Steve Terusaki and Michiko Inanaga presented a report on the Dharma Forward Campaign. This is a $15 million fundraising effort that will benefit Buddhist education, maintaining our BCA properties, repaying our loan to the Endowment Foundation, and investing in more technology for the Jodo Shinshu Center and temples. Funds will also be used for scholarships and grants for IBS students, ministerial aspirants, and ministers. So far, more than $3 million has been raised.
Judy Kono, Chair of the BCA Communications Committee, informed the National Council that the additional funds that were added to the BCA budget last year were used to hire Alex Tsukahara as a part-time digital content assistant. The Technology Outreach Subcommittee redesigned the BCA website. This subcommittee is eligible to receive funds from the Dharma Forward Campaign so that temples will be able to obtain assistance from the BCA in addressing their technology needs.
At the end of the first day of the National Council Meeting, Michael Endo was recognized for his 25 years of service to the BCA. He received a special plaque and gifts from Bishop Harada.
The second day of the meeting started with the Cal YABA report. Over the summer of 2020, Cal YABA merged with the Young Buddhist Editorial and took the latter name as the new name of the organization. This organization was intended to include people from the ages of 18 to 40. The National Council voted to approve giving the Young Buddhist Editorial “Candidate” status as a BCA affiliated organization. Although Cal YABA remains in the BCA Bylaws as an official affiliated organization, this will most likely change at next year’s National Council Meeting.
Kemi Nakabayashi, Chair of the BCA Music Committee, gave an overview of this new BCA committee and what it has been working on. This committee is the largest committee in the BCA system. Although they were an Ad Hoc committee at the onset, they can now be considered a permanent committee within the BCA.
The National Council elected John Arima (Mountain View), Jeff Kawahara (San Mateo), and Arleen Miya (Gardena) as Directors at Large.
At the end of regular business, the National Council discussed how temples need to prepare for reopening. The BCA Executive Committee will be putting on another webinar on this subject later this year. Also, the National Council discussed the recent anti-Asian violence that was taking place in the country. In particular, the recent vandalism that took place at the Los Angeles Higashi Honganji Temple was discussed.
On behalf of the BCA Executive Committee, I would like to thank the BCA staff for all the work it did in preparing for this meeting. I would also like to thank the Bay District, and in particular, the technology committee of the National Council Meeting planning committee who assisted during the meeting. The technology committee helped to make this virtual meeting run exceptionally smooth.
After the meeting concluded, the entire BCA was invited to hear special recorded Dharma talks given by the ministers who retired last year. The talks were given by Rev. Fumiaki Usuki, Rev. Patricia Usuki, Rev. Yukiko Motoyoshi, and Rev. Ron Kobata. After the Sunday Eitaikyo Service, there was a special presentation about former Bishop Umezu and his reflections on his time in the BCA. There was a presentation on Regina Boone and her search for her grandfather who died in the United States after World War II and had his remains returned to Japan. At the conclusion of the Sunday events, Rev. Dr. Takashi Miyaji and Michiko Inanaga gave an entertaining and informative presentation of the Dharma Forward Campaign and the BCA.
I would like to thank Glenn and Michiko Inanaga for helping to arrange a special fundraiser this month for the Dharma Forward Campaign. On May 22, from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. PDT, all online orders for pickup or delivery at Panda Express will help the Dharma Forward Campaign and 28% of sales will be donated to the BCA for the campaign. Please join us in this effort if you are able.