The National Buddhist-Christian Dialogue began in 2018. For almost a decade, the National Council of Churches had contemplated this possibility, and in 2017 the organization reached out to The Guibord Center to begin a conversation that led to the co-sponsorship of the dialogue. This reflected, not only the close relationship between the NCC and TGC, but also the reality that, given the demographics, it was best to ground this dialogue on the west coast.
Convening the dialogue are the National Council of Churches, The Guibord Center, Fo Guang Shan Hsi Lai Temple, Claremont School of Theology, and the University of the West. Agendas and programs reflect the participating churches’ interest in discussing theological, communal, and social issues. Building relationships, and indeed friendships, is of course a primary goal of the dialogue, as is increasing our understanding of each other’s faiths and communities.
A team of co-conveners representing the coordinating organizations leads the dialogue planning. These co-conveners include Ven. Miao Xi Shih, Dr. Jane Iwamura, and Dr. Victor Gabriel from the Buddhist community; Rev. Dr. Jeffrey Kuan, Ms. Maryl Walters, and Dr. Tony Kireopoulos from the Christian community; and Dr. Lo Sprague from The Guibord Center.