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Spiritual Directors Report,October 5, 2014

Community Annual Meeting “Where have we been and Where are we Going”

I reported on the year just one month ago at the end of August 2014. Quite a bit has happened since that short amount of time, it’s a good reflection on just how busy the leaders of our community are and how much they are accomplishing. Below you will find last months report in italic’s followed with an update.

August Report: We’ve done crazy lot of work this past year resulting in a move from securing a foundation to sustaining a foundation. To name a few milestones, this move required that we support our community to stick together while scaling down our programs by 75%, raise money, restructure our donation verbiage to include fundraising, restructure our operations to include training leaders within the community, expand our renters base, adopt a MOU (written from scratch) and vet new programs and leaders to bring our offerings of events, classes and workshops back online. As well we’ve revamped our mode of operations to include a leadership training program that encourages a base of volunteers in maintaining the building while hosting all events in a smooth and harmonious fashion.

September follow-up: Our Operations Teams have begun to form. Attached you will find a description of the teams and their responsibilities.

Greg Satir is lead person for the Stewardship Team. Charla Chamberlain is lead person for the CareTakers Team. Jessica Swanson had stepped up as lead person for the Communications team only to have health issues require she stepped down for an uncertain amount of time. Sakula has taken this on for now. All teams have begun to secure volunteers.

In discussion with LP Pasanno, Ajahn’s Nyaniko, Karunadhammo and Caganandho and Tan Thitabho, the following monastic invitations have been sent out for potential visits in 2015: LP Pasanno, Pacific Hermitage Monastics, LP Viradhammo, Ajahn Sona, Ayya Thataaloka and Ayya Medhanandi. I am waiting to hear back from them.

August Report: boards good efforts have not gone unnoticed by the monastics of our lineage. Demonstrating their support by their presence at our Grand Opening were 13 monks, 1 priests and over 200 lay people. And the word spreads. In my recent visit to Victoria B.C. (for a retreat with Ajahn Geoff), the leaders of the Victoria Insight Meditation Community shared with me their hope to absorb a bit of what we have done in Portland as inspiration to what they might do in Victoria (i.e. moving toward a foundation in support of monastic teachers). They were so moved by what we have accomplished that they invited me up to observe, commune and advise with them as they consider (under Ajahn Sona’s advice) to mimic how PFoD operates.

September follow-up: In September I led a three day retreat at Wat Attam in Woodenville, WA. Ajahn Ritthi was quite vocal in offering kudo’s to our community for purchasing a building without a resident monk to insure dana. He noted how challenging this must be and opened his store room of supplies and instructed the six PFoD folks take whatever we could use for our community needs.

He also expressed his hope that our two communities might find ways to strengthen a mutually beneficial relationship with one another. I’ll be visiting him within the next couple months to explore just how this may play out.

August Report: Program Committee has developed several new programs and has its eye on still developing a family/kids program and a lineage/training program. Besides these two in development, the committee, like the board, at a stage of sustaining/maintaining as opposed to creating. For at least the next six months, if not longer, this committee will meet every other month, half as often as this past year in which it saw to or brought back and implemented The Beginners Program, A Chanting Workshop, A Buddhism 101 Course, A Book Club and oversaw the changing schedules and format of the Sunday evening and the Friday Night gatherings.

September follow-up: An adult supervised child care program has been added to the Sunday Sila program as well as a monthly community pot luck. I’ve also been in communication with Ajahn Nyaniko and Ajahn Karunadhammo and received their enthusiastic support in offering a six week beginners Upasika program. In considering what I’d like to offer for a beginners introduction about training within our lineage, I thought (and much enjoy the thought) of this particular angle. I am looking forward to reviewing this program with the Program Committee.

August Report: A Few Final mentionable’s: With LP Pasanno’s blessings, Matthew, Jessica and myself will form a Teacher’s Round Table (a casual gathering to support our roles as Dhamma leaders/teachers). Scott Benge and Heather Fercho, also with LP Pasanno’s blessings have accepted our invitation to sit in for us when any one of us are unable to be present for our groups.

September follow-up: With Matthew away for six weeks, Scott and Heather have taken the over the teaching duties of his Friday evening meditation/class of ‘Investigations’. Jessica continues to step in for me on a nearly monthly bases. It’s lovely to have their support and leadership to help anchor the offerings we have here and PFoD.

August Report: on Ongoing Research into Ways to Support Community Harmony:

Community Tea: Establishing a monthly or bi-monthly Tea hosted by members of the Board,Program Committee and Operational Teams as a means to communicate  and engage with interested parties of the community about decisions and activities of PFoD’s leaders.

Conflict resolutions: In considering ways to promote harmony I did a bit of research on what steps to take when harmony is disrupted with conflict. I came across a movement born out of Non Violent Communications called Restorative Circles. I thought this seemed worth sharing as a possible addition to our operations. If you are interested in learning about this method of resolution Please watch this video.

September follow-up: I met with the Pacific Hermitage monks to get their feedback on the above report regarding efforts to organize a support system regarding community harmony. Ajahn Karunadhammo was especially supportive and suggested I begin NVC right away which I am actively looking into. With his support I am eager to put some further ideas into place. Likely we’ll have some movement by next board meeting. Stay tuned. 

August Report: on Visioning:

With input, edits and feedback from several people, I have been working on crafting a Vision Statement to provide direction in developing a 3 to 5 year plan.

Vision Statement: We envision a City Sanctuary/Refuge, where we as laypeople can set aside our worldly burdens within a community that nurtures virtue, contentment and calm, so wisdom can arise. We aim to provide support for personal explorations into the Buddha’s teachings, guidance in training our minds, and direct contact with lineage of Ajahn Chah monastics. Finally we envision a community of mutual support and companionship as we strive to apply these teaching in our daily lives, and walk the eight fold path.

September follow-up: The board will be meeting for a day-long working retreat within the next 60 days to review the vision and mission statements. The final drafts will then anchor a three day working retreat where they will craft a three to five year plan. This will take place in February of 2015.