AGM reports 2013

May 13, 2013 Victoria Insight Meditation Society AGM Reports
for Jan – Dec  2012

Report from  Brock Brown,  Chair Victoria IMS                                                   Page 1
Victoria Insight Meditation Society Financial Report                                          Page 2 and

for Jan 1 2012 – Dec 31, 2012                                                                                  Balance Sheet attached

Victoria Insight Meditation Society 2012 Retreats                               Page 4 and chart attached
Victoria Insight Meditation Society Sunday Night SIts 2012                              Page 5
Victoria Insight Meditation Society Study Group 2012                                       Page 5
Victoria Insight Meditation Society Home Sits 2012                                           Page 6
Victoria Insight Meditation Society  Communications Report for 2012         Page 6

Report from Brock Brown,  Chair Victoria IMS

For Victoria Insight Meditation Society (VIMS), 2012 was a dhamma-filled year.  We held 5 weekend retreats: 2 were led by Guiding Teacher Heather Martin (one was for Beginners); others were led by Pascal Auclair, Eve Decker, and James Baraz. We had 4 one- day retreats led by Brock Brown, Margo McLoughlin, Howie Cohn and Ajahn Sona.  In addition to Ajahn Sona we had visits and hosted talks and dana meal offerings with several other monastics including Ajahn Sudanto and Ven. Caganando from the Pacific Hermitage, Ajahn Tiradhammo, and Ajahns Nipon and Yijin from the Vancouver Island Thai Association. We also hosted our first female monastic guest, Venerable Panavatti.

Margo McLoughlin and I graduated this year from the 2 ½ year Community Dharma Leader  training program offered by the Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  We have offered teachings at the Sunday night sits as well as day longs and courses.

The Study group, led by Heather Martin has offered ways to incorporate Dharma Study into

our daily lives. The Sunday night sit, as well as home sits provide a way for Sangha to meet

on a regular basis and support each other. We held 2 daylong informal retreats at the

home of Liliana and Miguel Lipka. There was also an 8 week course which Margo McLoughlin offered

on the Noble eightfold path.

The newsletter has continued to be produced every 2 weeks as well as the website maintained,

which keeps everyone informed of VIMS activities.


Of course all these offerings were supported by the VIMS Council and many other volunteers who put in a lot of effort to keep these programs going.  I appreciate everyone’s dedication and generosity.


There were quite a few changes to the VIMS Council with Joan Glover stepping off at the 2012 AGM, and June Fukushima assuming both the Treasurer role and continuing with communications. In September 2012, VIMS members agreed to increase the Council from 5 members to 7 members.  In September, Theresa Aspol and Bruce MacRae were invited to serve on council joining Rod House, John Hilditch, Joyce Elliott, June Fukushima, and me.  In December 2012, Joyce stepped off Council and Lawrie Thicke was asked to replace her.


Joan and Joyce were two of the first VIMS Council members and contributed many hours to making the transition from the former Victoria Vipassana Community to the Victoria Insight Meditation Society.  Both deserve much gratitude for their hard work and dedication to VIMS.
We held an enjoyable social night at the home of Rod and Isy House and enjoyed a pot luck meal,  music, storytelling and magic.  We also held an open meeting for anyone from the sangha to talk about their experiences with VIMS programs.


May our efforts be of benefit to all beings. May all beings everywhere be free from suffering.

Brock Brown, Chair Victoria Insight Meditation Society.


Victoria Insight Meditation Society Financial Report for Jan 1 2012 – Dec 31, 2012


See  2012 Balance Sheet – separate document see attached

Account Balance

Victoria Insight Meditation Society (VIMS) has a Chequing and Savings account with Coast Capital Savings. As a member of this credit union, VIMS has a $5 share.

Opening Balance Jan 1, 2012   Total: $8562.20
Chequing:            $6035.30                                           Savings: $2,526.82

Closing Balance Dec 31, 2012  Total: $7688.13

Chequing:            $3119.79                                           Savings: $4568.34

Net change:  ($874.07)

Programs – Budget vs. Actual
Victoria IMS budgeted for a zero net difference in expenses and income for its 2012 programs. As of Dec 31, 2012, income exceeded expenses by $1803.88.


Non-Residential Retreats
VIMS held 5 weekend retreats and 4 one day retreats in 2012 at Goward House, Victoria, BC.  The budget for all retreats was to realize a net gain of $2180.00. The actual net gain for all retreats was: $3962.94.

The $1782.94 net gain above budget expectations was due mostly to higher than anticipated participation rates resulting in higher amounts of dana. Actual costs for retreat expenses were over-estimated by approx. $500. Five of the 9 retreats were taught by local teachers who had zero or low travel expenses. Two visiting teachers required paid lodging.


Sunday Night Community Sit

VIMS held 52 Sunday Night Community sittings at the Lynn Wylie Helga Beer Yoga Studio, Victoria, BC. The 2012 budget was set to realize a net gain of $520; the actual net gain for the Sunday Night program was $646.66.  Higher rates of participation account for increased dana contributions.  There was a $3 overpayment to the yoga studio in 2012 that was not corrected.
VIMS did not ask for dana for rental of the facility on 6 Sunday evenings.  Five of those Sunday Night sits were led by visiting teachers. Donations on those evenings were collected for the teacher/monastery. One of these Sundays was in recognition of the Community Dharma Leaders (CDL) graduation. Margo McLoughlin and Brock Brown, asked that the dana from their evening be donated to Sati Saraniya, a nun’s hermitage in Ontario.


Victoria IMS pre-paid in 2011 for a room rental for Margo McLoughlin’s course scheduled for early 2012.  Margo reimbursed VIMS the $150 in 2012 once her course started. In 2012, the Council made a decision to not pay for venue rentals or to receive payments for courses.

Study Group

The Study Group led by Heather Martin that meets at the Yoga studio was scheduled to meet 9 times in 2012. Unfortunately due to ferry traffic, Heather was unable to attend one session. Study Group sessions place two baskets for collecting dana: one for Heather and one for VIMS expenses. VIMS pays for the studio rental and Heather’s travel costs ($35).

VIMS budgeted for a net gain of $200 for the Study Group; the actual net was a loss of ($116.73.).

VIMS invited 3 teachers to give public talks.  Two baskets were put out to collect dana for the teacher and for VIMS.  VIMS budgeted a net loss of $500 for Talks. The actual net loss was ($423.68).


Special Events

VIMS invited Ven. Dr. Pannavati to give a talk on her organization that supports street youth in North Carolina, Untouchables in India and ordination of nuns in Thailand and Cambodia.  One basket was put out to collect donations for Ven. Pannavati’s organization. VIMS also hosted a pot luck social evening open to anyone who was on the VIMS mailing list. No basket was put out to collect donations.VIMS budgeted a net loss of $400 for Special Events; the actual net loss was ($361.08.). 

Due to a problem with the rental for the Ven. Pannavati event, the Fairfield Gonzales Community Association has given Victoria IMS a verbal agreement to honour an $84 rental credit.


Operating Costs
VIMS budgeted $2,000 to pay for costs associated with its operations.  The actual operating costs for 2012 were: $2199.09 Payments are made for event insurance, email and event registration software program, office supplies. VIMS purchased durable items: a used laptop computer for financial bookkeeping, Office Suite software, a zabuton and zafu for visiting teachers. VIMS also paid for accountant support in the use of Quickbooks accounting.


A donation of $100 to VIMS was made on behalf of one of our sangha members, Eric Bedard, and $44.86 was credited from interest and foreign exchange transactions.


The total net expenses: ($2054.23)


OTHER DISBURSEMENTS – Discretionary Fund

The Victoria IMS Council created a Discretionary Fund (for bookkeeping purposes) in 2012 and transferred $4762.20 in to this fund.

From the Discretionary Fund, VIMS allocated $1,000 to a Scholarship Fund. $477 from this fund was disbursed in 2012.

VIMS awarded a grant of $1,000 each to Community Dharma Leaders Brock Brown and Margo McLoughlin.  One of these payments was made directly to Spirit Rock Meditation Center and incurred an additional fee resulting in the total disbursement being $2000.95.

VIMS sent $200 to Dharma Seed in recognition of the use of their freely offered dharma talks for use at the VIMS Community and home sits.

$2084.25 remains in the Discretionary Fund as of Dec 31, 2012.

Victoria IMS received a white Buddha-rupa from the Vancouver Island Thai Association.
Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan and Tuk Puangsuwan gave Victoria IMS a Burmese gong for use at Sunday night sits.
VIMS received freely distributed books and resources from Birken Forest Monastery and Metta Forest Monastery.
Grace Golightly donated photos she took at Spirit Rock Meditation Center.  Joan Glover made the photos into thank you cards for use by the VIMS Council.
Rod House donated a backup drive for the VIMS laptop; Joan Glover donated a filing box for financial records; Brock Brown donated a kettle and a bin for storing retreat materials; Joyce Elliott donated a clock and other retreat management materials.

Volunteer Support
VIMS thanks Joan Glover for her much appreciated contributions as the VIMS Treasurer that ended  April, 2012. In addition to cheque writing and monitoring and reporting on the finances, Joan did the bookkeeping and provided reports on the VIMS budget – the first ever budget for VIMS. She also gave regular updates on Retreat Operation Income and Expenses by tracking that information separately.  This supported Council to make financial decisions with confidence and ease.

June Fukushima became Treasurer in May 2012. Seeing that VIMS needed a way to train potential future Treasurers, June set up a finance team comprised of Theresa Aspol, Brian Chapel, Liliana Lipka, Sandra Joy with Joan Glover as a resource.  This team worked on a policy for approving operational expenses and provided good feedback on the budget and financial decisions made by Council.  Grant Smith kindly agreed to do bookkeeping duties as of October 2012. Theresa Aspol took over writing cheques to Helga Beer for the yoga studio rental.  John and Shelly Hilditch ensure that Heather Martin receives payment for travel expenses for the Study Group.

Special thanks to Joan Glover, Isy  House, Theresa Aspol, June Fukushima for picking up dana at programs and making deposits.

Report prepared by June Fukushima, Treasurer. QuickBooks reports prepared by Grant Smith, VIMS volunteer Bookkeeper.

Victoria Insight Meditation Society 2012  Retreats
See VIMS 2012 Retreats Report – separate chart prepared by Joyce Elliott, Retreat Operations Director.

VIMS continues to enjoy a positive relationship with Goward House thanks to Joyce Elliott’s careful attention and our sangha who are very respectful when we use Goward House.

A change was made in April 2012 to use Constant Contact’s Retreat Registration program as the Gmail registration process was becoming too unwieldy for volunteers.  This took considerable effort to learn and set up, but proved to be worthwhile.

Joyce resigned from Council in Dec 2012 and Lawrie Thicke was asked to serve on Council as Joyce’s replacement.  Joyce ensured that the Retreat Registration process was in place for most of the retreats in 2013 and trained Lawrie in Constant Contact.  Joyce updated the Retreat Registrar and Managers’ duties.

We thank Joyce for her hard work in establishing the role of Retreat Operations and taking care of the many details  that made our retreats successful.  Her contributions have eased the way for new volunteers to share the many duties she fulfilled.

Victoria Insight Meditation Society Sunday Night Sits 2012
The group met 52 Sundays in 2012. Brock Brown organizes the facilitators who take turns leading the 45 minute meditation followed by a taped talk or a talk given by a facilitator. Sessions are well attended by 10 – 25 people + throughout the year.  We enjoy an easeful relationship with the Lynn Wylie Helga Beer Yoga Studio who are generous in their lending us of blankets, bolsters and space to store a VIMS box.

Thank you to facilitators from our sangha: Margo McLoughlin, Brock Brown, Eric Bedard. June Fukushima, Rod House, Isy House, Yeshua Moser-Puangsuwan, Kevin Keliher, Pascal Courty, Derrick VanderVliet, Joan Glover, Brian Chapel and Carol McDonald.

Special thanks to guest facilitator Stan Hutton from Vancouver, and visiting teachers:  Ajahn Tiradhammo, Ajahn Sona, Venerable Pannavati, Ajahn Nipon, Ajahn Yajin, James Baraz and Heather Martin.

Thank you to Eric Bedard for starting the VIMS library and to all those who contribute to it.

Victoria Insight Meditation Society Study Group 2012

The VIMS Study Group is dedicated to a deeper understanding of the Dharma through the study and contemplation of written material. This year we are focusing on the Four Brahma-Viharas. The group, led by our guiding teacher, Heather Martin, meets monthly, usually on the second Sunday of the month in the Lynn Wylie – Helga Beer Yoga Studio at 1600 Bay St. Each meeting begins at 1:30 with a 30 minute meditation, followed by a two hour teaching and discussion. There is no fee, but dana is requested to cover costs and as an offering to our teacher. On the average 25 to 30 attend, most of whom attend regularly although drop-ins are welcome.

Shelly and John Hilditch coordinate the group meetings with Heather Martin. Notes and recordings are sent to Rod House and Bruce MacRae who posts them on the Victoria IMS website.

Submitted by John Hilditch, April 24, 2013.

Many thanks to Heather Martin for coming to Victoria to offer the study group within her busy teaching schedule.  And much gratitude to Shelly and John for their years of continued support.  Thank you also to Rod and Bruce’s ongoing technical support to Heather and to the Study Group.

Victoria Insight Meditation Society Home Sits 2012

Home sits are offered by our sangha members from time to time. Many people enjoy meditating and sharing the dharma in the comfortable atmosphere offered by home sits. Currently theFairfieldsit, hosted by Shelly and John Hilditch, meets on the second and fourth Tuesday evening of each month.

Submitted by John Hilditch, April 24, 2013.

Victoria Insight Meditation Society  Communications Report for 2012

Rod House and Bruce MacRae are web masters for the Victoria IMS website. VIMS had one incident of the website going off-line this past year.  It was fixed within a day.
Bruce oversees and does most of the updates on the website.  Pascal Courty receives information about Sunday Night Sit facilitators and updates that post.  June Fukushima checks that information is current, and updates the website in her role coordinating information with the newsletter and retreat announcements.

Recording and Posting Talks
Rod and Bruce set up the sound system and recorded talks at retreats, public talks and at Heather Martin’s Study Group. They edit the recordings and then post the talks on the website.
One of our sangha members who requires the use of a hearing device expressed sincere appreciation for this service as she is now able to attend VIMS programs. Many appreciate being able to go to the website and listen to the recordings after the events have passed.

The newsletter was sent out weekly from Jan 2012 – May 2012.  Starting in June 2012, the newsletter was sent out every 2 weeks. The number of people opening the newsletters increased over the year – possibly due to the less frequent mail-outs.  However, it appears that we have a steady following with new people who sign up and unsubscribe throughout the year.  178 – 253 people opened newsletters in 2012. Average= 218.  This is higher than in 2011 (147 – 222).

The bi-weekly schedule worked well for Joseph Briante and June Fukushima who produced the newsletters.

In January 2012, there were 464 email addresses. This was culled to 396 in February 2012.  By October 2012, the number of addresses had risen to 460 and a second cull was done to 356 addresses.  At the end of Dec 2012, there were 370 email addresses.

The culls allow for VIMS to keep under the 500 limit for which we pay $126 per year. The cost doubles for 500 – 2500 addresses.  Thank you to June and Rod for doing the culls.

Newsletter Volunteers:  Joseph Briante, June Fukushima, Rod House, Bruce MacRae, Dori Blackie (photos).  Thank you team!  We also appreciate the photos, articles, retreat reviews, and links sent in by sangha members.

Constant Contact Retreat Registration
In April 2012 we started using Constant Contact’s Event Registration system.  This costs $210 per year for 2 – 5 events per month.

While challenging to learn how to set up the retreat registration forms within Constant Contact, the process is working quite well for VIMS volunteers.  The Registrar’s tasks are largely reduced in contrast to when we used Gmail Registrations.  The Retreat Operations council member and the Communications council member have a greater role in ensuring that the event is set up and ready for the rotating Registrars.

The Communications Council member coordinates the information between the VIMS website, newsletter and the Constant Contact registration process.

Volunteer support thank you to: Joyce Elliott, June Fukushima, Rod and Isy House, Lawrie Thicke,  Brock Brown.

VIMS Newsletter, Website Content Guidelines
The VIMS Council approved Content Guidelines for the newsletter and website that were developed by   Rod House, Bruce MacRae, June Fukushima and Joseph Briante.

Volunteer Needs
Rod and Bruce identified the need for more support for sound recording at events and in preparing the recordings for posting on the website. June would like to do less seeking of information for the newsletter and have information sent to her as a routine way of promoting programs. June asked that someone be responsible for overseeing Courses and Special Events as Joyce did for Retreats. June requested help in getting people who have attended retreats to send in a write-up of their experience.  Council decided that this could be a task for the Retreat Manager.

Submitted by June Fukushima on behalf of the Communications team.  Apr 2013.