Abode Village View – Month of January

Abode Village View – Month of January

Update from Abode Board Chair – Gabriel Steadman

2018 finds us a little more than half way between celebrating the Abode’s 40th anniversary and contemplating its 45th. I have of late begun to have my doubts as to the ability of the Abode to continue, and whether we will see 45 years.

The challenges are many and the resources to meet these challenges appear too few. I hear how much the Abode means to people, how it has left an indelible mark, how positive an experience living and visiting the Abode is, how sacred the land and legacy is, and how it is a spiritual home we can return to in our minds and hearts no matter where we are and what we are doing.

Listening recently to a report about the Ganges River and how polluted it has become the narrator echoed the lament that one dare not bath in Her waters because the pollution was so great. Too many people who claim to love and revere Her do nothing to stop their actions which contribute to the pollution. They ask what the Ganges can do for them but not what they can do for the Ganges.

This is something else I hear about the Abode: what can it do for me. For the Abode to survive to see its 45th anniversary and beyond it needs more people asking what they can do for the Abode and fewer asking what the Abode can do for them. It is a simple equation which will determine the Abode’s future.

This is the current physical state of the Abode. Its corporal body, like the Ganges, needs your continual help in order to survive.

This last December Vimala and I along with a contingent of Abodians traveled to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village. We partook in worship service and Sunday dinner after which Brother Arnold gave very generously of his time and spoke with us long after the plates were cleared. Their dining room is so much like ours, and the conversation after our meal so much like so many we have all experienced in the Abode dining room. Truly, there exists a continuity of community between us. Their community is larger than just Brother Arnold and Sister June, the last two Shakers, but consists of kindred souls and friends who help sustain the Shaker message. Visiting their community and worshipping with them was incredibly inspiring.  Their faith in God, their practice of belief, and their living in community is beyond measure.

This is the current mental state of the Abode. Its spiritual body, like Sabbathday Lake, is inspiring, but it too needs support in order to continue its mission.


May we all look forward to a New Year full of hope and promise.

Gabriel Steadman,
Abode BOT Chair

Update from our Executive Director – Al Bellenchia

Dear Friends –


A happy New Year to all!

The holiday season at The Abode saw a series of community activities, both at the Abode and off-campus, and brought us into 2018 on a joyous and affirming coda to a year of transition.

We celebrated the winter solstice at nearby Stable Gate Farm and Winery with new and old friends, hosted an uplifting three-day retreat with Aziza Scott and Yaqin Aubert, and rang in the New Year with a wonderful celebration.

In early December, a group from the Abode travelled to the Sabbathday Lake Shaker Village, home of the last two Shakers.  We attended their annual Christmas Fair, and joined the community for Sunday worship and supper.  Sister June and Brother Arnold were gracious hosts and we spent considerable time witnessing how they, together with a dedicated and active support network, keep their community active and vibrant.

It was a moving experience for all who attended, and a confirmation of what is possible at the Abode, when a community and friends come together with “hands to work and hearts to god,” while also applying some modern entrepreneurial practices.  Check out: http://maineshakers.com and especially their online store!

Throughout 2017, and especially in the closing months, we have had many put their hands and hearts to work at the Abode, and commit to help us see us through our transitional period.  We are working together – staff, community and volunteers — to open the Abode to bring more diversity and fresh thinking in programs, activities and partnerships, while keeping aligned with the Message and our core community values.

We will be welcoming new ideas and old friends and teachers in 2018. We will share details on programs, volunteer activities, fundraising initiatives, community building partnerships, and other activities as these are finalized. More details on our progress and plans will be share in our Report to the Community coming this Spring.

Over the past months, I have been speaking and meeting with many within and outside our community to outline our needs, solicit ideas and input.  We have discussed the still-considerable challenges we face operationally and financially.  The Abode remains in need of continuing financial support from the community, to help bridge the gap while we create and implement new community-building and revenue-producing initiatives.

Thank you to those who have supported the Abode through our Ambassadors program, contributions to the Summer Appeal, and donations, gifts and grants.  Thanks also to all who support us in so many other ways.

It takes a village to sustain a Village.  May ours continue to be blessed through your love and support.


In gratitude,


Update from the Abode Inayati Center Wahida Young

Happy New Year from your Inayati Center at the Abode of the Message. I wanted to write you about the work we have done and what we might look forward to for the future.

The Center is your working group of trained leaders, teachers, cherags and guides, all of whom are dedicated volunteers who offer their services free of charge.  What a blessing! We offer ourselves to this work so that all of you may benefit as deeply as possible from the teachings and insights of Hazrat Inayat Khan. How lucky we are to have this particular path to support our individual journeys toward realization. The path is broad and varied, and there is a place for everyone.

This past year we, as a group, have offered regular weekly teachings, Universal Worship each Sunday, and special events. Many of you have attended group and individual retreats guided by our leaders. We are fortunate to have so many trained leaders in and around the Abode as well as many who come from distances to share themselves with us. We have begun to work more closely with the Abode Programs concentration and look forward to doing more and more of that. We want to strengthen and increase our ability to reach as many souls as possible so combining our resources makes sense.

We were gifted beautiful chairs for our altars, both in Quddus and the Library, by Wahhab and Batina Sheets. We are so grateful for this generous and beautiful gift.  We have a new name for the meditation hall, Quddus, Divine Spirit, which can help inspire us as we enter and spend reflective time in this special space.  The front of the building also got a facelift and the inside two new de-humidifiers..

The Center will be as strong as its members.  We exist because you attend our activities.  You put money in the donation baskets and bowl.  You show up when you are needed and as you are able.  We are hoping to build a stronger Sufi presence here and I am asking for your ideas as well as your help.  The Center Steering Committee meets monthly, usually the first Monday of the month.  You are welcome to attend to hear our discussions and to offer your input.  You can also write me a note at wahida@theabode.org or place a written message in our mailbox, on the bottom row of the mailboxes or through the mail:

Inayati Sufi Center at the Abode of the Message

5 Abode Road

New Lebanon, NY 12125


We will honor the Urs or death anniversary of Hazrat Inayat Khan on February 5.  Stay tuned for the details on that.  There certainly be ceremony and vigiling.

We look forward to a vibrant year ahead of meaningful classes and activities.  Please come as often as you can for your own nourishment as well as ours.


May all divine and earthly blessings be manifest in your life.

All love,

Wahida, your Center leader

Update from our Programs and Marketing CoordinatorTopaz Ross Kelso

Dear Community,

It’s very cold! This year’s New Year’s Eve retreat with Aziza and Yaqin was beautiful and cozy. The Abode is capable of holding and blessing people even in the dark days with high winds and ice.

In the off season we continue to speak with people and organizations of all sorts, finding ways to bring them here and send them back into the world with something new. We are creating new materials, processes and systems to thrive in whatever environment we find ourselves this year.

If you realize that someone you know might like to perform or run a program at the Abode, reach out to us. This is the time of year when we’re most able to take in new ideas and investigate them thoroughly; if you have an idea for how something should go, we’re listening.

Mostly though, we’re staying warm.

Happy New Year!

Update from our Maintenance Manager – Wajid Jackson

Maintenance found itself a little taken aback by this arctic air recently. No problem with massive assistance from from our winter crew, ex Kitchen Manager (now Grounds Manager) Evan Young and, gonzo part time help from Mountain Manager Josh Ramos. All 3 of us will have snowplowing capabilities soon. The Farmer, Evan Thaler-Null is experienced backup for us, too.  Digging the Abode out of the snows has been a balanced shared chore, much to my relief.

We were able to repair the sander conveyor chain the evening before the January 4 and continuing snow and cold snafu. All has been well with only minor water freezing problems.

Maintenance looks forward to a bright year ahead with a shop makeover in progress. We will actually have the Grounds care machines serviced before they are needed in the spring!

Winter is characteristically a time to go within, regroup and contemplate. Although Maintenance is always on, especially during the “going within of Winter” we might consider ourselves tending the bud for its unfurling in the Spring.

I will get some off time the second half of this month in Jamaica. Oh, yeah!

Update from our Grounds Manager – Evan Young

Snow is flying and we are busy keeping the paths clear and buildings warm. Meanwhile, Wajid, Josh (our mountain manager), and I have been busy with a number of beautification projects, such as reviving some our underused spaces in the red barn and giving the maintenance shop a much needed deep clean. We have also begun working on some plans for major Spring clean-outs and renovations. More to come!

Update from our Manager of Ecology – Evan Thaler-Null

All is well at the Abode Farm! The horses and chickens are in winter mode, eating plenty and staying warm. Farm planning for 2018 is underway with lots of exciting ideas and crops headed our way. We are looking forward to having more educational and volunteer opportunities on the farm this year as we continue to grow food and raise animals on this beautiful land.

Abode Weekly Village View

Upcoming Week’s Events


Tuesday, January 9
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Room

Thursday, January 11
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Room
– 7:00pm Message Class – Quddus (Meditation Hall)

Sunday, January 14
– 11:00am Universal Worship with Nur Gale – Quddus (Meditation Hall)
– 12:30pm Sunday Brunch – Razzaq Dining Room


Upcoming Programs


February 5  –  Urs of Hazrat Inayat Khan


Please check our calendar and programs pages for an extended look at upcoming events and happenings. We look forward to being with you soon at the Abode!