Community Gathering: January 16th

Where have we been? Where are we now? Where are we going?

In the middle of January we had an opportunity to gather as a community and look at how our community has been growing and changing over the past few years – with almost entirely new council and staff, what is our current situation – which has been the key question for the  and what we are focusing on as we move forward. Executive Director Ashley Hodson reviewed our past, present and future and invited the council to reflect on their role in this vision.

You can listen to the audio of the Director and Council Updates here:
(We didn’t capture the very beginning introduction, but the audio comes in right as the Council is speaking on their understanding of their job in our local Boston Center.)

The financial health of the Boston Center is strong. The Unified Giving system is fully operational and we are meeting our goals in supporting the center of the mandala. Stay tuned for more financial updates.

New on the council are two new seats for Membership & Development, held by Brandon Jellison and John Ranco. Ashley and Brandon took some extra time to talk about the role of these two seats and what they have been working on.

The key role of Membership and Development representation on the council is to help understand and engage the community better – more as a community, less as a school – and ensure that the ‘people resources’ of our sangha are nourished. One initial project has been piloting an engagement survey to assess the ‘temperature’ of membership through a questionnaire in which participants mark how strongly they identify with a series of statements. This was a limited test to see if it would be valuable and also feasible to continue to do this on a regular basis – and it was a success!

“The short answer is: we got a 4/5” 

Three highest scores:

“The person I report to cares about me as a person.”

“In the last year I’ve had the opportunity to learn and grow.”

“My fellow members are committed to doing great work.”

Three lowest scores:

“In the last 6 months someone at the BSC has talked to me about my progress.”

“I have a best friend at the Boston Shambhala Center”

“At the Boston Shambhala Center I have the opportunity to do what I do best regularly”

(photo courtesy Nicole Arseneault)

What is our job as a Shambhala, and how do we as a community and a council communicate that? What is our local mission? Both for ourselves and also in our interactions in the larger Boston community it’s important to be clear in how we talk about ourselves and what we are doing. In taking their roles, the council decided it would be helpful to have a clear sense of mission through the larger vision of Shambhala, and they developed the following:

The VisionThrough the view and experience of Basic Goodness we can awaken an enlightened society

The MissionChange the world through Meditation, Community and Action

So what do we do with such large vision and mission? As a community the Boston sangha has been thinking about action for a long time. So Ashley has focused on creating goals for the next 1-2 years:
Moving into Boston
Building our Capacity
Inviting the Sakyong back to Boston

If you’d like to know more about the three goals, please listen to the audio link above starting around 22:45

From there we took the opportunity to reflect together as a community through a social technology called World Cafe. It’s a great facilitation method that surfaces the group wisdom and harvest that collective thinking. If you’re interested in learning more about World Cafes and more tools within the Art ofHosting framework, you are encouraged to join Ashley, Max and Kris up at Karmê Chöling for “Art of Hosting: Social Practices for Enlightened Society” March 19-20th!

We explored two questions in the World Cafe format. First based on what you heard in the updates about the Center and where we’re going; What are we missing? There’s a lot that came up, so if you’re curious please check out the audio recording:

And now that we’ve explored what we felt was missing; What do we have? enjoy some images from the day, and we look forward to our next community gathering: May 7th Save the Date! Update your calendar for the next Community Gathering on Saturday June 4th.

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(photos courtesy Nicole Arseneault)