It certainly has been a great start to the school year! With the complete re-opening of all of our facilities beginning in September, it seems like the we have reawakened from a long nap. Most of our affiliated and sponsored organizations have begun to meet in person again including; Dharma School, Japanese Language School, YBA, Scouts, Choir, Judo, Kendo. Other organizations are slowly beginning to meet again; such as BWA, ABA, Sangha Support, Dana and EcoSangha Clubs. Attendance at Sunday morning services also appears to be increasing every week.
Throughout the shutdown, a few groups continued to meet in person. Obviously, the office staff (Randy Suzuki, Deborah Aso, Diane Fujioka, Cindy Aragaki) along with our two ministers (Rinban Sakamoto, Mikame Sensei) continued to meet and carry on the business of the temple. Additionally, our Garden Committee and maintenance crew met weekly (Al Hironaga, Dave Pasqual, Ted Hashiguchi, Mike Mori, Bill Nakamura) to work on everything around the temple. The next time you see any of these individuals around the church, please reach out and thank them for their efforts to keep things going!
As you know, our facilities are quite old (except for the gym/annex which was updated) and require constant maintenance and cleaning. This is a constant battle and therefore the idea of a Betsuin “Maintenance Day” was hatched. As of this writing, the response to our request for help from anyone has been overwhelming! It is a fantastic sign that we all want to help out where we can.
While not everyone can provide physical help, hopefully many of you can provide financial help. As I have discussed previously, our fundraising efforts for our new Dharma Center have begun. You will be seeing more information about how you can help us on this ambitious project. Please see current information in this edition of the Dharma as well as on our website; sjbetsuin.org. In addition to all of the benefits of replacing our old Education Building, will be reduced requirements for future maintenance work!
It seems that we have lost quite a few important members of our Sangha in the past few months. One of the mainstays of the Garden Committee and EcoSangha was Stan Kawamata. He also was Scoutmaster for our Boy Scout Troop 611 for decades. We also lost Earl Santo. Mr. Santo actually started our Cub Scout Pack 611 back in the day. Of course, his family business was a consistent supporter of anything food related at the Betsuin. Lucy Matsumoto also passed recently. Always an ardent supporter of the Betsuin, it was always a pleasure to see her at Sunday services! I am sure there were many others with ties to the Betsuin who have passed as well. In my view, it is vital for the Betsuin to not only survive, but to continue to prosper in order to keep their legacies alive and to provide for future generations of Sangha members!