May 6, 2017
Denny facilitated the meeting. There were 19 Sangha members in attendance. After introductions, he reviewed the Sangha mission & vision statements. He shared that the emphasis of the meeting is to listen to Sangha members, and to find additional
ways to serve and foster deeper connections among Sangha members.
Committee updates :
SenGen : Cindy reported that there were 17 people present at the first meeting. A suggestion was made that this group present a summary to the community about what they are finding from their discussions after a few months of meeting.
Book Club : Phil reported that the Book Club is going well. It now meets the second Wednesday of the month from 6:00-7:30. A suggestion was made that the chapters to read are posted on the website calendar.
Caring Committee: Denny gave a summary of the meal train, emphazing it is an opportunity to connect with and support Sangha members. There was a good discussion on ways to get additional people to sign up: expand the email list; post an eye-catching sheet at the sangha house that describes what the Care Committee does, as not everyone looks at the website, and remind people at the Sunday Sit. This would not necessarily resurrect the practice of having lots of announcements each
week, but led to a good discussion on bringing back announcements at the beginning of the Sunday sit, but keep them very brief.
Financials: Cindy reported that the overall financial status of Sangha is very solid. We covered our commitments for the residential retreat, and, in addition, Brian and Susie donated $900 to our scholarship fund. Our non-residential retreats will continue to be dana based. Jane reminded us that we have been in “Our” Sangha House for 2 ½ years. The pledges ALMOST cover our monthly expenses. She encouraged anyone who is regularly putting money in the dana box, to think about making it an official pledge. We were also reminded that we can change our commitment at any time, but that pledges give us the basis for longer-term planning and more peace of mind.
Retreats: Denise reported that we got great feedback from our recent Blazing Mountain 2017 Residential Retreat and assured everyone that the board is considering the comments from our recent Survey Monkey on our future retreat. (the feedback was split on 5 or 6 day preference. And, although the feedback on the Blazing Mountain facility was consistently positive, the expense was an issue.) For the 2019 Residential Retreat the consensus was that the group liked Blazing Mountain. The majority agreed that they would attend a 5 day rather than a 6 day retreat to help lower costs. It was suggested that we try to get the larger dorm rooms to provide a cheaper option than the 4 person dorm rooms. She reported that our next non-residential retreat will be September 16-17 and online registration will be opening very soon.
Sit Leaders: Discussion at the meeting confirmed the results from the Survey Monkey inquiry (details of the entire survey will be shared later), that, with perhaps one exception, there’s nothing about the structure of the Sunday Sit that has discouraged anyone from volunteering to lead. Those who have
done it feel supported and appreciated. It was also discussed that some guidance, and coaching could help attract more people to volunteer to be Sit Leaders. Jane circulated a sheet that encouraged those who would like guidance to make
themselves known. The idea was brought up that maybe we need more defined topics, such as the Eightfold Path. Others reminded us that we are not teachers and having specific topics puts the sit leaders in the role of teacher. One person stated sit leaders are there to share their own experience. It was asked if people wanted just to come sit on Sundays and have no discussion. The consensus was that discussion was important and liked. The idea emerged that it would be OK sometimes if no one signed up to Sit Lead. That would require a widespread understanding of what to do in that case – and perhaps a notice posted in the sangha house to the effect that whoever is willing could serve as timekeeper, and oversee a very simple opening up discussion. Another way to support leaders was offered, and that is to have a backup-person to call if a scheduled sit leader couldn’t make it at the last minute. Jane, Cindy and Denny volunteered to be the contact people, in hopes of easing the minds of some who were otherwise reluctant to sign up. There was also some discussion about broadening the content of some week’s programs; (note this is a separate issue from encouraging more sit leader volunteers). There was a request for some programs that would help new students understand the basics of Buddhist philosophy; that would be OK with some experienced members as well, since review of basics is often welcome.
Yogi Jobs: Jane reminded everyone that signups for “House Cleaning” and “Yard Maintenance” are done at the Sangha house. A list was circulated and then posted on the kitchen wall. We will be installing a watering system, so the job of “watering” will be taken care of. Yard maintenance will then involve picking up trash, general cleanup and weeding.
Denise ended the meeting at 12:45 with a heartfelt Metta meditation.
And please don't forget
Sunday sit leaders can sign up on our website at the bottom of the community page:
Our deepest blessings and thanks to you all for being part of our wonderful community,
Your sangha board