By John Arima
MVBT Minister’s Assistant
Due to the COVID pandemic, our Urabon-e / Hatsubon Services were held virtually over Zoom in 2020 and 2021. When the Temple’s Health & Safety Committee updated the MVBT guidelines to allow limited attendance, in-person services in the Hondo, the Religious Planning Committee decided to have the families of the Hatsubon honorees attend this year’s service in-person. In order to do this, the Temple held its first Hybrid Service.
What we are calling a Hybrid Service, is when there are in-person and online attendees both participating in the service. For our 2022 Urabon-e & Hatsubon Service, we had attendees in-person in the Hondo, attendees participating via Zoom, and Rev. Mukojima officiating the service via Zoom from Japan.
The service was held live and officiated by Rev. Mukojima live from Renko-ji, his family temple in Obama City, Fukui Prefecture, starting at 2:00 am Monday, Japan Time (10:00 am, California Time). Sensei and Mika were in the Hondo of Renko-ji and joined us via Zoom. In our Hondo in Mountain View, the Hatsubon honorees’ families attended in-person, following Temple COVID protocols, with Minister’s Assistants John Arima and Devon Matsumoto supporting Rev. Mukojima. Temple President, Bob Matsumoto chaired our service and Ken Nakano assisted as part of our O-asaji group.
A projector screen was set up in the Mountain View Hondo so that the in-person attendees could see and hear Rev. Mukojima through Zoom. This screen showed the same view of the service that everyone participating via Zoom saw. Sensei gave an aspiration for the Hatsubon honorees, led sutra chanting of Amida-Kyo and gave his Dharma Message live via Zoom. In the Mountain View Hondo, the Minister’s Assistants followed Rev. Mukojima during sutra chanting, while the Hatsubon families lit lanterns in honor of their loved ones. Included as part of the service were pre-recorded COVID style performances from 2020 by the MVBT Choir.
John Arima, Minister’s Assistant