- The Annual Meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian Studies
The SBCS is one of more than two dozen scholarly societies that have been formally recognized by the American Academy of Religion as a “Related Scholarly Organization.” 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 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 annual members meeting.
The Friday business meeting included reports from each of the SBCS officers and award committees. Guy McCloskey gave the treasurer’s report, which was unanimously accepted. He concluded his service on the board with this meeting, and in January was replaced as treasurer by Denise Yarbrough. The journal report by Wakoh Shannon Hickey and Denise Yarbrough, along with an extended discussion of the overall state of the journal, dealt with issues related to SBCS’s long-term relationship with the University of Hawai‘i Press and the current issue; the Society is working to sign a new memorandum of understanding with the Press. Another topic for discussion included outreach (website, Facebook page) and the need to reach potential new members. SBCS communicates with its whole membership through biannual newsletters. The newsletter is now distributed electronically, with hard copies available at the annual meeting. The decision was made to update the website. The nominating committee reported that three members (Brown, Seitz, Tanaka) will conclude their [End Page 185] terms as board members, but all three will remain on because they serve in other capacities. The Graduate Student Award Committee reported that despite several interesting submissions it did not choose a paper this year. The board spent some time discussing ways to encourage graduate student involvement. Possibilities for increasing graduate student involvement include prioritizing student participation in panels, working with AAR’s efforts to include graduate students, and promoting essays on H-net or other mailing lists. The SBCS board typically has a graduate student representative (currently Glenn Willis).
The Saturday members meeting on November 23 was called to order at 11:40 a.m. The nominating committee proposed a slate, which was unanimously approved. John Makransky was elected to the vice-presidency, and Sallie King, Judith Simmer-Brown, and Abraham Velez were chosen as board members. Elizabeth Harris, president of the European Network of Buddhist-Christian Studies, reported that the papers from their 2011 conference at Liverpool Hope University, titled “Hope a Form of Delusion? Christian and Buddhist Perspectives” will be published. She announced their upcoming conference “Buddhist-Christian Relations in Asia—Burma, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Japan, China, Korea” on June 21–29, 2015, at the Arch Abbey St. Ottilien near Munich, Germany, which has been very involved in monastic interreligious dialogue. She called our attention to the plans being made in Sri Lanka for a centennial celebration of the birth of Lynn de Silva, a pioneer in Buddhist-Christian dialogue and Christian theology of religions. Vice-president Alice Keefe and vice-president-elect John Makransky led us in a discussion of potential session topics. At 11:55 a.m. Terry Muck handed over the presidency to Alice Keefe, who adjourned the session.
The two panels this year (reflected in articles published in this issue of the journal) were “Deep Listening and Spiritual Care” and “New Perspectives on Buddhism and Multiple-Religious Belonging.” Chaired by Alice A. Keefe, the deep listening panel included a contemplative exercise by Judith Simmer-Brown and papers by Duane Bidwell and Sandra Costen Kunz. John Makransky responded. The multiple-belongings panel was cosponsored with the Buddhism in the West Group and included papers by Harold Kasimow, Richard Payne, Emily Sigalow, and Kristin Johnston Largen. Wendy Cadge presided and Donald Swearer responded. In 2014, SBCS is to meet concurrent with the AAR in San Diego. [End Page 186]