This is a happy meeting – the 2018 AGM
On a sunny, late September afternoon almost thirty people met for The Community of Interbeing’s 2018 AGM.
Finance and activities
Trustees Vari McLuskie and Jonathan Edwards presented on the activities and finance for 2017. It was fantastic to hear about the outreach work that has taken place, sharing mindfulness with people in challenging situations and reassuring to know that thanks to Jonathan’s tireless work the accounts are in all in order.
There was a question about which work is paid for and which is done voluntarily. Unfortunately, the trend across a number of charities is that time available for volunteering is decreasing and it was agreed to leave it to the trustees discretion which work should be paid for.
As a matter of formality the current trustees were re-elected. Howard Saunders mentioned work on a process for appointing trustees. It was noted that we are in desperate need of someone to support Jonathan with the finances. If you know anyone with the skills and time for this please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Being Peace Project
Dharma Teacher Martin Pitt reported the support from the UK Dharma teachers for the project and referred to a forthcoming statement.
Trustee Esteban Ruseler gave a presentation on the project:
Karim Manji gave an input on the communications around the project, including an open letter signed by over 200 members of London groups expressing enthusiastic support, a survey, showing the vast majority of COI members in support of the project and an open letter signed by 12 people supporting the project in conjunction with retention of Being Peace Cottage.
People had questions about the centre. It was clarified that £1.5 million would be needed for the initial purchase. There would be more needed to support the ongoing development but once the centre is launched the revenue from retreats would contribute towards these costs. One question related to whether it would be a ‘four-fold’ centre with both monastic and non-monastic residents and that is the intention. We discussed terminology and use of terms like ‘retreat centre’ and ‘practice centre’.
There was a question about whether the property currently owned by the Community of Interbeing, Being Peace Cottage could be used for the centre in conjunction with the adjacent New Barn Centre at weekends and school holidays. The intention would be to offer week-long retreats and have a growing community of practice throughout the year, so this option would not be possible.
This new website was presented by Karim Manji. It was explained that though legally, the name Community of Interbeing will be retained, we will be referring to ourselves a Plum Village UK to make what we do clearer, especially for people coming across us for the first time. We build mindful communities in Thich Nhat Hanh’s Plum Village tradition. People were enthusiastic about the new look and feel.