On June 4, the BCA National Board held its biannual meeting online. The BCA ministerial and lay leaders along with the BCA staff, representatives from the Endowment Foundation, Institute of Buddhist Studies, and Jodo Shinshu International Office gathered to discuss and share pertinent matters.
The National Board, responsible to govern the business of the BCA, consists of the six national officers, the Bishop, the chairperson of the Ministers’ Association, nine Director at Large members, one ministerial representative from each of the eight districts, three lay representatives from each of the eight districts, and one representative from each of the affiliated organizations. Also present at the meeting are the chairpersons of the BCA committees and the hosting districts for the upcoming National Council meetings.
I would like to share highlights from the meeting regarding reports pertaining to the BCA ministry and Buddhist education.
Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada reported the exciting news that the Kyoshi Kyoshu training program that was postponed twice due to COVID-19 will take place in August at the Jodo Shinshu Center.
Hongwanji-ha has given permission for this training program to take place outside of Japan for the first time. There are eight BCA aspirants planning to participate in this historic Kyoshi Kyoshu training.
Rev. Harada acknowledged Rev. Kiyonobu Kuwahara, JSIO Program Director, for communicating with Hongwanji-ha on the urgency to have this training programming, which will help alleviate the minister shortage.
In addition to the August 2022 Kyoshi Kyoshu training, Hongwanji-ha reported that the next Tokudo ordination will take place in 2023 followed by another Kyoshi Kyoshu training in 2024, both in Japan. This is very encouraging based on the number of students and ministerial aspirants currently enrolled at IBS.
IBS President Rev. Dr. David Matsumoto reported there were 53 students enrolled for the spring semester and there are four new Certificate in Shin Buddhist Studies students.
Rev. Harry Bridge, chairperson of the BCA Minister’s Association, reported the Minister’s Summer Fuken will take place Aug. 17-18. Following the Fuken, for the Kyoshi Kyoshu training, several of the BCA ministers have been asked to assist with the 10-day training programing. BCA is fortunate to have qualified ministers who can assist with this intense training program.
Rev. Jerry Hirano, Director of the Center for Buddhist Education (CBE), reported on the transition to in-person programs. At the end of June, a Buddhist Youth Retreat will take place at the JSC. Strict COVID safety protocols will be followed. On Aug. 5-6, the Summer Pacific Seminar returns to the JSC. In addition, there will be many other online Buddhist education programs in July and August.
The BCA Music Committee, chaired by Kemi Nakabayashi, was happy to announce the new Bon Odori song and dance, “Kangie” (“Gathering of Joy”). Commissioned by the BCA Music Committee, artist and activist Nobuko Miyamoto created an inspiring piece with an authentic simplistic feeling inviting all to join the dance circle. You must check out the instructional video along with an interview with Nobuko and collaborators. It is posted on the BCA website under the section, Obon: Gathering of Joy.
Whether it is in your own home or hopefully at your temple, enjoy “Kangie” and your other Bon Odori favorites during this year’s Obon season. Wishing you a safe and meaningful Obon full of gratitude and joy.