Do I need to go through a formal ceremony in order to take refuge or is this “informal” in Shin Buddhism?
There is no requirements or initiation ceremony to be a Shin Buddhist, just come as you are and be part of our Sangha (that is, to be a part of the group of “fellow travelers”).
To be a member of the Midwest Buddhist Temple, one only needs to make a financial “pledge” (fill out the Pledge Form). From time to time, we do have a ceremony conducted by the bishop of the Buddhist Churches of America (our national organization) in which one receives a Buddhist name and pledges to follow the Three Treasures—the Buddha, the Dharma (the Teaching) and the Sangha. But this is optional.
Gassho (with palms together), Rev. Ron