For the second year in a row, the BCA National Council Meeting was held virtually on March 11-12 with the BCA Ministers Association having met – also virtually – on March 4.
The hosting district was Central California and the Fresno Betsuin was the primary temple in charge.
On March 5, a virtual Town Hall Meeting took place. It was entitled “Messaging and Membership.” Led by Rev. Harada, Bishop of the BCA, speakers talked about ways to increase temple membership. Many of the speakers have had their stories in the April and May issues of the Wheel of Dharma. Rev. Harada continues to stress that effective Buddhist education is the cornerstone of bringing in new members.
Rev. Harada announced that the BCA theme for 2022 was “Moving the Dharma Forward.” He also told the council that Rev. Earl Ikeda, Rev. Kenji Akahoshi, and Rev. Carol Himaka all officially retired last year. Rev. Keizo Norimoto, Rev. Masanori Watanabe, and Rev. Sensho Inouye all passed away last year.
Rev. Harry Bridge, Gicho of the Ministers Association, reported that the Ministers Training and Development Committee was looking into the roles of the Kaikyoshi-ho and Minister’s Assistants as we continue to work with the BCA minister shortage.
Rev. David Matsumoto, President of the Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS), told the attendees that the school currently has 56 students, the highest ever for IBS enrollment. Ten students are waiting to go to Japan to obtain their Kyoshi ordination. This will hopefully take place this year.
Hide Mizuno, Executive Director of the Endowment Foundation reported that all the investment portfolios did well in 2021, but that the portfolios lost money after 2022 began.
Jeff Matsuoka, BCA Treasurer, presented the BCA budget. The National Council passed the budget, which will result in the annual per member dues being $177.02. The council also voted to repurpose unexpended money from the first $1 million of the Dharma Forward Campaign to related work to complete the 2019 National Council resolution proposed by the BCA Strategic and Financial Planning Committee.
Gary Mukai, Chair of the Membership and Propagation Committee, noted that 86 BCA youth individual members joined during 2021. We have 20 BCA adult individual members. This committee may be taking over the annual BCA membership count that is currently done at BCA headquarters.
Mukai reported that a new two-year pilot project with the Yakima Buddhist Church will start. The BCA Communications Committee will help the Yakima Buddhist Church develop a new website. Rev. Harada will assign a Tokudo Minister’s Assistant to the church and a new Buddhist education program will be created. The pilot project will be funded by the Dharma Forward Campaign, the Bishop’s Expansion Fund, the Bloomquist Education Fund, and the church itself.
Steve Terusaki, co-chair of the Joint Committee on Development and Michiko Inanaga, Director of Development, announced that over $5.3 million has been raised for the Dharma Forward Campaign. Pillar coordinators are being selected for the four pillars of the Campaign (Education/Programs, Outreach/Technology, Scholarship/Ministerial Support, and Facilities/Operations).
Celeste Sterrett, Chair of the Social Welfare Committee, told the council that over $90,000 had been distributed since April of 2021. This figure does not include the two $20,000 grants to UNICEF and Global Giving for Ukraine relief.
Judy Kono, Chair of the Communications Committee, told the council that the BCA Guidebook has been updated, and a BCA “Tech Squad” is being developed.
Bishop Rev. Harada presented Mrs. Namy Folick with the BCA National Service Award in honor of the many contributions of her late husband, Jeff Folick. The nomination was proposed by the Endowment Foundation.
The National Council ratified the vote of the BCA National Board with the new lay members of the BCA Executive Committee being: Steve Terusaki (president-elect), Glenn Inanaga (vice president), John Arima (vice president), Jeff Matsuoka (treasurer), and Darlene Bagshaw (secretary).
Terri Omori automatically took the position of president and the entire Executive Committee (including Rev. Harada and Rev. Bridge) was installed after the BCA Eitaikyo Service. Bradley Menda (Berkeley Buddhist Temple), Rick Oishi (Orange County Buddhist Church), and Glenn Inanaga (Orange County Buddhist Church) were elected Directors at Large.
Larry Oda, Coast District chair, told the council that next year’s National Council Meeting would also be held virtually.