With the “second year of implementation” approaching its half way point, the Home of the Parent continues to serve as the venue for the Head Ministers Seminar in Oyasato. To take advantage of this season to make further strides forward, a number of directly supervised churches organized group pilgrimages to Jiba, bringing large numbers of followers to the Home of the Parent over the weekend that saw the May Monthly Service of Church Headquarters. Of these pilgrimage groups, three were reported at some length in the weekly Tenri Jiho newspaper.
Senba and Ashitsu grand churches jointly organized their pilgrimage on May 27 to mark the 120th anniversary of the event in which the founders of these churches had received their respective fellowship names, Meishin and Shinmei, on the same occasion. This pilgrimage marked the first time these two churches had commemorated their anniversary together. The pilgrimage drew 13,000 people—including 130 Ashitsu followers from Taiwan and Brazil—who assembled in the North, East, and West Worship Halls to perform the service together in a unity of mind. The participants then listened to an address delivered by the Shinbashira, who first explained the significance of the Jiba and the Kanrodai. He then stressed the importance of returning to Jiba, saying: “Just as we love our children, God the Parent loves us all human beings. So if there are people who are troubled by strife and conflict, God the Parent desires to do everything possible to save them and enable them to savor the Joyous Life as intended by the Parent of Origin. That is why those of us who were drawn to this path a step before others are striving to spread the teachings so as to share this intention of the Parent with as many people as possible. Moreover, once the fragrance of the teachings has been sprinkled on them, we invite them to return to Jiba.” The Shinbashira then talked about how the insuppressible urge to return to Jiba wells up in one who has begun to let God the Parent’s intention settle in the mind. He concluded his remarks by asking his listeners to make continued efforts to inquire into the Parent’s intention through returning to Jiba.
Ikuno Grand Church’s pilgrimage, which took place on May 26 and 27, was aimed at encouraging the followers to bring their families with them and inviting ever more people to attend the Besseki lectures. Following the Church Headquarters Monthly Service on the 26th, the participants gathered in their followers dormitory to attend an attraction that featured singer Ayako Ueshima, a Yoboku. The next day, many participants listened to the Besseki lectures while the others wiped the Sanctuary Corridor as hinokishin or selfless expression of gratitude for the gift of life. In the afternoon, all the 750 participants joined together in performing the service in the North Worship Hall and then listened to a talk delivered in East Auditorium by Head Nurse Yoko Taira from Ikoi-no-Ie Hospital. She shared her insights into letting go of dissatisfaction from one’s own mind and preventing oneself from causing others dissatisfaction.
Some 1,600 people assembled in the West Worship Hall on the 27th to perform the service as part of Shikito Grand Church’s pilgrimage. Later, in East Left Wing 5, Kako Women’s Association Head Mariko Matsuo delivered a talk in which she shared her experiences in faith and asked her listeners to deepen their appreciation of the loan of the body from God the Parent. Head Minister Kiyoharu Kontani then took the podium to address the participants, urging them to make ever further spiritual growth so that they might move increasingly from desiring their own well-being to wishing for others’ happiness.