Abode Village View, Monthly Update – Apr. 2017

Abode Village View, Monthly Update – Apr. 2017

Update from the Abode Board – Board Chair Nasreen Moayedi

It was a joy seeing so many friends of the Abode at our Community dinner and Town Hall on March 22.

As I noted then, we want you to know that the Board unanimously recognizes that the heart of the Abode is its spiritual identity. “Hearts to God” as the Shakers would say.

Before them, the Native peoples felt this about the land. Pir Vilayat and the founders saw it. Pir Zia recognizes it. Through all the prayers, teachings and devotions expressed here at the Abode over the years, the spiritual essence has saturated and become one with the land.

The intent of the Board – and we hope yours too – is to refocus and rebuild the Abode’s spiritual core through:

•  The Eco-Sufi initiative, and
•  The appointment of our inaugural spiritual director, Netanel.


Finally, the Ambassador program represents a way for us all to become more engaged in putting our “hands to work.” We on the Board have all joined. Your support and participation is so very valuable and essential to extending the legacy of the Abode into generations that will follow us.

Please join with us in supporting the Abode through the Ambassadors program.

Update from our Executive Director – Al Bellenchia

After our productive winter break, Abode programs season 2017 is underway! We began our season by welcoming the Inayati Order Jamiat Khas and Leadership training programs, and shortly, Suluk Academy.

We have welcomed several new seasonal staff members to help support our visitors and program participants, in our guest services and kitchen/dining departments. Our new Guest Services Manager, Cherish Marie Church, and Kitchen Manager, Evan Young, have been creating caring teams who strive to provide the highest level of service to all who come to the Abode. Please let us know how we are doing.


While you are at the Abode, be sure to check out our new Abode Store! It is stocked with Mugs, pins, stickers and T-Shirts all bearing the new, colorful Abode logo. And remember, Abode Ambassadors can receive discounts on store merchandise as well as other exclusive benefits. Please help support the Abode by becoming an Ambassador today. For more information, please click here.

We held our third Town Hall meeting on March 22, which was attended by many members in person and online. We were happy to report on many new initiatives and accomplishments that are building a new energy at our spiritual home. The video and audio recordings are now available for those who could not join us, at this link.

Update from our Spiritual DirectorNetanel Miles-Yépez

We are very pleased to welcome our first khadam of 2017, Pauline Baudon and Rahma Rabinowitz. They are officially the first members of Class Karim, named after the divine quality of generosity. Already they have begun to take part in community life and to keep the hours of prayer in the Meditation Hall.

In March I was in San Francisco visiting our sister organization, Khankah S.A.M., and teaching at Mentorgarten with Pir Shabda Kahn and Murshid Wali Ali Meyer. It was a joy to observe the similarities and differences at Khankah S.A.M. and Mentorgarten, and to consider how we can create a stronger relationship between our two khankahs.

While in the Bay Area, I also had the pleasure of visiting Pir Dahan (Voice of the Pir), the rock outcropping on the hillside in Fairfax that Hazrat Inayat Khan said was a site of high spiritual vibration, and to make a pilgrimage with a number of Ruhaniat Sufis to burial site of Murshida Rabia Martin, the first American Sufi, whose burial place Jennifer Alia Wittman and I discovered in December of 2015. Pir Shabda brought a chaddar from the dargah of Khwaja Mu’in ad-Din Chishti in Ajmer, which we placed on the crypt before sitting down to share zikr and stories.


This month, in our Tuesday Traditions classes, we will continue exploring teachings, themes, and exemplars from classical Sufism, and in our Thursday Message classes, aspects of universalist Sufism. However, we also have a number of very special events, which will occasionally preempt class:


April 1st (Saturday), the community is invited to join the Inayati Order leadership for zikr in the Meditation Hall, led by Sarah Leila Manolson.

April 6th (Thursday), everyone is invited to join Pir Zia Inayat-Khan and me for an evening of sohbet on “The Future of Inayati Sufism.”

April 10th (Monday), I will be leading a community Passover seder at the Abode. Reserve your place right away.

April 11th (Tuesday), Megan McFeely will be showing her film, As She Is. Please regester here.

April 13th (Thursday), I will be in dialogue with Tendai Buddhist abbot, Monshin Paul Naamon on the idea of “spiritual liberty” in both Sufism and Buddhism. Please register here.

April 15th (Saturday), “The Way of Illumination – The Path of the Heart” One-day Retreat with Yaqin Aubert. Please register here.

April 16th (Sunday), join us for a celebratory day with a Universal Worship service that embraces world religions, a farmer-to-table Easter brunch, followed by festivities in the Herb Garden. Please register here.

April 27th-30th (Thursday-Sunday), please register soon for Sufism and Judaism, a major Inayati Order event at which I will be teaching with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan, and my friend, Rabbi Tirzah Firestone. We will share the Sabbath together and explore many common teachings and connections.

Update from our Programs Assistant – Emily Collins

On March 23rd, we kicked off our exciting programs season by welcoming our friends on the Inayati Order Board during their annual retreat. That weekend we hosted our first Village Visit and welcomed Pauline Baudon and Rahma Rabinowitz. Pauline and Rahma will be participating in the first cycle of the revamped Khidmat program. Thank you all who pitched in for our Village Visit work morning, thank you all who gave a warm welcome to our newest friends, and thank you Pauline and Rahma for gracing this campus with your insight, enthusiasm, and willingness to better our Abode. Finally, thanks to all who joined our Monday potluck to welcome these Khadims and to demonstrate the welcoming nature of our Village.

On Tuesday, April 4th, Suluk begins. We welcome back Jabalqa as they complete their penultimate session with Suhrawardi. The Jabalqa class will be staying in rooms across campus, attending meals, and participating in Karma Yoga as they “realize” their journey on the Suluk path.

The Unity of Religious Ideals Week is approaching (April 10th – 16th) and we hope to be with you to celebrate and honor many traditions and the underlying unity between them. We begin this Holy week on Passover and invite you to reserve your spot for Seder today!

The rest of Unity of Religious Ideals weeks holds a “As She Is” film screening, Spiritual Dialogue, one-day retreat with Yaqin Aubert, and Easter Sunday, complete with Universal Worship and egg hunt in the Herb Garden – sign up today!  And bring your friends and family to share these special days with us!

Following shortly after is The Sacred Art of Storytelling with M’ellen Kennedy —  exploring differences between oral and written culture, the human propensity for stories (grounded in current scientific research), the role of stories in religious traditions, and fundamentals of engaging storytelling.

The rest of April includes a special Earth Day LiveStream (April 22), New Moon Women’s Circle (April 26), and our second Village Visit (April 28-30). Register now for these programs and more on our programs page!

Update from our Guest Services Manager – Cherish Marie Church

As we gear up for a new programs season here at the Abode, we are debuting our new Guest Services department! I will be stepping into the role of guest services manager, Wahida Young will taking the role of guest services coordinator, and Andy Bruce and Aqil Trofimov will be serving as program support (formerly known as ‘operations’).

We will also have a new housekeeping lead, Koni Davis, and will soon have a new front desk representative in place to lend support to the team. The front desk representative will be working with Wahida and me in covering the front desk from 9 am to 5 pm every day, with a focus on registering and greeting new arrivals.  Andy and Aqil will insure the smooth running of the program from 7 am to 9 pm daily through the duration of the program.

Our goal is to make our visitors here feel held and supported from hello to goodbye, and to feel welcome and encouraged to come and stay with us in the future. Thanks to all in the community in participating in making this program season the very best!

Update from our Kitchen Manager – Evan Young

Things have been busy in the Kitchen this month, as we have jumped into our first round of Spring programs. Bit by bit, we have been making steady improvements to our Kitchen facilities in Rezak: with Wajid’s efforts, our renovated cooler is up and running and we are also once again making good use of our basement root cellar for onion, squash and potato storage. Thank you to everyone who helped make our root cellar functional again during last Saturday’s work day.

We are also continuing on our efforts to make our Abode Meals more delicious, more nutritious and more sustainable. Along with our partnership with the Abode Farm (the farm continues to provide us with a bounty of carrots, potatoes, garlic, onions, radishes and other roots) we have also been working closely with a group of small farms in Western Massachusetts, Vermont and New York to bring in a variety of locally grown roots, squash, greenhouse-grown lettuce, locally produced tortillas and other local products into our dining room. Everyone in the kitchen is excited about the coming Summer and, with Abode Farm, we look forward to bringing you another season of good food centered around Abode-family vegetables.

Finally, we would like to extend a warm invite to our greater Abode community and on-campus partners to please join us for community meals this Spring and Summer. As part of this movement, we will be bringing back an old Abode staple for our community members:  meal tickets!

Ticket packages are now available at a discounted rate of 5 tickets for $40!! To purchase tickets please see the front office during regular business hours.

Update from our Manager of Ecology – Evan Thaler-Null

Honeybees arrive on Saturday! Three new colonies of honeybees will be arriving this weekend and braving the cold snowy weather during the first few days of their transition. Special thanks to our neighbor Bhramari for help and guidance in planning a welcoming and healthy arrival for the bees.

Seeds are sprouting in the greenhouse and farm preparations are well underway for the season. Weather permitting we will be preparing fields and planting in the next few weeks.

Here’s to sunlight and soil!

Abode Weekly Village View

Tuesday April 4th
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Rezak Dining Room
– 7:00pm Traditions Class with Netanel Miles-Yépez – Rezak Library
“Eight Aspects of Sufi Mindfulness” – This Tuesday, Abode Spiritual Director, Netanel, will discuss the eight aspects of Sufi mindfulness taught by the Khwajaghan, the ‘masters of wisdom’ of Central Asia.

Thursday April 6th
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Rezak Dining Room
– 7:00pm Message Class with Pir Zia and Netanel Miles-Yépez – Meditation Hall
“The Future of Inayati Sufism with Pir Zia Inayat-Khan and Netanel Miles-Yépez” – An intimate evening of spiritual conversation (sohbet) for the Abode community and students of Suluk Academy with Zia Inayat-Khan, Pir of the Inayati Order, and Netanel Miles-Yépez, Spiritual Director of the Abode of the Message.

Sunday April 9th
– 11:00am Universal Worship with Wahida Young – Rezak Library
– 12:30pm Sunday Brunch – Rezak Dining Room