The 84th Convention of Tenrikyo Women’s Association was conducted in the Inner Courtyard of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters on April 19, the day following the Oyasama Birth Celebration Service. Approximately 76,000 people returned to the Home of the Parent to attend this year’s convention, which commemorated Mrs. Harue Nakayama’s installation as the association’s new president. She had been formally installed as the 6th president last October, when she succeeded the 5th president, Mrs. Masa Nakayama, who had passed away in August. The convention thus provided an occasion for the association’s members to reaffirm their pledge to take great strides in serving as the “foundation of the path” under the leadership of their new president.
At 7:30 a.m., when fireworks announced the opening of the reception desks, groups of members bearing their red chapter flags began entering the Inner Courtyard. Once the convention site started filling up, members also began taking seats in front of the South Worship Hall, the East Worship Hall, and the West Worship Hall. To protect themselves from the bright sunlight that bathed the convention site, many of the members covered their heads with the brightly colored bandanas they had received as souvenirs to commemorate the convention.
At 9:30, another round of fireworks announced the commencement of the convention, whereupon Association President Harue Nakayama ushered the Shinbashira and the former Shinbashira onto the stage. After the participants had joined together in singing the Eight Verses of the Yorozuyo, Ayumi Muguruma, a 10th grader at Tenri High School, made a pledge on behalf of the new members of the association, and a committee member gave a progress report.
Association President Harue Nakayama then took the podium to deliver her address. She told the members: “Let us move forward in bright spirits, always keeping our minds warm and humble, and focused on saving others. I truly believe that, if we can just put this into practice, peace will naturally come to reign in our homes, our communities, and eventually throughout the entire world. Of course it will require time, but unless we as individuals take it to heart and get moving, we will never be able to be blessed with peace in the world. What we can do as individuals may be small, but I hope that each of us members of this association will exemplify the import of our slogan for spiritual growth by putting our activity guidelines into practice. Remembering that doing so is the first step toward realizing the Joyous Life, let all of us implement our activity guidelines, always firm in our faith, starting with anything close at hand.”
The Shinbashira then delivered his address, in which he described the achievements of the previous presidents of the Women’s Association and reminded the members that their association ought to draw a step nearer to the Joyous Life with each new president it installs. He then said: “I want you to be faithful to Oyasama’s teachings, taking care not to mix your personal thoughts into them, and remain honest and consistent in following the path for the rest of your lives.” He closed his address by saying: “I should like you members to continue following the path of the Divine Model by rallying around the new president and building on the achievements of the previous presidents, and thereby enhance the name of Tenrikyo Women’s Association.”
Member Representative Aiko Chatani then made a pledge, and the participants joined together in singing “Tenrikyo Women’s Association Song” to bring the convention to a close.
Following the convention, some 45,000 members reassembled at the planned construction site for the Oyasato-yakata’s South Left Wing 5, where the new president led them in performing earth-carrying hinokishin. In addition, on the evening before the convention, more than 16,000 branch chapter chairwomen joined their new president in performing the service dance in front of the South Gate.