Midyear Message from the Board of Directors

A Midyear Message from the Austin Zen Center Board of Directors to the Sangha

The AZC board which is comprised of seven sangha members along with the Center leadership is tasked with ensuring that the Austin Zen Center follows its mission:

Offering a peaceful haven for engaging in the task of self-discovery through Zen practice. Our intention is to help all beings realize their true nature.

– from the AZC website

Dear Sangha Member,

A mourning dove’s first tentative coo breaking the dark early morning stillness or a waft of incense during weekday zazen are, for me, moments of deep peace. All of us have different turning moments and each are important – for some it might be other sangha members joining in zazen, for others it might be the quiet zendo away from a noisy household. Providing a peaceful haven for practice is a vital task that the leadership and sangha perform as our collective mission for all beings.

Over the past two and a half years the board, the leadership, and members of our sangha set out to reset the policy framework for AZC and address concerns generated during a period of turmoil that resulted in a changed board, changed leadership, and a changed sangha. There are many people who have dedicated themselves to regaining the balance of the Center – the leadership, the board, and the sangha feel deep gratitude that we are continuing the mission.

Those of us that worked on the new policies and changes know that some of our members were affected deeply by the turmoil, and we also recognize that trust can be easily lost and must be earned back. We dedicate ourselves to earning that trust, and our new policies reflect that dedication. The newly completed policies can be accessed on the member forum (and on the AZC website soon) including a diversity commitment, conflict resolution recommendations with the option of engaging with an ombudsperson, a grievance process, a policy on teacher-student relationships, and a transparency commitment.

As we move forward in 2019, we’ve made financial targets for AZC, are simplifying the software used for sustaining AZC, established a new membership committee, started a fundraising effort, and are now updating our website. The board is active in each of these efforts and we need sangha members who can help.

In my role, I’ve met with founding members at AZC who have provided context on the history of AZC and I’m amazed and humbled by the sangha’s repeated willingness to step up when necessary with wisdom, resilience, energy, and compassion. Please reflect on the value that AZC provides to all of us, and we invite you to join us and ensure that AZC meets our mission. Below is a list of specific ways that you can contribute.

With deep gratitude, 
Dave Pietruszynski 
Board President 
Austin Zen Center

Opportunities to contribute and board contacts:

Mary Meagher is the fundraising chair and she needs a fundraising partner and a few more committee members. 
David Adelman, and Maureen Milligan request enterprise software expertise – This spans database management, financial tool integration, maintenance, and system debug. 
Onryu Jeremy Shoemaker requests website support – We are updating our webpage to be more interactive and to make giving easier. 
Melanie Gulick and Josh Kopin are requesting welcomers/greeters – We want a few friendly faces at our regular events to seek out newcomers to give a warm welcome, and to follow-up. 
Mako/Tim requesting volunteer coordinator(s). We have sangha members that have the energy to help and need to be asked/organized. 
Tim is requesting someone who can organize systems and workflows. This person will assist in the Center operations.