Hard to believe, but it’s almost time to “close the book” on 2021!  Of course, the book on 2021 is going to be pretty thin.  We were not able to do most of the usual things/hold the usual events that we would normally do every year.  However, that doesn’t mean we didn’t accomplish anything this year.

We were able to take advantage of the lull in activities and have the entire gym floor resurfaced.  This involved sanding the floor down to bare wood, refinishing the surface and adding new line markings (including 2 three-point lines). Coupled with the previous work completed during Phase1, it looks like an entirely new gym!  This process took 4 weeks to complete … free weeks that are not normally available.

Improvements were also made to our weekly Sunday service broadcasts.  The broadcasts are now produced by a group of volunteers.  Previously, in addition to running the service and giving a sermon, either Rinban Sakamoto or Reverend Mikame had to produce the program in addition to their other duties.  This eliminates this stress/task from them.  This process will be undergoing further improvements as the current system was not originally set up for this purpose.

The one large, in-person event that we held was the weekend of Sangha Summer and Obon@Home Mo Ichido. Both events required many dedicated volunteers to both plan and make the events come to fruition. I hope that you got the opportunity to buy a bento, see some short performances and then view our online Obon event once again.

We continue to monitor the improving COVID situation in Santa Clara County.  The re-opening committee has begun to allow some small gatherings indoors while following strict capacity limitations.  Small funerals/memorial services are now being held in the Hondo (however, no Otoki).  The plan is to begin holding in-person Dharma School and Japanese Language School classes early next year.  Things are certainly beginning to look up.

Progress on Generations Phase 2 were slowed this year, though not necessarily due to COVID.  However, the pace is now picking up as we have solidified our team.  You can read more about this in Dennis Akizuki’s article later in this edition of the Dharma.  You can also hear more about it at this year’s Betsuin Annual Meeting on Sunday Dec. 5th, right after the Bodhi Day Service.  More information will follow.

It was certainly an historic year, not only for us, but the entire world!  We need to keep that in perspective.  Our missing a few services and events (ok, maybe more than a few) is pretty minor when compared to the misfortunes of many others.  I want to thank everyone for your continued patience as we, hopefully, begin to turn the corner.

In Gassho,