2015/07/16 Minutes from VIMS July council meeting

VIMS Council Meeting Minutes

Thursday, July 16, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

Sandra’s home


June, Sandra, Rod, Bruce, Brian, Wei Wu (guest), Pascal Courty (guest)

Absent with Regrets:

No one

 Agenda Items:

  1. Review and Approve Council Meeting Agenda:

Motion from June to approve agenda.


  1. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (June 18th, 2015):
  • Two minor changes to the distributed draft minutes were discussed, agreed and implemented.
  • Motion from Brian to approve the modified minutes. Carried.
  1. Business arising from the Minutes:
  • February 2016 one day retreat with Margo McLoughlin – inquiry about the date of the retreat and reservation of Goward House. Reference point #6 below – Planning – 2016 Retreat Planning for information.
  • Check that the newsletter has mentioned the posting of the AGM minutes and related financials – Rod to talk with Margo.
  • Contributors – did they review their sections (content) of the newsletter – Rod to talk with Margo.
  1. Reports and Updates
  • Financials:
    • June presented the financial report for Jan to June 30th, 2015 prepared by Wei (bookkeeper).
    • Account Balances on June 30th, 2015:

Chequing:         $3,352.53

Savings:           $5,242.57

TOTAL:           $8,595.10

  • Filing a T1 and NR4/T4 (withholding tax for non-resident teachers)
    presented by Pascal Courty, VIMS finance team member.

    1. We don’t have to file T1 (this would be required if 1) revenues were greater than $10K or 2) assets were greater than $200K).
    2. Hiring teachers (non-Canadian-residents) – if we host vs. hiring then we do not have to withhold tax. Going forward we will ensure that our processes are consistent with the information provided by accountants Jeb Gordon and David Levinson on hosting non-Canadian individual presenters who receive donations/tips. All donations/tips go directly to the presenter as they do for Canadian presenters.  This does not apply to donations to charities (monasteries).

Thanks to both Pascal and Wei for their input to the investigation related to the filing and for presenting their reports.

  • Motion from June to accept the financial report. Carried.
  • Motion from June to give Wei access to the online banking at Coast Capital.
  • Communications: Bruce provided a report to council.  The recordings from Ajahn Sona and Ayya Medhanandi’s retreats are now available via the website. Metta (Derrick) has indicated that once his study commitments are finished he would like to get involved in assisting with the sound functions at retreats and doing the recordings.
    • Website:  There are still some updates to implement.
    • Sound: Bruce has been using his own speaker at retreats in addition to the VIMS speaker.  Council discussed the option of purchasing another speaker for VIMS.  Motion from June to purchase a speaker for up to $300.
    • Request from Rod that the communications group get together before the end of the summer to discuss various things.
  • Sunday Sit:
    • Yoga Studio keys: Each volunteer who opens and closes the studio for Sunday night sits now has a set of keys.
    • Change of focus: From September the Sunday Night Sit Working Group (Margo, Lawrie, Rod, Sandra) agreed to focus on the ten paramis – assigning one per month. Facilitators will be asked to talk on or choose a recorded talk based on the theme of the month.
      1. The change in the Sunday Night program raised questions mainly to do with how this would impact facilitators. Sandra agreed to bring feedback to Margo who is coordinating the facilitators.
      2. June said that the process for this decision surprised her. She would have preferred this type of change be brought to Council first for input before being implemented. There were differing views on how much involvement Council should have.
      3. June requested that the Sunday Night Working Group evaluate the theme-based program after it has been in place for a few months to see how it is being received by participants, facilitators and the Working Group and to update Council on their findings.
    • From the discussion on change of focus for the Sunday Night Sit the question arose as to how much autonomy any of the special groups should have and at what point VIMS Council should be consulted before decisions are made. Council agreed to review this organizational issue at future meetings.
  • Volunteer Initiative:
    • Isy has worked with the base of volunteers to begin staffing for the 2016 retreats and has made good headway. Isy provided a report detailing the initial assignments of Co-ordinators, Registrars and Managers.  All coordinators are confirmed as are some registrars and managers.  The balance of the assignments has yet to be finalized.
    • Rod sent out a Mentorship Initiative email to a target group of sangha members on July 10th requesting volunteer assistance. To date he has received seven responses.  Some were from people who already do a fair amount but there were some new volunteers who could do specific tasks.  Rod provided council with an analysis report of the responses.  This will be discussed further at the next meeting.

Thanks to Rod and Isy for taking on the volunteer recruitment and placement tasks.

  • Study Group Update: Bruce provided this update. At the last study group they had a discussion about a new format for the group.  Everyone present was agreed that a new format will work.  There will be one last meeting at the yoga studio in September (this was switched from July – there will not be a study group meeting in July) at which the new format will be decided and after that the study group will be held elsewhere.
  1. Action/Decision 
  • Sandra to get the description for Margo’s September retreat to Brian and Bruce for posting to the website and for use in Constant Contact.
  • Rod to check with Margo re newsletter items (point #3 above).
  • Sandra to give Margo feedback on the ‘theme’ format of the Sunday night sit and report back to council a couple of months after it’s been implemented to see how the new process is going
  • A Communications Plan to address the needs of the 2016 retreats will be developed at the next council meeting.
  • Ongoing Council discussion about the level of autonomy of special groups in decision-making. (arising from the introduction of theme-based Sunday night sit sessions – point #4 above)
  1. Planning:
  • Remaining 2015 retreats:
    • Ajahn Tiradhammo  July 18 2015.
    • Ajaan Geoff Aug 21 Public talk at Uvic.
    • Ajaan Geoff Aug 22/23 UVic Cadboro Commons rooms (topic Karma) Brock and June coordinators – Sheila registrar
    • Sept 26/27  Margo McLoughlin – Goward House – Sandra coordinator – Brian registrar
    • Nov 7/8 Howard Cohn – Goward House – Brock coordinator – Lawrie registrar
  • 2016 Retreat planning:(confirmed teachers/registrars/managers and Goward House reserved for all listed retreats)
    • Heather Martin Jan 16/17 – Coordinator Bruce
    • Margo McLoughlin February 20 – one day – Coordinator Sandra
    • Pascal Auclair Mar 25/26 – Friday and Saturday (Easter) – Coordinator Brock
    • Ajahn Sona May 21/22 – June Coordinator
    • Steve Armstrong Sept 17/18 – Coordinator Lawrie
    • Christina Feldman Oct 15/16 – Coordinator Joyce
    • Communications plan is needed for the 2016 retreats – will be mapped out at the August council meeting.  
  • 2017 Retreat Planning:
    • This topic will be discussed at the August council meeting.
    • Goward House is booked for the following dates:

Jan 21/22; Mar 18/29; May 20/21; Sept 16/17; Oct 21/22 

  1. Meeting adjourned at 9:30 p.m.

Next Meeting

August 20th, 2015
7:00-9:30 p.m.
Rod’s home