AZC Ombudsperson Positions Filled

Thank you to the AZC Community for the thoughtful nominations to this important position of trust, wisdom, and maturity. The board has appointed two ombudsfolk: Long-term member Charles Ball and ordained priest and local chaplain Rev. Shuken Robert McCarthy.

Both will serve in this role for the benefit of the Sangha, with additional persons appointed to this role as needed over time.

— AZC Board of Directors

ABOUT: Occasionally, conflict may arise within a Sangha between members, or between members and leaders. Disagreements are inevitable when working and living with others and conflict can be productive and deepen intimacy. AZC encourages members to address conflict using informal conflict resolution skills. Some conflict is highly charged or sensitive and AZC makes available ombudspersons for conflicts that remain unresolved or that require special consideration. 

Our ombudspersons – Charles Ball and Shuken Robert McCarthy – are available to assist those who practice at AZC. The ombudsperson is neutral, impartial, and unaligned, striving for fairness and objectivity in the treatment of people and the consideration of issues. In this role an ombudsperson advocates for fair and equitably administered processes and does not advocate on behalf of any individual within AZC. It is the responsibility of an ombudsperson to consider the legitimate concerns of all persons in AZC affected by the matter under consideration.   An ombudsperson’s role is limited to an informal process – listening, providing and receiving information, identifying and reframing issues, developing a range of responsible options, and only with permission, and at the ombudsperson’s discretion, engages in informal third-party intervention. To the extent possible, an ombudsperson helps people develop new ways to solve problems themselves. They will hold all communications with those seeking assistance in strict confidence and take all reasonable steps to safeguard confidentiality. 

Austin Zen Center’s Ombudsfolk:

Charles BallCharles attended Vanderbilt Divinity School before pursuing a 55-year career as a concert piano technician. He is recently retired from the UT Butler School of Music. Charles was a founding member of the Austin Zen Center, and served on several boards as Chair and Treasurer.

Shuken McCarthyShuken received his Master of Divinity in Buddhist Chaplaincy from the University of the West in 2018.  Shuken received his ordination under the late Rev. Shuichi “Thomas” Kurai and holds endorsement from the Association of Soto Zen Buddhists.  He currently serves as a chaplain working in mental healthcare.  

To initiate the process:

  1. Contact one of the ombudspersons through the email addresses below to arrange a meeting.
  2. The issue can be discussed by phone or in person.
  3. Face to face meetings with the ombudsperson can be scheduled in a public setting that allows private conversation.
  4. If a private setting is desired, a second ombudsperson will be contacted to attend the meeting.