At long last Reverend Etsuko Mikame has arrived. Our hopes that she would arrive sooner probably made the wait seem much longer. But she is now here. In the days to come there will be opportunities to meet Mikame Sensei and welcome her into the Sangha.
The Betsuin has not had a new Kaikyoshi in a very long. We have had Kaikyoshi come and spend a few weeks in orientation. They were then sent on to their temple assignments. We have worked with ministers like Revs. Fukuma, Torimi, Fujita and Mukojima. Rev. Mukojima had spend some time in the Favelas in Brazil but he was new to the BCA. He went on to serve the Visalia, San Deigo and the Mt View Buddhist temples. In the past thirty years the three Rinbans, Revs. Inouye, Ohata and Fujimoto, all had long history with the BCA. Rev. Himaka had already served in other temples. Rev. Hirano was the only minister to be assigned to the Betsuin with no previous temple experience. Rev. Hirano however grew up in the BCA. When we arrived I had already served the Honolulu Betsuin, the Oakland Buddhist Temple and the White River Buddhist Temple.
Reverend Mikame is the first minister, in a very long time, to be assigned to the Betsuin who has come directly from Japan. We are truly fortunate that Sensei’s English is excellent. Especially for me. You can view her first Dharma Message at the Betsuin Facebook site. She is a graduate of Waseda University with a degree in English Literature and English Education. She is a Fukyoshi, which is a certification given to a minister who has completed special training in preparing and delivering Dharma talks.
Sensei grew up in a temple family. She helped conduct daily services and cared for the temple. She has worked in a company office and taught English in Chiba, an area of Japan near Tokyo. She is a graduate of Chuobukkyo Gakuen, the seminary and training school of the Hongwanji. She brings all of that experience with her. With sensei’s help the Betsuin will continue to share the Dharma and open its doors to all.