As we enter the month of August, Obon season is winding down for the BCA.
For many temples, this year marked a return to public Obon festivals. Many made modifications to accommodate the anticipation of having fewer volunteers than in 2019 and other logistical changes.
I would like to thank the ministers, leaders, and volunteers for their efforts in making the 2023 Obon festival season for temples and churches so memorable — and a great success. Planning for unknown variables is difficult. I applaud your efforts and courage in planning what you felt was in the best interest for all, in making changes, and in welcoming back your community — which was thoroughly excited to return.
Even though my Vista temple’s Obon festival was exhausting for me, I thoroughly enjoyed it. Working together again with my Vista Sangha was priceless! Having the opportunity to get to know the members, seeing the young, and young at heart working together to benefit the temple was wonderful.
We kept some of the traditional ways in preparing the delicious foods passed down to us, and also found innovative ways to make some foods easier to prepare. Knowing that everyone’s efforts went to ensure the Dharma remains accessible to all was a great feeling. Of course, the highlight was ending the day with taiko and Bon Odori.
While all were busy helping at their temples/churches during this Obon season, your dedicated BCA leaders and volunteers have been working on projects as well.
The BCA Budget and Finance Committee, led by BCA Treasurer Jeffrey Matsuoka has begun the process to prepare the 2024-2025 budget. It is a tedious process which involves working together with the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), the BCA Endowment Foundation, BCA staff and committee chairpersons.
With assistance from BCA Controller Kevin Arakaki, Matsuoka and the committee will diligently keep expenses down, but will also keep in mind not to jeopardize any programs, ministerial support and operations management.
The BCA Art Committee is busy preparing the 2023 Virtual Art Exhibit, a wonderful display presented by our talented members. The Archives-Historic Preservation and Music committees are working on projects for next year’s BCA 125th anniversary celebration.
The Bylaws/Legal Committee is preparing recommended amendments to the BCA bylaws which will be presented at the National Board meeting in December. The Ministerial Affairs Committee and the Ministers’ Pension Fund/403B Retirement Plan continually interact with Koichi Mizushima, the Ministers’ BCA Group Benefits Coordinator.
There are 15 BCA standing committees and two ad hoc committees. The following are some of the items being addressed.
The 2024 BCA National Council Meeting Planning Committee has been meeting monthly. Led by Allan Yamashiro and Peggy Okabayashi, ministers and members from the Northern California district temples are planning a unique NCM which will be held at the Buddhist Church of Sacramento in February.
We are returning to an in-person NCM! However, the format will be different. The Ministers’ Association meeting and BCA workshops will be held online the week before the NCM. The IBS Symposium and BCA National Eitaikyo service will be held as a hybrid format. The committee will be sharing more information in the coming months as well as sending registration materials to the temples, committee chairpersons, and affiliated organizations.