by Joseph Byrne
Financially, 2004 was a fairly normal year. Thich Nhat Hanh did not come to town and so the WMC was not flush with ticket revenue (90% of which goes to the Unified Buddhist Church, the umbrella entity for Thich Nhat Hanh-affiliated monasteries and communities). Most of the WMC's income came from the dana box and retreats, and most of the expenses went to bi-yearly donations to the Vihara and simple operating expenses, with an extra $146 in the coffers at year's end.
However, some of the numbers below seem to belie this simple account. Where did most of that $45,692 come from and where did it go? And what of that $4,400 that came in as the result of the Thich Nhat Hanh lecture that I just said didn't happen in 2004? Let me account for those two things as well.
I reported in my financial report for 2003 that $33,460 in proceeds from the Thich Nhat Hanh DC lecture in September 2003 was sent to the Unified Buddhist Church. All that was true, but unfortunately the check was lost in the mail somewhere between Washington, DC, and the Green Mountain Dharma Center in Vermont. This was discovered early in 2004 and a new check was sent out shortly thereafter. So that $33,460 was on the books for part of 2004 and so is accounted for below, though the check has since been cashed and that money is no longer in our account. There are probably some accountant-like procedures one does in such cases to move the money around but I am not an accountant, so there it is.
Regarding the $4,400 from Thay's lecture, that also came in late. That money was from Olson's Books in Alexandria which sold tickets for the lecture. It should have come in fiscal year 2003 but they somehow lost the accounting of ticket sales and it took some nudging from sangha member Scott Schang, in beautifully crafted legal language (Scott is a lawyer), to get Olson's to track down the money and send it to us. Once we received it, per our arrangement with Thay, we kept 10% of the proceeds and sent the rest to the Unified Buddhist Church ($4,000).
And that is it for financial excitement for 2004. If anyone sees any mistakes in the math below, please contact me and I'll make corrections. English literature is my expertise, not math!
by Joe Toole
The WMC Community Gathering for Spring 2005 was held on the afternoon of March 13 prior to the evening practice. Members of the Board and the Practice Council were present. Items were suggested by the group and discussed. The following were the topics covered:
1. Change Your Mind Day - Plans are underway for another program this year; however, it will not be as extensive as 2004. Date to be announced. The Buddhist Peace Fellowship is involved. The WMC may wish to consider doing something that weekend (e.g., provide literature, information).
2. Fall Visit by the Dalai Lama - It appears that the Dalai Lama will be visiting Washington, D.C. this Fall and there will be a number of events associated with the visit. The WMC has a number of opportunities to support this program, both as a Sangha and as individuals. Jackie is the representative to the Steering Committee and we will work through her to see what can be done. Some suggestions that were offered included (1) advertising the events, (2) helping house out of town attendees, (3) holding a special meditation program that week, and (4) providing ushers for the events.
3. "Touching the Earth" Practice - This practice has just been started, but has been well received. The ceremony was held prior to the Sunday evening meditations, and although relatively few attended, it was enriching. Future ceremonies may be scheduled.
4. Half Days of Mindfulness - The Practice Council is exploring possible half days of mindfulness built around the DVD set of Thay's talks. Susan Hadler indicated she would be looking into it further.
5. Committee Reports:
Treasurer's Report - The current balance in the WMC bank account is $5106. Expenses have been relatively low and included $230 for library purchases, and $2000 donated to the Vihara. The Charter Hall Retreats are basically breaking even, and income over the year in donations is covering expenses.
Special collections were made over the recent years for the rebuilding of the Vihara bathroom, support for Sister Barbara Newell, and purchase of a server for Plum Village. These have seemed to work well for funding special projects. No projects are planned at this time, although it was suggested that we may want to have a targeted drive in the future for a monastery restoration project in Viet Nam.
Funds are available for scholarships (i.e., to assist WMC members in attending retreats in Plum Village or other locations). Although funds were set aside for these purposes, there have been very few requests. It was suggested that an effort should be made to make Sangha members aware of these funds.
There was also some discussion regarding how much should be donated to Plum Village in the coming years. This should be discussed further by the Board.
Communications Committee - Things have been going well with the website and the list serve; a special thanks to Joseph and Mary Hillebrand.
It was noted that the new program for the computer downloaded "mindfulness bell" is not working well; it was recommended that it be taken off the server until it can be fixed.
On May 1, there will be a presentation of those who visited Viet Nam with Thay.
Operations Committee - The retreats to Charter Hall have been pretty full and successful; the most recent was April 22-24, 2005. There appears to be a good supply of trained bell inviters; new members are being encouraged to serve as Greeters.
Community Care Committee - this committee has been very engaged and Steve Sidley provided an overview of their activities:
5. Calendar - It was recognized that we needed to clarify the schedule of activities in the Sangha and publish that in the newsletter. The following were noted:
1st Sunday - "Touching the Earth" Ceremony (starts at 6 pm)
2nd Sunday - Pot Luck Dinner (starts at 5:15pm); live Dharma Teacher
3rd Sunday - Dharma Discussion (Starts at 6 pm)
4th Sunday - New Comers Orientation (Starts at 6 pm)
Throughout the year:
Retreat at Claymont Court - each quarter organized by the Fairfax Mindfulness Community
Days of Mindfulness - once monthly organized by Fairfax Mindfulness Community
Charter Hall Retreat - held in September, January and April by the WMC
Meeting adjourned for the voting of new officers for the Board and the Practice Council.