2015/08/20 VIMS Council Minutes

VIMS Council Meeting Minutes

Thursday, August 20, 2015 at 6:30 p.m.

Rod’s home


June, Sandra, Rod, Bruce, Brian, Isabelle House (guest)

Absent with Regrets:

No one

 Agenda Items:

  1. Review and Approve Council Meeting Agenda:
  • The subject of retreat open dates for 2016 was mentioned and it was agreed to address this when we discussed 2016 retreat planning (second item under Planning (#6 below).

Motion from Bruce to approve agenda.  Carried.

  1. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (July 16th, 2015):
  • There were no changes to the distributed draft minutes from the July council meeting.

Motion from Rod to approve the modified minutes. Carried.

  1. Business arising from the Minutes:
  • Info for a fall newsletter re VIMS’ AGM minutes: Rod has spoken to Margo about this and she will insert a suitable piece about this.
  • Review of newsletter content prior to publishing: Rod has also spoken to Margo about this and she will send a copy of the draft newsletter to all content owners for review plus Rod and Sandra (for overall review). Rod will be away from September 1st (the newsletter is due for distribution September 4th) so he will check with Margo to see if we can review some content (if ready) during the last week of August.
  1. Reports and Updates
  • Financials:
    • June presented the Treasurer’s report.
    • Month-end July 2015 report from Bookkeeper Wei Wu.
    • Account Balances on June 30th, 2015:

Chequing:         $3,494.27

Savings:           $5,245.07

TOTAL:           $8,739.34

  • Motion from June to accept the financial report. Carried.
  • Credit Card for VIMS – discussion of whether there is a need for this. There is an annual fee of $60. Council decided that currently there is not sufficient need. We could consider setting up a PayPal account in the future to address this need if it becomes more pressing.
  • Communications: Bruce presented an update on the items below with Rod providing supporting information.
    • Website: The website is now up to date with current information and all audio recordings are available up to and including Ajahn Tiradhammo’s retreat.
    • Newsletter: The next newsletter is scheduled for release on September 4th. Margo continues to produce the newsletter with content input from various sources and support from Rod, Bruce and Sandra.
    • Sound: Bruce bought a new speaker for VIMS as agreed to at the July council meeting. Total cost was $352.22 including taxes. The new speaker will have its début at Ajaan Geoff’s retreat (August 22/23).

Thanks to Bruce for all his contributions to our successful communications.

  • Posters for Ajaan Geoff’s weekend retreat and public talk were developed, printed and distributed/posted in various locations to advertise the events more broadly.
  • Retreat Operations:
    • Report from Isabelle on retreat operations 2016:
      1. VIMS retreats 2016: Coordinators, Registrars and Managers are all appointed.
      2. Isy presented an overview document containing details of the roles and responsibilities (previously outlined by Council) related to retreat operations. These included Retreat Operations Manager, Retreat Coordinator, Registrar, Manager and Sound Technician. Council reviewed the document discussing elements of the roles and responsibilities and suggesting modifications.  Isy will make the appropriate changes and reissue the document.  Council will review and provide further feedback if necessary.

Thanks to Isy on a great job in consolidating this information!  A big thanks also for contacting volunteers and placing the registrars and managers for the 2016 retreats. Isy has agreed to be the Retreat Operations Manager for 2016 with Joyce as backup when Isy is not available. The commitment of both Isy and Joyce to this role is greatly appreciated.

  1. Brock Brown has offered to do a 1 day in November (13) – Council approved. Isy will look for appropriate resources to support operations for this retreat, most likely drawing on those who have already been trained and/or mentored earlier in the year.


  • Ajahn Tiradhammo’s one-day retreat July 18 2015:
    1. 75 were registered – 64 were expected – 59 participated.
    2. A dana/meal offering with rice pinadapat was well received by the participants.
    3. The Unitarian Church venue worked well.

Thanks to Retreat Coordinator/Manager Brock Brown, Registrar Joyce Elliott, Sound Technician Bruce MacRae and to Isy House, June Fukushima, Brian Chapel and Sandra Joy for organizational support.  Thanks also to the volunteers who helped on the day of the retreat.

  • Ajaan Geoff retreat:
    1. August 21st public talk at UVic.
    2. August 22/23 non-residential retreat – Uvic Cadboro Commons rooms (topic Karma).

All support for operations for this retreat is in place.

  • Margo McLoughlin’s September 26/27 retreat: Information about the topic of the retreat has been posted to the website and set up in Constant Contact as appropriate.
  • Sunday Sit:
    • Ajahn Tiradhammo enjoyed his visit to Victoria including the one day retreat and the Sunday evening sit which he facilitated. He articulated his appreciation in his blog for all he had received from the VIMS community during his stay. http://tiradhammo.blogspot.ca
    • As per the council discussion in July, Sandra provided feedback to Margo on the perspectives of council on the proposed ‘theme’ format for Sunday night – i.e. facilitator to incorporate aspects of the Parami for the month in the talk they give or select (recorded talk).
  • Study Group Update:
    • Bruce will provide Margo with information about the Study Group for inclusion in the September newsletter.
  • Volunteer Initiative:
    • There were no further responses (than those presented at the July council meeting) to the letter sent out in July seeking more volunteers. Nothing further will be done with this initiative.
    • Through all the work Isy has done with retreat operations she is aware of all sangha members who are interested in doing volunteer tasks.
  1. Action/Decision: 
  • Immediate priorities and tasks:
    • Communication Plan for 2015 and 2016: This Communications Plan document details when the newsletters go out, the content for those newsletters, and when the invitation to attend a retreat goes out. The current planning document is in place until late this year but planning for 2016 is yet to be done (activities related to Heather’s January retreat will affect the newsletter to be published in November).
    • Retreat Operations – Tasks and Timeline 2015 and 2016: This document indicates what needs to be done for each of the retreats, in what month and who will be doing it (e.g. when the coordinator seeks information from the retreat teacher, when this information needs to be sent to the person handling Constant Contact and the person developing the newsletter, etc.). The tasks and timeline needs to be refined for the balance of the 2015 retreats and fully developed for the 2016 retreats.
    • The Council briefly discussed both the above Plans but will discuss in more detail at the September meeting and further expand them.
  1. Discussion Items:
  • Possibilities for new council members: It was decided to continue to invite people, as appropriate, to attend council meetings as guests. Brian has indicated that he would like to retire from council by the end of 2015 due to work commitments.
  • Role of council/working groups: The role of council in relation to the working groups (e.g. study group, Sunday night sitting group, Communications group) and the level of autonomy of these groups will continue to be discussed.
  1. Planning:
  • Remaining events 2015:
    • Sept 26/27  Margo McLoughlin – Goward House – Sandra coordinator – Brian registrar
    • Nov 7/8 Howard Cohn – Goward House – Brock coordinator – Lawrie registrar – Blaire and Kathy co-managers


All operations roles and tasks related to the above retreats are in place.

  • 2016 Retreat planning:(confirmed coordinators / registrars / managers)
    • 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
    • Brock Brown Nov 13 – one day – Coordinator TBD

Per item #5 above both a Communications Plan and a Retreat Operations Plan need to be fully developed for the 2016 retreats.     

  • 2017 Retreat Planning:
    • Goward House is now more flexible in terms of event bookings. Possible dates for Victoria IMS to hold retreats at this location are:

Jan 21/22; Mar 18/19; May 20/21; Sept 16/17; Oct 21/22

  • Council discussed ideas for inviting teachers for 2017. Rod proposed that we should encourage ‘new’ teachers like Kate Drescher, Margo and Brock to offer two day retreats in 2017.  It will also be good to offer more monastic retreats in 2017 as other than Ajahn Sona, 2016 will primarily offer retreats by lay teachers.  The invitation to monastics could include Ayya Medhanandi, Ajahn Sona, Ajaan Geoff and Ajahn Tiradhammo.
  • It was agreed that council members should give this some thought and send their ideas re potential 2017 teachers to Bruce (Rod will not be at the September council meeting) and the topic should be on the agenda for discussion at the September meeting.
  1. Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.

Next Meeting

September 17, 2015
7:00-9:30 p.m.
Sandra’s home