Europe Centre Celebrates 30th Anniversary Honored by the Shinbashira’s Presence

Taking advantage of its 30th anniversary, Tenrikyo Europe Centre conducted the enshrinement of the medo (object for worship) for both God the Parent and Oyasama on September 9 with the Shinbashira as the chief officiant. The following day, 190 people including Yoboku residing in Europe assembled for the service to mark the enshrinement and to commemorate the centre’s 30th anniversary.

The beginnings of the Europe mission may be traced to 1910, when three Japanese missionaries made their way to London. Nonetheless, the Europe mission did not actually get off the ground until the 1950s, when the second Shinbashira, Shozen Nakayama, visited Europe twice, London included, to study the religious situation there.

In July 1970, the Mission Centre in Paris (forerunner of Tenrikyo Europe Centre) was established and, in the following year, Tenri France–Japan Cultural Association was founded as a means to help further the activities of the mission centre. This association, in the same year, established Tenri Japanese Language School, which pioneered Japanese language education in Paris.

Thereafter, the Europe mission made steady progress. Directly supervised churches began to establish their own mission stations and offices in Europe. The year of the Centennial Anniversary of Oyasama, 1986, saw the establishment of a church in Bordeaux—the first Tenrikyo church in Europe. At present, in addition to this church, there are 15 mission stations and offices in Europe, and the number of Yoboku residing in 19 European countries totals 340.

For the past two years, Europe Centre had been discussing how to commemorate its 30th anniversary. One of the fruits of these discussions was Europe Centre’s decision to apply for the bestowal of the medo for God the Parent and Oyasama. In addition, this centre made a pledge to bring 100 people to Jiba to attend the Besseki lectures prior to the 30th anniversary service.

The ceremony to enshrine the medo, conducted by the Shinbashira on the 9th, drew 134 followers from various parts of Europe. Following the enshrinement ceremony, the Shinbashira led the participants in performing the seated service in a unity of mind.

The service on the following day, the 10th, commenced with the service prayer, which was delivered in both Japanese and French by Europe Centre Director Noriaki Nagao.

The Shinbashira then took the podium to deliver his address. He said: “Today’s service has two significant purposes. The first is to commemorate the 30th anniversary of this centre, which was established in 1970. The second is to mark the enshrinement of the medo for both God the Parent and Oyasama, which we conducted for this occasion. . . . It is only natural that this occasion should produce a feeling of rejoicing. Nevertheless, rather than letting this day end solely in rejoicing over what has already come to pass, I should like you to make this day meaningful from the point of view of the path that lies ahead.”

Concerning the role of a Tenrikyo centre, the Shinbashira reminded the listeners: “A Tenrikyo centre is not merely a regional office that handles administrative work. Rather it is a place where we ought to provide care and guidance that is conducive to the spiritual growth of the followers who live in the region. It is also a place where people who have the causality to live in the same region—regardless of their church affiliation—can perform the service together, come in touch with the truth of the Jiba, and help and encourage one another in order to attain spiritual growth. Our goal is the world of the Joyous Life, and a Tenrikyo centre thus serves as a base from which to spread the teachings.”

Further, with reference to the activities to spread the teachings, he told the listeners: “Though languages, cultures, and customs may vary from place to place, what is universal is the fact that unless we receive the truth of the Jiba, we shall not be able to receive God the Parent’s miraculous blessings, and unless we look to Oyasama’s Divine Model to discover the model for single-hearted salvation, we run the risk of unwittingly taking a wrong turn on the path. Consequently, though you live quite far from the Jiba, I should like you to keep your mind connected to the Jiba through your worship of God the Parent and Oyasama, as well as to become familiar with the Scriptures and make an honest effort to follow Oyasama’s Divine Model.”

Regarding the enshrinement of the medo, the Shinbashira said: “For this occasion, I have enshrined the medo for God the Parent and Oyasama in response to a request submitted by this centre. I presume that this request stemmed from your desire to take this 30th anniversary as an opportunity to embrace fresh resolve and take strides in your spiritual growth. . . . You are all one in the sense that you share the same faith in God the Parent’s teachings and you are all following Oyasama’s Divine Model here in Europe. Please bear in mind that God the Parent provides free and unlimited blessings in response to your unity of mind. I hope you will utilize this centre as a place to unite your minds and your efforts, as a place to motivate one another and deepen your joy of faith, and as a place to encourage and help one another.”

The Shinbashira’s address was followed by the seated service, which was performed with the Shinbashira as the core. The Yoboku and followers then performed the dance to the Yorozuyo and the Twelve Songs.

Following the performance of the service, Director Nagao delivered his sermon and commemorative photographs were taken. A reception was then held in the basement hall as well as in the garden, enabling the Shinbashira to meet followers from various parts of Europe and enjoy their company.

Prior to arriving in France, the Shinbashira had attended the monthly service of UK Centre on September 3, besides visiting two mission stations in London and one in Leeds.

The Shinbashira, in addition, paid a visit to Tenri France–Japan Cultural Association, which had been relocated and opened in April this year.

Share this article:

Comments are closed.