On January 29, Hawaii Betsuin held its annual Membership Meeting and New Year’s Party.

Following the 10 a.m. Sunday service featuring a message by Rev. Yuika Hasebe, members gathered in the Social Hall for a brief membership meeting emceed by Hawaii Betsuin Board President Jerry Tamamoto. One of the items Jerry highlighted was the upcoming centennial of our temple building and the establishment of the Kensho Fund for temple maintenance and renovations. The centennial is 2018 but centennial-related events will begin in 2017. More information about centennial events as well as reports about 2017 will appear in upcoming issues of the Goji newsletter.

The New Year’s Party also gave us a chance to say Aloha Oe to Reverend Tomioka, who is soon moving to the Big Island to be the resident minister for the Puna Hongwanji, Naalehu Hongwanji, and Pahala Hongwanji. Rev. Tomioka arrived in Honolulu in 2012 and was assigned to Betsuin following his orientation at Mission Headquarters. Dharma School, the Betsuin taiko group, BWA and others expressed their deep appreciation, gratitude, and well wishes to Rev. Tomioka with various presentations and performances.

Also honored at the New Year’s Party were Asoka Award winners Alan Goto and Mel Kawahara. The Asoka Award “recognizes the sustained effort of individuals who have supported the Honpa Hongwanji Hawaii Betsuin… and have contributed their knowledge and talents so that the Jodo Shinshu teachings continue to be perpetuated through the temple services, programs, and activities.”

Both honorees have extensive records of service to the temple. Alan is a current board vice president, has previously served multiple terms as president, is a point person for meditation sessions, and is a leader in the Betsuin’s Family Promise and other social concerns efforts. Mel is current board member, long-time chair of the Golf Tournament and annual silent auction fundraisers, a Wednesday Gang stalwart and often cook, and performs the key task of transporting recyclables collected at the church — raising yet more funds for temple operations.

Congratulations to the Events Committee, chaired by Wendy Harman and Irene Nohara, for a fun and memorable event and kudos to our young event emcee, Alex Harman, who did a wonderful job.

Mahalo nui loa for all the volunteers who made the event happen and to our members for attending and supporting Betsuin!

Click photos to enlarge. For more photos, see the New Year’s Party category in our photo and video gallery.