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Sangha Meeting Minutes, January 27, 2018

January 30, 2018

Sangha Meeting Minutes
27, 2018




Attending:  Rachel Belash Nancy O’connor, Chris Wuest, John Braman, MaryAnn Bennett, Christy Hengst, Henry Shukman, David Holt, Michael Waldron, Kathryn Stedham, Paul Cooley, Tony, Melissa Miller, Sondra, Sean, Henny, Bill Bruce, Peg Froelich, Gudrun Hoerig, Jim Norton, Karen K, Lucie Brennan, Will Brennan, Connie H, David Stevens, Ann Maxwell, Johanna

The sangha unanimously approved the minutes from the October 2017 Sangha Meeting.

The sangha unanimously approved the current Board of Directors. Chris Hebard has moved away from Santa Fe but intends to stay on the board and participate in meetings as he can. The current board members are Rachel, Kathryn, Michael, Steve, Jay, John, Abigail and Chris. Henry is a non-voting board member.

Henry’s Teacher Report  – see hard copy in office

New Resident, Henny. Henny arrived in mid January and will stay through May. We are pleased to welcome him as the 4th resident now living at Mountain Cloud. His background is in Wilderness Therapy and he will go to California this summer to work in Outdoor Education.

The resident program is humming along nicely. The residents were the primary participants in this month’s mud plastering days, and they continue to lead morning sits, provide breakfast and do a variety of chores around Mountain Cloud. Tor is in California visiting resident programs at other Buddhist centers and he will also assist Henry at the Esalen retreat.

Financial Report — Michael presented a budget for past years (2015-2017) and the projected budget for 2018. Our operating income is running at a slight loss which indicates we need more members and donors.  Outflow increases are primarily in salaries and sesshin expenses (though sesshin income has significantly increased).  As we grow, we need more administrative and facilities support to ensure that we properly provide for our many programs, visitors and members. We have a small financial committee consisting of Jay, Michael, Rachel and Johanna. We may begin to meet more often in for long term planning

Year-end appeal report.  Rachel reports that we exceeded our year-end appeal goal by 5k. Our goal was 25K and we brought in 30K. The surprise was the lack of small donations. We had a nice number of large donations, but the $25-$100 donations were limited, making the base of our donations pyramid weak. So, please continue with the large donations when you can, and we would like all sangha members and friends to participate. All donations, small and large are welcome and necessary for Mountain Cloud to thrive.

We will have a more sophisticated donor page on our website. Donors will be able to make one time or recurring donations and they will be able to target specific projects if they so desire. This will be online very soon, early February.

RGMI Report — John reported an extremely busy and successful 2017 for RGMI. We had four Heart of Teaching Retreats in 2017 and we continue to building relationships with public, private ad independent schools as well as corporate and professional groups. For example Henry did a weekend mindfulness training for UBS in New York in October and a group of Chiropractors will come in June for a daylong training. Additionally RGMI is looking to do off-site trainings. One will occur in February in Los Alamos.  There will be two Heart of Teaching retreats this spring, April 14 and May 12 (Saturdays) and a week in March with UWC students who will attend morning mindfulness and yoga trainings at MC. 

John introduced Melissa who will be his much needed administrative assistant. She will help John organize and advertise the retreats, handle some of the registration. She is also tackling social media, working specifically on the RGMI Facebook resource page for alumni.

RGMI is funded by donations, grants and tuition and fees. John is seeking foundation funding for 2018 and beyond.

Sangha Committee Report — Damon has passed the chairmanship of this committee to Alison Keogh who has many good ideas for our sangha. We have set four dates for sangha social events in 2018.

February 4, 11am: gratitude brunch for recent donors
May 5 10am: cottage ribbon cutting ceremony and celebratory brunch with Ryoun Roshi.

Ann Maxwell mentioned inviting the new Mayor to cut the ribbon.

August 18: sangha picnic (mid day)

October 20, noon:  sangha brunch following the Oct 20 sangha meeting.

Construction Report — Chris reports that we will be ready for our ribbon cutting ceremony on May 5. Construction will be nearly (if not completely) finished.  We’ve had a good amount of sangha participation in helping with construction; three work retreats last year, then one in mid January 2018 and another scheduled for the second week of February.

There is ongoing infrastructure work to be done this spring, including road work, irrigation systems an re-vegetation. Each Tuesday Chris and the residents are dedicated to working on construction tasks. If sangha members would like to help, just show up for work around 9am or later. Or contact Chris Wuest. The construction company (JM Evans) is finishing up the interior and exterior of the building.

Once we have all approvals and a certificate of occupancy, we will need to furnish the new space. The cottage has two bedrooms and two bathrooms. We can configure these rooms as we wish for sesshin lodging. The design committee will be figuring this out. Stay tuned… we will be requesting cash donations to appropriately furnish the cottage. 

We are looking forward to future work which includes a kitchen and dining room expansion as well as other work on the main building. The current plan is to work on the main building while we continue to use it. Substantial funds need to be raised before we can begin this process.

Other Business

Samu February 3: Bill is encouraging us all to attend. We will be working on the library and outside, dealing with invasive species on our land. Jay wonders if we can have a list of samu tasks and needed tools printed on the website prior to each samu.

Fire Extinguishers need to be checked and tagged each month. We also need one or two more extinguishers in the main room. The kitchen has several, one is specially designed to extinguish  grease fires, though any extinguisher will work should the need arise. 

Electrical Panel and Meter Mismatch — Bill is working with PNM and an electrician to solve a panel/meter mismatch. This most likely needs to be resolved prior to the solar system installation. 

List of sesshin hosts:  We often need places for out-of-town sesshin participants to stay. We collected a number of names of willing hosts. Johanna will be contacting those on the list with a few questions for the potential hosts. Many thanks to those who signed up.

New Mission Statement: A committee came up with a short and catchy mission statement. The goal for the statement was that it be short and it be a statement useful for decision making. When we have a project or event, we can ask, does it fulfill our mission? 

To awaken, liberate, and protect all beings.

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