guidelines to be decided by the Preparation Committee. The aim of the visits, targeted primarily at church head ministers and directly supervised churches’ officials, is to ensure a clear understanding of the Shinbashira’s intent concerning the anniversary and the full implementation of the anniversary-related activities.
These visits are not planned for directly supervised churches with fewer than 10 subordinate churches, and head ministers belonging to such directly supervised churches will be requested to attend one of the two sessions to be conducted by Church Headquarters’ officials in the Home of the Parent.
Director-in-Chief Iburi requested that, following these visits, the directly supervised churches redouble their efforts to make sure that all their head ministers gain and maintain a clear awareness of their roles with regard to the 120th Anniversary of Oyasama.
The “Oyasama 120th Anniversary District Lectures” will take place between March and June. Intended for all Yoboku, this event aims at helping them thoroughly understand the significance of the anniversary and the way they should live as Yoboku in the present season.
These lectures will be carried out in much the same way as the “District Lectures for Yoboku: Action and Progress,” held three years ago. Further details are expected to be announced in late August.
Director-in-Chief Iburi said that Church Headquarters would set up an office in early July to handle preparations for the District Lectures. He also asked each diocese and directly supervised church to select, by July 25, those who are to be entrusted with helping to organize the event.
Director-in-Chief Iburi added that this year’s Hinokishin Day, which marked the 70th anniversary of that event, drew over 389,000 (including 6,000 overseas), up from the previous record of 373,247 set in the year of the Centennial Anniversary of Oyasama. The number is also greater than the number of participants in the “District Lectures for Yoboku: Action and Progress.” He urged his listeners to use the momentum created by Hinokishin Day as a springboard for conducting Nioigake Day in September (the annual day designated for sprinkling the fragrance of the teachings) as well as strengthening the unity of mind among all followers by taking advantage of the upcoming District Lectures.