Appreciating Our Volunteers
White Heron Sangha began in 1991 as a gathering of a few friends who meditated together in their homes and offices. Fast forward 28 years. Now White Heron Sangha is a community-based sangha of over 350 active practitioners, with its own meditation center and meditation and class offerings that enable us to practice together in some way nearly every day.
All of this has been accomplished through the commitment, passion, and hard work of volunteers – Board members and participants who have given of themselves to the service of White Heron Sangha, and have asked for nothing in return.
As a way to honor and show our appreciation for our volunteers, we are offering a ½ day retreat on Saturday, September 14, entitled “Serving the Sangha as Dharma Practice” for everyone who has volunteered time and energy, in small and large ways, to develop and expand White Heron Sangha and make the programs at our Meditation Center run smoothly. We will meditate together, hear a dharma talk via a live stream with Spirit Rock teacher Donald Rothberg, and enjoy lunch together. If you have volunteered in the past in any way (openers, closers, greeters, snack preparers, committee members, cleaners, Prado volunteers, mentors, etc.), are currently volunteering, or interested in becoming an active volunteer, you are welcome to register for this retreat: Serving the Sangha as Dharma Practice.
“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Board of Directors News
White Heron Sangha benefits every day from the dedicated energies and time devoted by our Board of Directors and Committee Chairpersons. We could not survive and grow without the countless hours spent in meetings and service to all of us by these volunteers who make a year-round commitment to guiding and supporting our Sangha. I am especially grateful to them. Please contact me if you think you might like to be on our Board of Directors; we have two openings at this time.
Fund for Future Growth
As you might have noticed recently, we are beginning to outgrow our current space in Avila Village for retreats and some meditation sitting programs. At our last Board meeting in July, we approved the creation of a new “Fund for Future Growth” as a way to set aside some of our savings for future ownership of our own place, and we recently received the first check designated for this fund. We will be reporting on the growth of this fund periodically. Please contact our Treasurer, Greg Thomas, if you are interested in making a designated donation to this fund.
Wild Apricot Payment System and Recurring Donations
On August 15, White Heron Sangha migrated to the new Wild Apricot Payment System, which has replaced the use of PayPal and simplified online donation and registration payments. In addition, we now have an online recurring donation capability that allows donors to become part of our Stewardship Council. For more information on these new features and how they work, please see the article Online Payments Simplified.
Allergies and Sensitivities
In an effort to continue to support White Heron Sangha participants who are sensitive to certain odors or chemicals, we have begun placing orchids on the altar instead of flower bouquets that might trigger allergic reactions. We again request that everyone refrain from using scented products when coming to our meditation center and we thank you for your cooperation.
Programs and Events
New Sitting Group
There is a new LGBTQ Sitting Group that meets in the evenings on the 2nd and 4th Wednesdays of the month. Please see the article LGBTIQ+ Sitting Group by Kathy Headtke and consider joining this group for meditating together with others who might identify similarly.
The new White Heron Sangha compassion committee, called the Karuna Team, is now functioning and ready to serve Sangha members who can use a little assistance in difficult times. Please see the article WHS Karuna (Compassion) Team is Ready to Serve by Sharon Rippner for more information.
Annual Sangha Picnic
The White Heron Sangha annual potluck picnic this year will be on Sunday, September 29, from 4-6:30 pm in Meadow Park in SLO. Please attend and bring your family and a dish to share with all of us. We always have a really good time and it’s a wonderful way to get to know your Sangha family in an informal setting. See the article White Heron Sangha Annual Picnic by Kathryn Tribbey for more information. I hope to see you there.
Basic Buddhism Class
Rosemary Donnell is again offering a six-week class series that is a brief and practical introduction to the core teachings of Buddhism: the Four Noble Truths and the Eightfold Path, and how they apply to our everyday life. This class will be held on Thursday evenings, beginning September 5. For more information, please see the article A Brief Overview of the Four Noble Truths and Eightfold Path and Their Application to Daily Life.
Sharon Rippner has written an article called Practice and Political/Social Action. She encourages us to bear witness to the suffering in the world and around us that will lead us to compassionate action. I highly encourage you to read it.
Reflective Meditation Retreat
On October 12, Linda Modaro, a teacher from Sati Sangha, and our own Wendy Liepman will give us a “taste” of Reflective Meditation practice. This will be a one day retreat at our Meditation Center in Avila Village. Please see the event description. Registration for this retreat will begin shortly.
The theme of this column has been appreciation of the offerings of White Heron Sangha and of all the volunteers who have helped us grow and prosper as a supportive practicing community. Appreciation is the happiness and joy we feel on recognizing the good in something or someone. This certainly describes my experience with this Sangha in all its aspects and I look forward to sharing and appreciating these offerings with you.
Next article - Fall 2019