Abode Village View – Month of April
Update from the Executive Director – Al Bellenchia
Welcome to April. It’s been a busy weekend at the Abode, celebrating Passover and Easter with our extended community, and guests from near and far. Thanks to all who helped shepherd the events.
Winter is, thankfully, ebbing on Mt. Lebanon and we are busily preparing the Abode for the opening of programs season. We will officially kick off with our Village Visit/Opening Weekend/Earth Day celebration the weekend of April 20-22.
In 2018, our Village Visits will be Open Houses, to encourage more visitors, and our involve our community in shared practices and activities with our guests. We want to bring more people together at the Abode to build a unity of purpose, showcase the strength of our community and attract new visitors.
Please visit our programs page for more information on the April 20-22 event and other upcoming programs.
On March 22, we held an Extended Community Meeting, where the Abode Board and I outlined the strategies, plans and actions being undertaken to invest in securing the Abode’s future.
Investing in the Future
Securing the Abode’s future must start with investing in it. Our strategic plan calls for building new revenue streams to complement and balance what we have. We have begun to address some of the areas that were curtailed in years past as the Abode’s finances declined.
Our planning has included looking to see what’s needed to move us away from a crisis-to-crisis existence. We’ve learned by looking outside, as well as to our own past. What worked in the past is not always a blueprint for the future, but we are mindful of what contributed to a vibrant community life in the past.
- We will be investing in creating an Abode café, enhancing guest services, campus beautification and the repurposing of Inayat Manzil.
- We will be investing in activities that will help bring more people to the Abode via programs, volunteering and the 4 Rs: residency, rentals, retreats, and retail.
- We will continue to invest in upgrades to beautify the campus, shift traffic away from the courtyard and residences and preserve and enhance the visual experience of arriving at the Abode.
Vision and Values
We have created new policies to help provide clarity and structure for decision-making and governance. It will underpin new agreements and understandings, including the use of Abode assets, so that they are clear and consistent for all.
Underpinning our Vision, Values and Policies are our charter and our non-profit status, which mandate:
- We are a spiritual community dedicated to promoting the Message; that is our purpose.
- We will maintain an active residential community; one that supports our purpose.
- We must be economically self-sustaining.
- We desire to be an open, safe, and welcoming community, as envisioned by Pir Vilayat and the Abode founders.
Pir Vilayat Center for Meditation and Retreat
At the community meeting, we announced our intention to re-imagine Inayat Manzil in a way that honors its heritage and that gives it a more central role in spiritual, community and outreach activities. Inayat Manzil will evolve to become the Pir Vilayat Center for Meditation and Retreat.
The Center will become the heart of Interspiritual and Interdisciplinary study and practice at the Abode
- Meditation practice and education
- Small group retreat activities
- Kinship activities
- Small group programs
- Visiting Teachers/Educators/Guides
- Recurring programs/curriculum/dialogue
Repurposing Inayat Manzil into a distinct entity dedicated to supporting a specific purpose will allow the Abode to open this space to groups and entities that should find kinship at the Abode. It will become a sanctuary within a sanctuary.
This initiative is still in its formative stages. As always, I am grateful for your ongoing support as we continue on our path forward.
Update from the Inayati Center at the Abode – Wahida Young
Your Inayati Center at the Abode has continued to be active all throughout the winter. I hope you have enjoyed participating in all or some of of our activities. Thanks to Nur, Shakur and Yaqin for offering the Thursday night Message classes. These will continue on a regular basis. There is always a dinner beforehand on Thursdays and we hope you will come enjoy the food, community connection and inspiration from the classes.
We had a beautiful gathering honoring Murshid’s Urs on February 4; Tara Circles with Aimee inspired those of us who attended in February and March and we appreciate the women’s New Moon Circles offered by Salima every month. Our new meditation classes on Sundays at 10 am have beautiful and inspiring. By the time you read this Holy Weekend will be ending. Much to nurture our bodies, minds and souls.
We offer much gratitude to Mahbub and Nur for removing the cords that crossed our Meditation Hall and placed them out of sight. Notice the board over the altar which Wajid thoughtfully raised and refinished creating a more open and lovely approach to the stained glass window and altar. And we are most grateful for the donations which enabled us to seal over the crawl space under the Meditation Hall floor. The climate is much improved and more comfortable.
Looking forward, we are hoping to have a fundraising bake-sale or several so that we can continue to beautify our spaces and provide the various activities that enrich our community. Meditation classes, Universal Worship, Message classes as well as special events like Pir Vilayat’s Urs and birthday are all on the calendar. Please come as often as you can.
With a full heart I send warm, sincere blessings to you all,
Update from the Mountain – SaMoon Pal
May the light of a new season bless all hearts. This winter, we have been gracefully making progress and improving programming on the Mountain Camp. Many seasoned patrons will be returning as they have for many years in the past. We are also welcoming a handful of new organizations to host their events ranging from kundalini Yoga, a Gabrielle Roth dance movement, and Aikido Intensive to name a few.
We will continue networking initiatives to reach people, places, and programs to create stability for rentals and a sanctuary for those who hold this place near and dear their hearts. A camp brochure is in final stages, we will have full color printings in the next week or two. Please stop by the office and pick up a copy to share with friends, relatives, and help us spread the word on services provided at the Abode.
Below are camp events for the month of May:
TBD – MTN Work Camp:
1st or 2nd week of May
We are co-organizing this camp with Matthew Pelligrino and Megan Galeucia. It will be a large group of work-exchange volunteers helping prepare the camp for the season. It is currently under structure.
18-20 May: Aikido Instructors’ Intensive (rental)
20-5th June: Dig Ventures (rental)
Update from Programs – Topaz Ross Kelso
This month has seen a few new program possibilities for 2018, one additional confirmation, and some early leads for the 2019 program season. We’ve also been working on the website presentation of programs — check out our Events page and the new Featured Programs section on our front page.
Most of our program leads come from community recommendations, so please continue to put us in touch with those who can benefit from our campus’s unique setting.
Finally, our slow program start this year gives us time in April to focus on our own creations, including our Earth Day Open House Celebration, the first Village Visit of 2018. We’re hoping to allow for a lot of creativity in community-generated events moving forward, so also let us know if you want to run something at the Abode yourself.
Update from Ecology & Grounds – Evan Thaler-Null
The ground is slowly opening up and the farming season is beginning at last. Trees for our new orchard will be arriving in two weeks and we will be having a tree planting party in mid-April (stay tuned for details). Thanks to Flying Deer’s Sacred Fire group for helping clear saplings from the orchard field to prepare for planting. Campus fruit trees are being pruned and thousands of seedlings are emerging in the greenhouses. We will be enjoying the first farm greens within a month! Abode Farm CSA sign-ups are open for the Summer CSA, please visit the farm website at www.abodefarmcsa.com to get a share.
Update from Maintenance – Wajid Jackson and Evan Young
Great news! Evan Young will be joining the Maintenance Department full time beginning in April, in the exercise of its many duties and responsibilities. We look forward to opening a new range of projects around the Abode this Spring including new work on village beautification, the re-purposing of old structures and improving our systems for the day to day upkeep of our facilities. We still have a wish list including another fine truck for hauling, digging machines of a medium size and/or even another 25 horsepower tractor. We are excited for Spring and all it brings (though we won’t be taking the plow off Khidr quite yet). Thanks for all your good thoughts and prayers and we’ll keep the parking lot open for you.
Abode Weekly Village View
Upcoming Week’s Events
Tuesday, April 3
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Room
– 7:00pm Philosophy of Spirituality Discussion Group – Razzaq Library
Thursday, April 5
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Room
– 7:00pm Message Class with Winfried – Meditation Hall (Quddus)
April’s class will be a four part introduction to meditation. These classes will introduce basic concepts of meditation and spiritual experience. We will draw on old meditative practices, scientific insights, and recently developed mediation practices. We will also use movement and sound to connect with our inner experience. Special emphasis is devoted to the heart – the physical heart and the heart center (anahata chakra in the Hindu and tantric Buddhist traditions, latif khalb in the Sufi tradition) and start exploring the dimensions of the heart. No prior formal meditation practice is necessary – all you need to bring is your presence, comfortable clothing, and a curious mind.
Sunday, April 8
– 11:00am Universal Worship – Meditation Hall (Quddus)
– 12:30pm Sunday Brunch – Razzaq Dining Room
Abode Spring Open House, April 20 – 22
Join us for our campus’s official spring opening! We will gather to celebrate Earth Day and the Abode land. We will plant trees, sing kirtan, discuss spiritual ecology, and eat wonderful food together. More details to follow.
Emerald Earth Retreat, May 4 – 6
We will share in practices for cultivating the natural self, exploring the alchemy of the soul’s journey, and orienting more clearly to our unfolding purpose. Through retreat we touch upon our essential self, fresh and spontaneous, and affirm our rootedness in the sacredness of life. This in turn, fulfills a deep calling of the soul, bridging our inner awakening with our sacred task of participating in an earth of beauty.