Churches and Mission Stations
(Kyokai to Fukyosho)

by Yoshikazu Fukaya

As Yoboku burn with the desire to make repayment for the blessings and parental love of God the Parent, they become filled with the wish to have as many people as possible savor the same joy. Through conveying the divine name of God the Parent, Tenri-O-no-Mikoto, as well as sprinkling the fragrance and engaging in salvation work by administering the Sazuke to others, Yoboku can be shown numerous further blessings. This effort then leads to gatherings of people basking in God the Parent's providence and, eventually to the creation of groups of people who dedicate themselves for the sake of the Teaching. In these groups, a solid connection develops between the people who convey God the Parent's intention to others and those who are guided to the Teaching. We refer to such groups gathering as "churches" and "mission stations."

God the Parent is enshrined at both churches and mission stations. They are also places where followers gather yearning after the parental love of Oyasama. They are not different from each other in the sense that they are both places where people spiritedly perform the service and strive for the task of salvation work, led by their leader. In terms of the number of followers and the size of their buildings and facilities, mission stations are generally smaller than churches and can be called churches-in-the-making.

However, there are far more important distinctions between a church and a mission station. A mission station can be established when a devoted Yoboku who is willing to serve as head makes the decision to establish one together with a handful of others and is given approval by the head minister of their directly supervised church. Criteria for approval to establish a mission station are determined by the head minister. Yet, when it comes to the establishment of a church, this can only come about through applying to Jiba and obtaining sanction from God the Parent.

To establish a church, an altar befitting the enshrinement of God the Parent and Oyasama must be prepared together with a place to spiritedly conduct the service exactly as Oyasama taught. The altar must face towards Jiba. The prospective church must also have all the musical instruments for the service as well as the number of ministers and Yoboku needed to perform the service. Certainly, there are mission stations that sufficiently fulfill these conditions, with a respectable worship hall and one to two hundred ministers and Yoboku. However, the vital distinction remains in that a mission station symbolizes a human convention whereas a church has been sanctioned by God the Parent.

Being a convention set up between human beings, a mission station may be dissolved in certain circumstances. However, churches receive the truth of Jiba. They represent Jiba and have received an everlasting sanction from God the Parent to serve as places to promote the perpetual growth of the path of single-hearted salvation. Churches cannot be dissolved due to human convenience and expediency.

The subject of churches will be discussed in further detail below.

Truth of A Church Name (Meisho no ri)

As stated in the previous entry, the establishment of a church requires God the Parent's sanction, which, after a piece of property has been determined for the prospective church, must be applied for by the people involved, who must unite their minds in a firm resolution to devote themselves to the work of single-hearted salvation. Once this spirit of single-hearted salvation has been discerned by God the Parent, the sanction of a "church name" is granted to the given address. Churches themselves are sometimes referred to as "the truth of a (church) name."

Also on this occasion, the symbols of worship that are to represent God the Parent and Oyasama at the new church--these symbols having been blessed by the Shinbashira praying in front of the everliving Oyasama--are bestowed. Consequently, the symbols of worship that are enshrined in the church altar to serve as focal points for worship are unique to and given only to that church.

A church is born only after receiving sanction from Jiba in this manner and needs to have the symbols of worship, which embody the truth of Jiba, enshrined there. Jiba is precisely the foundation of the lifeblood of all churches, and churches that are firmly connected to Jiba are bound to grow and flourish.

God the Parent instructs us:

Once I bestow a single name on a country, it is for all generations.

Osashizu, July 14, 1893

The truth of a church name has been bestowed in each community, so that it is almost as if there were one at every street corner.

Osashizu, February 1, 1897

The truth of a church name that is granted from Jiba is to be an eternal signpost in its community and a pivotal place that always advances the cause of single-hearted salvation, helps guide people of the world to Jiba, the Home of Parent, and convey the intention of God the Parent, thus showing them the way to the Joyous Life.

When the people connected to a church encourage and inspire one another under the leadership of the church head minister and with God the Parent's intention as the basis, clearing away dusts from the mind, sweeping one another's hearts clean, and devoting themselves toward bringing their minds into unity to perform the service spiritedly, this will not only allow those involved to gain great happiness but will also enable a cheerful and spirited atmosphere to pervade at the church. The sight of such cheerfulness and spiritedness will in turn inspire more and more people to join the church as new brothers and sisters of the path. We are taught that a church is to be the training center for the Joyous Life in its community.