Districts to Meet in Homes Starting in July
At the Central Executive Committee Conference, representative leaders vote to take significant steps toward fully reopening activities in 2023.
The World Tribune
Read the full Central Executive Committee Conference report, SANTA MONICA, Calif.—In a series of significant developments toward fully reopening the SGI-USA, Central Executive Committee (CEC) members voted to lift COVID-19 vaccination and mask requirements for those attending and supporting meetings at our Buddhist centers and rental facilities, with the new guidelines to go into effect in July for all Florida Nature and Culture Center conferences. The CEC members also voted to begin holding district study and discussion meetings in members’ homes starting in July—the first time since the start of the pandemic. In tandem, an approval process will be introduced that outlines consistent standards for holding safe and enjoyable discussion meetings in members’ homes. CEC members implemented these changes in a daylong conference held on March 4, 2023, at the SGI-USA Headquarters in Santa Monica, California. In a poignant message to the conference, Ikeda Sensei praised the SGI-USA members for their great progress. He continued: The greater the challenges that you face, please resoundingly chant Nam-myoho-renge-kyo—“the greatest of all joys”1—and cheerfully sow the seeds of Buddhahood widely. Please make the SGI-USA, which is a model for the world, shine ever more brightly with victory. A new national young women’s leader is appointed The meeting opened with SGI-USA General Director Adin Strauss announcing the following leadership appointments: • SGI-USA Young Women’s Leader: Amelia Gonzalez • SGI-USA Vice Young Women’s Leader: Maya Gunaseharan Mr. Strauss expressed his deep appreciation to Ms. Gunaseharan, who had served as the young women’s leader since January 2019. In a brief determination (see p. 8), Ms. Gonzalez, who resides in New York, shared that when she began her Buddhist practice in high school and faced significant challenges, her seniors in faith taught her that sharing Buddhism was the essence of faith. Sharing Buddhism with others taught her how to not give up on anyone. “From there, I learned that if I just chant and decide No matter what, my friend will become happy, then it will happen,” Ms. Gonzalez said. Mr. Strauss also acknowledged the following CEC members attending the conference in person for the first time: • East Territory Young Women’s Leader: Boram Han • East Territory Young Men’s Leader: Michael Cornell • Central Territory Men’s Leader: Mike Woods Mr. Strauss shared three themes of empowerment for advancing kosen-rufu in 2023: propagation, raising youth and unity (see message on p. 8). He also emphasized empowering young people to come up with fresh approaches to youth activities, while at the same time asking the men and women to take full responsibility for finding and raising capable youth in this Year of Youth and Triumph. “Without departing from the core aspects of faith,” he said, “they can come up with refreshing new activities that inspire and attract youth,” adding, “Raising youth is a mandate for us.” The following are highlights from the March CEC conference.