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Reopening the BCA Headquarters and the JSC

This month, we wish Rev. Earl Ikeda from the New York Buddhist Church a wonderful retirement. Rev. Ikeda served both the BCA and the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii. I’m sure the Eastern District will miss his culinary skills.

We are beginning to discuss the opening of the Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC) and the BCA headquarters building. Like many of our temples, the buildings have been closed since the start of the pandemic and we have restricted entry for the tenants who normally work there. However, as more people have been getting vaccinated against COVID-19, I believe that we can now start discussing reopening our buildings and start working on conducting business as usual.

We see that the Delta variant of the coronavirus is becoming more prevalent in the entire world. Vaccination with the Pfizer and Moderna vaccines is proving to be essential in preventing infections and severe disease. The Johnson and Johnson vaccine may be slightly less effective in this regard, but we need to see more data before making a decision on booster shots.

As we consider opening the JSC and headquarters, we have to be aware that some people may not be vaccinated or may not be able to take the vaccine. We need to be able to accommodate both people in our buildings. We are aware that some temples need to consider the same when dealing with temple ministerial staff and office staff.

During the BCA’s reopening temples Zoom meeting that took place in June, we were reminded by Minister’s Assistant Rev. Elaine Donlin from the Buddhist Church of San Francisco that local and county rules on reopening need to be followed. Sometimes, your county may require a written reopening plan in place before re-opening your doors.

I am happy to announce that the second floor of the BCA headquarters building will be rented out to the Japanese Community Youth Council (JCYC). This San Francisco-based organization deals with programs for youth. One of the founders of this organization was the recently retired Rev. Ron Kobata. We are also in the process of getting the former Bishop’s parsonage in Belmont ready for renting. After Bishop Rev. Kodo Umezu and his wife, Janet Umezu, moved out of the former parsonage, we have been busy making repairs and renovating the house.

Many thanks to the BCA ad hoc real estate committee, chaired by Steve Terusaki and Glenn Inanaga for doing a lot of work in getting the headquarters building and the former parsonage ready for renting. Also, many thanks to Bishop Rev. Marvin Harada for allowing BCA to rent out what would have been his office space in the headquarters building and the former parsonage. Rev. Harada will be using an office at the JSC and will stay at the JSC when he is in Northern California. Although repairs to the headquarters building and the former parsonage are substantial, we hope to recoup our costs via rental income.

I would like to thank the late Helen Matoi from San Francisco and the late Katsumi Tanino from Seattle for their generous gifts to the BCA. Both were active members of their local temples and both included BCA in their estate plans.

Please explore the BCA’s recently revised website. There, you will see the many BCA temples that are holding virtual or hybrid Obon celebrations. I suspect that many temples will be holding in-person celebrations next year. Also, be aware that the Center for Buddhist Education (CBE) is putting on two seminars a month for our members. Prior seminars can be viewed on the CBE YouTube channel.


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