Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

October 2011 Minutes

Red Cedar Zen Board of Directors                         Meeting - October 5, 2011

Board Minutes                                                                                   

PRESENT: Jeff, Talus, Tim, Joan, Edie

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


Our Guest's Business


1. Membership Drive.  Kate, who is the membership workgroup representative, asked for input from the board about the details of the upcoming November membership drive.  Kate is developing the membership appeal letter to be sent out in early November. Of particular concern was how much money to spend on mailings, given that postage costs continue to increase.  After some discussion of last year's costs and the likely cost-benefits of various ways to send our membership letter this year, the following plan was approved:

  • Early in November we will send the membership letter by email to our entire email list (600+ names). Kate is developing the letter and will invite Kevin to work with her on the campaign.
  • Toward the end of November, we will mail the letter to non-renewing members (those who have been members but who didn't respond to our email letter) and to other local people who might be good candidates for membership.
  • Meanwhile, we will make the membership drive more visible by putting up a banner in the lobby ("November is Membership Month"--Kate will ask Jeff K. to make the banner); having a membership table in the lobby during the October study retreat and on Wednesday evenings in November(Kate and others will staff the table); and talking with individual people who regularly come to meditation about becoming members.  It is our hope that these more visible and personal connections will yield good results.  Currently, our membership numbers are 48 Members and 13 Friends.
  • Another membership action, not yet scheduled, is to gather the younger people who are sitting with us to ask them for their input on what would make their experience here better.


Another membership workgroup action is to update our membership form, removing the suggested annual amount, which has been misread as a suggested monthly amount, and printing the forms on lighter colored paper so that they are easier to read.  Kate and Tim will take care of this task.


Old Business

1. Workgroups on website.  Tim and Edie reported that they updated the workgroup descriptions on

our website.  Tim will ask Jay if he will be the workgroup site administrator for future revisions.

2. Annual Fund Letter. We are going forward with the plan to initiate an annual fund raising campaign aimed at our broader constituency who might want to support RCZC and our contributions to the community through an annual gift.  Kie, Jaren, Tim, and Edie met last week to plan the development of an annual fundraising letter and to update our RCZC brochure, which has been out of print for awhile. Jaren has taken on the task of researching information for the Fund letter, and Kie will draft the letter, which will be ready for the committee's review by November 10.

After a first revision, the board will have a chance to review the letter, which will be prepared for sending out in late March or early April.  Again, to be clear, this effort is entirely separate campaign from our yearly membership drive. 

Tim and Edie are working on updating the RCZC brochure and will go forward with printing it when the revision is complete.

Costs for printing of the brochure and the annual fund letter have not yet been estimated, but before we proceed to printing and disseminating, the committee will prepare and propose a budget to the board.

3. Arts Event.  The arts event was a big success, a very enjoyable event on Oct. 1 at the center.  The suggestion was made that we make it an annual event.  No decision was made about this, but we thought we might ask the participants of this year's event what they would think about making it an annual event.  Edie will email the participants to get their feedback prior to the next board meeting.

4. The Garden.  This amazing project is quickly becoming a reality.  Deep bows to Alborz, whose great idea it was and who raised $2000 for it, and to Bob, whose design is being implemented, and who planned and purchased all the materials. They have worked very hard to get the garden started.  And thanks also to the many volunteers the last weekend in September who turned out to work together on the garden.  Reports are that there were six or seven people working on Saturday, supported by Marti who made them lunch, and eight people on Sunday, including six BIMS members, one of whom cooked lunch.  Our gratitude to everyone!

It will take at least one more work weekend to complete the garden; no date set yet.  Stay tuned.

As we are about $500 short on the garden budget, we have initiated a targeted fund raising campaign for the garden.  Please look for the Garden Fund Donation Box in the lobby, and give what you can to help complete this wonderful addition to our center. (Tim will ask Chris if she would make a box for this purpose.)

Regarding the garden project, Talus reported that Bob requested reimbursement for $56.83 for unexpected garden expenses he personally incurred.  The board approved payment.

5. Building Management.  Talus reported that Alborz is looking into changing the door code by the end of the calendar year.  Talus and Alborz have also discussed ways to improve communications to the bookkeeper about rental payments and hall users' donations; also ways to ensure that the bookkeeper receives the actual payments so she can record them.

6. Sangha Conversations (on fifth Wednesdays).   Jeff announced and will announce again the opportunity for sangha members to develop and give student talks on practice issues that are of concern to them-e.g., the importance or lack thereof of zen forms--with the idea of creating a discussion topic for our quarterly sangha conversations.  Anyone can prepare and give a student talk.  Please see Tim about scheduling one.

New Business

1. Financial Report for August.  We had a net income for August 2011 of $202.28.  Although that amount isn't great, we are gratified and proud that despite the bad economic times, we are able to get back in the black this past month.  The numbers for the Quarterly Report (July through September) will be ready shortly and will be posted on our website.

2. Rental Contract with BIMS.  Talus is modifying our rental agreement with BIMS so that it reflects our upcoming arrangement with them-a four-year rental agreement.  Clarification about use of the building by RCZ on BIMS designated weekends will be included.  As soon as the new agreement is finished, we will ask for BIMS to sign it.

3. Unwanted Visitors.  A rat or a very large mouse was seen this past week downstairs; and a new hole was found near the bottom of the stairwell.  Alborz, Jeff and Talus have converged on this problem and at Joan's recommendation, placed a dish of fabric softener, the odor of which apparently rodents hate, in the crawl space.  We also have a live trap put out.  We will monitor this situation closely and keep all food put away properly.

4. Sangha Communications.  When Joan picks up incoming email messages that might be useful for the board to know about, she will alert members to them as well as pass them on to the appropriate workgroup members.


meeting reflection

on relationships, process, values and mission

of good value


upholding the contract

sangha on the horizon

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