- The Annual Meeting of the Society for Buddhist-Christian StudiesAtlanta, Georgia, USA November 20–21, 2015
Each year the SBCS, as a “Related Scholarly Organization” of the American Academy of Religion, holds its annual meeting concurrently with AAR’s annual meeting. For many years the pattern has been to hold our board meeting on Friday morning and early afternoon; to offer at least two panels, paper sessions, or other type of presentation (sometimes in conjunction with other scholarly organizations); and to hold our annual members meeting following one of these sessions. Usually a session is scheduled for late Friday afternoon, followed by a dinner gathering, often hosted by a local Buddhist or Christian community.
governing board meeting
This year’s Friday board meeting began with member Ruben Habito’s leading us in a moment of silence for Rita Gross, who had died nine days prior. One of the society’s founders and a clarion voice within AAR, Rita served as co-editor of the society’s journal and in almost every other capacity.
After the agenda and minutes were approved, the board approved the report from treasurer Glenn Willis, who noted, happily, that the new online renewal system is working well and that members would be emailed renewal reminders. The journal co-editors’ report from Carol Anderson and Thomas Cattoi was followed, first, by thanks for their fine work during their first year and then by discussions about copy-editing, the role and tasks of the editorial board, and how to memorialize Rita Gross. Sid Brown was approved for another term as book review editor, with much gratitude for her work.
Editor Jonathan Seitz’s thoughtful newsletter report suggested ways to get new members onto the mailing list and to facilitate communication within the society and preserve our institutional history. After brief consideration of alternatives, it seemed wise to stick with the current newsletter format. [End Page 205]
The Nomination Committee reviewed officer, board, and committee vacancies and needs, followed by discussion of which scholars might be approached to fill these positions. (Society officers are ex-officio board members.)
Much of the meeting was devoted to the report of the new Social Media and Website Committee, which was greeted with kudos for the lovely new website, especially for the work of board member Judith Simmer-Brown and her daughter, Alicia Brown. After some brainstorming about website images, the board’s Executive Committee was authorized to allocate funds for these. Judith’s summary of the new site’s traffic noted more than 1,600 visitors, including many Asian, European, and young visitors and followers. Fifty-two memberships were processed online. In light of this committee’s importance for the society’s future, the board initiated the process to amend the bylaws to make it a standing committee with ex-officio board membership for the chair. The board gratefully accepted Ayo Yetunde’s offer to do website housekeeping, pending the members meeting’s approval.
David Gardiner, chair of the Streng Book Award Committee, announced that this year’s award went to former board member Amos Yong’s Cosmic Breath: Spirit and Nature in the Christianity-Buddhism-Science Trialogue. Committee member Tom Hasting’s insightful newsletter review of the book was noted. David Gardiner was approved for another term as the committee’s chair. John Makransky, chair of the Program Committee, noted that everyone was invited to their lunch meeting to discuss session topics for next year. The Membership Committee, co-chaired by the treasurer and secretary, discussed how its composition might be reworked to best foster the society’s growth. The board suggested bylaws changes to effect that.
Final Governing Board business included potential bylaws changes to clarify the role of international advisors. Discussion of an international conference was postponed until this role is solidified and such leadership needed for conference planning is in place.
2015 sessions and shambhala visit
The board meeting was followed by the society’s session “What’s Wrong with Us? What’s Wrong with the World?” chaired by Alice Keefe with Thomas Cattoi, Glenn Willis, Roger Haight, and Hsiao-Lan Hu presenting and Kristen Largen responding. A lively discussion followed their...