Minutes of the Community Gathering of the Washington Mindfulness Community

March 28, 2009, at Teaism Penn Quarter, Washington, D.C.

Steve Sidley recorded these notes.

Present: Nicolle, Nick, Kevin, Susan, Annie, Lisa, Bill, Soye, Mary (and Lucy), Valerie, Devon, Joseph, Joann, Jeanine and Steve


Board of Trustees Report:

Bill reported that the WMC has over $6,000 in our main checking account and more than $6,000 in an interest bearing CD which has primarily been used to fund scholarships to sangha members. Our dana has increased this year as a result of bell inviters being more proactive in pointing out the dana boxes on Sunday evenings and as we have more funds available we can start thinking about more ways to use this money to benefit the sangha and the larger community. Several ideas for charitable giving, including Darfur and sponsoring microfinance projects around the world, were offered by sangha members as well as the idea of sponsoring a continuing sangha NVC workshop/group with Inessa love and the WMC matching contributions from individual members to compensate her. The Board will consider these new ideas and Steve will contact Inessa and see if she would like to lead the NVC workshops. It was decided that we should make sure that our dana continues on an upward trend before increasing our giving to the Vihara in order to make sure that we could continue to give a larger sum consistently.

Practice Council/Community Care Report:

  • This Spring, our second body practice has 12 participants which is the largest group in quite some time and that is largely due to the involvement of many new sangha members. The next second body practice will be offered in May and go through August.

  • Susan is currently hosting a book group on the Joy of Living and we hope to offer another one in the fall and encourage sangha members to host and participate in our book groups.

  • We have not held a dharma class since last year and the sangha expressed support of continuing these classes when possible so Mary offered to check with the Vihara to see when the space is available as this has been the primary difficulty scheduling in the past year. Ideas for upcoming dharma classes included chanting and NVC and we will make an effort to schedule them further in advance to make sure we have volunteers to lead these groups as well as putting it on the online calendar and reminder list.

  • Devon brought up the idea of having specific meetup or interest groups within the sangha and this can be discussed at the next community care meeting. The dharma get togethers that Lisa continues to host might be a good way to get these new groups off the ground.

  • Community Care and the Practice Council also want the sangha to know that it offers deep listening to sangha members who request it and will continue to form clearness committees for those who want the sangha's support in gaining clarity on a specific issue. We will update the community care information sheet on the table downstairs with this information and make announcements about in more regularly on Sunday nights. Sangha members are also encouraged to be aware of those in the community who may need support and let us know if we can help.


Day of Mindfulness on May 3rd:
Bill Jenkins is organizing the next WMC Day of Mindfulness at Blueberry Gardens on May 3 called "Compassion for Ourselves/ Compassion for Others." He needs volunteers to help and will make a volunteer sign up sheet to send out on the listserv.

Friends and Family Night on June 14th:

On Sunday, June 14th, we will have our first Friends and Family Night program at the Vihara so that we can welcome friends, family and practitioners of all ages into our practice. Based on sangha feedback from the last gathering we have decided to structure the evening as follows: 6:30-7:00 PM silent meditation and walking as usual, 7-8 PM an interactive program of mindfulness practice designed for all ages participation that may include a short guided meditation, mindful movements, singing and dharma based story time, 8-8:30 PM social time downstairs with snacks. We need volunteers to help offer activities and design the evening program so that it is of benefit to everyone from child to experienced practitioner. Sangha members are encouraged to bring their friends and families, who are welcome to come for the 7 PM interactive program and can decide whether the 6:30 quiet meditation period is suitable for them. We are planning to have this program quarterly on a second Sunday of the month (the evening each month when our schedule is already flexible to include special events) at first and see how it works out from there. The next scheduled Friends and Family night will be on Sept 13th.

Sangha Reflections Newsletter:

Mary has just published the latest issue of our Sangha Reflections Newsletter. In order to meet our goal of publishing it quarterly, we have decided to start a newsletter committee so that the task can be evenly delegated between several sangha members with Mary providing support and guidance to this new committee. Nicolle and Valerie volunteered to be on the committee and Soye offered to write a regular food column. Regular features are just one of the ideas mentioned as part of the process of reinventing our sangha newsletter.

Library Committee:

Susan is starting a new Library Committee to help with organizing the library as well as digitizing audio tapes in order to make them more accessible to the sangha. Kevin offered to help take care of the library and Valerie offered to convert the cassettes to digital format.


Buddha's Birthday Celebration on May 3rd:
Mary will also be organizing the Sunday night program for celebrating the Buddha's birthday on May 3rd. She needs volunteers to help put the evening's activities together and will send out an announcement about this on the listserv.

Dharma Discussion Reminders:
In response to requests from sangha members, the Practice Council has decided to add specific instructions about deep listening and mindful sharing to be given by bell inviters before our Dharma discussions. These instructions will be designed to help both new and long time practitioners be aware of our practice of mindful sharing and maintain the depth and quality that brings so much joy to this practice.

WMC 20th Year Anniversary:
This year is the 20th anniversary of the founding of the WMC by Richard Brady and Mitchell Ratner. Joann has offered to start a committee to plan the celebration which will be scheduled for later this year. The celebration will include telling the story of the founding and evolution of the sangha and will be scheduled for a time when both Richard and Mitchell are available to come. Anyone interested in volunteering to create this event can contact Joann.

This year, Nick Chang and Kevin Buckley were both elected to two year terms on the Board of Trustees and join Bill Jenkins and John Love who are currently serving on it. Jeanine Cogan and Steve Sidley were elected to the Practice Council to continue alongside Susan Hadler and Mary Hillebrand.

Our next community gathering will be scheduled for November

*** End of Community Gathering ***