A Ministers Association, National Council Meeting Like No Other

Updated: Feb 17

This year’s BCA Ministers Association and National Council meetings will all be done through Zoom. The meetings would have taken place in the Bay District, but now no one needs to travel outside of home to attend.


Although the format of the meetings is different, the activities that will be taking place are just like what we would have done had the meetings been in-person gatherings.


The activities begin with the Institute of Buddhist Studies symposium on Thursday, Jan. 28 at 1 p.m. PST (All of the following times listed are PST.). The symposium is called “Be the Refuge — Book Launch: A Conversation with Chenxing Han.” This forthcoming book looks at Asian American Buddhists and how they have contributed to U.S. society. Registration is required to attend this session.


On Friday, Feb. 19, the BCA Ministers Association meeting begins at 8 a.m. and goes to 6 p.m.


On Saturday, Feb. 20, I will be holding a President’s Session from 9 to 10 a.m. This session is for temple presidents and will go over issues that will be discussed at the National Council meeting. This will be followed by a Town Hall session that will run from 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. The Town Hall meeting will look at increasing temple membership and the role of the new BCA website in helping to grow the membership. Anyone can attend the Town Hall session.


At 1:30 p.m., we begin holding our workshops. We start with the Ministerial Affairs Committee workshop led by Glenn Kitasoe. This session will look at human resource issues and other subjects that deal with temple ministers’ employment. This is a closed session for temple representatives who deal with temple-minister relationships.

At 2:45 p.m., Claire Tamamoto of the Aiea Hongwanji Mission on the Hawaiian island of Oahu will talk about how they run a pre-school, kindergarten, adult day care, and meeting place rental program on their temple grounds. This well-coordinated system allows the temple to survive financially with only one major fundraiser a year. Although this system does not work so well in a pandemic, it is a model that some temples may want to look at when the pandemic ends. This session is open to everyone.

At 4 p.m., the Endowment Foundation will put on a workshop about how the Endowment Foundation works to provide investment income for the BCA and temples. The Endowment Foundation can also help to coordinate estate planning and making financial gifts to the BCA. This session is open to everyone.


At 5:15 p.m., the Young Buddhist Editorial will put on a workshop to help people understand how YBE and the Young Adult Buddhist Association have merged and will help represent our BCA members who are between the ages of 18 and 40. This organization is a candidate to become our newest BCA Affiliated Organization and would like everyone to know what they do. This session is open to everyone.


On Friday, Feb. 26, we will have an Orientation Session from 8 to 9 a.m. This session is for anyone who is attending the National Council meeting for the first time. At 9 a.m., we will start the morning service. This will be followed by an Introduction to Zoom session. The National Council meeting begins after the Zoom session ends. The National Council meeting will continue until 5 p.m. (with an hour break for lunch).


On Saturday, Feb. 27, the National Council meeting will resume after the morning service at 8 a.m. The National Council meeting will conclude by 2 p.m., with an hour for lunch, so that we can hold our Harassment Session with Camille Pating of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. This session is mandatory for all National Council meeting delegates.

At 3:30 p.m., we will start our Dharmathon, where the four ministers who retired last year will present short Dharma talks. The four are Rev. Fumiaki Usuki, Rev. Yukiko Motoyoshi, Rev. Patricia Usuki, and Rev. Ron Kobata. The session should end at 5 p.m. and it will be open to everyone.


On Sunday, Feb. 28, we will begin the Eitaikyo Service at 10 a.m. During the service, Rev. Kodo Umezu, our past BCA Bishop, will present his retirement message. After a lunch break, we resume with a special program at 1:30 p.m. that includes a story by Regina Boone and the search for her grandfather, a musical program by the Cherry Blossumz, and a presentation by Michiko Inanaga on the Dharma Forward campaign. All the sessions on Sunday are open to everyone.


Please attend our programs that are open to everyone. We hope all the sessions are informative and many will be entertaining.


For more information on the events, please go to the workshop section of the NCM Website https://www.bcancm.org/workshops.


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