New Year’s Address by the Shinbashira (2024)

Happy New Year, everyone. I want to express my appreciation for all the work you did last year. I would also like to ask for your continued efforts this year.

At the end of last year, unusually for me, I was able to finish preparations for the New Year smoothly and, therefore, welcomed it feeling more relaxed than usual. However, right on New Year’s Day, we were faced with a serious situation where major earthquakes occurred. Some of you here today may have felt the strong tremors. Some of you may have come here while worrying about your affiliated churches, mission stations, and followers affected by the disaster as you are unable to rush to them quickly. I would like to express my heartfelt sympathies to everyone affected by the disaster.

With regard to earthquakes, you are certainly aware that the Ofudesaki says that natural disasters are expressions of God the Parent’s regret and anger. I believe that these expressions are intended to provide stern training and instruction for those of us who have faith in Oyasama’s teachings and follow Her path but who are slow in growing spiritually.

We have entered the second year of the “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary period. To respond to the extremely severe instruction and training, I believe we should reflect upon and ponder over what God the Parent is trying to tell us from a variety of angles and make honest efforts to correct what needs to be corrected so as to move forward along the path.

I would like us to observe the 140th Anniversary of Oyasama—as we did the last anniversary—only on one day, namely January 26, 2026. January 26 of the year after next, that is, the day of the anniversary, is a target date for our pre-anniversary activities.

The significance of observing an anniversary of Oyasama does not lie in doing something in particular on that day but in showing Her how much we have grown spiritually through our decisive efforts toward this specific date. What is important is, therefore, how we live during the “three years, one thousand days” pre-anniversary period.

The “three years, one thousand days” period is not just for preparation for January 26, 2026, but for the actual work itself. We must lead our daily lives with an even more heightened awareness of the Divine Model of Oyasama than usual. The pre-anniversary period has traditionally been referred to as a “special time” in which we ought to live with a bracing level of commitment and enthusiasm—a level that we may not have during ordinary times. Without losing sight of what we must do now in our respective roles and positions, we need to steadily carry out the activities leading up to the upcoming anniversary.

Given the scale of the disaster, it is only natural for some people to be disheartened or to feel stuck and unable to see a way forward even if they want to. Therefore, I would like to ask the head ministers of their parent churches and others concerned to proactively reach out to them and to work toward blessings that help them regain their spirits as soon as possible.

Further, I would also like to ask all of you to make every effort to provide care and guidance to others so that we may be blessed with as many people as possible who are willing and eager to walk the path toward the anniversary of Oyasama.

Finally, as this year marks ten years since my father’s passing, I would like to conclude my New Year’s remarks by announcing that I want to hold the 10th memorial on June 24, the day he passed away.

I look forward to working with you again this year.

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