Abode Village View – Month of February
Update from our Executive Director – Al Bellenchia
Welcome to February. January, we hardly knew ye — except for the snowy and shivering part, which we knew all too well.
As we pass midwinter, we are deep into our budgeting and planning for the year. We are faced with an annual, existential question: how do we plug the budget gap that we face?
This is not a new question, of course, as the Abode has long been financially unpredictable. 2018 presents an especially challenging time, however. We are working diligently to address these challenges and to close shortfalls in each of our main revenue streams – programs, residency, rentals and donations. The transition by the Inayati Order has significantly impacted our programs and rental revenues at a time when we are also at a low-ebb in residency, and donations are not filling the void. It will take time to rebuild these and achieve economic stability.
Volatility is not unusual for a non-profit, especially a spiritual one. Adding in the complexities of supporting a residential community and volunteers, maintaining historic buildings and a 350-acre campus, and hosting dozens of events and associated seasonal staff, and our needs are more varied and extensive than a less diverse operation would be. It is why fundraising, gifts and grants are an essential part of our sustainability and we are working actively to meet the need.
What else are we doing?
- Our programs office (recently bolstered) is working on development and outreach initiatives and generating good results. We are booking new events, both at the Mountain Camp and on the main campus, and connecting with old friends and teachers to host programs here in 2018. We need referrals: if you have an idea or connection, please share it with the programs office.
- We are developing new approaches to better use the assets that already exist here: natural products (herbs, teas, medicinal plants); a café/coffee shop; individual and group retreats, and rebuilding residency and volunteer opportunities. These are not necessarily new ideas, but rather those that have lain fallow for some time and are being reimagined.
- We also continue to explore opportunities to invest in projects that will improve our finances, and to find partnerships with aligned groups and individuals that will generate results and share risks and rewards.
- We are extending our reach, and creating new materials and outreach campaigns, to build new ways to connect the Message to needs of the world in ways that will call more to come to the Abode. To address our financial issues, we need to attract a much larger number of people in the future than we do currently.
This call to service is the key to the Abode’s long-term sustainability and survival. We must find ways to reignite the passion and vision that founded the Abode and sustained it for so long; that brought Sufis and seekers here to reside in tents and unheated buildings, to till the soil and create the farm and gardens, to extend the legacy of ingenuity and entrepreneurialism of the Shakers, and to build a community that has lasted for 40+ years.
In the weeks ahead, we will be sharing more specifics about the outlook for 2018 and our plans to rise to the challenges, and to prepare for the opportunities, together as a community. It will need to be a shared effort.
In the meantime, please continue to support the Abode today: visit, donate, volunteer, dine, live, worship; whatever you can do. We need you to come, or to come back, and to build alongside us.
It will take many hands and passionate hearts. It always has.
“We need to … explore new expressions of our need for the sacred, emancipated from hackneyed forms of sanctimoniousness, superstitions, prescriptions, and dogmatism.” – Pir Vilayat
Update from our Manager of Ecology – Evan Thaler-Null
Farm seeds have been ordered and the promise of vegetables, flowers, and summer days is now stirring our senses in anticipation! Farm planning will be underway these next months as we map, schedule, and prepare for the growing season. Preparation is also in process for the design and planting of our new community orchard at The Abode. With grant funding from Berkshire Taconic Foundation we will be adding 25 new fruit trees to the hillside orchard adjacent to The Orchard of the Prophets. We look forward to beginning this and many more endeavors as the season unfolds.
Update from our Maintenance Manager – Wajid Jackson
Today’s snow is cleared from human byways. Only one frozen broken water pipe, so far. We’ll repair damage as needed. Maintenance is focusing on a rearrangement of the Shop in between all else. The idea here is to work more efficiently, particularly, without stumbling over myriad projects.
As the Light increases, we gear up to complete many of a long list of “good enough for now” jobs some of which may be several years old. This has to do with Maintenance moving out of its history of ‘Crisis Management.’ We don’t want to fix it if it ain’t broke, however, we want to fix it before it breaks! Actual maintenance of these Facilities.
Send us your Love, we’ll thrive on it! Love To You, Wajid
Abode Weekly Village View
Upcoming Week’s Events
Tuesday, February 6
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Room
– 7:00pm Philosophy of Spirituality Discussion Group – Razzaq Library
Thursday, February 8
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Room
– 7:00pm Message Class with Shakur – Meditation Hall (Quddus)
Sunday, February 11
– 11:00am Universal Worship with Azima – Meditation Hall (Quddus)
– 12:30pm Sunday Brunch – Razzaq Dining Room