Happy New Year! And hello!

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I’m the new temple president. I know many of you and hope to meet those I don’t know in the weeks and months to come.

I begin my term in the midst of one of the most exciting and at the same time challenging periods in the long history of the temple and its members.

After some 18 years of hoping, discussing and planning, last year we started the temple’s most ambitious building project since the 1950s, the retrofit and remodel of the gym/multi-purpose room complex. It is well underway and is on schedule is to be completed by mid-June.

As we continue to aggressively raise money to pay for that work, we must remember that this is just the first phase of a larger project that will lay the foundation for future generations of the San Jose Buddhist Church Betsuin and the Sangha.

The second phase, which envisions a new building across the street from the Hondo, will house classrooms for Dharma School, Japanese Language School, scout groups and activities; a new library and multimedia center, and a section designed specifically for Lotus Preschool.

While raising money for Phase 1 is the immediate concern, we are preparing to become more active in doing the same for Phase 2. In fact some people have already donated money for the second part of the overall project.

At the same time we work on these physical projects, we are not neglecting the welfare and religious education of the Sangha. One example is the board is actively discussing new programs, especially for young adults and young families. We are updating our contact list so we can more quickly communicate with the membership about services and events.

We must continue to make the temple a warm, friendly, open place for not only members, but people outside our immediate community who have an interest in Jodo Shinshu Buddhism and those who have family ties to us but for whatever reason are not more engaged in our programs and activities. To the first group: We welcome one and all. To the second group: Come home to the temple.

These are indeed exciting and challenging times. But I have no doubt if we all come together and work for benefit of the temple, we can overcome all obstacles and ensure its future.


In Gassho,

Dennis Akizuki.