Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

September 2011 Minutes

Red Cedar Zen Board of Directors                         Meeting - Sept. 7, 2011           

Board Minutes                                                                                   

PRESENT: Jeff, Tim, Joan, Edie.  Excused: Talus

VISITORS: Kate, Marti

encouraging words

full value contract

We commit:

  • to maintaining physical, psychological, and emotional safety
  • to working together to foster both group and individual goals; giving the group what it needs and individuals what they need.
  • to speaking and listening fearlessly to one another and fully talking things through.

            review agenda and set time limits

The meeting was called to order at 5:00 pm.

Our Guest's Business

1. Membership. Edie asked if we should create a special campaign effort for younger, non-member regulars?  The board discussed with Kate the idea of making a special effort to invite and inform newer sangha participants of the advantages of becoming members.  Jeff suggested that we could invite a number of such people to a discussion and ask them for their ideas about what would be helpful to them as new practitioners.  We could also explore what membership implies or means to them and clarify any misunderstandings.  It was decided that Kate will plan to hold these meetings, but also on our first Wednesday evenings during training time, we can offer a session on membership to explain its benefits and answer questions from people interested in learning about it.  Since Kate already had an obligation this first Wednesday, Edie offered to conduct this discussion.  Wednesday noon hosts are also asked to educate new people about the benefits of becoming members or friends of RCZC.

2. Door code access.  One of the benefits of membership is access to the door code.  The board has discussed in past meetings the desirability of establishing a new code, which will be given to all members, plus to key BIMS people, the people who open the hall for 6 am meditation, and Alborz to provide to renters using the hall.  The board asks Talus to speak to Alborz about making the code change by the end of 2011. Communication will go out to all current code users telling them that the current two codes will change as of a specific date.  Thereafter the code will be given to members.

3. Rental/Donation money from hall renters. A system needs to be developed or clarified for tracking rentals to actual income or following up if renters don't make a contribution. Not all sangha leaders and users are aware of our policy regarding rent vs. donations (for details please see the agreement reached from and there is some confusion about whether regular renters and community groups are consistently paying rent (regular renters) or requesting donations for the Hall (community groups). The Finance committee needs to meet with Alborz to go over all aspects of hall use and rental policies-e.g., one question is whether RCZC should ask for a deposit to reserve use of the hall. Another question is about making several RCZC contacts readily available to renters who have trouble entering the building for their event.  There are other details that also need review.  Jeff will remind Talus to schedule this meeting soon.

Note: The board thanks Kevin Conner for posting the monthly hall use calendar in the lobby.

Old Business

4. Workgroup update on the web site.  The board discussed the various sections of the workgroup pages on our web site that need revision and decided to work on the update together.  We will meet on Saturday, September 24 at 9:30 downstairs to accomplish this task.  As preparation, board members are asked to review workgroup information for the functions they support and have revisions ready Sept. 24.

5. Annual Gift fund raising plan.  The board reviewed and approved a letter inviting several sangha members who have indicated interest in writing or membership to become part of a committee that will develop a letter to the broader sangha establishing a once a year appeal for gifts to support RCZC's ongoing programs. This group will also be asked to update the RCZC's brochure for newcomers.  Edie and Tim are leading this project and will send out this invitational letter and convene the group in October. 

6. Orientations.  We are still looking for a couple more members to do orientations on Wednesday evenings.  Regarding follow-up with new people, the Welcome letter has been updated, and Christina and Ben (with Jaren as backup) will continue to track new names on the email list and send out these letters.  Also if orienters feel comfortable doing so, following the orientations they have the option of checking in with newcomers by email or phone a couple of weeks later to see if they have any questions. However, this follow-up step is not a requirement.

New Business

7. Arts Event.  The board approved a budget of $50 to be spent on supplies for the arts event Oct. 1.           

8. Monk in residence request.  Tim reported on the request to allow an American Buddhist monk who has taken a vow of poverty to live temporarily at the Hall.  It turns out that the small space Alborz had been preparing for him would not be allowed by the city's fire and safety codes, so for the present, this idea is not possible.

9. Back Garden.  Tim reported that the fundraiser that Alborz organized and conducted in August netted $1500 for materials for the back garden.  Saturday, September 24 is scheduled as an initial workday to start on construction of the area.  The board discussed the suggestion that we allocate a donation from RCZC to the garden project.  However, given our current tight budget, the board decided that instead of taking money from our reserves, which is where it would have to come from, we would sponsor a Special Donation opportunity from among our members for the garden.  This could include in-kind gifts, such as plants, rocks, etc. (the selection of which would be managed by the garden leaders).

10. Sangha Conversations.  Jeff reflected on the importance and usefulness of our quarterly sangha conversations.  He suggested that there may be a need and opportunity to discuss some more complex and challenging questions, such as women in Buddhism or the impact of the Japanese style on American zen, or other concerns.  He suggested that, when we become aware of a member's concern about an issue, we could invite the person to prepare a student talk on the topic.  Conceivably there might be two or three people who would like to give student talks on the same topic, and who might each speak once in the three-month period.  Then at our Sangha Conversation night, we could have a well-informed conversation on the topic.  The board decided to offer this opportunity for the next quarterly meeting, which will be November 30.  Jeff will make announcements about this plan, inviting members to consider giving such a talk.

11. Chant for Peace event. Jeff also mentioned that at Great Vow monastery, they have an interfaith event called Chant for Peace in which many faith groups participate for one entire 24- hour period, each group leading the chanting for an hour in whatever form they traditionally use. The board liked this idea and will consider how to organize and put on such an event.

meeting reflection

on relationships, process, values and mission

of good value


upholding the contract

sangha on the horizon 

The meeting was adjourned at 6:30 pm.  NEXT BOARD MEETING:  Wednesday, October 5, 5:00 pm. Board meetings are open to all members.



Edie Norton, Secretary
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