Dear Sangha Member,
As the world emerges from a year+ of isolation and social distancing, and communities large and small begin connecting again in-person, our AZC sangha has also started taking steps towards re-opening. Our practice leadership is working to re-establish our Doanryo base and to prepare for safely reopening the zendo for in-person practice. We’ve already been holding outdoor services, work-practice days, and Sundays in the Garden. The zendo and foyer are even getting prepped and painted in anticipation of being an active and welcoming space once again.
And while the re-opening is on everyone’s mind, we also look forward to continuing some aspect of the online engagement that has kept us together in practice since early 2020. Many thanks to all who participated in the reopening survey to help AZC leadership and the Practice Committee consider options for best serving the sangha going forward – including our remote members.
Your AZC Board is also adjusting our focus and effort to support the sangha and temple for what lines ahead. Following our (online) 2021 Annual Membership Meeting this past April, the board elected officers, including a new board officer position of vice-president. This year’s slate of officers is:
**President**: Shu Shuey
**Vice-President**: Wendy Salome
**Secretary**: Karen Laing
**Treasurer**: David Adelman
The new board has the advantage of being able to move forward from the efforts of the prior board, Dave Pietruszynski’s leadership, Mako’s energy and care, and the continued participation of the whole sangha. AZC is well-positioned to continue providing a safe and peaceful place to practice and for each of us to encourage one another.
How this next year unfolds, however, will depend largely on how we each engage. We all have some expectation of what we’ll experience as the temple reopens – what we hope it will be like to enter and use the space and to practice with others. Without denying those expectations, part of our practice is to remember that we are the “others” for everyone else’s experience. Your wholehearted engagement is precisely what makes Sangha one of the triple-treasures.
Thank you for creating AZC with each action and for nurturing the sangha through our reopening and beyond.
If you are ready, the Doanryo will need to retrain its core volunteer group. Greeters will need to welcome newcomers. The building and grounds team will need help with maintenance. The office will need support as we prepare to hire a new administrator in the coming weeks. The board will need new leaders. And we need your presence. Online, in person, it is time to connect again.
Each activity is an opportunity to extend our practice beyond the study of self and towards the forgetting of self. If you are ready and haven’t done so already, reach out to your nearest sangha leader and ask how you can re-engage in this part of our practice.
We will be opening some mid-term board positions this year. If you are interested in serving the sangha in this way, or would recommend someone for it, please send your nomination to Karen Laing by July 9.
With deep gratitude,
Shugen Zuiho Shuey
Board President of Austin Zen Center