Happy New Year! On behalf of the BCA Executive Committee, warm wishes for 2024 are extended to all. We look forward to opportunities to connect with you as we embrace this year’s BCA theme, “The Right Time Is Now.”
This year, we will celebrate the 125th anniversary of the Buddhist Churches of America and the 75th anniversary of the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS). As we acknowledge these milestones with gratitude and joy, let us reflect on the efforts of many with deep appreciation in order for us to receive the Dharma. It is our turn to ensure Shinran Shonin’s teachings continue to be shared for many generations to come.
On Dec. 2, 2023, the BCA National Board meeting was held virtually. Thank you to all who attended and submitted reports. This meeting is an overview of the year of the various programs for the BCA, IBS, JSIO, CBE and the BCA Endowment Foundation as well as preparation of business matters for the BCA National Council Meeting in February. The following are some highlights from the meeting.
Ministerial growth and support continue for BCA. Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada reported: Rev. Diana Thompson returned to the BCA ministry and was assigned to Tri-State/Denver temple; Rev. Kurt Rye was reappointed as Kaikyoshi of the BCA and assigned to New York, Seabrook and Ekoji temples; Rev. Melissa Opel was assigned to the Buddhist Church of San Francisco as a full-time Kyoshi minister; Rev. Todd Tsuchiya was appointed Kaikyoshi Resident Minister to the Midwest temple; and Rev. Cynthia Yasaki was appointed Kaikyoshi Resident Minister of the White River temple. Rev. Harada certified nine Minister’s Assistants in 2023. In December, 10 members of the BCA traveled to Hongwanji in Kyoto, Japan, for Tokudo training and ordination. Some will continue their studies and training for Kyoshi certification later on this year.
Sharing Shin Buddhism continues through various programs. In addition to his dedicated efforts in spreading the Dharma for BCA members and its temples, Bishop Rev. Harada continues to conduct outreach sessions each month through Zoom Dharma gatherings with the BCA Individual Members group and Texas Sangha. He also continues to share the Dharma each and every week with the Dial the Dharma program. And he has been asked to serve on the board for Lion’s Roar, a popular Buddhist publication. The Center for Buddhist Education continues to provide programs in person — and on Zoom, for all.
IBS President Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto reported on behalf of the Institute of Buddhist Studies regarding the faculty and staff transitions and appointments for 2023-2024. This includes his upcoming retirement on June 30, 2024. Dr. Scott Mitchell has been appointed to become the next IBS President on July 1, 2024.
Affiliated Organization reports were presented by the Federation of Buddhist Women’s Association and Federation of Dharma School Teachers’ League. The 47th FBWA National Conference will be hosted by the Coast District in San Jose on Oct. 4-6, 2024. The 2024 FDSTL Conference will also be hosted by the Coast District on April 27-28, 2024, at the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. The FDSTL Education Committee has developed a commemorative Monto Shikisho for the BCA 125th anniversary that will be available to all Dharma schools.
A presentation was made by Kevin Kujiraoka and Mitchell Kita on behalf of the Sr. Young Buddhist Association. Recently reorganized, the youth group for 18-24-year-olds made a request to the BCA National Board to become a Candidate Affiliated Organization. Their request was enthusiastically approved. We look forward to working together and supporting the progress of the organization.
2024-2026 BCA Executive Committee Officers election was held. Congratulations to Steven Terusaki (President), Glenn Inanaga (President-Elect), John Arima (Vice President), Bradley Menda (Vice President), Jeff Matsuoka (Treasurer), and Darlene Bagshaw (Secretary). They will be joined by Rev. Marvin Harada (BCA Bishop) and Rev. Henry Adams (BCA Ministers Association Chairperson).
If you are a leader at your church/temple, I encourage you to attend the CBE BCA Temple Leaders Workshop on Feb. 2-3 at the Jodo Shinshu Center. This is an opportunity to network, learn more about BCA and have dialogue with your BCA Executive Committee.
For more information, go to the BCA website and click on CBE at: https://www.buddhistchurchesofamerica.org/cbe