Part of a mother’s strength is building the character of her children.
My mom asked me, “Why do you want to be the BCA President?”
I explained to her, “I don’t want to be the BCA President. I never imagined I would be the BCA President!”
Then she asked, “Why did you say ‘Yes’?”
My response: “Gratitude and a dedicated Sangha.”
I humbly accepted this opportunity out of gratitude to many who made sacrifices to establish Jodo Shinshu in the United States, to the countless others for their dedication and commitment to BCA for the past 123 years, to the current BCA ministers and leaders for their efforts in sharing the Dharma and sustainability of their churches/temples, and to my parents for laying a spiritual foundation, rich in tradition, that is a part of my everyday living.
This feeling of deep gratitude led to an attitude of, “It is now my turn.” It is my turn to step up in honor of all those before me to continue their vision of having Jodo Shinshu Buddhism in America and to join BCA leaders who are also stepping up at their churches/temples, at the district level, and at the BCA level.
As I write this message, the annual BCA Ministers Association and National Council Meeting (NCM) have just concluded. The Central California District were wonderful hosts for the virtual event. Special thanks to the 2022 Planning Committee members Greg Tsudama, Jim Kubo, Janette Wong-Sing, Judy Kobayashi, Joy Donaldson, Gordon Ah-Tye, Ministerial Advisors Rev. Kakei Nakagawa and Rev. Kazuaki Nakata. Also, support from members of the Central California District, the BCA Staff, the Executive Committee, and all of the workshop presenters.
An appropriate theme for the 2022 NCM, which I’m sure resonated with all was “Strength in Sangha.” It took many to organize the NCM. It took many to keep the Dharma alive and Sangha connected, especially these past two years during the COVID-19 pandemic. It takes all of us, each other’s strength by working together. It is often said, it takes a village, or in our case, it takes a Sangha.
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Dr. Kent Matsuda for his leadership and guidance these past two years. Even though this was his second term as BCA president, it was not an easy task leading us through a pandemic. Kent took great care of his patients and always made great efforts in finding time for BCA.
I am grateful to my Executive Committee colleagues for continuing to serve and welcome John Arima to the team. I am fortunate to have the opportunity to work together with Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada and Rev. Harry Bridge.
Here is your BCA Executive Committee for 2022 and 2023:
Rev. Marvin Harada, Bishop
Rev. Harry Bridge, Ministers Association Chairperson
Terri Omori (Vista), President
Steven Terusaki (Oakland), President-Elect
Glenn Inanaga (Orange County), Vice President
John Arima (Mountain View), Vice President
Darlene Bagshaw (Stockton), Secretary
Jeff Matsuoka (San Francisco), Treasurer
I look forward to the next two years. To see Dharma friends, hopefully in person again, as well as meet new Dharma friends. To work and learn together with our dedicated ministers, leaders, and staff. Opportunities to collaborate with the other Overseas District (Kyodan) leaders. To continue efforts to have the Dharma accessible to all.
As Rev. Harada stated in the closing Gassho of the 2022 NCM, “Strength in Sangha as we move the Dharma Forward — Namo Amida Butsu.”