2022 Membership Pledge Drive

Austin Zen Center’s annual Membership Pledge Drive is running now through September 10th. 

If you think of yourself as a part of the AZC community, now is an excellent time to consider becoming a member or increasing your pledge!

Dear AZC Sangha:

My name is José Alvarado. I was recently voted by the sangha as a member of the AZC Board, and was appointed as vice-president. As such, I lead AZC’s Membership and Development Committee, which includes our director, Jess Engle, and our development coordinator, Todd Cornett. Our task is to steward AZC’s relationship with the sangha members and our community.

If you are reading this, I extend my deepest bows of gratitude to you. We have witnessed the rebuilding of our in-person activities at AZC as we emerged from the pandemic. I am thankful to see our community return to the zendo. Austin Zen Center would not exist as we know it if it weren’t for the participation and engagement of the sangha, and the generosity of its members.

Please mark your calendar for Saturday, September 10, 2022. We will be hosting a Member Appreciation Brunch on that day. This will be an opportunity for AZC to express its gratitude for its members. We will offer a catered brunch and have a series of speakers on the topic of membership. Are you a current supporting member of Austin Zen Center? If so, thank you! I hope to see you at the brunch. Please RSVP here. If not, I warmly encourage you to consider becoming a member.

Austin Zen Center relies heavily on its community for its existence. In particular, membership is an opportunity for sangha members to help sustain our operations and allow us to predictably plan our budget. Members receive certain benefits, such as voting rights, library privileges, and discounts on programs. Please note that all members receive the same benefits and voting rights, regardless of how much they contribute. If you are not yet a member but are interested in becoming one, please fill out our Annual Pledge Form.

Who counts as a member? The AZC Board defines the membership year from September 1 to August 31. Anyone who makes regular membership contributions in that timeframe will be considered an official AZC member. All you need to do is fill out the pledge form and remember to enact your membership contribution to AZC. With the new membership year about to start, now is a good time to consider becoming a member.

If you have any questions about membership, please contact me at jose@austinzencenter.org.

I am grateful for our vibrant sangha and am thankful for the opportunity to give back through my work on the Board. Austin Zen Center has nourished and sustained me, as I hope it has for you. Together, we can make sure our cherished center continues to nourish and sustain others. And I thank you for your ongoing support.

Warmly bowing,

José Alvarado

AZC Board Vice-President

Why I am a member

Once a week, for over a year, the name of some member of my family was chanted at the Wednesday night well-being ceremony. For a few weeks it was even me. 

What a gift of hope knowing that for a few moments a week a room full of people were sending their well wishes and good intentions our way. Although grateful for the “thoughts and prayers” of others along the way, this seemed to be a more powerful gift, as I was able to experience being both the giver and the receiver. For me, the forms and ceremonies have provided a place to start in a shared space. And my life at Austin Zen Center began by committing to these Wednesday night ceremonies. From there I grew interested in the other offerings and opportunities. My first fall practice period was the first time I had not studied Buddhism on my own. My first practice discussion was the first helpful conversation I’ve had about: “Just what do you do with these thoughts that arise from just being still?”

My first sesshin can be described as if we were a flock of birds in flight together. Flocking helps birds notice and defend against predators, and have been shown to use up less energy while together. Feeling safe, and using resources wisely. There’s even a Buddhist-sounding chant-like word for this: murmuration. My time at the Austin Zen Center gives me the chance to practice stillness and to cultivate hope, so that I can carry it out into a world that seems to need it a lot. By pledging, I make sure that AZC continues to operate and that others have these opportunities, too.

-Todd Cornett

A flock of birds pattern in the sky – play without sound!