In early April, the Buddhist Churches of America (Jodo Shinshu tradition) appointed Japanese-born Rev. Kodo Umezu as the new socho (bishop); the formal accession ceremony took place on June 2. Umezu replaces Socho Koshin Ogui, who served in the position for eight years, and is the Buddhist Churches of America’s 14th bishop. Rev. Umezu was born in Fukuoka (福岡市) in Fukuoka Prefecture in Japan and graduated from Ryukoku University (a Buddhist seminary) in 1973, the year he came to the United States as a BCA minister.
Rev. Umezu served as minister at the Fresno Betsuin and finished his studies at the Institute of Buddhist Studies in 1976, receiving his MA. After serving in the US Navy for four years, he became a minister at the Los Angeles Betsuin; he has also served as minister at the Buddhist Church of Oakland, as executive assistant to Bishop Hakubun Watanabe, and as director of the Center for Buddhist Education in Berkeley.