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  • In 2020 SBCS Sails Skillfully Through First Online Annual Meeting November 20 and December 1–2
  • Sandra Costen Kunz

Due to the corona virus pandemic, the 2020 annual meeting of the SBCS was entirely online. Although we genuinely missed our formal and informal face-to-face gatherings, the board and membership were delighted by the outcome.

The board decided not to use American Academy of Religion (AAR)'s platform due to the expenses that this would have involved for our participants. Instead, we accepted the gracious offer of Georgetown University's Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs to host us on Zoom.

The happy result was that our board meeting completed its agenda effectively in a compressed time frame with our usual good humor and camaraderie. Several of the presentations in our two sessions included beautiful slides, something we've missed at AAR because the convention center and hotel venues charge extremely high projector fees. The first session drew 175 viewers from 14 nations and the second drew 110 viewers from 15 nations. Canada had the second-most viewers after the United States, and Italy was right after Canada. This is, by far, our highest attendance in the past twelve years.

We are still very committed to continuing as a "related scholarly organization" within AAR, having had our status reviewed and renewed at the beginning of this March. We thus look forward to meeting face-to-face in conjunction with their meeting in San Antonio the weekend before Thanksgiving, 2021. The board is also weighing whether or not to hold online events in the future so that we can again make our programming available to people outside the United States, and to faculty, monastics, chaplains, and other people without travel allowances. We welcome your thoughts about this at

board of directors meeting: friday, november 20

President Leo Lefebure called the meeting order at 10 a.m. EST. After the agenda and last year's minutes were approved, we moved immediately to the international advisor's reports, due to the time difference.

European Network of Buddhist Christian Studies Advisor Report

Elizabeth Harris in Britain reported that the papers from the Network's 2019 conference: "Buddhist-Christian Encounter – A Visionary Approach: A Conference [End Page 299] Inspired by Lynn A. de Silva (1919-1982)," held in cooperation with the World Council of Churches, will be published in 2021. Some SBCS members who contributed are Wesley Ariarajah, André van der Braak, Thomas Cattoi, Jim Fredericks, and Amos Yong. They've postponed their conference in Salzburg, "Euro-Buddhism and the Role of Christianity," until June 30 to July 4, 2022.

Liz reported that the discussion in the online meetings of the Buddhist-Christian Dialogue Forum in the UK, which she co-convenes, have sometimes reflected the anger around the trustworthiness of public leaders and institutions. Topics have included: "Resilience, Responsibility and Wise Action in the Current Crisis," "Wise Action in Public Life: How to Speak the Truth without Violence," and "Caring for our One World."

Some of the papers from the 2019 Sri Lanka meeting of the Special Committee of the Red Cross's long-term project on "Buddhism and International and Humanitarian Law" will be published online in the Journal of Buddhist Ethics. A book will be published, too. Because the project is not a mere academic exercise, activists, military and legal experts, and others are involved. Their next conference is scheduled to meet in Chiang Mai, Thailand. Liz hopes it will draw more Mahayana participants.

Japan SBCS Advisor Report

Kuni Terasawa reported from Tokyo where he's teaching online for Wartburg College. Last fall in Hong Kong, he met with Daniel Young who's researching Dao Fong Shan, the Norwegian Lutheran center for Buddhist-Christian dialogue begun there in the early twentieth century. Many Hong Kong Christians are participating in the protest movement, but some people in Hong Kong still hold a bit of resentment about the British government's favoring Christians over Buddhists. Better Buddhist-Christian cooperation could be important for human rights and the democratic movement in Hong Kong, he thinks.

In Korea, where he spent last spring, young Rissho...


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