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Humbled and Honored to Serve as New BCA President

As the newly ascended president of the BCA, I am humbled and honored to accept this responsibility at this landmark point in BCA’s history, celebrating 125 years of Jodo Shinshu in America. It is a legacy that we must not forget. 


We stand here today in deepest gratitude for the early Hongwanji ministers who came to the United States mainland to provide spiritual guidance to our Issei pioneers; to the Issei generation, who established a bulkhead of early temples and Sanghas for the growing Japanese and Japanese American followers; to our young Nisei leaders, who incorporated the Buddhist Churches of America while incarcerated in Topaz, Utah; to our multigenerational and multiethnic Sanghas, as we continue to move from a Japanese American-centric organization to a Dharma-centric organization, allowing all who wish to encounter the Dharma to be embraced by the wisdom and compassion of Amida Buddha.


In accepting this mantle of the presidency, my hope is to continue the tremendous work of our immediate past president, Terri Omori. 


Omori was committed to connecting each of us and understanding the power of interrelationships. She was also committed to demonstrating the value of the BCA to our 60 temples and sanghas through her actions and her commitment to open communication. 


I also want to ensure that communication is at the forefront of my work as BCA president. In my work as an executive leadership coach, I understand that saying it once, twice, three times, and even five times is not enough. As bombu beings, we filter what we hear. It takes being a “broken record” to realize what is finally being heard and understood. So, bear with me if you feel that I’m being a “broken record.”


Our national organization has so much to be thankful for. Our dedicated BCA staff and volunteers ensure that the Dharma is available forever into the future. Our BCA leadership and committees are built on our committed Sangha members who volunteer their time, energy and expertise. One of my goals is to invite others who have the passion, energy and professional expertise to get involved. Developing a team who I can surround myself with will guarantee that together we can move this organization forward into the future, implementing the vision and goals of Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada.


I look forward to working with the newly elected Executive Committee of the BCA. President-elect Glenn Inanaga and I share a common vision for the upcoming four years of Rev. Harada’s tenure as Bishop. We see it as a great opportunity to provide organizational leadership to champion his three goals: membership; a successful Dharma Forward campaign; and increasing our ministry. 


Inanaga is: Chair of the By-laws/Legal Committee; Chair of the Real Estate Committee; and member of the Social Welfare Committee. He also holds leadership positions on the board at Orange County Buddhist Church. 


Professionally, Inanaga is the Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel for the Cherng Family Trust (CFT), an investment firm of the founder of Panda Express/Panda Express Restaurant Group. 


In his spare time he is a dance, basketball, swim, and Girl Scout and Boy Scout dad of three and supports his wife, Michiko Miyaji Inanaga, the  Director of Development for the BCA Endowment Foundation.  


Joining the Executive Committee is the newly elected Chairperson of the Ministers Association, Rev. Henry Adams, Resident Minister of the San Mateo Buddhist Temple. We look forward to his spiritual guidance, financial input, and expertise from his role on the Budget & Finance Committee and the Ministers’ Pension Fund/403(b) Retirement Plan Committee.


I also welcome our new lay Executive Committee member, Bradley Menda from Berkeley Buddhist Temple. Menda is our new BCA Vice President. He has been a force in leading Berkeley Buddhist Temple and the Bay District, as well as being a Director-at-Large, a member of the Social Welfare Committee, a Dharma Forward pillar coordinator for the Facilities pillar and on the Dharma Forward Allocation Board. He is also co-chairing the Bay District-hosted National Council Meeting for 2025.


Continuing as our Vice President is John Arima from the Mountain View Buddhist Temple. Arima has been a vocal advocate for longer-term strategy for BCA and was the chair of the AdHoc Committee on Long-term Financial Planning. He is currently Chair of the Vision and Strategic Planning Committee. Arima holds an MBA from Santa Clara University and is the Global Sales Director for CoorsTek, the leading global manufacturer of technical ceramics. He is also a Minister’s Assistant at the Mountain View Buddhist Temple.


Also continuing as our Secretary is Darlene Bagshaw from the Buddhist Church of Stockton. Bagshaw has a long history with the BCA, growing up at the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin, and serving as Dharma School teacher and temple organist; taking on leadership roles (President, Dharma School teacher, temple organist, among others) at her adopted temple in Stockton; leadership roles with the Federation of Dharma School Teachers’ League (FDSTL); managing the Nitta Scholarship program before becoming a Director-at-Large and stepping forward to being Secretary for the Executive Committee. Darlene is a pharmacist and pharmacy manager for WalMart Pharmacy in Manteca, California.


Our other continuing lay Executive Member is Jeffery Matsuoka, BCA Treasurer, from the Buddhist Church of San Francisco. Matsuoka has dedicated himself to being the point person for the BCA annual budget for the past 10 years. He provides leadership on the annual BCA budgeting process as Chair of the Budget & Finance Committee; treasury responsibilities with the BCA Controller; and sits on the Real Estate Committee and the Executive Committee liaison with the Outreach and Technology pillar for the Dharma Forward Campaign. Jeff is a Research Analyst for the Bay Area Air Quality Management District.


Finally, I would like to mention that I am here in this position as a result of many. Among them is the late Rev. Dr. Seigen Yamaoka and wife Shigeko, who saw in me something that I couldn’t see for myself. He and Shigeko had been urging me to step forward since my early days at the Buddhist Church of Oakland. 


I’d also like to mention: Rev. William Masuda and wife Kiyo for their support and honesty in keeping me balanced on that continuum of arrogance and humility in Rev. Harada’s recent article; to Terri Omori’s mom and dad, Miki and the late Ben Honda, who instilled in me the spirit of the Nembutsu as a youth in San Diego; and, finally, to my parents-in-law, Takeshi and Yukino Kameoka, examples of true Jodo Shinshu followers, who lived a life of gratitude and appreciation that has been the rock for Kathy and me and our sons, Alan and Kevin, and for our family’s next generation — grandsons, Kyden and Aiden.


I look forward to a bright future for BCA as we begin the next two-year journey. In my effort to keep channels of communication open, email me at sterusaki@bcahq.org with your comments, suggestions and hopes and dreams for the future of BCA.


Namo Amida Butsu


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