Monthly InterCouncil Summary

April 2014

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.
This past month the InterCouncil Mandala Review Committee met to prepare for the Sangha Forum. The review group is an ad hoc committee with members from the Board and Dharma and Mandala Councils, to address issues where there is oversight by more than one of the groups and to foster communication between councils.
The plan for the Forum is that the Dharma Council and the Board will distribute handouts, which were reviewed by the ICMRC. The shuso will facilitate the Forum with an emphasis to beginning on time.
Information on public transportation and travel routes to Siskiyou and Jason Lee need to be located and made widely available soon.
A sangha member is interested in getting a group together to reach out to young people during the transition. The ICMRC encourages a cohort for this purpose.
A visible and prominently labeled First Aid Kit is needed on the property, and two members volunteered to put one together. It would also be helpful to identify who is First-Aid trained, a first responder, or a medical professional. Armbands were suggested, making sure they are worn each work session. It would also be good to have an outdoor rated fire extinguisher in the storage area. The Safety Committee will follow-up with these suggestions. For reports from the Board, Dharma Council, and Mandala Council

Board of Directors

The Board of Directors met at the Siskiyou house with a required quorum.      

     Property: The next two surcharges (workshop and recycling) are in place and will be paid for by the Revolving Loan Fund, a grant from the EPA. We are receiving details from subcontractors, engineers etc. and plans are to begin building mid-May. Costs are being firmed up for staff review. After the review a decision can be made as to how much we can pay off on the land to keep interest payments down. We plan to pay off the seller and acquire title when it is possible and then apply for a Metro capital grant.
     Property Sales: The Board voted approval for signatures (NW Zen Sangha) for all papers needed to sell 1404 SE 25th to Friends of the Dhamma. The property sales will fund construction of Phase I, which includes completion of the Sodo and installation of the portables and a workshop. We have about $500k committed, and need roughly that same amount to pay off the land sale contract and acquire title. We are looking at crowd funding using an on-line platform that manages crowdsourced loans for nonprofit groups.
General transition: Funds raised from the Spring Fundraiser will go towards general operating funds. In June, a Lotus Blooming letter will go to the sangha to explain progress and new developments. As the transition comes along, new details are being added regularly to the Moving Milestones document. The temple has rented office space in the Mekong Bistro near Siskiyou to house office functions until the portable buildings are in place.
June 1 to 15 will be moving time at the Dharma House and will include enough quiet time to observe and acknowledge the transition as well as a potlatch. On June 8th, there will be a handing-off ceremony in the Zendo as it is passed on to the new owners. June 15th is the first day of services at Jason Lee Elementary School.
Mindful Early Learning Foundation (MELF): An organizing committee has submitted nonprofit papers to the state. The Board discussed the difference and relationship between fundraising and building for this project and the operational Preschool program to follow. (MELF might dissolve once the new building is completed and could then give the building to DRZC.) The Preschool plans to be up and running in January 2015 with 5-10 kids in one of the DRZC portables, using the same space during the week that DharmaGarden will use for program on the weekends. The Board would like to see a mission statement from MELF and a business plan from the Preschool in April.
Finance: A second quarter Financial Report was reviewed showing General Operations revenue 20% below budget primarily due to a shortfall in donations as year-end allocations went to the Lotus Blooming campaign. Expenses are within 4% of budget.
Sangha Forum: The Board is working to present a balance of details and a Big Picture, leaving time for response and questions. The Board wants especially to reassure the Sangha that finance are being watched carefully.
Abbot Review: A committee will resume work on this in June.
Transition Communication Subcommittee continues to meet with small groups of members and is developing a news document to go out to cohorts and, at the same time, ask for input on FAQ items to post.
The Ethics Council is reviewing past practices and a meeting is planned soon to discuss changes to its own guidelines as well as “Zen Practice in Community” and various other issues.
Election Committee: A new group is needed and three volunteers have stepped up. We want to expand the Board by one member this fall and will need a roster of candidates by the August retreat.
Sangha Membership Requirements: After clarification of requirements by the Elders Council and the Board, the Membership Coordinator will be tasked with systematic tracking or program participants, letting leaders know who is a qualifying member. We will continue to offer complimentary membership to those in financial straits. Work practice may be used as “in kind” contribution for those who are unable to support the Center financially.

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Dharma Council

Calendar Issues took up much of the April meeting.

    Term Student Fall 2014: Since permits may not be in place for the portables by September, we may have to be creative about these retreats. Dates were set for third Saturdays September 20, October 18 and November and some staffing is tentatively set.

     Wednesday evening program will resume outdoors in a provisional space on July 2nd.

     Beginners Retreats are set for September 13th and January 17th, 2015, and the shuso will be asked to staff these.

No disciple potlucks June, July and August, saying goodbye to the Dharma House in May.

2014-2015 Class Instructors 

     Seminary: Fall 2014 Daily Scriptures. Students from this group might become apprentice instructors for the open spring class. Kyogen is willing to take point, recruit teachers and monitor each of ten classes beginning September 16th. Issues of Leadership is scheduled for Spring 2015.

     Open Classes: Wednesdays in September are scheduled for an Introductory class, and Foundational Teachings will then continue in October and November.

     Precepts (Spring 2015): Need to check with Gyokuko as preceptor.

Seminary: Continuing discussion about a member interested in distance seminary and other issues. No decision reached.

Plans for the Forum were finalized, including handouts.

Council staffing assignments, seminary and liaison changes were accepted and discussed without final decision.

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Mandala Council

The Mandala Council discussed the logistics involved with set-up and take-down for Sunday morning services at Jason Lee. We have the space from 7:45-11:45am, so coordination and efficiency as well as reliability will be important and needs to be known soon. Team Leaders will work on this immediately.

Since bringing in a Red Cross trainer is expensive ($90 each participant) it might be a better option to send individuals to the Red Cross instead. There was general discussion on whether this certification is required when we have several qualified volunteers already.

The Dharma Council has asked the group for a volunteer to shadow the Seminary Advisor for the fall term after which the volunteer would take over the position. We have a job description, and it was decided to first reach out to qualified seminary graduates to see if any of them are interested.

     The temple needs a new Membership Director and this will go to the Yellow Family to fill.