Practices & Culture
How to Worship at the Konko Church of San Francisco
As you enter the Konko Church, there is a main altar dedicated to Tenchi Kane No Kami located in the center, and the Divine Reminder (Tenchi Kakitsuke) is displayed prominently. To the right of the altar is the Toritsugi Mediation seat where the minister sits to receive visitors, and to the left is the altar for ancestral worship.
To worship at a Konko church, visitors would first sit and face the main altar and bow their head as a sign of reverence. Clap hands four times sincerely, representing the unity of Kami’s heart and the visitor’s heart. The number “four” symbolizes happiness (shiawase) and goodness. Visitors can then direct their messages directly to Kami.
This can be anything from relationship issues, work prosperity, to recovery from an illness. After finishing their prayer, visitors should raise their head and clap four times again to show that they have finished praying, and then bow once more.
Visitors can also visit the ancestral altar to pay their respects to their deceased loved ones. After praying at the main altar, visitors can approach the Toritsugi Mediation seat to talk with the minister about their prayer or any other questions they may have. The minister serves as a link (toritsugi) between Kami and people on behalf of the Founder Ikigami Konko Daijin, and will offer advice based on Kami’s wish.
The minister also records the visitor’s visit in the Worshipper Record Book and prays for them every day, with the contents of the book kept absolutely confidential. The goal of Toritsugi Sacred Mediation is to ease some of the worries and anxiety of many
Toritsugi is a one-to-one mediation between a visitor and a minister in a church. The minister listens to the visitor’s words and prayers to Tenchi Kane No Kami through Ikigami Konko Daijin, and Kami’s advice is given back to the visitor through the minister. Through Toritsugi, the minister helps people put problems into perspective and helps to find solutions by praying with them.