Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington

December 2012 Board Minutes

Red Cedar Zen Board of Directors Meeting – December 5, 2012   

Board Minutes

PRESENT: Jeff, Talus, Tim, Edie

encouraging words
full value contract
We commit:
  • to maintaining physical, psychological, and emotional safety
  • to working together to foster both group and individual goals; giving the group what it needs and individuals what they need.
  • to speaking and listening fearlessly to one another and fully talking things through.
review agenda and set time limits


Old Business
  1. Membership Drive.  Edie reported that in November 2012, we received 18 member pledges, many of them renewals, and four Friend pledges.  The expectation is that we will continue to get pledges into December and January. Edie will send out emails to 2012 members and friends asking if they want to renew.  For next year’s drive (Nov. 2013 for the 2014 year), we will clarify that pledge payments will start as of January of the pledge year.  The board thinks there may be some confusion about when pledges and money begin for this pledge year (2013).
  2. Dharma Hall Board Meeting.  The old Dharma Hall board, which consists of representatives of the four Buddhist groups that used to reside at the old hall on State St., met for their annual meeting.  The board decided to distribute $1000 of the cash remaining in the Dharma Hall account to each of the four groups.  Steve Zerworski, a board member and attorney, volunteered to review the RCZC 501(c)3 application.  Talus will invite him to the next Finance Committee meeting.
  3. RCZC Volunteer Organization Chart. Tim reported that he is revising the chart based on input from Talus and Edie regarding volunteer roles.  Among the changes to come will be Marti’s leaving the bookkeeper position as of May, 2013.  Regarding this plan, please see the attached minutes from the Nov. 15, 2012 Finance Committee meeting. Also note that Valerie has agreed to some additional duties as Clerk.  
  4. Website and Technology Work Group.  Tim reported that he will meet with Terry, Kevin, and Talus early in January to review our current software systems and plan/make any needed changes. The workgroup will also plan how they can be available to members who need technical help with our various software programs so that volunteers can use them more easily.  Karen McMains has indicated that she would also like to sit in on this meeting.
  5. Conflict communications. Tim reported that he has received positive feedback on the Thich Nhat Hanh essay on conflict resolution (on the office bulletin board, downstairs). Tim and Jeff will meet in December to plan the agenda for our Annual Meeting, a major agenda item being discussion of how the sangha would like to proceed in addressing conflict when it arises.

New Business
  1. Emergency Exit Project.  Late in November, the city Fire Inspector inspected our building and found us out of compliance with regard to ease of access to emergency exits.  He instructed us in what we have to do to bring us up to code.  At first the board thought this would be the building owner’s responsibility, but on examining our lease contract, it became clear that we are responsible. So Don McClary researched the possible solutions and vendors, got bids, and selected a vendor to install what is needed.  The work was completed just prior to Rohatsu sesshin. The city fire inspector will return on Dec. 13 to see that everything is in order.  This unexpected but unavoidable project cost the sangha almost $600.  Once the inspection is complete, the board will inform everyone about use of emergency exits.

  1. RCZC’s Financial Needs.  As Member and Friend renewals are dragging a bit this year, and as we have to cover unexpected expenses such as above, the board discussed how we might improve our income this year.  To counter what might be the perception out there in the community that “The Dharma Hall is free” (Tim heard someone say this!), we realize we need to ask for donations in appropriate ways and times, such as:

  • As part of our New Year’s Eve Ceremony, we will ask for a donation from guests. We will publicize this on our website.
  • We will create a sign for the lobby saying something like, “Red Cedar Zen has financial needs.  Can you help?” Then list some ways and suggest a $5 - $10 donation for drop-in meditators.
  • We ask sangha members to give us their ideas for encouraging more people to help.

The board happily acknowledged RCZC receipt of $1000 from the old Bellingham Dharma Hall organization. This amount was also distributed by the Dharma Hall organization to the other three group members of the old organization.

  1. Use of Website for announcements by other groups. At its November meeting, the Finance Committee raised the question, Who should be able to publicize events on our website?  (please see attached Finance Committee Minutes)  After some discussion, the board agreed that 1) our website and all activities should serve our Mission (please see “Our Sangha Mission, on our website, under INFO); 2) we should list all our RCZC events on our website and calendar.  We can also list events closely related, such as Mountain Rain retreats, Tim’s Northwest Mindfulness classes, in our emails and as sidebars on our website, but we should confine our calendar to just RCZC events; 3) we should not list or publicize events or activities that are not Buddhist.  Note: this was an initial board exploration of this topic; input from sangha members is welcome. The aim, eventually, is for the board to develop a policy for this.

  1. Annual Meeting Planning.  Tim and Jeff will further develop the meeting agenda, but the board blocked out the general plan.  The meeting will be Saturday, January 5, from 10 am to noon.  Tea and cookies will be served.  The agenda will include: a proposal and discussion of how to communicate about conflict within the sangha; the annual financial report; a discussion of volunteer needs; and a discussion of sangha generated topics.

  1. Thank You’s to our Volunteers. We are always grateful to everyone who gives time and skill to RCZC.  This month we want to point out a few people for their efforts:

  • Valerie Davenport for her work as clerk, and for taking on more tasks in that role.
  • Don McClary for his excellent analysis of vendors and bids for the exit door project, and for seeing both the work and the inspection through to completion.
  • Kevin Conner for his evaluation and organization of our bounced-back emails, which he plans to do on a quarterly basis; and also for his ongoing lobby calendar updates.
  • Karen McMains for her detailed work as retreat registrar, without which our retreats wouldn’t happen.
  • Dave Lynch for keeping the front garden pristine (when does he do it?!)
meeting reflection
on relationships, process, values and mission
of good value
upholding the contract
sangha on the horizon
The board meeting was adjourned at 6:30 pm.  NEXT BOARD MEETING:  January 2, 5:15 pm, Dokusan Rooom


Edie Norton, Board Secretary
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