January Council Summaries

This is a summary describing the month’s work of the temple’s three major decision-making bodies. A governance notebook with approved minutes is filed in the temple office. A list of current Council members and areas of concern, individual charges to leadership and temple job positions are listed on the temple website. Previous summaries are listed on the blog.

The INTERCOUNCIL MANDALA REVIEW (ICMRC) met and discussed the review the Mandala Model that is ongoing. We need to clarify the process for revising the model. We also discussed who has responsibility for overseeing that policies are followed. This led to discussions about communication and overlap, organizing documents and policies, training of new volunteers on policies, and organizing computer files in preparation for moving them to a server.

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors met January 8, 2015, with a quorum present. Next meetings are January 29, February 19 and March 12.

Election of Corporate Officers: President Gyokuko Carlson, Secretary Genko Rainwater, Treasurer Todd T’suho Sattersten. Election of Board Officers: Chair Kevin Geoffroy, Vice Chair Michael Dochin Rowell, Secretary Jeff Stookey.

Board member Kei’un Lewis announced her resignation from the Board in order to focus on her new role as shuso for the coming year. The Board must now appoint a new member. The Election Committee list of possible candidates from last fall will be used. The Board is looking for someone with a good fit for fundraising.

The bulk of the meeting focused on fundraising and the Lotus Blooming, capital campaign. Highlights included:

  • on-site events showing off our new building
  • a couple of large scale mailings
  • approaching the 60% of membership who have not donated as yet

It was suggested that development/fundraising duties be shifted to a Lotus Blooming work group to meet every three weeks. All of the above items require planning, preparation, carry out and follow through with strong momentum.

Needs:

  • A Board committee to plan and oversee a spring fundraiser for the general operations fund
  • Members to organize and manage events on the land
  • Continuing work on growing the membership and acknowedgement of donors by thank you calls at certain milestones
  • “Teas and Tours” are planned to broaden our outreach especially to possible high capacity prospects.
  • Advice points to reaching out to friends and neighbors through personal relationships. We have a great story to tell; we need to get it out there. We are growing and become more visible in the community and are attracting people with focuses other than Buddhism – neighborhood, gardening, cohousing, brownfield development, ecology, etc.

We are preparing two big grant proposals, one for EPA brownfield cleanup and one related to scientific education using our site for field study collection.

Property Report. The planned path through the property involves a variety of governmental agencies. Path completion is a matter of time to work through channels and we are exploring grant funding for lighting.

Permits are ready for the workshop and duplexes, and some fees have been removed. Street improvements are held up by lack of funds and bureaucratic obstacles. After the accessory buildings permits are in place, we have the cohousing building application ready to submit and will continue to work to nail down a construction loan. Three lenders are being pursued and we are looking for a loan guarantor. The construction trailer – a double-wide portable – will be brought in soon with electrical hook-up to follow.

Pressing Concerns are for cash flow and continuing program offerings in affordable space, which means “on our property.” We will not renew the rental contract with Jason Lee after it expires March 15.

Dharma Council

The Dharma Council met January 8, 2015, with all members present. Next meeting dates are 2/12, 3/12, and 4/9. There were no member concerns to consider.

Other Council Reports. The Mandala Review group is due to report back to Inter-Council by 4/1.

Proposals. Dharma Council brings Open Class instructors in as assistant Seminary instructors for the Spring 2015 Leadership Class. consensus approved. Proposal to Leadership team that they compress Open Class Instructors and Seminary Assistant Instructors into one category. These proposals will be taken to the Leadership team.

Timely Business

Hossen: A plan to begin the ceremony at 10am was approved In order to leave Jason Lee by 11:30 was approved.

Jukai and Denko-e: There seems no alternative to do Jukai vigil style with overnights at inexpensive nearby motels, possibly with a block of rooms at a special rate. Space at DRZC houses is more limited than it was for Segaki. No minimum number of meals. Denkoe is traditionally smaller but we can do it at rentals/land and nearby motel, possibly block rates. These proposals will be taken to the Board via the InterCouncil Committee.

A consensus approved the Friday night Sitting Group led by Jyoshin to be an Affiliated Group.

Discussion of several questions around opportunities for Dharma Talks and sanzen scheduling. How often for Lay Teachers and Abbot? Needed is a a clearer process for student talks and a good way to let people know who is available to be a teacher for them. The teacher/disciple relationship is built over time and does not begin too easily.

General Issues for Follow-up. Opportunities for Young Adults – a work group is meeting next week.

Future Agenda Items. Affiliated group connections: support of DRZC and Liaison.

    Calendared Items in place

  • 2015 Spring Term Student
  • April 19th, Dharma Council Sangha Forum
  • 2015 Taking Your Seat
  • 2015 Fall Intro Class
  • 2015 Wednesday Foundational Teachings
  • 2015 Fall Seminary: Lotus Sutra
  • 2016 January, Wednesday Class
  • 2016 Spring Precepts Class
  • 2016 April/May Wednesday Class
  • 2016 Fall Seminary – General Studies “Buddhist View of the Body”

Mandala Council

The Mandala Council met February 5th with five members present.

Kei’un volunteered to be second representative to the InterCouncil. Ki’an also currently serves.

Mandala Model Review

  • The group suggests that “oversight of Apprenticeship” be shifted from the Mandala Council to the new Leadership Development Team.
  • Recommended a change in the bullet point requiring each Family Rep to meet twice a year with Family Team Leaders. This has been unworkable and perhaps could be folded into another point.
  • The group discussed the relationship and roles of the White Family Council. Is this hierarchical in nature, as it sometimes seems, or circular? Perhaps there is a way to show how communication flows between the governing bodies that will clarify.

There is a lot of energy around the idea of creating a Mandala Council roster that could be accessed by all sangha members. The roster might show given and Dharma names as well as a photograph along with other social information such as hobbies or skills. This idea might be useful for other councils as well as sangha members who are looking for like-minded members or members with particular skills.

The group discussed ways to make it easy for a DRZC member to submit a concern or request when there is no MC member available in person. Mandala Council members should direct serious matters to the Ethics Council, Safe Environment Committee or sanzen as appropriate.

The Mandala Council has identified a member willing to serve as Related Groups Liaison and this has been approved by the Dharma Council.

The new leader of the Taking Your Seat program has asked for and been given support in terms of information, support and volunteer helpers.

The next meeting is scheduled for 3/8.