August Newsletter

Sunday, August 01, 2021 12:00 PM | Mari Ritalahti (Administrator)

The Search for a New Home Begins

Joden Bob Rose, Board President 

Fellow Sangha Members,

Your Board of Directors recently appointed a small group to work on your behalf to find our new “permanent” home in this impermanent and rapidly changing world.  As we are all aware, the Bellingham real estate market is vibrant and dynamic. The Search Committee on Real Estate (SCORE) is purposefully small to respond rapidly and decisively if the right opportunity arises. 

The committee’s members are: Guiding teacher Nomon Tim Burnett, Board President Joden Bob Rose, Vice President Mary Durbrow, and Bellingham commercial real estate broker Richard Eggemeyer (semi-retired).  In addition, sangha members Bob Penny and Chris Burkhart will provide essential technical assistance and guidance.  

We have formulated a set of criteria (below) to guide our investigation of available real estate within the Bellingham city limits.  We are only a limited set of eyes and ears, so we would welcome your suggestions of suitable properties if they fit some or most of these criteria.  Please contact one of the SCORE members if you identify a suitable candidate property. 

Finding the right site, addressing the inevitable remodeling/renovation issues such as permitting, design, finding contractors, and completing a complex work order in a timely fashion, will all take more time than we would like.  We will all have to translate the patience and equanimity we find on the cushion to this process.  But we will, at the appropriate time, step across the threshold, into a Zendo and Dharma Hall we can truly call our own.

Your Board looks forward to your active participation in the upcoming RCZC campaign to build our new sangha home.  It will be the perfect time for simultaneously practicing patience and generosity as we build our legacy in Bellingham and Northwest Washington.

Please contact one of the SCORE members if you have any questions or ideas as we begin this process.



  • 3,000 sq ft minimum on a single level with room for dedicated zendo

  • Existing building rather than bare ground

  • Reasonable visibility and accessibility by bus & bike

  • Adequate parking /space available to meet city code)

  • As close to city core as financially feasible

  • Minimum cost and time to renovate (unless price discount compensates for added costs)

  • Upgrade interior walls and façade 

  • ADA accessible 


  • Zoning allows Churches outright (or minimal time/hassle for variance or conditional use)

  • Close to or adjacent to park/green space/urban trails

  • Near neighborhood services such as coffee shop/grocery

  • Easily modified and/or flexible spaces

  • Space to share as rental to other groups to increase cash flow

  • Limited external noise (traffic, freeway, mfg.)

Estimated cost for building ready for move in: +/- $ 1,000,000 - $1,200,000

Sangha Conversation 

To discuss our current status of fund raising and property acquisition

All current members are encouraged to attend the August Sangha Conversation during our regular Wednesday evening practice on August 25th 7pm.  Board President and 2021 Shuso Joden Bob Rose will host the conversation.  Joden Bob will introduce the current status of our fund raising efforts, and other currently unfolding developments in our effort to find a suitable property. Ample time will be given for Q & A.  We look forward to hearing voices from the sangha contribute your input and ideas to the current efforts.

Sangha Conversations are our whole-community time to discuss important topics of business and our practice amongst the entire sangha.  At the end of June we held our first sangha conversation in quite a while, and it served as a nice ice breaker to re-engaging our community dialogue. In July, because Guiding Teacher Nomon Tim was not present, we did not hold a conversation. In the past we have had these conversations only about every three months, with a shifting emphasis upon whatever topic seemed current.  But presently we will be conducting these sangha conversations going forward on a monthly basis, the last Wednesday of the month, at least for this period of time we are engaged in the process of finding a new physical home.  We feel it is important at this time to keep the membership up to date, and gain critical input from members, as we enter a very active phase of planning and fundraising.

We encourage everyone to attend. If you are not able to attend then information from the sangha conversation will be included in next month’s newsletter.

Nomon Tim is moving back to Bellingham 

Over the course of August, Red Cedar’s Guiding Teacher Nomon Tim Burnett with his partner Raizelah Bayen will be getting situated permanently back in Bellingham.  Nomon has been living in California for the last year, participating with our activities, as we all have been, on Zoom.  July has been his accustomed annual sabbatical month to get the batteries recharged for another year of guiding the Sangha.  In August Nomon will resume regular attendance at weekly zazen and will again be giving regular dharma talks and conducting dokusan via Zoom.

Wilderness Dharma Program News 

Summer is time for hiking and enjoying the outdoors, and is when our Wilderness Dharma Program gets out on the trails. On July 10th Reizan Bob Penny led a very successful Opening the Mountains day hike to Skyline Divide. About half a dozen Red Cedar pilgrims performed our Dividing Water Ceremony on the ridge, in full view of Mt. Baker, Mt. Shuksan, and the North Cascades.  The Salish Sea water we gathered at our Receiving Water Ceremony, conducted in May at Larrabee Beach, was divided into three vials, to be exchanged later in the hiking season with mountain water at each of the three branches of the Nooksack River. To complete our annual water cycle ceremonies the mountain water will be recombined and then returned to the Salish Sea at Larrabee Beach at our Closing the Mountains hike in October.

In late June Terrill Thompson led a very peaceful and quite mindfulness walk for over half a dozen sangha members around the Stimpson Family Forest Reserve, a wonderful land holding near Lake Whatcom managed by the Whatcom Land Trust and Whatcom County Parks.  We were graced by the silent presence of great old growth trees, and the passing flight of a barred owl during the easy five mile walk.

Upcoming Mountains and Rivers Backpacking Retreat September 7-9 (tentative) 

We believe our annual pilgrimage to Mt. Baker will happen despite the pandemic. All participants must be fully vaccinated. Final decision will be made closer to the time.

This trip to the high upper flanks of Mt. Baker involves many wilderness based ceremonies, including a grand “sutra mapping” of Dogen’s Mountains and Rivers Sutra across the landscape of the upper Middle and South Fork watersheds of the Nooksack River. The trip this year is being organized informally, through direct communication with Nomon Tim Burnett, who is leading the backpack, as long-time Wilderness Dharma Program Coordinator Reizan Bob Penny is currently unable to participate.  To view a past (somewhat outdated) trip description for reference please click here 

Contact Nomon Tim directly you may email him at if you are interested in joining.  You must have some backpacking experience. There are only a very few spaces still available for this trip.


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