The Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) is an incorporated religious organization of American Shin Buddhist affiliated with the Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha Hongwanji denomination within the Continental United States.
The BCA is governed by Americans of the Shin Buddhist faith through a Board of Directors comprised of the Bishop, the Board President, the Ministerial Association Chairperson, district-elected Board members, Board members-at-large and representatives from the recognized BCA-affiliated organization.
The American Shin Buddhists within the State of Hawaii have a separate jurisdiction and administration because of the historical separation at the time of its founding since the Kingdom of Hawaii was not a part of the United States. The Jodo Shinshu Hongwanji-ha denomination is organized as the Honpa Hongwanji Mission of Hawaii , headquartered at 1727 Pali Highway, Honolulu, Hawaii 96813.
The Buddhist Churches of America national headquarters serves as a regional center of the World Fellowship of Buddhists and is a supporting member of the World Conference on Religion and Peace (WCRP).
Welcome, and thank you for visiting our website. It is not by accident that you are reading this message. It is, in fact, due to your past karmic conditions.
Nothing happens without a cause or causes and conditions. You may be here because of family influences, a school assignment, or casual Internet surfing. Regardless of the reason, your visit is appreciated and it may even change your life.
I invite you, if possible, to visit a temple or church close to where you live and feel the warmth of the Buddhist Congregation called the sangha.
Let us find the true meaning of our lives through learning the Dharma taught by the Buddha and successive teachers. I assure you; their words of wisdom will inspire you and give a new dimension to your life.
Once again, thank you very much for your visit.
Yours Truly in the Dharma,
Reverend Kodo Umezu, Bishop
Buddhist Churches of America
BCA President’s Message | December National Board Report | February 2015 Message
On December 6, 2014, the Buddhist Churches of America (BCA) National Board held its second meeting of the year at the BCA’s Jodo Shinshu Center (JSC) in Berkeley, California.
Rev. Kodo Umezu, bishop of the BCA, reported that no ministers are scheduled to retire within the year, six prospective ministers are expected to be assigned, and since the June National Board meeting, 14 minister’s assistants have been certified. The World Jodo Shinshu Coordinated Council Meeting of the Hongwanji’s Overseas Districts was held in England last summer, where the bishop submitted his visions of the joint propagation effort of the BCA and Hongwanji.
Rev. Umezu and his wife, Janet, attended the Hoto Keisho Shiki (Ceremony of Transmitting the Jodo Shinshu Tradition) in Kyoto, Japan in June, 2014. During this ceremony, His Eminence Koshin Ohtani retired his position as Monshu and head of the Hongwanji and handed the duties to his son, Kojun Ohtani.
Alan Kita, chief administrative officer, is filling the human resources needs of the BCA by working with a consultant that assists many religious organizations.
Jeff Matsuoka, treasurer, said the final version of the proposed 2015-2016 BCA Budget includes a temple assessment of $1.6 million, which is unchanged from the current budget. In addition, income is also expected from donations, fees, and the BCA Endowment Foundation to cover additional expenses.
Dean, Dr. Richard Payne and Dr. Scott Mitchell, assistant dean, of Institute of Buddhist Studies (IBS) reported there are 26 students enrolled in the 2014 Fall term; nine are ministerial aspirants and ten are enrolled in the chaplaincy program. The Friends of IBS fundraising project has raised $80,000. In 2015, IBS will host three conferences: “Buddhism and Japanese Culture” (March), “The Modernization of Buddhism in Early 20th Century Japan” (April), and “The International Association of Shin Buddhist Studies Conference” (August). On February 26, IBS will co-sponsor with the Center for Buddhist Education (CBE) a symposium “Buddhism and Counseling” at the 2015 San Diego National Council.
Mick Kubota, chair of the Ministers’ Pension Fund Committee, told the Board that there are 37 retired ministers receiving pensions from the BCA. The maximum monthly benefit available is $1,000.
Ken Tanimoto, president-elect, gave the Archives and Historic Preservation Committee report for Eiko Masuyama, chair. The committee wants all BCA members to know that the BCA Collection at the Japanese American National Museum is there to store temple records that would otherwise be lost to future study. The Museum will have a workshop on archiving records at the National Council.
Mary Ann Miyao, chair, Social Welfare Committee, asked that a $10,000 request by the Asian Community Center Senior Services for transportation for seniors to five of the 23 senior nutrition sites in the Sacramento region be approved. The National Board approved the grant.
Mr. Tanimoto also informed the National Board that the donations to the Sustaining Membership Program were allocated by the executive committee to the Bishop’s Expansion Fund for new initiatives and programs that are not in the budget. He also reported that since a long term disability insurance had replaced the Ministers’ Income Protection Program, the former fund was used to replenish funds in the H.E. Kosho Ohtani Monshu Emeritus Special Temple Building Fund.
Up to $100,000 is available to any single temple for repairs, improvements, building, or retiring a property debt through this Fund. The annual interest rate is 1.5%. Application funds are available at the BCA Headquarters.
Judy Kono, chair, Special Functions and Events Committee, announced that the BCA’s 10th Anniversary Commemoration of the JSC will be held on October 22, 2016. Also as chair of the Communications Committee, she asked for two people from each district to provide district news for the BCA website, which may be also be used in the Wheel of Dharma.
Gary Mukai, chair, Evaluation and Planning Committee, is having the committee look at ways how temples that are having financial difficulties can be helped. The committee will also be monitoring a pilot project in the Central California District which, if initiated, will assign ministers not to individual temples but to the district as a whole.
Glenn Kameda, facilities manager, informed the Board that LED lights have been installed in the JSC chapel and mezzanine, as well as in the upper and lower parking levels. He again recommended that solar panels be installed so that we can reduce our utilities expenses and our reliance on the energy grid.
Kent Matsuda, President
Buddhist Churches of America