I hope that everyone got to experience our Re-Opening Day last month. It was great to see so many familiar faces….and lots of new ones. Thanks to all of the different Betsuin affiliated and sponsored organizations for participating in the Organization Day activities as well. I always forget how many different groups exist here at our temple.
The whole idea of a Re-Opening Day is a very strange concept to think about. The entire Betsuin had been shut down since April of 2020…nearly 28 months ago. But, thanks to the perseverance of many individuals here at the Betsuin, especially Rinban Sakamoto and Mikame Sensei, we continued to operate throughout the shutdown. In addition, thanks to all of our Sangha who followed, and continue to follow the recommended guidelines to keep us safe. I have not heard of any large outbreaks of COVID amongst our members.
The silver lining to the shutdown is that it gave us time to pause and think…to think about our past, the present and now the future. We lost many Sangha members during the past 28 months. Many of them were the pioneers of our temple and we have them to thank for their sacrifices for creating this temple that we enjoy to this day.
The shutdown has also allowed us to review the present condition of our temple and surrounding campus. While we are all happy to be back to “normal” operations here at the temple, there is quite a long list of repairs and upgrades that need to be addressed. We have scheduled a “Maintenance Day” for later this month. We hope to get many of you to come out for a half day to lend a hand in addressing some of the urgent tasks…no special skills necessary, just a willingness to help us here at the temple.
And finally, a look to the future. During the shutdown, the Generations Phase II committee continued to meet to work on developing plans for the future of the Betsuin. I hope that all of you have had the chance to hear about and see our plans for the new Dharma Center, the replacement for the current Education Building. This beautiful building will provide modern facilities that are both seismically safe and ADA compliant while tending towards being “carbon neutral”. The official launch of our fundraising campaign starts this month. You will begin to see more information about this effort. Our goal is to raise $15 million. We have already raised nearly half of that amount with the help of some very generous donors. We hope that all of you will join us in this effort to continue the vision of the early founders of the temple!