12-11-16 Sangha Update

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Good Morning!

When despair for the world grows in me and I wake in the night at the least sound... I come into the peace of wild things who do not tax their lives with forethought of grief. I come into the presence of still water. And I feel above me the day-blind stars waiting with their light. For a time I rest in the grace of the world, and am free. Wendell Berry—“The Peace of Wild Things"

“Whether we and our politicians know it or not, Nature is party to all our deals and decisions, and she has more votes, a longer memory, and a sterner sense of justice than we do.”

Wendell Berry

“Justice will not be served until those who are unaffected are as outraged as those who are.”

― Benjamin Franklin

Dear  Friends,

I hope that you are well and happy and resting in the grace of the world and are free.

This is a  reminder that we will be gathering this evening at 6 PM at the home of John and Cindy West (directions below) We will enjoy sitting/walking and sitting meditation and begin to look at Thay's teachings from the book "Silence". “Silence is essential. We need silence, just as much as we need air, just as much as plants need light. If our minds are crowded with words and thoughts, there is no space for us.” We can create that space together. I hope you can join us.

There will be a Day of Mindfulness on Facilitation and Sangha Building on Saturday, January 7 from 10-3:30 at the Westminster Unitarian Church in East Greenwich. This will be offered for anyone who is interested in looking together at ways to strengthen our Sanghas. More info and registration details will be sent out soon.

We received good news that Thay is participating more in Sangha activities at Plum Village and this past week he left for a stay in Thailand! Please continue to hold him in your prayers and meditations.

We had a meeting of the Care Giving Committee back in November. It was very fruitful and below you will find the notes from that meeting. If you have thoughts or suggestions about anything that came from the meeting, or are interested in supporting the Sangha in any of the ways suggested please let us know!

A lot of good suggestions emerged from that meeting...one was that we might create more social opportunities for Sangha members and so we offered our first movie night and potluck supper the last Saturday in November. It was well attended and many voiced a desire to continue. We enjoyed it completely.  So we asked for suggestions for inspiring movies that might be offered in the future. The first one we watched  was "Bill Cunningham:New York" about a NY Times photographer...On the surface, this might not appear to have a lot to do with our practice, but in fact, it illustrated a person who had every opportunity to get pulled into a life of opulence and consuming, but instead was a wonderful example of someone who consistently lived a simple life in alignment with his integrity. He was kind, treated everyone with respect and celebrated diversity. If you know of movies about Buddhism or movies that are inspiring and uplifting - or if you would like to host a movie night,  please send us your suggestions!

Some voiced an interest in participating in the once a month conference calls for Sutra Study which I co-facilitate with Dennis Bohn, a Dharma Teacher from NYC. We use the book Awakening of the Heart as the basis for study, with either Dennis or myself offering companion pieces occasionally. The calls are 1 hour long, they are mostly Dennis offering teachings on the Sutra, with opportunities for questions or comments from those on the call. The next meeting will be tomorrow evening at 7 PM. (info below) If you want to be on the list to receive announcements a bout these calls, please let me know and you will be added to the list.

Some requested another meeting early in the day for those who have difficulty driving at night. One of the members said she would be interested in hosting such a meeting at her home. We will keep you posted when more info is available.

Another outcome of the meeting was the formation of a Social Action group to look at ways to offer us opportunities for engaging our practice to help those who need it. Kate O'Kula ktokula@cox.net and Carol Blanpied   cblanpied@yahoo.com offered to be the point people for this group. If you are interested in helping them, please contact them. For those of you who are interested in social justice, I have included an announcement below from our friends at the Peace Dale UU congregation, who will be gathering today to support the Native Americans at Standing Rock.

I hope you will be able to be with us....in the meantime, here is something to definitely inspire. To see such young people who are so wise and so competent and caring....gives me lots of hope. Enjoy!

http://dumpest.com/she-gave-a-homeless-woman-a-coat-and-got-yelled-at-her-response-is-brilliant-and-inspiring/

PRAYER REQUEST UPDATE

I wanted to thank all of you who have been holding me in your prayers. I was scheduled to have some spinal surgery this upcoming Thursday and I had asked for prayers. I went to meet with the surgeon and to have pre-operative testing this past week, and when I met with the doctor, he showed me the initial MRI images and the ones done around Thanksgiving and said that he would like to postpone any surgery, because it was clear that the vertebrae was about 3/4 healed! So the surgery was canceled! Please accept my heartfelt thanks for your prayers and please keep them coming for the healing to continue!

with much love and deepest gratitude for every one of you,

Joanne

DIRECTIONS TO THE WEST HOME

We live about 2 miles from URI.  From rt 138, go north onto Old North Rd.  (across the street from  big sign ““Kingston Hill Store  Books  Used and Rare””.  Also, just a smidge west of the 138/108 traffic light).  Old North Rd starts off as a one way, continues on as a two way street, and finally ends as a T.  You will see our corner property from there.  Go left at the T (Old North Rd meets Stoneyfort Rd), and then a quick right onto Plantation Dr.  We are the first home on the right (2nd driveway is easiest).  Come on in the side door (porch/kitchen)!

Caregiving Council Meeting Nov. 14, 2016

We began with inviting the bell and reading the guidelines for a mindful meeting.

We then checked in on the progress made on a couple of projects that were suggested at our last meeting.

  1. Google Group - It had been suggested that we set up a means of communication for the members of the sangha to connect with each other directly. Cindy was kind enough to offer to research and do that. The group has been set up and is working, but not as well used as we would like it to be. Cindy reported some technical challenges and said she would welcome a second body and any technical help.
  2. Adria volunteered to act as a second body
  3. Joanne will connect with Amanda at URI to see if she might be willing to help with an instructive session to answer any questions and clear up challenges.
  4. Although some voiced a desire to have the conversation be open to any and all events, ideas, etc. Others in the group who spend a lot of time on line were concerned with a flood of emails, So Kate agreed to write a DRAFT mission statement. Send it to this list for additions or corrections and then it will be sent out to the Sangha and Cindy will send it to each new person who signs up for the group.

SOCIAL ACTION COMMITTEE

At our last meeting, Kate and Carol had agreed to look into organizing a social justice group.

They came to the meeting with a list of possible activities for the Sangha and/or Sangha members to engage in.

It was suggested that perhaps a calendar with activities and opportunities to help might be posted on our google group account.

Cindy agreed to investigate that possibility. Then a discussion ensued about...

FACE BOOK AND/OR GOOGLE GROUPS

It was suggested that perhaps a Face Book Page for the Sangha would be easier. to announce upcoming events and opportunities to take part in social action..    it would need to be by invitation...and someone would need to agree to monitor it. Some concern arose over privacy...which is safer - Google Groups or Facebook? It could also be that one is appropriate for some purpose and the other for another.

  1. Clare agreed to ask her tech person these questions today and get back to us.We can then decide as a group.
  2. Lisa looked into and has already sent me the instructions for setting up such a group...if that is the route we decide to go.

THANK YOU LISA!

It was mentioned that one of the most important things is that we have a way to help Sangha members in times of need.

Then we did a go round of all present. We shared some ways the Sangha supported  us and some things that might strengthen our Sangha.

Some ways we feel supported...

  1. the people
  2. receiving support through illness and recovery
  3. deepening our practice of mindfulness, which has served many very well in our daily lives
  4. mindfulness retreats have been very nourishing and strengthened the Sangha
  5. Some liked the fact that we met in different venues as they offer different things, i.e.. the UU is accessible.
  6. Some liked the idea of perhaps thinking of creating a center
  7. Many enjoyed belonging to a loving and accepting community
  8. Some benefited from the teachings
  9. Some appreciated the consistency....that we have been here for years and even when we are away it is reassuring that  the Sangha is supporting us.

Some suggestions for strengthening the Sangha...

  1. monthly film or discussion in winter months
  2. a local recitation of the 14 Mindfulness Trainings
  3. more singing
  4. perhaps a morning gathering at someone's house between our gatherings for those who cannot drive at night.
  5. It is challenging for some to hear at the UU
  6. getting together more often
  7. posting activities on google group
  8. hosting a book group
  9. having potluck suppers

Some projects in the works....

  • There were 10 people from the RI Community of Mindfulness who attended the facilitators retreat at Blue Cliff Monastery.

They will be offering an informal Day of Mindfulness for the rest of the Community to share what they learned. This is in the planning stage, but looks like it wil happen in January. It is hoped that more and more people will be motivated to deepen their practice and become confident at all the different aspects of facilitation.

  • Joanne a Richard inherited a large TV and were offering a movie day on the 26th of Nov...time tab
  • One person had requested more structured classes. Joanne is looking into offering a winter retreat study group in January.

Several people voiced interest in joining the Conference calls for the Recitation of the 14 Trainings and/or the conference calls for Sutra Study. They need to email Joanne requesting to join and she will put them on the list.

The meeting ended with three sounds of the bell, some conversation, snacks and hugs all around.

submitted with love and deepest gratitude for interbeing with all of you,

Joanne

David Helfer of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of South County asked me to forward this message

SUTRA STUDY CONFERENCE CALL

Dear Friends,

Reminder that our next call will be on Monday, Dec 12 at 7:00 EST. The call-in number is:

712-775-7031 code:888527

The section on observing the objects of mind ends with awareness of the Four Noble Truths. We will begin exploring the Noble Truths (Ariya Sacca) and encourage you to read the Sutta on Turning the Wheel of the Dharma here:

https://suttacentral.net/en/sn56.11

We'll be referring to the sutta, so you may want to copy it or download it or have it handy for the call.

metta,

dennis

Solidarity March and Rally:

December has been declared a Global Month of Action in solidarity with the protesters at Standing Rock.  We invite you to join us in a solidarity march and rally next Sunday, December 11th, Corner, to protest Bank of America's funding of the Dakota Access Pipeline. All are welcome for this interfaith event.

We will gather with others from neighboring congregations and the surrounding community at UUCSC (27 North Rd, Peace Dale, RI)  at 12:45 pm for a group photo, then proceed on foot (less than a mile) to Bank of America's location at Dale Carlia Corner, Wakefield. The rally will take place from approximately 1:30-2:30pm. Clergy of all faiths are invited to speak; contact Rev. David at uucscminister@gmail.com for more information.

If you are unable to march, please join us for the protest, anyway. Please mark your calendars, and invite your family and friends!