- 15th July 2020
6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
BTB A.G.M. 28th June 2019 (Minutes)
Present: Judy, Ian, Jiva, Sheila, Corky, Isla, Anne, Matthew (Zen Group at IO), Ben (Jiva’s group), Steve (Forest Sangha), Tim (Jiva’s Group), Dolly.
- Minutes of the 2018 AGM
We discussed the minutes from last year. There were no matters arising.
- Chair – Annual Report
We discussed a particular focus on encouraging people to build on our groups. We looked at our relationships with other Buddhist groups in our area. In order to raise our profile, share experiences and how to support other local groups.
Equality and diversity have been a focus.
Judy talked about the retreat programme e.g. Vince Cullen who provides Buddhist-oriented drug and alcohol recovery, reaching out to encourage people who have never thought about attending such events.
The committee has remained stable.
Jiva has completed her Dharma leader course through Gaia house. Sheila about to go on a course in October.
Lots of thanks to all trustees, particularly Jiva who produces the newsletter and Sheila for getting on to Facebook etc.
- Treasurer’s report
Sheila – up to 30th April 2019
Income on activities has remained stable. Gift aid is in place.
There has been a slight change in group dana and retreat income. Group dana is not currently covering room rent. However, part of the role of Bodhi Tree is to support groups to carry on. So, this is not a problem.
Expenditure is stable, slightly less than last year. Training for last year covered a grant for Jiva to complete her Community Dharma Leaders’ course. We have a budget of £500 a year to help with any training costs.
We may need to call in people to train us, including first aid.
Website and publicity have been inexpensive.
Basic funds have increased to £6,369.
Steve is interested in doing some training. He has spoken to Ajahn Amaro – who will provide a letter. asking if he could be considered as a teacher and would only ask for travel expenses. Could funds cope with this? Supporting the Forest Sangha group.
- Election of trustees
As Frances is absent – need to co-opt her at the next meeting.
Ian said it would be really good if when someone searches online (Google) we are prominent. This is possible if we have a paid Ad. We are currently 6th on the front page. (Buddhist Brighton search) and 7th (Buddhist retreats Brighton search) We can pay Google. Corky will look into this. (ACTION)
It was suggested that we look at providing more in-depth content. Perhaps a blog page on the website?
Judy suggested we find someone to work with parents and children together – meditative play. Particularly for children finding it hard to focus. Maybe one or two half days. Maybe this will generate interest in other Event and activities that BTB run.
Ben would be interested in events that are actively engaged.
Sheila mentioned linking in with Yanai and Extinction Rebellion. He is returning for a day retreat in October.
Sheila discussed Lama Rod’s talks on race inequality.
Ben is interested in the theme of how to cultivate an open loving heart in the face of adversity.
Judy mentioned that Extinction Rebellion have a big event tomorrow on the Level.
Mathew mentioned that Chris McDermott (the head chaplain for Sussex university) Would be good to network with as he is supportive of all spiritual paths and would be happy to promote our events. Matthew has interviewed him.
It was suggested that we invite Ajahn Sucitto – for a day.
Matthew talked about his Zen group, which was suggested by Jay, who runs the Brighton Soto Zen Group.
The “Just Sitting “Group Has been running for two months now and is meeting once a week on Thursday mornings for one hour of silence between 7:30 am and 8:30 am.
- He has leaflets to advertise the group and they have been put in public places
- Very small venue with no disabled access. On average 5 people come 7.30 – 8.30 a.m.
- Attendees – mostly Zen and one or two others.
- He discussed Vipassana retreats – this can be a way to regularise this practice and a reminder for people following this path.
He is Interested in being part of BTB and asked about the value of being part of BTB.
BTB will support the group, covering the cost of the room if there is insufficient Dana. We will provide greater access to more venues e.g. Anahata centre and Community Base which is more central and fully accessible. We will provide publicity in newsletters, on Facebook, our website and be part of flyers. BTB is also happy to host events for Mathew and the group.
Matthew has to discuss membership with Jay. A very good start, not a popular time to get up in Brighton!
- What is our vision for the network in Brighton Buddhism?
Jiva -Supporting and enabling Buddhism around Brighton.
Steve – encouraging all people to engage in activities that have a connection to a practice. He would like to be the main person representing the Forest Sangha from now on. He has discussed this with Corky. He is awaiting Ajahn Amaro say so. Fran will be running the group at times.
- Membership and Gift Aid
People who are members pay annual membership fee – £5
Sheila had made a list to fill in for members to tick and pay and also for people wanting to join.
We need a list of group and Retreat attendees identifying membership ACTION
- Other Business
Steve – know s a really good Tibetan teacher, Lama Jampa Thay who would be good to invite next year for a day retreat. He is based in London.
BTB Annual Report (May 2019 – April 2020)
Bodhi Tree has had a good year developing relationships with other Buddhist organisations and other communities, within the city.
We have worked on our methods of communication and publicity in an endeavour to reach as many people as possible, especially those who may not previously have known about us or been able to access our groups and retreats. We have also developed a relationship with climate change and climate change activism in our contact with local groups, and by bringing the teachings of Yanai Postelnik to the community.
This year some of our groups have thrived whilst others have struggled with numbers.
Both the LGBTQ+ group and the Awakened Heart Sangha have grown in size and also developed a larger regular core of attendees.
The Open Group and the Forest Sangha group have remained fairly stable but small in size, so we are currently discussing their future. We have also had a new group join Bodhi Tree, the Zen ‘ Just Sitting’ Group which meets in New Road on a Thursday morning at 7.30 for an hour’s silent sit. This group is facilitated by Zen monk, Matthew Cunningham, and has proved popular. Matthew has also joined us as a Trustee.
During the Coronavirus Pandemic we have been offering some of our Groups, and Day Retreats, online and this has been greatly appreciated by the participants. Interestingly it has made it possible for some…either because of location or health reasons… to join us either for the first time or more regularly. We will definitely bear this in mind when planning for next year’s activities.
Our weekend Retreats programme has developed in both size and diversity of teachers over this year. Corky Vale, our Retreats Programme Coordinator, has once again done an excellent job of both planning the days and finding Teachers and managing the actual retreats with the support of other group facilitators, Trustees and members. Thanks go to Corky for his work.
This year we have offered twelve week end day retreats:
- In April Yanai Postelnik gave us ‘Love in the Time of Extinction’. Jiva also offered a day retreat in April, ‘Taming the Unruly Mind.
- In June, Nicky Roland led another art and meditation retreat. ‘Art, Meditation and Compassion’.
- In July Vince Cullen returned to us with ‘Waking up in this Life’.
In August, Bhante Sukhacitto returned with a day of ‘Insight Dialogue’.
- In September we had a two-day weekend retreat with H.E.Gongkar Dorje Denpa Rinpoche and Venerable Kassapo, ‘The Heart of Fearless Liberation’.
- In October we had Yanai Postenik back to teach on ‘Holding the Heartline’. Jiva also led another day entitled ‘Meditation with a Cup of Tea’.
- In November, Sheila led a day, particularly for the LGBTQ+ community, ‘Rainbow Body, Rainbow Mind’.
- In December, The Awakened Heart Sangha invited Dashu to lead a day, ‘The Path of Letting Go’.
- In January, Christopher Titmuss came to us with a day ‘Pleasure versus Happiness’.
- In February Jiva offered us a third day’s teaching, ‘Mindful Self Compassion.’
Our Committee has worked hard throughout the year.
We have two new committee members, Charlie Bell who has taken on the role of Secretary from Anne Wright. Our thanks to Anne for all her hard work and to Charlie for seamlessly filling the role. Matthew Cunningham, who facilitates the Sitting Group, as mentioned above, is our second new Trustee and we welcome them both to the committee.
Sheila Roche is still our Treasurer, Corky Vale our Programme Coordinator, Jiva Masheder our Publicity Officer, Judy Simon our Chairperson and Ian Mackenzie and Anne Wright are our other two Trustees.
Frances Quail resigned as a Trustee during the year, we would like to thank her for input to the Bodhi Tree and hope that if circumstances change, she might be able to re-join us.
Thanks to each of the Trustees, all of whom have fulfilled their roles rigorously throughout the year.
We would like to thank Anahata once again for accommodating our groups and events so comfortably and the Dharma School and Community Base for the frequent use of their premises for our Retreat days.
Our work on Equality and Diversity is ongoing.
It is very important to us that Bodhi Tree is a thoroughly inclusive organisation and that our groups, retreats and philosophy and understanding embody this.
We hope that our members and all those who have taken part in Bodhi Tree events this year have enjoyed them and we look forward to another eventful year, reaching out to new communities and individuals and working together with the Dharma.
Bodhi Tree Brighton Trustee Nominations 2020/21
- Judy Simon
- Sheila Roche
- Corky Vale
- Jiva Masheder
- Ian Mackenzie
- Anne Wright
- Jonathan Platt
- Charlie Bell