On July 16, Tenrikyo Mission Headquarters of Hawaii conducted a service to install Rev. Jiro Ohara as its ninth bishop in the presence of Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Zensuke Nakata and Overseas Department Head Masaharu Matsuda. The weather in Honolulu on the day of the service was mild and sunny. A pleasant breeze blew through the air, giving a feeling of freshness. The service began at 10:00 a.m. amidst the joyful reunion of followers at the worship hall who had refrained from visiting the mission headquarters for more than two and a half years due to the COVID pandemic.
The service began with Bishop Ohara’s prayer, in which he said that he, as a Yoboku, would live each day with the mind of making repayment for the blessings received and the mind of helping save others. He then made a pledge to continue the path to which the predecessors in Hawaii had devoted their utmost sincerity for a long period of time. He went on to express his resolve to make every sincere effort to advance the path by maintaining strong bonds with the church head ministers, mission station heads, and other Yoboku and followers in the region and having thorough discussions in unity of mind.
Following the prayer, Director-in-Chief of Administrative Affairs Zensuke Nakata read a message from the Shinbashira. The message began with an explanation of the roles of a mission headquarters, saying: “One of the roles of a mission headquarters is to ensure that the truth of Jiba is conveyed to the local communities without error. . . . A mission headquarters is a center for spreading the teachings in its region, where a mission headquarters’ role includes making every effort to convey the mind of God the Parent and Oyasama to the local communities by showing them an example of the Joyous Life. . . . Therefore, the Mission Headquarters of Hawaii should also consider and implement ways of reaching out to people so that the teachings of Oyasama will take root in Hawaii.
“Another role of a mission headquarters is to provide care and guidance for the followers of the path in the region and help them grow spiritually.” The Shinbashira went on to emphasize the importance of working toward a unity of mind while following the path in single-heartedness with God and quoted a passage from the Divine Directions that says: “Unite your minds as one. If your minds are united as one, you are strong” (Osashizu, December 14, 1904).
The message continued: “I am convinced that the story of creation teaches us how to attain a unity of minds. . . . [A] new bishop . . . serves as the core so that the mission headquarters can fulfill its roles. Therefore, my hope is that the new bishop will make efforts to grow spiritually as befits his position. I hope that he will take the initiative to inquire into how to ponder in single-heartedness with God and will make layer upon layer of efforts to acquire that pondering. I would like him to endeavor to become the sort of leader with whom others will seek to bring their minds into unity so that people in this diocese will respect and help one another to receive the blessing of a joyous settling.”
The Shinbashira then referred to a Divine Direction that reads: “If you set about spiritedly, God will become spirited. If God becomes spirited, God will make the entire world spirited” (Osashizu, May 30, 1907). The message concluded by saying: “The installation of a new bishop is one of the knots or turning points in the history of the mission headquarters. As we are taught by Oyasama’s words ‘From a knot, buds will sprout,’ a knot is an opportunity to grow spiritually. . . . God the Parent will accept your spirited minds and work in high spirits. . . . I sincerely hope that all of you, the bishop and the congregation, will unite your minds and conduct your activities without missing this season so that the Tenrikyo community in this region will become spirited and be blessed with the further progress of the Joyous Life.”
This was followed by the joyous performance of the service, after which Bishop Ohara thanked Rev. Nakata and the congregation and expressed his resolve to do his utmost to pursue his faith in single-heartedness with God, to reach out to the followers in the diocese, and to work together with them on spiritual growth to bring joy to the everliving Oyasama.
After the installation service, a group photo session took place in commemoration of the occasion. Each worshiper received a packed lunch and a bottle of water.
On the following day, the 17th, the July monthly service was joyously and spiritedly performed. Following the service performance, Rev. Nakata delivered a sermon.