Beginning of Spring Service
Greeting from Rev. Shirasawa, President of Izunome Group
Tenshu Hall, Hotel Nagoya Castle, Japan
February 4, 2019
My sincere congratulations to everyone on today’s Beginning of Spring Service.
Just now, under the presence of Kyoshu-sama who served as officiant, we were allowed to hold a Beginning of Spring Service for the first time in two years. During the service, in the name of Messiah, which is one with Meishu-sama, together with all humanity, all ancestors and all of creation, I praised God’s blessing.
I would like to express my sincerest gratitude to Kyoshu-sama who made his presence with us here today. Kyoshu-sama, thank you very much.
Kyoshu-sama’s wife Mayumi-sama, and Masaaki-sama are also in our presence today. I would like to present them – Mayumi-sama, Masaaki-sama, if you may, please rise. Thank you.
Later, Masaaki-sama will deliver a greeting. We greatly appreciate it.
Also, I would like to present to you those who came to attend the service from overseas. Here today are Rev. Yoshiro Nagae, President of World Church of Messiah of Brazil (Igreja Mundial do Messias do Brazil); and Rev. and Mrs. Fernando Alambert from Portugal. Let’s welcome them with a big round of applause. Thank you.
As we have already announced to all of you, the Kyoshu-centered World Church of Messiah was established in Brazil. But many local members in Portugal, too, under the leadership of Rev. Fernando, have begun their way on the path that shares the same spirit as Kyoshu-sama. Even for us members of Japan, this is greatly encouraging.
From now on, too, let us become one with members all over the world and always be one heart with Kyoshu-sama.
I would like to present one more guest who is here with us, Mr. Kunihiko Muroi, member of the House of Councilors (upper house of the National Diet of Japan). Mr. Muroi, please stand, if you will. Thank you.
Mr. Muroi has been a member of our church for many years, learning from and practicing Meishu-sama’s teachings and Kyoshu-sama’s messages. And with his eyes set on what national politics should be, he has promoted various activities. To note, serving as the secretary-general of the bipartisan-formed Federation of Diet Members for the Promotion of Organic Farming, he has made vigorous efforts in proposing policies to the Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries in order to spread Nature Farming that Meishu-sama advocated.
And for this time’s church purification, like us, he has determined to walk as one heart with Kyoshu-sama and was quick to sign and transfer his membership to Izunome Group. He has been supporting us in every way possible.
Last year, for the Paradise on Earth Service/Izunome Group Membership Meeting that took place receiving Kyoshu-sama for the first time as Izunome Group, the selection of the venue was very difficult up until the last moment. But because of Mr. Muroi’s efforts, we were able to hold the service at the Rihga Royal Hotel Osaka.
The Upper House election is taking place this year in July and as Izunome Group, I would like to back Mr. Muroi so that he may continue activities within national politics as a member who goes forward together with Kyoshu-sama. May he receive your support and cooperation.
Now, when I think back upon the Beginning of Spring Service from two years ago, going through difficulties hard to describe and, according to the will of Meishu-sama, Kyoshu-sama spoke frankly about the situation of the church and his inner feelings to the members. It is now clear to everyone that the executives at the time were going in a direction far removed from the church principle of a Kyoshu-centered organization.
After that, the executives of Izunome Kyodan clearly abandoned the Kyoshu-centered principle. I believe all of you also know that conspiring with Toho no Hikari/MOA, those executives pushed in the direction to have Kyoshu-sama removed and banished.
My intentions are different from theirs. As a member of the executive directors of Izunome Kyodan, I reflected on this sequence of events of the church purification. I am painfully aware and feel the responsibility of having caused pain and trouble to Kyoshu-sama and to all of you, the members.
Although from the stage, I would like to take this opportunity to express my deepest apologies to Kyoshu-sama and to all the members.
I am truly sorry.
All the executives of Izunome Group have felt penitence for our past mistakes. With the Beginning of Spring bearing the significance of being a turning point, I once again, pledge to do God’s work as one heart with Kyoshu-sama.
And together with all the members, I wish to go forward, always one heart with Kyoshu-sama. I humbly ask for your forgiveness and from here on, too, ask for your continued understanding and cooperation.
Last year, because of the members’ reassuring support, the establishment of Su no Hikari Kyodan Izunome Group was permitted. We have gone forward aiming for a church in which Kyoshu-sama and all of you, the members, are able to interact without obstruction and anyone can truly seek Meishu-sama.
On our path, under the guidance of Kyoshu-sama, we have been allowed to accept the name of Messiah and realize God’s wish to make us His own children.
And last year, Kyoshu-sama himself stood at the forefront of missionary work, personally interacting with members from all over the country and now is able to spread Meishu-sama’s true wish. It was also a year to remember.
I believe that the deep impression all of you received from Kyoshu-sama’s missionary visits are firmly etched into your hearts. After this, a video giving a look into his visits to various places during the 2018 year will be presented. Please, do look forward to it.
Our motto for this year is “Always one heart with Kyoshu-sama.” Even more than last year, I would like for members all around the world to come together and boldly walk on the path Meishu-sama has revealed to us of being born anew as a true child of God.
On February 12, the new leaflet created by Kyoshu-sama and Masaaki-sama – “Who We Are: We were born on earth to become children of God” – is scheduled to be sent en masse to churches and centers all over the country. We would like to carry in hand this leaflet packed with Meishu-sama’s wishes and commit ourselves to spreading this gospel of salvation.
And for today service, the “Hallelujah Chorus” will be offered to God and Meishu-sama. Meishu-sama dearly loved to listen to the “Hallelujah Chorus” from Handel’s oratorio, Messiah, to the point that his record wore out. In order to have the piece performed, he made room for an orchestra pit to be specially installed into the (former) Messiah Hall. He also pointed out our church’s profound connection to Christianity. Given these examples, it is a song of praise with deep significance embedded in it.
As you will find printed in today’s program, “Invitation to All,” at the upcoming Paradise on Earth Service, a larger scale “Hallelujah Chorus” will be offered. I hope that as many people as possible can participate.
Today’s offering will lead the way, made up of chorus directors from around the country. Together with everyone, I would like to listen with the thought of praising God, who reigns over us all with His hand of salvation.
Ushering in today’s Beginning of Spring Service, let us return to the heaven that is shining brilliantly within the center of ourselves. And in this entirely new nurturing of God that is like a spring breeze, together with Kyoshu-sama, together with all ancestors and together with all creation, let us boldly go forward.