Author Archives: brucemacrae

2021/05/16 Tempel Smith Retreat Audio files

The following audio files were recorded during an online retreat presented by Tempel Smith from his home in Victoria on the 16th of May 2021.


2021/04/17 Tuere Sala retreat audio files

The following audio files were recorded in Victoria during an online retreat presented on the 17th of April 2021 by Tuere Sala from her home in Seattle.


2021/03/13 Adrianne Ross audio files

The following audio files were recorded during an online retreat presented by Adrianne Ross on the 13th of March 2021 from her home in Vancouver.


2021/02/20 Margo McLoughlin audio files

The following audio files were recorded during an online retreat presented by Margo McLoughlin on the 20th of February 2021 from her home in Victoria.


2021/01/23 Heather Martin audio files

The following files were recorded during an online retreat presented by Heather Martin on the 23rd of January 2021 from her home on Salt Spring Island.


2020/10/22 VIMS Council Meeting

Victoria Insight Meditation Society Council Meeting
Oct 22 2020
Present: Brock Brown (Chair), Bruce MacRae, Rhonda Duncan, Brian Chapel, June Fukushima (Secretary for meeting).

  1. Approve Agenda. Brock moved. Carried
  2. Approve Minutes of Oct 1 2020. 

Rhonda moved. Carried.

  1. Update on Christina’s retreat
    Very positive feedback from participants.
    VIMS suggested dana amount is very reasonable – makes it possible for people to participate. Not everyone donates suggesting that the retreats are accessible.
    Most frequent question is how else to send dana to the teacher other than through PayPal.
  2. Recent security problems for Carol Wilson’s retreat registration.
    The link to Constant Contact from the VIMS website was removed.
    There were no further registrations from suspicious emails.
    We will put Carol’s link in the newsletter and monitor if suspicious emails come in.
    The Registrar will be asked to monitor the suspicious names/
  3. Use (or not) of an avatar on zoom at future retreats

Brock moved that avatars will be allowed. Backgrounds will not be allowed.

  1. What to do about retreatants who are named ipad or iphone

June moved that we encourage people to name themselves.

We will ask Suzan to offer a training session at the first break of Carol’s retreat in addition to the 8:30 – 8;45 am orientation.

  1. Registrar- Carol’s retreat

The work load of the Registrar is much higher for the online retreats vs the in-person retreats. Current Registrar for Carol’s retreat was given the option of being involved with the Zoom related tasks on the days of the retreat and has opted to not be involved. 

Kiko will let people in.
Brock will ask Metta about admitting people.
Bruce will monitor the vims1retreat email.

Future retreats: We will seek a Registrar for the 4-weeks before the retreat and seek a different volunteer for the day of the retreat.

  1. Qi Kung at Carol’s Retreat.
    Council agreed that Brock contact Carol to offer movement session at Carol’s retreat.
    Suzan suggested this as a possibility given the success of the sessions at Christina’s retreat.
  2. Special Year-End Online Gatherings
    Brock is considering offering an online  2-hour pre- Christmas and after Christmas evening on Zoom in keeping with what he has offered in past years.
    Council agreed to the idea.
  3. Next Council Meeting: ??


Victoria IMS Council Meeting Minutes Draft
Thursday, Jan 28th, 2021 at 7:00 p.m. Online
(Facilitated by Brock Brown)

June Fukushima, Brock Brown (Chair), Brian Chapel, Bruce MacRae, Kevin Keliher (Secretary), Rhonda Duncan

Absent with Regrets:

Agenda Items:
VIMS Council welcomes Kevin Keliher

  1. Review and Approve Agenda

Motion from Brock to approve the agenda. Carried.

  1. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (Nov 19th, 2020)

Motion from Brock to approve the agenda. Carried.

  1. Business arising from the Minutes and Updates:
  • Sunday Night Zoom Sits – Dec 20th Zoom session – “Buddhamas” Brock led a guided meditation with some reflections, Margo told a Jataka Tale, followed by shared singing of Christmas Carols with Buddhist lyrics (lyrics by Ajahn Sona)
  • Dec 27 Zoom session – Brock led a guided meditation and then introduced Tempel Smith to the community. Tempel then gave a dharma talk followed by Q&A
  • Thanks to June Fukushima – Tech host, Kiko Brown – Registrar, Suzan Denis – volunteer back-up Tech host.
  • Jan 23 Heather Martin one-day Zoom Retreat – Volunteers:
  • Registrar – David Axon
  • Manager – Kevin Keliher
  • Support team – Brian Chapel, Bruce MacRae
  • Tech host – Suzan Denis
  • Co-ordinator – Bruce MacRae
  • Number of Participants: 87 (112 Total signed up, Zoom report – 96 participants)
  1. Finances: 
  • Accounts Reporting Period Nov 1 2020 – Nov 30 2020

Chequing: $ 7,051.88
Savings:    $ 7,780.21
TOTAL:     $14,832.09

  • Accounts Reporting Period Dec 1 2020 – Dec 31 2020

Chequing: $ 5,494.60
Savings:    $ 7,780.87
TOTAL:     $13,275.47

Charitable donations from VIMS made to Birken Monastery ($250), Wat Metta ($200 US), and Dharmaseed ($200 US)

Payment of $275. Made to Suzan Denis for Zoom hosting of Christina Feldman retreat

Payment of $600. Made to Suzan Denis for Zoom hosting of Carol Wilson retreat

  • Review and Acceptance of the Jan – Dec 2020 VIMS Financial Report. Circulated by email. Motion from June to accept the budget for 2020. Carried.
  • Review and Acceptance of the 2021 Budget. Circulated by email. Motion from June to accept the budget for first ½ of 2021. Carried.
  1. Sunday Night Community Sit – Still on hold
  2. Communications – newsletter, website, Constant Contact
  • There is now a captcha on the Constant Contact registration form. We haven’t had any more problems with bots registering for retreats.
  • Heather Martin has requested the contact information of those who attended her January 23rd zoom one-day retreat. Bruce is to inform Heather that 1) due to the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation we cannot share this information and 2) we will send an email to all the participants informing them to contact Heather about her future zoom retreats.
  • June will confirm that Suzan Denis is aware of the Canadian Anti-Spam Legislation.
  1. Retreats
  • 2021 Retreat Programs

Jan 23 Heather Martin – Zoom one-day – Completed. Thank you to volunteers (Brian Chapel, Bruce MacRae, David Axon, Kevin Keliher) and Suzan Denis.

  • Upcoming Zoom Retreats

Feb 20 Margo McLoughlin – Zoom one-day, Registrar Joanna Stonechapel, Manager – Joe Barrett
March 13 Adrianne Ross- Zoom one-day, Registrar Sheila Whincup, Manager – Louise Takeda
April 17 Tuere Sala – Zoom one-day, Registrar Kiko Brown, Manager Carol Mousseau
May 16 Tempel Smith – Zoom one-day, Registrar Josephine Tobin, Manager Metta VanderVliet

Brock asked for feedback on the workability of continuing to run one day retreats. Council felt it was the best approach at this time.

  • The following 2021 retreats were determined when we were planning for in-person retreats, mainly at Goward House (before COVID-19 and our Zoom method of offering retreats). This schedule will likely change.
  • Discussion of VIMS Summer/Fall offerings given the uncertainty of the COVID-19 situation

August 14/15 Ajaan Geoff (Sidney Shoal Center)
Sept 18 Brock Brown
Oct 16/17 Howie Cohn
Nov 13/14 Ajahn Candasiri

  • Goward House rental rates will increase from $750 per weekend to $900 per weekend after the 2021 contracts we have in place (still a preferred rate). Motion from Brock that if we are renting Goward House in the fall 2021 we volunteer to start paying the new rate to help them out:
  • If August Retreat is a zoom retreat the Aranya Refuge would prefer to take on hosting it themselves. VIMS’s job would be to mention it in the VIMS Newsletter.
  • Motion from June to remove Ajaan Geoff’s in person August retreat due to COVID-19: Carried. Brock will contact Shoal Centre and cancel this retreat and ask for refund.
  • Brock indicated he would agree to lead a one-day zoom retreat in September.
  • June made a motion that Brock would follow up with the teachers for the other fall retreats to inquire about their availability and consider the options considering the uncertainty with regard to COVID. Carried.
  • Reminder to prepare 2020 year-end Reports for the AGM (maybe AGM in June, 2021?)
  • Brock will do a president report, June to do a financial report, Bruce will do a communications report, Brian will do a Constant Contact report, Rhonda will do a retreat statistics report.

Next Council Meeting every other month. Next meeting will be on Thursday, March 25th, 2021.

2020/10/01 VIMS Council Meeting

Victoria IMS Council Meeting Minutes (approved)
Thursday, October 1st, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Online meeting
(chaired by Brock Brown)

Brock Brown, Rhonda Duncan, Bruce MacRae, Brian Chapel , June Fukushima, Sandra Joy (until 7:30 p.m.)
Absent with Regrets:

Agenda Items:

  1. Review and Approve Council Meeting Agenda:
    Motion from Bruce to approve the agenda. Carried.
  2. Sandra stepping down from council:
    Brock thanked Sandra for her contributions. Sandra thanked the rest of council. All shared reflections on the years past. Sandra left the meeting at 7:30 p.m.
  3. Brian took the minutes.
  4. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (August 20th, 2020):
    There were no changes to the draft minutes.  Motion from Rhonda to approve the minutes. Carried.
  5. Business arising from the Minutes and Updates:
    A total of 47 people attended Brock’s online retreat.
    At any given time there were about 25 people connected.
  6. Finances
    The January thru August financial report from Wei Wu was circulated to all council members by email prior to the meeting.
    Accounts Reporting Period Aug 1 2020 – Aug 31 2020

Chequing: $   3015.34
Savings:   $   7323.93
TOTAL:    $10,339.27

Event insurance cancelled – waiting for refund cheque
June will ask Suzan to send us an invoice for the work she did for us on the two previous retreats.
June motioned to receive the Jan-Aug Financial Report. Carried.
Rhonda will replace Sandra as a signer for our accounts at Coast Capital Savings.

  1. Sunday Night Sit
    Still on hold due to pandemic.       
  1. Communications (newlsetter, website, Constant Contact)
    Motion from Brock to pay $150 for 3 years of automatic website backups. Carried.
    June could not download a report from Constant Contact. The company tells us that the open rate for our emails is well above the industry standard. 50% of that happens on on mobile devices.
    June talked about how appropriate the tone of the newsletter is.
    Rhonda agreed to take over from Sandra as the owner of the Zoom account after Christina’s retreat.
  1. Future Online Retreats:
  • Joanna found a way to get Zoom to generate a list of meeting attendees. That is all we really need.
  • Brock suggested that for the first part of 2020 we ask the scheduled teachers to do one-day online retreats because of the difficulty of getting volunteers. One-day events require less of a commitment than an entire weekend so they are less intimidating for new helpers.
  • Brock suggested adding a retreat in March, asking Tuere to move hers back by one week and asking all teachers to make their retreats one-day events. This would bring more regularity to our 2021 retreat schedule.
  • Discussion of possible managers for future online retreats.
  • It would be nice to modify the registrar’s role so that it is concluded when the retreat begins.
  • The feed back from our first two online retreats has been very positive and encouraging.
  • 2020 Retreat Programs remaining
    • Oct 17/18 Christina Feldman
    • Nov 14/15 Carol Wilson
  1. Meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.

Next Council Meeting
November 19th, 2020 online at 7:00 p.m.

2020/06/11 Council minutes AGM 2020

Victoria Insight Meditation Society (VIMS)
 Annual General Meeting – Minutes (approved)
Thursday June 11, 2020 at 7:00 p.m.
Online meeting
Agenda Items:

  1. Call to order

The meeting started at 7:15 p.m.  Welcome by the Chair.

  1. Establish Quorum (minimum 3 members per VIMS’ bylaws)

Council Members: Brock Brown, Brian Chapel, Rhonda Duncan, June Fukushima, Bruce MacRae, Sandra Joy
Members: Rod House, Joyce Elliott, Joan Glover, John Hilditch
Guests: Isabelle House
Absent with regrets: None.

  1. Approve Agenda

Motion from Brian Chapel to approve the agenda.

  1. Approve Minutes from June 13th, 2019 AGM

Motion from Rod House to approve the minutes from the June 13th, 2019 AGM.

  1. Financial Statement for January to December 2019
    June Fukushima continued to fulfill the role of Treasurer in 2019 and Wei Wu the role of Bookkeeper.  Thanks to both June and Wei for their ongoing efficient oversight of Victoria IMS finances.

Account balances as of December 31st, 2019:

Chequing Account:              $2,429.37
Savings Account:                 $6,815.43
TOTAL:                                  $9,244.80
June Fukushima spoke to the Profit & Loss Budget vs. Actual figures and to the Balance Sheet, answering all questions posed.
June motioned to receive the 2019 financials.

  1. Review of Financial Records
    There was no review of the Financial Records this year due to the lockdown limitations caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. It should be done when things open up again.

Bruce MacRae motioned for John Hilditch to conduct the review when it becomes feasible.

  1. Determine if audit is required
    John Hilditch moved that, based on the review of the Financial Records in previous years, we do not require an audit.


  1. Directors’ reports

The reports were pre-circulated to the members of Victoria IMS. Brock Brown proposed thanks to the executive for their efforts on behalf of Victoria IMS
Motion from Brock Brown to accept the Directors’ reports.

  1. Election of officers

All current directors were willing to stand for another year and informed Brock Brown, as Chair, that they met the necessary requirements. Brock Brown asked if there were further nominations and there were none.
Officers acclaimed on slate presented:

Brock Brown             – President
Bruce MacRae         – Vice-President
June Fukushima       – Treasurer
Sandra Joy                – Secretary
Brian Chapel             – Director at large
Rhonda Duncan       – Director at large
Motion from Brock Brown to accept the slate of council.

  1. General
  2. There was a general discussion about the retreats including the numbers of attendees, observable trends, the presence of young people, and participants’ appreciation for the actions Victoria IMS took to facilitate an all gender washroom for use during retreats.
  3. Joyce Elliott thanked June Fukushima for organizing and replenishing the retreat boxes with supplies in between the retreats.
  4. Thanks were given to Rod House for taking care of website hosting affairs for so many years. This responsibility has been transferred now to Bruce MacRae.
  5. Brock Brown spoke to the cancellation of some retreats – April (Pascal Auclair), May (Ajaan Geoff) and July (Howie Cohn) – due to the COVID-19 pandemic and also the suspension of the in-person Sunday Night Community Sit at the yoga studio.
  6. Brock also spoke to the fact that Council was currently looking into the possibility of holding our fall retreats in a virtual model.
  7. Adjournment

Motion from Brock Brown to Adjourn.
Carried – 8:50p.m.

2020/08/20 Council Minutes

Victoria IMS Council Meeting Minutes (approved)
Thursday, August 20th, 2020 at 6:00 p.m.
Online meeting
(facilitated by Brock Brown)
Brock Brown, Rhonda Duncan, Bruce MacRae, Brian Chapel, June Fukushima, Sandra Joy
Absent with Regrets:
Agenda Items:

  1. Review and Approve Council Meeting Agenda:
    Motion from Sandra to approve the agenda. Carried.
  2. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (May 21st, 2020):
    There were no changes to the draft minutes from the May 21st, 2020 council meeting.  Motion from June to approve the minutes. Carried.
  3. Business arising from the Minutes and Updates:
    A number of impromptu council meetings were held in June and July (specifically June 18th and 29th) due to the decision to move the balance of our 2020 retreats from an in-person model to a virtual (online) model. There were a number of decisions that needed to be made regarding hiring a Zoom Technical Support person, acquiring the Zoom software for Victoria IMS and setting up automated banking for online dana. No formal minutes were taken at these meetings but details of the decision-making can be found below.

    Council held an online meeting with Wayne Shelley and Sandy Dowling of BCIMS to learn from them how they offered virtual retreats using Zoom Meeting. They shared some of their documentation ahead of time and were very helpful in answering our questions and concerns. In appreciation, Council agreed to send a donation to BCIMS of $100. June mailed a cheque to them and we received a note of thanks.

    Council agreed to purchase a Zoom Pro account (basic with up to 100 participant capability) with payment to be made on a monthly basis. Sandra Joy holds the account on behalf of Victoria IMS and is reimbursed for the monthly expense on receipt of the invoice from Zoom. June mails a cheque to Sandra for $22.14

    Council agreed to set up e-transfer capability with Coast Capital as well as a Victoria IMS PayPal account for receiving dana. June set up both accounts. PayPal is held in the name of
    Bruce MacRae and June Fukushima have access to PayPal and the

    Council agreed to enter into a contract with Suzan Denis (Salt Spring Island) to act as the Zoom Technical Support person for Tuere Sala’s retreat. In addition she would provide training for the Victoria IMS Zoom volunteer team at no charge. June has been the main contact with Suzan with regard to her contract.

    Brock Brown contacted Tuere Sala to see if she could teach a one day online retreat for us in August. This was to be the first online retreat for the Victoria IMS Zoom team (a trial run). Tuere was available and planning began.  Several practice sessions were held with Suzan leading the VIMS Zoom team and as well, a number of one-on-one role-specific sessions with various Victoria IMS volunteers.

  4. Finances
    The May to July financial report from Wei Wu was circulated to all council members by email prior to the meeting.
    Account Balances since the May 21st, 2020 council meeting:
    Reporting Period May 1st to May 31st, 2020:

Chequing:         $2,645.59
Savings:           $6,821.26
TOTAL:            $9,466.85
      Reporting Period June 1st to June 30th, 2020:

Chequing:         $2,650.81
Savings:           $6,822.10
TOTAL:            $9,472.91

Reporting Period July 1st to July 31st, 2020:

Chequing:         $2,443.87
Savings:           $7,323.00
TOTAL:            $9,766.87

June motioned to receive the May, June and July Financial Report. Carried.

New ways to receive dana:
PayPal Account: Bruce MacRae and June Fukushima have passwords to PayPal so that there are two people monitoring the transfer of donations within PayPal to the Coast Capital account. After receiving PayPal donations related to Tuere’s retreat, Bruce and June checked the PayPal account. June then emailed Bruce that she would be transferring donations in PayPal to Coast Capital.
E-transfers: E-transfer capability with automatic deposit to has been set up. June Fukushima and Bruce MacRae have passwords/access to this gmail account
Request for Access:
Given that dana deposits must be recorded individually by our bookkeeper Wei Wu for bookkeeping within Quickbooks, June has asked Kiko Brown for assistance to enter the online deposits into a spreadsheet to be sent to Wei. It would be easier for Kiko to do this if she had access to the account as each transaction is reported in this email account.  No one who has access to the account can take action with any of the donations (e-transfer is automatic and PayPal transfers to Coast Capital are done through PayPal).
June requested to give Kiko Brown access to the account for the purpose of logging all online dana.  This data will then be passed to our bookkeeper. June and Brock recused themselves from this vote.
Motion from Rhonda to give Kiko Brown access to  Carried.  Thanks to Kiko for assisting with this task.

 Budget Considerations:
June is recommending that we discontinue offering scholarships for the balance of 2020 due to the uncertainty of Victoria IMS dana/income.
Motion from June to suspend scholarships. Carried.
Bruce will change the website to reflect this decision.

Contract with Suzan Denis (Zoom Technical Support):
Victoria IMS has entered into an arrangement with Suzan Denis to act as our key Zoom Technical Support person for the forthcoming retreats. We will pay her on receipt of her invoice. Council discussed the retreats in general, roles, training and volunteer staffing.  It was agreed that we’ll manage things retreat by retreat and see how it goes.

Insurance: June recommends that Victoria IMS cancel the event insurance policy until we need it again. Council discussed the pros and cons of doing this e.g. premiums may be higher when we want to take it out again (if we cancelled). Brock motioned for June to look into cancelling the policy or getting a discount of some kind. Carried. 

  1. Tuere Sala Retreat
    Tuere Sala retreat update (August 7/8, 2020): There were 58 participants on Friday evening (7th) and 53 participants on Saturday (8th). This was our first online retreat and was very well received. Appreciation was expressed by a number of the participants. Thanks to all those who supported this retreat: Coordinator: Brock Brown; Manager: Metta VanderVliet; Registrar: Kiko Brown; Zoom Support Team: Suzan Denis (Consultant/Zoom Host), Brian Chapel (Q&A Chat Host), Bruce MacRae (screen share, recording, audio), Rhonda Duncan (Communications).
    As this was our first online retreat there were some issues that need to be resolved for future retreats (e.g. PayPal payments on the US accounts, feedback questions in the post-retreat reflection letter, use of the Zoom spotlight feature during Q&A). Dana for Victoria IMS was given by approximately 50% of participants.
  1. Future Online Retreats:
    Council discussed the various things that need to be considered for future online retreats including: volunteers with some knowledge of Zoom, Suzan’s role ongoing, the possible use of purchasing Zoom add-ons such as Webinar and additional participant numbers (greater than 100), the use of breakout rooms, etc.
    The Zoom Technical Host or Manager need to check in with the teacher ahead of the retreat to determine their needs/preferences such as Screen Share, use of Gallery View, handling of Q&A (questions direct to teacher via chat/use of raised hand feature), etc.
  1. Sunday Night Community Sit:
  • Council discussed the Sunday Night Sit and decided that there will be no in-person sitting at the yoga studio for the balance of 2020 and the early part of 2021. In light of the pandemic we will review the situation again in the spring of 2021. There are also no plans to provide an equivalent in the online model.
  1. Communications:
  • Newsletters went out on June 26th and July 31st, 2020. The August retreat with Tuere Sala was highlighted in both.  Thanks to Bruce for his consistent, ongoing work in producing this monthly newsletter.
  1. 2020 Programs:
    • Upcoming retreats/events:

The remaining retreats of 2020 will be held online (in the virtual model using Zoom Meeting).

  • September 19 – Brock Brown
  • October 17/18 – Christina Feldman.
  • November 14/15 – Carol Wilson.
  • Completed retreats/events:
  • January 18/19 – Heather Martin.
  • February 29 / March 1 – Margo McLoughlin.
  • April 11/12 – Pascal Auclair – CANCELLED
  • May 23/24 – Ajaan Geoff – CANCELLED
  • July 18 – Howie Cohn – CANCELLED
  • August 7/8 – Tuere Sala – Online
  1. 2021 Programs:

The teachers and dates listed below are confirmed for the Victoria IMS 2021 retreat schedule.  Due to the pandemic, the retreats in the early part of 2021 will likely be held online. As the year progresses the situation will be monitored to see if it’s feasible to begin holding in-person retreats again at Goward House and the Sidney Shoal Centre.                           .

  • January 23/24 – Heather Martin.
  • February 27/28 – Margo McLoughlin.
  • April 17/18 – Tuere Sala.
  • May 22/23 – Adrianne Ross.
  • August 13/14 – Ajaan Geoff. (at Sidney Shoal Centre)
  • September 18 – Brock Brown.
  • October 16/17 – Howie Cohn.
  • November 13/14 – Ajahn Candasiri.
  1. Other:

Grateful thanks go to the entire Victoria IMS Zoom team of volunteers: Rhonda Duncan, Kiko Brown, Metta VanderVliet, Sandra Joy, Brian Chapel, Bruce MacRae and June Fukushima, whose sterling efforts supported the successful launch of the Victoria IMS virtual/online retreat process.
An extra special ‘thank you’ to June, Bruce and Brian for all the additional work they did during the months of June and July to set up and test financial/banking protocols, develop and send out newsletters, modify our website and develop and test invitations/notifications in Constant Contact for registration, reminder and post-retreat feedback notices.


  1. Meeting adjourned at 8:05 p.m.

Next Council Meeting

September 24th, 2020 – 6:00-7:30p.m.

Weather permitting, the meeting will be in Rhonda’s back yard otherwise it will take place online.