Upcoming Sangha Conversation - All current members are encouraged and warmly invited to participate in the next Sangha Conversation on Wednesday, September 29th. We follow last month’s very successful community dialogue with the next session in our renewed monthly engagement of sangha voices. This month will we gain valuable information, and be able to offer feedback, about the launch of our fundraising campaign in mid-September. In addition, to help our search committee in its process, we will explore as a community the question of “location”, and the perspectives that we imagine or hold towards various neighborhoods and sectors throughout the city, as potential places to find our new home.
August Sangha Conversation Recap - Our Sangha Conversation on August 25th was attended by 23 members. Reports were made by the Campaign, Search, and Communications Committees. Board President Joden Bob Rose facilitated several breakout sessions where members engaged in a variety of discussions. It was an information rich evening, as there was much to share in preparation for the launch of our fund-raising campaign. Notes from the meeting can be found on Ananda, and here are screen captures of some slides presented:
Sitting at Shambala Suspended - Through community discussion at the last Sangha Conversation it became evident that the sangha has too much current trepidation and concern to go ahead with in-person practice at this time. The plans for in-person practice at the Shambala center have therefore been suspended for the moment, as we continue to monitor the Covid situation. Concern was also voiced that the Shambala center is not ADA accessible, and would therefore perhaps not be an ideal location for long. And yet, it was recognized that the center has the necessary cushions and gear to make a drop-in situation very workable.
Multi Faith Network for Climate Justice (MCNJ) Event - Red Cedar Zen Community has been active in the past with the Multi Faith Network for Climate Justice (MCNJ). Reverend Dr. Andrea Asebado of MCNJ member organization The Center for Spiritual Living will host Greening With Integrity, September 24th, 6:30-8pm. Rev. Dr. Asebado will talk about her spiritual community’s successful effort to green their carbon footprint. The presentation is part of Bellingham’s “ALL IN - Climate Action Week” events. Asebado will be joined by Emily Larson-Kubiak, Energy Efficiency and Renewables Program Manager at Sustainable Connections, and Mark Schofield, Community Energy Challenge Manager for the Opportunity Council. Nomon Tim Burnett has been invited to give the closing practice. This is a live in-person, and live streaming, event. For more information visit the City of Bellingham's event page.
Words From Our Guiding Teacher
I'm noticing that I’m "cycling" a bit lately. Getting a bit revved up, getting a bit over involved with things, and then settling back down again: re-opening to trust and acceptance that everything works out. Finding again my breath in my hara. The feeling of the earth beneath my feet.
It's a "big" time for us as a sangha: preparing to do our first ever big capital campaign, a committee starting to look at properties to purchase, numbers like $1 million dollars and more being bandied about. Seeing visions of us in this place or that place setting up a zendo and opening our doors wide to the community. And all of this happening against the confusing background of another round with Covid.
And it's also just another day, another moment, another breath. Everything just as it is. There is so much to do and there's also nothing to do. I visited a center here in Sonoma County, California, and had an interview with the Zen teacher there who reminded me to rest deeply in zazen practice and the tradition. That zazen dissolves the ego and shows us our true face.
In terms of fundraising, here's a nice bit of Zen historical context: including this wonderful quote from Dogen himself:
“It might be possible to build the hall with a donation from one patron, but I would like to encourage many people in the ten directions to make a donation in order to allow a wider range of people to form a good affinity with the Buddha Dharma.”
An Invitation to September Sangha Conversation
Dear Red Cedar Zen Community members,
Our next All-Sangha conversation will take place at 8 PM, Wednesday, September 29, following regular services. We will focus on two critical aspects of “Our Journey Home: the Capital Campaign”; a funding raising update, and where we establish that sanctuary.
We will open with a status report on the capital campaign, which will be transmitting its first mailing the previous week. This will be your opportunity to ask questions, offer additional ideas, and to benefit from other sangha members’ thoughts on engaging our colleagues, friends, family, and other supporters in this legacy-building effort.
We’ve heard repeatedly of the desire to be an open and engaging community that offers the opportunity for Zen practice to all. We’ve also heard of the desire for a facility open to other students of the Buddha’s teachings, as well as to the creative and healing arts, which would be in keeping with the long tradition of a multi-purpose Dharma Hall in Bellingham. A key question for the board-designated Search Committee on Real Estate (SCORE) is where these community offerings could best be located.
The campaign goal of $550,000 was set to raise adequate funds for the down payment on a $1 million property, as well as pay for initial modifications. As a community non-profit, our bank (WECU) tells us we must come up with a 40% down payment. Our calculations show that the remaining mortgage could be funded by about the same amount we previously paid in rent at Forest Street.
Where would we prefer our new sanctuary be located; near the city center, in a neighborhood, or on the outskirts of town/in the county??? Each choice has financial and access implications. Some choices may be precluded, depending on budget and available property. The search committee would benefit greatly from having a better sense of what sangha members envision. Meeting that vision will depend, in large part, on the success of our campaign.
Sangha leaders need to hear your voices as we set out on Our Journey Home. Please join us for next month’s Sangha Conversation.
With deepest gratitude for your practice and generosity-
Joden Bob Rose, President
Red Cedar Zen Community Board of Directors