2015/12/10 Vims Council minutes

VIMS Council Meeting Minutes (approved)

Thursday, December 10, 2015 at 7:00 p.m.

Sandra’s home

June, Sandra, Bruce, Brock Brown (guest), Wei Wu (guest), Rhonda Duncan (guest)

Absent with Regrets:

Brian was unable to attend.

Agenda Items:

  1. Review and Approve Council Meeting Agenda:

Motion from Bruce to approve the agenda with an amendment to add a report on the Sunday night sittings. Carried.

  1. Approve Minutes of Previous Meeting (October 15th, 2015):

There were no changes to the distributed draft minutes from the October council meeting.  Motion from June to approve the minutes.  Carried.

  1. Business arising from the Minutes:
  • Arinna Weisman visit (29th November facilitation of Sunday night sit). June provided an update: As previously arranged, $100.00 was paid to BC IMS towards Arinna’s travel expenses. Reimbursement for hospitality will be made to Arleen and Chris with whom Arinna stayed while in Victoria. VIMS should budget for this visit which is now occurring every two years.
  • Thank you notes will be sent to Goward House and to Helga Beer (yoga studio) in appreciation for services given to VIMS during 2015. June will take care of this.
  1. Reports and Updates.
  • Financials:
    • June and Wei presented the VIMS Financial report for the year to end of November 2015.
    • The Profit and Loss report reflected a budgeted loss of $707.50 and an actual loss of $807.50.
    • As we did not have a council meeting in November we are reporting here the month-end bank information for both October and November:

Account Balances on October 31st, 2015:

Chequing:          $1,548.52

Savings:            $3,749.96

TOTAL:            $5,298.48

Account Balances on November 30th, 2015:


Chequing:          $2,776.32

Savings:            $3,751.35

TOTAL:            $6,527.67


Motion from June to accept the financial report. Carried.

  • There was an anonymous donation of $50.00 cash which came in the mail to June and Brock’s home (no ‘from’ information). It has been deposited to the VIMS operating account.
  • June and Wei presented the budget for 2016. It has been conservatively estimated. Key items were reviewed and decided including:

-Allocation of $500.00 for scholarships for 2016.

-Allocation of funds for a one day retreat for the possible visit of Ajahn Sudanto.

-Increase of Special Events budget to $750.00 – this will cover items like travel costs for guest teachers coming to facilitate Sunday night sittings.

The 2016 budget will be modified and reissued for approval at the January council meeting.

  • Communications:
    • Website: All seems to be going well.
    • Gmail: As of mid-November, 2015 David Axon has taken over the monitoring of the VIMS email from Sandra. The transition went well and VIMS thanks Sandra for supporting the email communications these past several years.
    • Newsletter: The newsletter creation and distribution has been going smoothly with the new development and review team and process. Wherever possible we need to keep to the planned distribution schedule because of the linkage to the retreat schedule and associated registration schedule.
    • Retreat co-managers: At the Sunday night sittings we should communicate our need for sangha members who are willing to co-manage retreats.
  • VIMS Policies and Procedures:
    • The process for distribution of documentation to retreat managers/coordinators/registrars was discussed and clarified.
  • Retreat Operations:
    • Howie Cohn’s retreat in early November went well. 132 people registered; 90 attended the first day and 76 the second.  The Friday night public talk at the yoga studio was well attended – approximately 60 people half of whom were coming to the weekend retreat.  Thanks to all volunteers who assisted with set-up and close for both the Friday night talk and the retreat days – Brock (co-ordinator) the co-managers Kathy Jago and Rhonda Duncan, Registrar Lawrie Thicke and Sound/Recording Bruce MacRae. Thanks also to Brock and June for hosting Howie at their home during his stay.
    • 2015 Retreat Summary:
      • The plan for the 2015 Retreat Schedule was to have six weekend retreats. In the spring of 2015, we learned that Ayya Medhanandi and Ajahn Tiradhammo would be in the Victoria area.  Council agreed to hold two additional one-day retreats and as Goward House (our usual venue) is unavailable to us during the summer we tried the First Unitarian Church of Victoria.  The venue was very well received and was suitable for the dana meal offerings.
      • In 2015, Council established the role of Retreat Coordinator and formalized the structure of having co-managers for retreats.
      • Volunteers: a question was added to the registration form inviting people to help in setting up and closing the retreats and many attendees offer help on the day. During the summer Isy and Rod House held meetings and recruited new volunteers. They recommended formalizing a mentoring approach for the three roles of Coordinator, Manager and Registrar.
      • Isy agreed to be the VIMS Retreat Operations Manager and recruited Registrars and Managers for the 2016 retreats. Joyce Elliott has agreed to be backup for Isy.
      • Key roles: Metta is training to be a sound technician; Brian Chapel sets up Constant Contact for retreat registrations.
      • Documentation has been updated for retreat management and registration, and job descriptions have been prepared for the different roles. An online location for shared files has been established for easy access to commonly used documents.
    • Sunday Sit:

Sandra reported on the Sunday night sits.

  • Attendance at the Sunday night sits holds steady at 15-25 per session. Approximately 80% of attendees stay for both the sit and the talk.
  • The facilitation schedule is in place for the first six months of 2016.
  • The opening/closing (operations) schedule for the same period is also in place.
      • Brock addressed the deficit in Dana generated by the Sunday night sittings in 2015 relative to the two previous years.
  1. Planning:
    • 2016 Retreat planning:
      • Heather Martin – Jan 16/17 – Coordinator Bruce – registration opened 14th December, 2015
      • Margo McLoughlin February 20 – one day – Coordinator Sandra – registration opens January 25th, 2016
      • Pascal Auclair – Mar 25/26 – Friday and Saturday (Easter) – Coordinator Brock – registration opens February 29th, 2016
      • Ajahn Sona – May 20 – public talk (with Margo Jataka tales) – details TBD (Margo is still to confirm both format and venue)
      • Ajahn Sona – May 21/22 – June Coordinator – registration opens April 25th, 2016
      • Steve Armstrong – Sept 17/18 – Coordinator Lawrie – registration opens August 22nd, 2016
      • Christina Feldman – Oct 15/16 – Coordinator Joyce – registration opens September 19th, 2016
      • Brock Brown – Nov 13 – one day – Coordinator TBD registration opens October 17th, 2016

Registration open date information is now posted to the VIMS website and was sent to Isy, Margo, Brian and Bruce for their scheduling of retreat operations and communications.     

      • In addition, in 2016, there is the possibility of Ajaan Geoff visiting Bellingham/Vancouver Island and Ajahn Sudanto visiting Victoria. June and Brock will monitor the unfolding of these possibilities and provide updates.
    • 2017 Retreat Planning:
      • The following dates are either tentative or confirmed for Goward House for 2017 (as the teacher is confirmed we confirm the venue reservation with Goward House).

Jan 21/22; Mar 18/19; May 27/28; Sept 16/17; Nov 11/12

      • The following have either been suggested or are already confirmed:
  1. Jan 21/22 – Heather – Bruce to discuss with Heather
  2. May 27/28 – Ayya Medhanandi – Brock confirmed.
  3. August 19/20 – Ajaan Geoff – Uvic – June and Brock confirme
  4. Oct 14/15 – Steve Armstrong – Lawrie confirmed.
  5. Other possible teachers:
  • Ajahn Sona (timing TBD – June and Brock to discuss with Ajahn Sona),
  • A senior teacher from Spirit Rock (TBD).
  • Tuere Sala (Seattle – Brock to discuss with her)
  • Ajahn Tiradhammo may be in BC in the summer of 2017.
  • Local teachers to be considered in the schedule include Brock and Margo.
    • 2018 Retreat Planning:
      • Brock will continue the conversation with Carol Wilson about conducting a retreat in Victoria in 2018 and look at potential dates.


  1. Council membership for the period January 2016 to May 2016:
    • Continuing membership: Brian Chapel, June Fukushima, Sandra Joy, Bruce MacRae.
    • Returning from sabbatical: Brock Brown.
    • New member: Rhonda Duncan.  Welcome Rhonda!
  2. Meeting adjourned at 9:25 p.m.

Next Meeting

January 14th, 2015
Sandra’s home