The 2023 National Council Meeting (NCM) will be held later this month. Our BCA ministers, temple leaders, affiliated organizations, BCA board, committee chairs and staff will gather virtually for this annual event.
This year’s host is the Coast District. The planning committee, led by Perry Yoshida and Linda Kadani, have been working diligently together with BCA. There will be specific meetings for the registered delegates and opportunities for our general membership and Dharma friends.
On Feb. 18, there will be a Town Hall sharing as well as workshops presented by the Social Welfare Committee, Ministerial Affairs Committee, Dharma Forward Campaign and the BCA Endowment Foundation. On Feb. 23, the Institute of Buddhist Studies will present a symposium. The 2023 NCM will conclude with the BCA National Eitaikyo service on Feb. 26. The service will include special musical offerings. I look forward to seeing us join together as a national Sangha.
In previous issues in the Wheel of Dharma, I have introduced the various BCA committees. I would like to continue by introducing the committees that support our ministry. The BCA mission statement is to promote the Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha as well as propagate the Jodo Shinshu teachings. Our BCA ministers are a key component to the mission statement. The following committees assist in providing ministry and supporting the welfare of our ministers:
The Ministerial Affairs Committee (MAC) — chaired by Glenn Kitasoe, with ministerial advisors Rev. Harry Bridge, Rev. Etsuko Mikame, Rev. Yushi Mukojima and Rev. Candice Shibata. The MAC advocates for our ministers by identifying programs, standards and guidelines as well as a communication link with our temples. Our ministers put in many years of service.
The Joint Committee for Ministers’ Pension Fund and Ministers’ 403B Retirement Plan — chaired by Dr. Kent Matsuda, with ministerial advisors Rev. Henry Adams and Rev, Yushi Mukojima. The joint committee oversees the retirement program and benefits for our dedicated ministers.
The Student Financial Assistance Program (SFAP) — chaired by Tom Nishikawa, with ministerial advisors Rev. Harry Bridge and Rev. Dennis Fujimoto. SFAP assists in the study and propagation of Jodo Shinshu teachings by providing financial assistance to qualified students training to become Jodo Shinshu Hompa Hongwanji-Ha ministers and to BCA ministers taking continuing education courses related to their ministry. The BCA is fortunate to receive the generosity of many donors who established and continue to donate toward the SFAP fund.
In addition to these committees, there are other programs that support the welfare of our ministers, not only at the BCA level, but also at the temple level.
As mentioned in my January message, Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto reported that student enrollment continues to increase at the Institute of Buddhist Studies.
Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada announced that the BCA has nine Kyoshi ministers, and Rev. Jerry Hirano shared the Center for Buddhist Education is providing four Minister’s Assistant Program (MAP) training sessions to prepare the Tokudo aspirants, the ordination process scheduled to take place in Japan later this year.
As you can see, the BCA ministry programs require many people working together to ensure Shinran Shonin’s teachings remain accessible to all.
And, it also takes all of us to support these programs and many others to support the welfare of our ministers and to sustain the BCA ministry. Thank you for your continued Dana and support. Thank you to our ministers for taking care of us by sharing the Dharma and supporting our Sangha.