Via Sweeping Zen…
According to a new email document added to the Sasaki Archive, Kyozan Joshu Sasaki will be stepping down as Abbot of Rinzai-ji on July 21, 2013. He has designated Eshin John Godfrey of the Zen centre of Vancouver in Canada to step in as Abbot designate. Additionally, Gento Steve Krieger and Ginsei Ginger Calloway have also both been named as Vice-Abbot designates. All three sangha members will assume their new responsibilities on the same day Sasaki steps down. During this time, Eshin is learning about his new role from Sasaki and Rinzai-ji staff.
According to the email letter, which originated from Paul Humphreys (Acting President of the Rinzai-ji Board of Directors):
Eshin will also continue to serve as a member of the Transitional Leadership Team that is charged with improving communications, holding the Bearing Witness process, and investigating future organizational models for the Greater Sangha of Rinzai-ji.
The Bearing Witness process was started soon after allegations of sexual misconduct were first brought against Sasaki by one of his former monks, Eshu Martin of the Victoria Zen Centre (see “Everybody Knows – Kyozan Joshu Sasaki and Rinzai-ji”), and others. The purpose of the Rinzai-ji process is to “confidentially receive the stories of the women who are hurting, and work with them to move toward healing.”
There is also the Independent Witness Council for the Rinzai-ji Community comprised of Myoan Grace Schireson, Chozen Jan Bays and Hozan Alan Senauke. Though the independent group of Zen teachers had released their findings in January of 2013, they are still open to hearing from those who wish to talk with them.