Red Cedar Zen Community, 1021 N Forest, Bellingham Washington


The work of maintaining our building and programs at Red Cedar Zen Community is performed by volunteers organized into several workgroups. Each workgroup has its own set of pages within the website that can be used for conducting business. Following is a current list of workgroups, along with a description of each. The name of each workgroup is a link to its workgroup home page. In some cases the workgroup's pages are available only to members of that group. 

If you are a member of Red Cedar Zen Community and are interested in participating in one or more of these workgroups, simply login and check the relevant checkboxes in your member profile. If your are not a member, please consider becoming one.
  • Orientation Workgroup – welcoming and orienting new people
  • Membership Workgroup –  supporting our members, tracking and processing memberships
  • Finance Workgroup –  tracking and reporting on finances, budgets, and banking
  • Annual Fund Workgroup – creating and managing our annual fund drive in November and December
  • Building Maintenance Workgroup – maintaining and organizing our building
  • Building Rental Workgroup – managing building rentals
  • Zendo Care & Programs Workgroup – working in the zendo (ceremonies, maintaining), putting on programs (organizing, registration, food), and maintaining the library
  • Website & Technology Workgroup –  establishing and maintaining information and communication technologies, and training members in their use
  • Garden Workgroup –  completing and maintaining front and back gardens at the Dharma Hall

Additional Information for each group

The following content, if still applicable, could possibly be moved to the home page for each workgroup:

The Outreach Workgroup

This workgroup works to make our way of practice visible to the community.  

Publications:  Outreach needs techies who know desktop publishing, file formats, and a variety of data storage techniques (flash drive, CD, upload to internet, etc). These volunteers would produces all print media for outreach, including brochures, posters, postcard-sized advertisements, and possibly larger "signage".  They could use someone with photography skills who knows photo editing software and sites. Outreach needs someone who is able to devote time to running "print errands" to and from Copy Source or other print outlets. Breaking news: Barb Crowley is getting started on this job. 

Media Contact: These volunteers maintain regular listings (press releases) on Bellingham Herald, Skagit Valley Herald, Cascadia Weekly, KVOS community TV, KUGS (Western's radio station). Joan Dow is currently doing this, thank you Joan! 

Brochure/Poster Distribution: Whatcom County is big and Outreach needs people to distribute posters and handbills to the community. Outreach can use a lead person and many helpers.   Posters need to be distributed only about twice per year.  Although brochure distribution is on-going, a volunteer needs to check sites only periodically to re-stock. Joan is currently distributing brochures.  There is a worksheet to help with poster distribution. 

Special Projects:  This is a job for creative types who will think of different events and community opportunities to let the broader community know about our sangha. A recent example is the display at the Bellingham Public Library. In the future we could have a presence at WWU's annual fall information fair, or other community events.  

Outreach Needs Summary: another person to help with poster/brochure distribution, one person to take on media contact work. 

The Welcome Workgroup

The Welcome workgroup works to make the Dharma Hall and Sangha activities as welcoming and sense-making as possible for new people. The workgroup handles incoming communication and contact from visitors.  

Welcoming People at the Hall: Welcome Volunteers will find much of the guidance they need to succeed in the Welcome Guidelines binder in the hall lobby.  These guidelines are also posted on the Welcome Workgroup page of the forum.  Welcome Coverage times include Monday, Wednesday, and Friday Noon zazen, and Wednesday Evening service. There are several trained volunteers already, but it is quite demanding to "cover" every service, week after week, so the more folks who volunteer to be trained, the better.  Currently, Christa Simmons, Fran Hecht, and Marilyn Kratt are sharing the noon welcoming. Wednesday evening is being handled by Kathy McKenna and John Wiley.  Someone at the zendo you don't recognize? Introduce yourself and ask if they've been welcomed. All sangha members are encouraged to review the Welcome Guidelines. 

CD Production: When new members are welcomed we offer them a CD complete with one of  Tim's Dharma talks. Making CDs is easy to learn, easy to do, and we now have a relationship with a local vendor. We supply the audio files and art, but some computer skills needed to do this task. 

Welcome Emails: This can be done from any email account!  Just use the email addresses provided by new visitors to the hall to send them an already written welcome letter.  You just copy it and paste it into the email to them, and hit send! We get positive feedback from those who have been welcomed in this way. Currently Fran and Christa are sending welcome emails. 

Dharma Hall Voice Mail: When someone calls the hall, voice mails are transcribed and emailed to this volunteer. Thank you, Bernadette Prinster for currently handling this task.  About 3-5 calls come in per week. Most callers are asking for meditation instruction. Some ask about renting the building.  This volunteer will return calls to folks, when appropriate; but often this volunteer simply forwards the transcription to the appropriate workgroup for their follow-up.

General Email Contact: Check, respond and route emails sent to our general email address. Currently this task is being handled by Kathy McKenna in Membership Workgroup as much email to this address is about membership. She likes doing it, but others can train as back up.  

Adding Names to database: Access the RCZC database (codes provided!) and perform simple data entry of information provided by visitors on our visitor email data sheet. This provides the critical link between "welcome" and "membership". Fran and Christa again, thank you! 

Welcome Needs Summary: another person or two ongoing to fill in and help with welcoming people at the Hall.

The Zendo & Programs Workgroup

The Zendo & Programs workgroup runs the programs and special events of the sangha. This workgroup includes some traditional Zen monastic positions for which we use the Japanese names. The Spiritual Director (Tim Burnett) is the board member who supports the work of the Zendo, Programs, and Practice Workgroups.  He can be reached at if you have questions about working in one of these workgroups. 

Ino (zendo coordinator): The Ino is the host and leader in the zendo. The new Ino is Latona Maillard, taking the role of John Keith who is continuing as Assistant Ino. Thank you John and Latona for your leadership in the zendo!  

Chiden (altar cleaning): Terry Wissler is lead Chiden currently with Karen McMains on backup and specializing in flowers. Marilyn Kratt has volunteered to act as Chiden for the lobby altar.  Chiden could use one more person on backup and to be trained in the chiden’s arts.

Tenzo (cooking): Chris Burkhart is the head Tenzo this year and a real pioneer moving us into doing oryoki consistently at sesshin and some regular Saturday programs. Helpers have been: Fran Hecht and Koelle Bodhi.  The Tenzo needs aback up/trainee Tenzo to fill in as needed and a lead Tenzo to coordinate the October 10-11, 2009 Study Retreat with Norman. Lunch is traditionally served at this retreat. 

Retreat Manager: Tim continues to cover as Retreat Manager.  Tim would love to train a Retreat Manager apprentice – One person to be understudy to eventually be Retreat Manager. Retreat Manager is the head organizer of the retreat, acts as point person for the facility, and coordinates with other leaders (Ino, Tenzo, etc.). It is helpful if this person can attend all of the major retreats during the year. Interested in this job? Plenty of support is available.

Registrar: Karen McMains and Barb Crowley are now sharing the important job of Registrar. Thank you Karen and Barb! Karen and Barb are working to develop a detailed job description and to streamline the process. If you interested in being registrar in future it would helpful to "apprentice" with Karen and Barb.  This is a demanding job and we like to rotate it regularly. 

Materials Coordinator: The Zendo Workgroup needs one person to work with Retreat Manager to organize our plastic tubs, ensure we have all supplies needed for retreats, and get our gear to the site.   There are written lists of materials and labeled plastic tubs. Tim will assist and consult.

Zendo & Programs Needs Summary: One person to apprentice with Tim as Assistant Retreat Manager, one person to serve as Materials Coordinator.

Practice Committee

The Practice Committee is formed of the former shuso’s (head students at practice period) which includes Tim as priest and Spiritual Director, the Ino and/or Assistant Ino, plus zendo hosts for the noon programs.  Presently this is Tim Burnett, Nancy Welch, John Wiley, John Keith, Latona Maillard, and Edie Norton. The Practice Committee guides the forms and feelings of our practice. We’ve just had our first meeting to discuss overall feeling and approach to practice in the sangha and some general program planning. Overall sense is that things are going well.  A shift in the organization chart is it makes sense for the Practice Committee to do event planning as talking about the feeling in the zendo leads naturally to what we actually do there. So you might notice that the “Event Planning” section of the Zendo & Programs Workgroup has been removed. We are of course glad for any sangha member to suggest programs but this can be the group that regularly meets to assess where we’re at. 

Practice Committee Needs Summary: None!

The Finance Workgroup

The Finance Workgroup meets roughly monthly to discuss sangha financial matters. Recently we proposed our first operational budget which was adopted with minor additions by the Board in March. The Finance Workgroup is the place for the Board to send financial questions and ideas for more careful consideration. The Treasurer (Greg Greenan) is the board member who supports the work of the finance and the building workgroups. 

Bookkeeper: Marti Bartlett continues in this essential sangha role. The Board deeply appreciates Marti’s ongoing, dedicated service to the sangha. That said no one can stay in one volunteer role forever, if you’re interested in learning about the sangha bookkeeping please talk to members of the Workgroup Greg Greenan, John Wiley, or Marti Bartlett. 

One more member: Interested in things financial? Another set of calculating eyes would be helpful.   

Finance Needs Summary: One more member to join the finance workgroup for regular meetings on financial policy matters; possible understudy for Marti on Bookkeeping.

The Building Workgroup

The Building Workgroup takes care of the building and its tenants. It organizes sangha work days and ongoing building maintenance and coordination as needed. 

Building Manger: Latona Maillard continues in this essential role as point person for all of our tenants and fields inquiries about building use, interfaces with BIMS and does scheduling and building planning. Thank you Latona!   

Library: The Building Workgroup needs volunteers to maintain, expand, and organize our small but excellent Buddhist library in it’s new accessible and attractive home off of the lobby. Regular duties include: cataloging donated materials, shelving checked in materials, reminder phone calls to people with checked out materials. Koelle Bodhi is working with BIMS member Rem Ryals on this, and one more library helper is very much needed. 

Garden Laborer: There is always work to do here especially as the world warms up a bit. There are plans in the works to expand, but first we need the commitment and organization of an army of green thumbs.  
Building Needs Summary: Another library very much needed. Nice to know who's available on call for help with building and garden projects.

The Membership Workgroup

The Secretary (Brian Davidson) is the board member who supports the work of the membership and website /technology workgroups. He can be reached at, 360.305.0686 if you have questions about the membership or website/technology workgroups. 

The Membership Workgroup tracks membership status and maintains accurate membership list using the sangha email list (or other lists needed to track monthly/annual donations?)  Working in cooperation with the Finance Workgroup, they keeps accurate records of who members are, what our membership income is, etc, while also keeping individuals membership donations private. 

The Membership Workgroup announces regularly, and especially during our November Membership Drive, about the importance and benefits of membership in the sangha. They respectfully check on members who have been absent from sangha life for a while, and asks lapsed members if they wish to renew their membership. This group manages the Retreat Grants program which supplies financial assistance for members to attend Buddhist events outside the sangha. They accommodate overnight stays at the Dharma Hall for out of towners. They also regularly print and distribute the Sangha Directory.  

Membership Workgroup Members: That is a large load of tasks and the Membership Workgroup needs helpers for Kathy McKenna to learn the primary membership functions and fill in as needed. 

Membership Needs Summary: One person to help Kathy with various membership-related tasks.

The Website and Technology Workgroup

The Website and Technology Workgroup maintains and Red Cedar Zen Workgroups site. They evaluate new approaches, and support sangha members in the use of both. Workgroup members promote RCZC technology usage by providing training for adopted technologies.  

Technology Members: Currently, the Tech folks need more tech folks to learn our fancy ways and educate others so we can expand our human connections. 

Website & Tech Needs Summary: One person, especially someone with some web development background, to help with website tasks and training.

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