Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

Red Cedar Zen Board of Directors Meeting Minutes

2015 Annual Meeting - DRAFT

DATE: January 20, 2016
PRESENT: Board members Edie Norton, Ken Oates, Tim Burnett, and about 20 sangha members
ABSENT: Board Members John Wiley and Talus Latona were away on vacation
VISITORS: about 20 sangha members

Listen to our download a recording of this meeting:


The meeting reviewed--

  • RCZC Accomplishments in 2015 
    • ·      Completed Communications Policy and Procedures
    • ·      Elected Sangha Stewards and had Training in Conflict Resolution
    • ·      Signed 5-year lease with landlord and BIMS
    • ·      Changed to more integrated Wild Apricot software
    • ·      Revised building rental policies and procedures & appointed Scott as rental manager
    • ·      Purchased & installed new hot water urn, robes closet, vacuum cleaner
    • ·      Built new Garden fence and gate
    • ·      Two sesshins with Seattle Soto Zen
    • ·      In Bellingham, two 1-day sesshins, two 3-day sesshins, Samish 7-day sesshin
    • ·      Jukai ceremony for Dave Lynch
    • ·      Introduction to Zen course
    • ·      One-day Gentle Zen Retreat

  • Upcoming Events in 2016 – See Agenda page 
    • ·      Practice Period Wednesday night Study Group – 6:00 – 6:45 pm
    • ·      Introduction to Zen – February Monday nights – 6:30 – 8:00 pm
    • ·      Sunday Simple Sits with Chris – Jan. 17, Feb. 21, 9:00 – 5:00
    • ·      Sesshin with Norman – March 10 - 13
    • ·      Gentle Zen Retreat with Edie – April 30
    • ·      Precepts Study Class, Monday evenings once a month, starting in March. All sangha membes invited to attend; can lead to Jukai—speak to teacher. Details and dates coming soon.          
    • ·      Conflict skills practice on some quarterly Sangha Conversation evenings
    • ·      Samish Sesshin with Norman – June 17-25, 2016
    • ·      Summer Wilderness programs - July, August, September.  Dates and programs coming soon.

  • Current Dharma Hall challenge—Plumbing problems and initial responses to remove maple tree in back yard, switch to thin toilet paper, provide signage to urge awareness and caution in what is flushed. This issue did cost us about $1600 for two significant plumber visits. It is normal on all rental leases that tenants, not landlords, are responsible for blockages, however we discovered there are structural issues with our plumbing as it leaves the building. We are in conversation with the landlord about next steps.

  • RCZC Volunteer Workgroups recognition and thanks – we deeply appreciate our volunteers. See 2015 Volunteer list 2015 Volunteer Recognition and Appreciation.docx

  • Volunteer role current needs: 
            Bookkeeper (position includes a stipend)
            Board secretary - 2 year commitment, attends Board meetings and takes minutes
            Supplies Buyer - monitors supplies, approx one shopping trip per month
           Garden committee help (Bob Penny will coordinate).
           If interested in any of these positions, speak to Edie or email her at - we deeply appreciate our volunteers and are pleased that we are seeing people rotating in and out of positions.

  • Membership Report – See Report – Discussed intention to change timing of membership drive and invited input on this. Also discussed ways to remind members who pay monthly by cash or check. 2016 Red Cedar Zen Membership Report.docx

  • ·2015 Financial Report – See Profit and Loss report and Balance Sheet below or follow this link to download the full Excel document.
    Noted that our greatest income is from membership - where it should be noted that many of the donations were also from members; then rentals of the building (principally to BIMS); and finally retreat income. (With retreat income please note that there is a matching expense category: subtract expense from income to get the net retreat income of $15,365.)
  • As has been the case in the past, we are pleased to say that we ended the fiscal year with net income, this including the extra expense this year of the garden fence and gate which was added for backyard safety as well as garden aesthetics.

  • RCZC Decision Making - The meeting also discussed some questions that had been posted at the Hall anonymously about our expenditures on the back yard area, as follows:  costs of the garden, fence and gate; number of volunteer hours spent on these projects; board meetings at which these projects were approved; if and when sangha approved these projects; feasibility of spending money to invest in rental property; why RCZC is responsible for plumbing infrastructure failures. Please see these pages for Board minutes about the garden gate project: originally discussed in October with request for sangha input, decision to go ahead in November, more details in December of 2015.

In addition to discussing and answering these questions, we talked about what conditions may have caused the author of these questions to post them anonymously. We were concerned that someone might feel separate and not empowered to ask these legitimate questions in person, and we discussed some ways we might be of help—

  • Following every board meeting, the board secretary sends out to all members the link to the meeting minutes. We could have the secretary send out the text of the minutes instead. Or we could have the secretary note, when appropriate, that the minutes contain items of organizational or financial concern, thus alerting members to read those minutes.
  • Design a future conflict resolution skills training session around issues of power and power sharing—how decisions get made, who has input, how to ensure communication moves in all directions.

All sangha members are warmly invited to read the minutes, ask questions, and express their concerns. We don’t want anyone to feel separate or powerless. If you have insights or suggestions for how to improve our sangha life, please convey them to any of the board members, that body having the responsibility to develop and present policies to the sangha. 

2015 Income and Expense Summary 

(download full report: RczcYearEndFinancialReport2015.xls)
Jan - Dec 2015
Interest Income 250.88
RCDH Donations 1,043.25
RCDH Rental Income 18,010.43
RCZC Donations 7,873.62
RCZC Membership 18,320.00
RCZC Registration Income 50,636.32
Total Income 96,134.50
Administrative Expense 2,062.69
Bank Charge 70.23
RCDH Building Improvements 1,328.40
RCDH Furnishings & Equipment 6,771.42
RCDH Insurance 1,222.00
RCDH Lease 27,741.24
RCDH Maintenance & Repairs Exp 47.82
RCDH Supplies 272.91
RCDH Utilities 2,791.04
RCZC Fundraising Expense 61.23
RCZC License & Fees 10.00
RCZC Membership Expense 368.38
RCZC Priest Housing Allowance 9,415.00
RCZC Retreat/Workshop/Class Exp 35,271.35
RCZC Taxes 1.74
RCZC Website & Technology 1,754.01
RCZC Zendo Expense 204.03
Total Expense 89,393.49
Net Income 6,741.01


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