Good Morning, everyone! Happy New Day & Week. Thank you for attending our first service for December 2013. Good health & excellent spirits to you all.
The Konko Church of Gardena California celebrated its 60th Anniversary on Sunday, Nov. 10. It was founded in 1953 when Revs. Isao & Tomoyo Goto built a church within the city limits of Los Angeles on Arlington St.. The church was originally named the Hollywood Church. Eventually the congregation was moved to the city of Gardena & was renamed the Gardena Church. After their passing, Reverends Shiro & Sadako Takeda faithfully continued the spiritual tradition of the church.
After Rev. Shiro Takeda passed away, Rev. Nobuharu Uzunoe Head Minister of the Portland Church in Oregon was asked to help Rev. Sadako Takeda and assist in ministering to the believers in Gardena, which he has done, bringing the blessings of the Divine heart of Kami. Through the inspired leadership of all these faithful leaders, upon the death of Reverend Sadako Takeda Rev. Uzunoe was named head-minister. My family & I have a special regard for Rev. Uzunoe. He was the mentoring, American parent minister for us when we came to missionize in the USA. So, I really wanted to help him as much as possible on celebrating this special occasion for the first time as head-minister in this year that marks the Gardena Church's 60th anniversary.
I flew to Los Angeles Thursday, Nov. 7. All the members of KC Gardena united as one at once & sincerely worked very hard to make their 60th anniversary celebration as successful as possible. I was amazed at their tireless effort to make this event an anniversary to remember!
With the help of the believers I showed them how to make 40 Tamakushi offerings for those representatives to use as a symbolic presentation of the true hearts of the several different groups who attended. At the same time, Rev. Amy Uzunoe & I decorated all the offerings in front of Kami & Mitama altars. Everything went smoothly arranged & was well prepared by the time we welcomed the day of celebration. The weather too was perfect.
Ten ministers solemnly officiated the service itself. More than 200 people witnessed a very beautiful ceremony. Rev. Takao Kishii, head-minister of KC Toronto who had been associate minister in KC Gardena gave an impressive speech. Before the construction of KC Gardena, it was not an exaggeration to say the church had little money to consider building a church of any adequate size. Rev. Isao Goto prayed & prayed, the following teaching in poetic form came into his mind:
"Whatever you do, pray earnestly & entrust yourself to Kami with absolute faith.
[何わざを なすにあたりて 一筋に 祈りをこめて任せまつらん]"
This became the motto for faith in his life from then on & with it he helped many, many people find their true path to Kami.
Rev. Nobuharu Uzunoe, in his greeting as the head-minister emphasized on the importance to understand Kami's heart, follow it & manifest it for practicing true faith. He said, "60 years are the time for rebirth like our founder. With the blessings we have received in the past 60 years as our foundation, we would like to renew our recognition & receive with fresh minds, what Tenchi Kane No Kami taught us, 'Practice faith & receive divine blessings.' Also, we will make this church a place where we can help people grow spiritually. We want to use this occasion as a fresh starting point for our future endeavors."
Our Konko Daijin always sought Kami's heart through each happening in his life & received & understood Kami's unconditional love all over his body & mind. That's why he taught us, "If people do not receive divine blessings, then Kami & Konko Daijin will not be happy. If they suffer & don't receive divine blessings, Kami cannot fulfill Kami's duty. When people cannot do well, Kami & Konko Daijin cannot do well."
When we truly understand through diligent faith-practice that Kami pours unconditional love on each human beings, we can fully grasp one of the most essential teachings of our faith which is, 1. that everything that happens is Kami's doing & 2. Kami will never let us have an experience which have no meaning.
Let us practice faith to seek Kami's Divine Heart through each & every happening like our founder & deepen peace & joy in our heart. Then our experiences will result in divine blessings & we can manifest Kami's glory in the world.
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