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  • The Annual Meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies
  • Sandra Costen Kunz and Jonathan A. Seitz

The Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies (SBCS) is one of more than two dozen scholarly societies that have been formally recognized by the American Academy of Religion as Related Scholarly Organizations. The pattern for many years has been for the SBCS to hold its annual meeting in conjunction with the annual meeting of the AAR. On the Friday before the AAR’s Annual Meeting begins, the Society’s board meets in the morning and early afternoon, followed by an AAR-advertised session late that afternoon. On Saturday, another paper session or panel is followed by the Society’s annual members’ meeting.

A highlight of the 2012 SBCS annual meeting was the unanimous approval, first by the governing board and later by the membership in attendance, of a major revision of the society’s bylaws. This revision focused largely on updates necessitated by changes in the ways scholars communicate day-to-day and in scholarly publications, and in international banking practices, because of the expanding use of electronic media. This revision was well over a year in the making, with particularly generous input of time and thought by former board member Grace Burford and Treasurer Guy McCloskey, and with efficient guidance by President Terry Muck.

Another highlight of this 2012 gathering was the announcement at the board meeting that the SBCS’s reapplication for formal status as a Related Scholarly Organization of the AAR was accepted for another five years. Among other privileges, this status makes it possible for us to communicate our calls for papers, session plans, and annual meeting schedule through AAR’s website and print publications.

At the governing board meeting, Treasurer McCloskey noted an increase of more than 7 percent in paying members, but it was agreed that the society could carry [End Page 193] out its purposes more effectively if we were to welcome more new members. One especially notable new member is C. Denise Yarbrough (University of Rochester), who was unanimously approved at the members meeting as the Christian co-editor of this journal, along with Buddhist co-editor Wakoh Shannon Hickey (Notre Dame of Maryland University), who signed on in 2011.

Rita Gross, who formerly co-edited the journal and was president of the Society, was elected to the board, replacing Amos Yong, whose term ended in 2012. We are extremely grateful for his leadership in many areas, including the Streng Book Award Committee. Abraham Vélez de Cea was unanimously approved to chair the Streng Book Award Committee, with Mary Jeanne Larabee continuing on the committee and David Gardiner being approved as the third member. Alice Keefe, in her vice presidential role as program chair, took note of the lively discussion about possible topics for next year’s panel sessions.

The Friday afternoon seminar was titled “Contemplative Pedagogy: Pitfalls and Potentials.” Panelists included John D. Copenhaver (Shenandoah University), Kristine T. Utterback (University of Wyoming), Andrew O. Fort (Texas Christian University), and Judith Simmer-Brown (Naropa University). The respondent was William H. Green (Tougaloo College), and Wakoh Shannon Hickey (Notre Dame of Maryland University) presided. Versions of the four panelists’ papers are included in this volume of the journal, as well as additional papers on the topic by other authors.

In lieu of its customary field trip, this year the SBCS encouraged participants to attend the new film Jesus & Buddha: Practicing across Traditions (Old Dog Documentaries, 2012), screened on Friday night before the AAR Annual Meeting. In the film, three leading figures in Buddhist-Christian dialogue were interviewed: Paul F. Knitter (Union Theological Seminary), Robert Kennedy, SJ (St. Peter’s College), and Chung Hyun Kyung (Union Theological Seminary). A discussion, over which Knitter presided, followed the film.

The Saturday panel was “The Ethics of Wealth in a World of Economic Inequality: Buddhist and Christian Perspectives.” Panelists included Joerg Rieger (Southern Methodist University), Alan Jay Richard (Realistic Living, Inc.), and Carol S. Anderson (Kalamazoo College). The respondent was Mark Wood (Virginia Commonwealth University), and Alice A. Keefe (University of Wisconsin) presided. At the end of this session, before the member’s meeting, we enjoyed P. J. Johnston’s...


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