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Farewell to Rev. Christina Yanko, Dave Ringle and Son Atticus

Four and a half months pass so quickly. In mid August, Rev. Christina reluctantly advised the Bishop and TBC that her husband was unexpectedly recalled to active duty with the United States Coast Guard and that he had to report in short order to a base in the USA. Dave Ringle, as an American, had no choice because it was mandatory that he report for duty. In order to keep their family together, Rev. Christina had to make a very difficult decision to tender her resignation from TBC and JSBTC as a minister effective December 31, 2017. We fully understand and respect her decision to keep her family together.

There are many things which we will soon miss. Rev. Christina had a keen sense of how to demystify many elements of Buddhism. Where Buddhist funeral services once carried traditions which were not clearly understood by many, Rev. Christina helped people understand what they were all about. With mixed marriages and with many funerals not necessarily involving Buddhists or people familiar with the Jodo Shinshu elements of the funeral service, Rev. Christina clearly unraveled these mysteries in an easy manner which made people feel at ease with the services. The act of oshoko was clearly not only described but also demonstrated by her. As things like “Ingo” or other elements were explained, it was not unusual to hear temple members whisper to each other “I didn’t know that.” Thank you Rev. Christina!

When Rev. Christina arrived almost five years ago, she was just freshly minted as a Kaikyoshi Minister and TBC was her first official posting as a Canadian Jodo Shinshu minister. She was initially mentored by then Resident Minister Rev. Tomofumi Fujii but his father unexpectedly took ill and he suddenly passed away. Rev. Fujii had to return home to Japan to continue his father’s temple. This left Rev. Christina alone as the minister in charge of a church with a heavy schedule and not that much experience. She nonetheless accepted the responsibility and persevered. Thank you Rev. Christina!

Inclusiveness and desiring to be inclusive was a hallmark of Rev. Christina. She welcomed and accepted newcomers during her ministry with us. She unabashedly accepted and welcomed many people, personifying the “come as you are” welcome attitude which we work hard at and are proud of as a temple. Many of these newcomers have now become woven into the fabric of our temple and are important to our temple and sense of sangha community. Thank you Rev. Christina!

Rev. Christina’s sense of charity and care and concern towards people was something which I have respected. While I cannot divulge much due to confidentiality and privacy issues, please know that Rev. Christina has touched and massaged the hearts of many people. Thank you Rev. Christina!

Were all things and all challenges and matters always rosy and smooth? Not likely with such a large temple and so many diverse projects, challenges and individual personalities involved. It has been, however, a wonderful laboratory where we can all, as bonbu or foolish human beings, learn to work together and to try to row in the same direction in the best interests of our temple. These challenges and differences in opinion, I believe, act to test us as well as to provide opportunities to teach us and to strengthen all of us and to urge us to work together towards a common consensus and a safe harbour. It has been an opportunity for all of us to learn lessons of mutual respect and being allowed the opportunity to figure out how we can all work together in the best interests of our wonderful temple.

We will also miss the ever smiling face and wonderful nature of Dave Ringle. Atticus was just a baby when he arrived in Toronto so he has grown up with us and our temple. Our temple has been a second home to Atticus. He has now grown and developed so much. We will certainly miss him.
However, we must remember that not all is sad by this necessary farewell as we have been touched by the Yanko-Ringle Family and left with many fond memories and new legacies which we can try to continue and to add to the mix for upcoming years. Namo Amida Butsu. Please join me in once again saying “Thank you Rev. Christina!”

On behalf of our temple congregation and temple supporters, I would like to take this opportunity to wish the Yanko-Ringle Family all the best in their exciting new future and new life adventures.

With Gratitude and in Gassho,
Larry Wakisaka
Toronto Buddhist Church