The Shinbashira, Zenji Nakayama, delivered his New Year’s address at the New Year’s meeting of Tenrikyo Church Headquarters conducted in Dining Hall 2 on January 4. The meeting was attended by 655 participants, including resident officials of Church Headquarters, head ministers of directly supervised churches, superintendents of dioceses, members of the Assembly, committee members of Tenrikyo associations, and heads of Tenrikyo facilities.
The Shinbashira led off his address by offering his New Year’s greetings to all participants and expressing his appreciation to all for the efforts they made in the previous year despite the COVID-19 pandemic. He also touched upon his health condition and told the participants about his gradual recovery.
Continuing, he said that, because of COVID-19, we were not able to hold the regular events or conduct the services including the Monthly Services, anniversary services, and dedication services as we originally intended last year. He then referred to the two typhoons that hit Japan one after the other last year. The latter, which was very strong, had been predicted to approach Japan while maintaining its strength, but it diminished and veered off the predicted path. He said: “[E]verything, whether it is COVID-19 or a typhoon, is a manifestation of the enormous workings of God the Parent. If it were not for the workings of God, we could not make any progress in our mission. From this point of view, I believe that it is of prime importance for us to firmly and straightforwardly settle the teachings in our minds in order to have God work for us.”
The Shinbashira went on to point out that we might have fallen short in our efforts to pursue effective ways to nurture followers while the times and circumstances were changing. Saying that doing missionary work would not bring about any result if we fail to make such efforts, he emphasized: “Nurturing followers requires persistent efforts, which should be implemented constantly in keeping with the times. However, we might have slackened that effort before we knew it. . . . Taking an honest look at the current state, we must move forward and endeavor to near the goal that all of us share.” He concluded his address by asking the listeners to spiritedly carry out their tasks once again this year.
Before the Shinbashira’s address, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Zensuke Nakata offered New Year’s greetings to him on behalf of the congregation.
After mentioning the spread of COVID-19 and the successive urgings of God the Parent, Rev. Nakata said that now is the time to start afresh to build a firm foundation for the path of the Joyous Life by pondering repeatedly on Oyasama’s Divine Model so that we can settle the intention of God the Parent in our minds straightforwardly. He then expressed the resolve, on behalf of those present, to unite and thoroughly follow the path.