2013 December Dharma
It is with great relief that I write this last Dharma article, as my term as board president draws to a close. Every month for 2 years and 11 months, I would sit down at the computer the day before the Dharma deadline and try to think of something worthy of occupying space in the Dharma. It wasn’t easy. However, this last one came easily, as I knew months ago what I would be writing about.
I have mentioned before that when I first agreed to serve as president I did so reluctantly, with the idea that I was “doing the right thing” like I was doing the church a favor. I have found, however, that it is I who have benefited so much from this opportunity and I have so many people to thank for their help and guidance.
The Generations campaign is a monumental undertaking as we step into the 21st Century, for it is the Betsuin’s first major capital campaign in over 60 years. Everyone on the Board is truly committed to the Betsuin and has only the best interests of the Betsuin at heart (contrary to the belief of some). I am grateful that I have gotten a chance to get to know and work with so many wonderful individuals. I would like to thank all of our Board members for accepting the challenge of the capital and building campaign and for making a truly committed effort to accomplishing our goals.
I am particularly grateful for the patience and guidance of our ministers who willingly answered my constant questions and endured my interruptions. Rinban Fujimoto and Reverend Sakamoto are wonderful teachers and I am very grateful that they were always there for me.
I would like to thank so many of the past presidents who have provided advice and mentored me for my three years. I often consulted with Allan Hikoyeda, Al Hironaga, Joyce Iwasaki and Sumi Tanabe whenever there was a subject that I felt was sensitive or complex and they were always willing to impart their wisdom.
Thank you to the Komon members, who were always willing to give me their thoughts and insights on various topics and to share their collective institutional memories—at least 300 years worth!
I would have been lost without the help of the Betsuin office staff who run the operations of the Betsuin. Randy Suzuki, Diane Fujioka, Cindy Aragaki and Robin Shinagawa handle everything from managing the donations, paying the bills, managing the facilities, scheduling services, funerals and events, providing support to the ministers and the Board. You guys are terrific! Thank you!
I tried to spend at least one day in the Betsuin Office every week and I chose Wednesday because Lee Uyeda invited me to join the volunteers for lunch on Wednesdays. I am so glad that I decided to join them. We had delicious lunches, great discussions and lots of laughs. It also gave me an opportunity to see all of the work that is performed by our volunteers every day. It is very humbling when you see how much the volunteers do for us. There is no amount of gratitude that would suffice. People like Stan Kawamata, Al Hironaga, Jim McClure, Warren Shimomura, Larry Kaneshiro, George Hanada, Greg, Marlene and Deborah Aso, Lee Uyeda, Bob and Marlene Terasaki, Bonnie Kobayashi, Bob and Judy Nakano, Bob and Sally Idemoto and the entire Dharma staff are people you can see at least once a week if not more working in the office or on church grounds. There are the volunteers who run the Dharma newsletter, volunteers who maintain our Archives, volunteers who fix anything and everything that is broken on Betsuin property, volunteers who prepare all the mailings, volunteers who arrange the flowers, volunteers who work on Obon and volunteers who serve on committees, just to name a few. It is easy to take so much of this for granted. Thank you to all of our volunteers!
Thank you to all of the Betsuin’s affiliated and sponsored organizations for your hard work and contributions, in particular, the BWA, Sangha Support and ABA, who were always ready to support Betsuin activities.
I would like to thank in particular two special friends who have often gone out of their way to help me on whatever project/idea that came up— Thank you to Joyce Iwasaki and Karen Akimoto for always being willing to help me.
There are so many other people I want to thank but there is not enough space, so in closing, I would like to thank every single member of our Sangha for your contributions, no matter what form. You are what makes our Sangha so special.
I am so fortunate that all the causes and conditions lined up in such a way as to give me this opportunity to serve as temple president, for through this opportunity, I have experienced many a Dharma lesson. I have learned so much, met so many fantastic people, and fostered friendships that I will always cherish. I will be forever grateful. I can only hope that what little I accomplished as president will help repay a small bit of my debt of gratitude to the Betsuin. It has been an honor and a privilege.
We are often reminded that “Namu Amida Butsu” means to live a life of gratitude and that it means “thank you.” Therefore, I say to all of you, Namu Amida Butsu.
The Board received fundraising training from consultant Bruce Davis on November 7, 2013. The Fundraising Committee is working on the brochure and other aspects of the fundraising campaign. We are presently in our “quiet” phase.
The infrastructure Committee met with our architect, Chris Wasney on October 23 and he presented some basic drawings for the remodel of the Annex. Next, the Infrastructure Committee will be working on selecting a general contractor and meeting with consultants and others regarding the kitchen area.
The Board has opened a brokerage account at Union Bank in order to segregate the building funds. The initial deposit will be about $800,000, which consists of moneys from bequests and fundraisers such as the Golf Tournament and dances, as well as remaining Obon profits from the last few years that were not used for operating expenses.