Happy New Year!  While I do admit to a certain amount of naivete, I remain the eternal optimist.  The beginning of 2020 was certainly a low point.  Remember March of 2020?  That is when the COVID situation worsened and California became the first state to issue a “stay-at-home” order.  Seems like eons ago!  Soon all states (and in fact, most of the world) followed.  Use of masks and social distancing became part of our everyday vocabulary.  Who knew what social distancing meant back then?!  There were dire predictions that 800,000 people in the US would succumb to this disease.  Sadly, that projection has come true.  

If not for the heroic efforts of the medical community, many more would have perished.  Eventually, an historic effort by the combined efforts of academia, governmental agencies and the pharmaceutical industry produced several vaccines which have proven to be lifesavers and the number of infections reduced dramatically.  With reduced infections came a gradual relaxation of the rules for shutdowns and isolation and business has begun to recover.  While we are still not “out of the woods”, the positive trend cannot be ignored.  My hope is that people will continue to believe in the science!

I am also hopeful that people will also soon believe in the science of climate change.  While this topic has been debated for decades, the evidence cannot be ignored any longer.  It seems like there is almost weekly news of some sort of historic change in weather patterns or weather consequences around the world…not just water starved California!  Again, I view this from an optimistic viewpoint that as more and more people are convinced, changes will be made.

It is with this optimistic bias, I look forward to the year 2022!  We have slowly begun to reopen some of the facilities at the church.  Various organizations have begun to have activities again.  While a decision has not yet been made on a 2022 Obon (always the second full weekend in July), we hope to have some sort of event once again.  Phase II efforts will begin to take off, both from design/planning as well as fundraising perspective.  

So, I hope that you are as optimistic about 2022 as I am!  Please keep in touch with the church through our website and monthly Dharma newsletters.  And remember to renew your 2022 membership…it is vital for our continued success!

In Gassho,