Secretary’s Corner: News from Common Ground’s Board of Directors
December 7, 2015
Common Ground’s Board of Directors meets every one or two months to discuss important aspects of our center’s operations. In this update, I, Gabe Keller, the Secretary, will write about some recent highlights of our discussions.
In October, we had our annual board retreat where we invite past and current board members together to do some longer-term visioning for the center. We discussed the growth of the center, and how to best support it. One way seems to be to support the growing number of community groups and satellite sitting groups stemming from the center. These groups facilitate the spiritual friendships that are so essential to this path, and it’s wonderful to see them blooming. Another way the center is growing is through the organic development of teachers. We now are fortunate to have ten or so regular teachers who teach for Mark when he’s away and who lead other programs at the center. The center is also growing administratively as Mark begins to hand off some of his administrative duties so he can spend more time practicing, teaching, studying, and developing our retreat property.
Another priority that emerged from our retreat was making our center accessible and welcoming for anyone who would like to practice here. We recognized that this is a work in progress. We would like to better meet the needs of families with children, as currently about half of the applicants for our youth programs are turned away due to space limitations. We also talked about ways to make newcomers feel comfortable and welcome in a new space. And we would like to continue to explore ways to make our center feel safe for people who are not part of the white, middle-class, straight, cisgender, able-bodied majority.
One way we as a board decided to participate in this conversation was to regularly schedule time at our meetings to learn about and discuss how race, difference, privilege, and accessibility affect us personally and as leaders of the center. So far we’ve had rich discussions on classism and implicit bias. If you haven’t taken Harvard’s implicit bias test, we encourage you to. Many of us found it to be a powerful way to directly observe the force of cultural conditioning on our minds.
As board members, we want to be in touch with the Common Ground community so we can bring your thoughts and ideas to bear on our discussions. Feel free to reach out to us individually or collectively at email@example.com.
Common Ground’s Board of Directors
Louise Delagran, Chair
Stacy McClendon, Vice Chair
Doug Swanson, Treasurer
Gabe Keller, Secretary
Mark Young, Chair of Building Committee
Mark Nunberg, Guiding Teacher