BCA’s Theme for 2021 — ‘Sharing the Dharma Virtually’

The BCA National Board discussed plans for the upcoming virtual National Council meetings in February, approved a new Music Committee and agreed to lower membership dues to $50 per year for members under the age of 30.


In addition, the board took preliminary steps to consider approving the Young Buddhist Editorial — which merged with the Young Adult Buddhist Association over the summer. It granted YBE Candidate Affiliated Status for the next year while it discusses whether to approve full affiliated status to the organization.


The National Board took these and other actions at a Zoom meeting on Dec. 5, 2020. It marked the second time a National Board meeting was held virtually.


The meeting kicked off with Rev. Marvin Harada, Bishop of the BCA, announcing the BCA theme for 2021 — “Sharing the Dharma Virtually.” Rev. Harada said his theme was taken from the Southern District Jr. Young Buddhist League’s successful September 2020 virtual conference — which also happened to be “Sharing the Dharma Virtually.”


“I’m sure that many ministers would say that they’re spending even more time in their work to prepare video talks and recordings to share the Dharma virtually,” Rev. Harada said. “So I hope that we can take advantage of this time, during this pandemic, just to see if we can reach new people via the internet, and when services do resume in the future in person, we will have many new members we can welcome to our Sanghas.”


Since the June National Board meeting, Rev. Yukiko Motoyoshi of the Buddhist Church of Stockton, Rev. Patricia Usuki of the San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and Rev. Ronald Kobata of the Buddhist Church of San Francisco have retired from the BCA.

And, since that meeting, there have been the following ministerial assignments: Rev. Sala Sekiya of the Gardena Buddhist Church to the San Fernando Valley Hongwanji Buddhist Temple; Rev. Dr. Takashi Miyaji of the Tacoma Buddhist Temple to the Southern Alameda County Buddhist Church; and Rev. Tadao Koyama to the Tacoma Buddhist Temple.


Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto, President of the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), said there were 44 students with eight admitted in the fall. IBS has 12 BCA ministerial aspirants in the IBS Master’s Degree Program and 15 students in the Certificate in Shin Buddhist Studies Program, many of whom hope to become ministers.


Rev. Dr. Miyaji joined the core faculty in a half-time position and Rev. Dr. Mutsumi Wondra of the Orange County Buddhist Church joined the faculty as an adjunct professor.


Hideaki Mizuno, Executive Director of the Endowment Foundation, said that as of October 2020, the BCA Portfolio Increased 3.3%. Other gains were reported in the Growth A Fund (5.2%), Growth B Fund (4.3%), Growth and Income Fund (4.2%) and Income Fund (4.1%). In January 2021, all hedge fund investments would be divested and the Growth A and B funds would be merged.


Jeff Matsuoka, BCA Treasurer, reported that the BCA received almost $298,000 from the federal government’s Paycheck Protection Program in May 2020. All of the money was used for BCA payroll. The projected dues assessment for 2021-2022 is $147.62 per member. The board voted to approve the projected 2021-2022 BCA budget.


Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara from the Jodo Shinshu International Office announced that Rev. Anan Hatanaka returned to Japan on Dec. 5, 2020. There are 39 students enrolled in the Jodo Shinshu Correspondence Course for the fall 2020 semester.


David Chin, President of the Young Adult Buddhist Association (YABA), said that YABA and the Young Buddhist Editorial (YBE) have been meeting and decided to merge in the summer, The new organization will be called Young Buddhist Editorial.


Devon Matsumoto, President of YBE, and members of the YBE Executive Committee showed a PowerPoint presentation about YBE. The board voted to give the YBE Candidate Affiliated Organization status.


Gary Mukai, Chair of the Propagation and Membership Committee, told the board that there were 22 new individual BCA members. The individual membership program is a new member category for those who join BCA directly rather than through a temple. Mukai described a proposal where potential members under the age of 30 would only have to pay BCA $50 per year and the board approved the proposal.


Steve Terusaki, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Development, reported that almost $3.7 million has been raised in the Dharma Forward campaign. He said a new room naming program at the Jodo Shinshu Center was restarted for those donating at least $25,000. A new Campaign Allocation Subcommittee was formed.


Michiko Inanaga, Director of Development, updated the board on the components of Dharma Forward and how to donate. The Dharma Forward campaign will raise funds so that BCA can help temples that need internet technology assistance.


Sandy Saeki, chair of the Archives-Historic Preservation Committee, appealed to the board to help the committee find potential committee members from outside Southern District. The board approved the committee’s charter.


Celeste Sterrett, chair of the Social Welfare Committee, said the committee would help temples needing funds to help with community projects up to $3,000. The committee was planning on meeting with its Hawaiian counterpart next year to work on joint projects.


Kemi Nakabayashi, Chair of the BCA Music Committee, explained about the Music Committee’s 12 different subcommittees and what they were working on. The board approved their charter.


Carl Yanari, co-chair of the 2021 BCA Ministers’ Association and National Council meetings, told the board that the meetings would take place over several weekends in February, with the IBS symposium taking place on Jan. 28, 2021. The meetings would take place virtually and registration materials would begin to be distributed in December.


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