Abode Village View – Month of January

Abode Village View – Month of January

Update from the Abode Board – Gabriel Steadman

It is a new year and I can scarcely believe we will celebrate the Abode’s 45 anniversary in a year’s time. It does not seem like that long ago I first arrived on a winter’s night in February. The snow was deep and there was but one light on at the Abode in an upstairs room in Alim.  I knocked on the door of the apartment belonging to Kuan-Yin and Subhan, and was directed to the men’s short-term visitor dorm on the second floor of Fattah, above where the community room is now. That room would later become the bookstore, then a classroom for Mt. Rd. School, and now it has a new incarnation.

So many things have changed since I first arrived, but the promise of the Abode, like that single light guiding me to shelter, remains the same. Similarly, that room has had many incarnations but it remains, holding whatever is needed at the time.

Including a note in the monthly newsletter about what the Trustees are up to is a sound and welcome idea. In order to offer greater perspective, and so as not to burden one person, we thought it a good idea to rotate the note amongst the Trustees. This month it falls to me and as it is the first month of the new year it seems all the more appropriate that you hear something from the Chair.

Al and I met via Zoom with the Inayati Order’s board chair, Mellen Kennedy, and executive director, Alia Wittman, to discuss the state of the Abode. A good portion of our meeting was devoted to going over our financial position, with several follow up questions after the meeting was over submitted by IO board members. The 4th quarter was not yet closed out, so we relied upon data from the first three, as well as prior years and projections, and plan to have a follow up meeting this spring which we hope to do in person. As you are all aware, it continues to be a challenge for revenues to match expenditures and I did not sugarcoat that our annual appeal fell flat. On the other hand, it is not all bad news and we were pleased to report the success of new ventures like Rumi’s, our plans for the Pir Vilayat Center, renewed emphasis on retreats, and the general clean-up and sprucing-up of the Abode along with addressing some long-deferred maintenance items like the siding on Alim. The IO has been very supportive of our work in general and the Abode in particular and I am confident our relationship will continue to strengthen and improve as we both get comfortable in our homes—they in their new one and us in our latest Abode incarnation.

Update from the Executive Director – Al Bellenchia

Dear Friends,

Happy New Year!  2019…the Abode’s 44th year.

In just over a week, we will be commemorating the 90th birthday of Martin Luther King, Jr.  As a spiritual leader, and as an orator whose voice changed the world, he had few peers in the modern era. 40-plus years after his death, he remains a source of moral guidance on the human condition and the path to peace.

One of my favorite quotes from Dr. King – and there are so many to choose from – is one concerning service as a manifestation of love.

“Everybody can be great…because anybody can serve. You don’t have to have a college degree to serve. You don’t have to make your subject and verb agree to serve. You only need a heart full of grace. A soul generated by love.”

This thought expresses so well the work we do here: Serving others and ourselves with a heart full of grace and love.  It is a beautiful expression of the Sufi path, the message of Hazrat Inayat Khan and the intentionality needed by those who live, work and serve at the Abode. Everyone is welcome to serve.

Our programs team – Ingrid Wisswaesser and SaMoon Pal – have been very successful in securing returning events and adding new ones.  Work is in progress on the calendar of visiting teachers and programs at the Pir Vilayat Center.

We expect to formally open the programs season in April, with the return of a good friend and esteemed teacher, to celebrate Passover, Easter and Earth Day.  We plan to publish a full event calendar as soon as possible to help you plan your trips to the Abode this year!  We look forward to seeing and serving you.

There is still much to do in preparing for the season: finalizing budgets, improvement plans, and staffing.  We have recently realigned our kitchen, to improve our food service operation and organize and integrate more efficiently to better serve the community and guests.  Fati Bonsa, a graduate of the Culinary Institute, is now our head chef, and has already developed an appreciative fan base.  Our goal is to draw more visitors to the Abode through our food.  Fresh, local, organic and vegetarian has always been a core value of our community that is greatly appreciated by our guests.

We are also preparing for more active outreach and development, to connect to spiritual seekers whose values align with our own, but may not know what the Message, and the Abode community, has to offer in these turbulent times. The vision of the Abode as a community of pioneers that acts as a living example of the Sufi Message remains immensely needed and relevant to this new new age.

Thanks for all you do.


Update from the Abode Inayati Center – Wahida Young

Warm greetings from your Abode Center leaders. We wish you prosperity in all aspects of your life. We met as usual for our monthly meeting where we discussed important topics such as how to make our classes interesting and attractive to our community. I hope you are following our posted schedules so you don’t miss something. Classes are always preceded by a delicious Abode dinner and conversation with friends. We are always happy when you join us.

One of our most sacred days will be on February 5th, Murshid’s Urs (death anniversary). As is traditional, we will be hosting a fundraising dinner for Charlie’s Pantry at 6 o’clock followed by a Livestreamed class by Pir Zia at 7 o’clock when we will, most surely, learn more about the life and passing of Hazrat Inayat Khan. We have all been blessed by the life and teachings of this Master and it is important that we honor his passing.

In the past we have held a 24 hour vigil in his honor, but we are doubtful we could fill all of the slots this year. If you feel called to participate in this sacred practice please contact Wahida Ashki [email protected]. I would be happy to arrange a vigil schedule if enough people were interested. The vigil begins at midnight and we post a sign-up sheet on the board in Razzaq for people to sit for an hour or two during the 24 hour period. We create an altar under Murshid’s picture in the Meditation Hall with a screen separating the space. It is a very sacred and beautiful practice and I, personally, would love to see this continue. It is an opportunity for all of us to sit with Murshid, his vibration, his inspiration and dedication with gratitude and reflection for what this has brought to our lives. If enough people respond I will organize this.

Yaqin Aubert will continue to offer monthly mini retreats which we will Livestream. We are so fortunate that Yaqin continues to feel inspired to offer this to us. The retreats will be from 10-12:30 on Saturdays.  Stay tuned for the dates and I look forward to seeing you there.

The Center at the Abode of the Message has continued for 44 years to offer inspired teachings for people who have felt the longing to understand more deeply the meaning of their lives. We aspire to be a vital and meaningful resource and we appreciate all of you who come to participate in classes, Universal Worships, Healing and Ziraat ceremonies, meals and communion. We cannot do this work without YOU. We need to know how we can best serve you so please keep in touch in any way that works for you – personal conversation with a Center Leader, email or note in our mailbox in the mail room. Personal is, of course, always best.  We love you and are here to serve you.


With deep respect for our shared work,

Wahida Ashki

Abode Weekly Village View

Announcement from Tara at the Abode

Our exciting news is that Prema Dasara, the head and artistic director of Tara Dhatu, will be coming to the Abode the week of June 9-14 to present a Tara retreat, accompanied by other Tara Dhatu teachers. This is a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in Tara’s blessings and grace! More information will be forthcoming soon so save those dates.

There will be no monthly circle this month as I will be away; we will resume our monthly gathering in the Meditation Hall in Quddus on Sunday, February 24 from 2 to 3 PM.

Upcoming Week’s Events

Monday, January 14 

– Community Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm


Tuesday, January 15

– Community Breakfast – Razzaq Dining Hall – 8:00 am

– Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall – 6:00 pm


Wednesday, January 16

– Community Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm


Thursday, January 17

– Community Lunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm

– Community Dinner – Razzaq Dining Hall – 6:00 pm

– Message Class with Atayna – Quddus Meditation Hall – 7:00 pm


Sunday, January 20

– Universal Worship with Rahhima – Quddus Meditation Hall – 11:00 am

– Brunch – Razzaq Dining Hall – 12:30 pm




Upcoming Programs

January Message Classes | Thursdays | 7:00 PM | Quddus Meditation Hall | January 10 – Atayna, January 17 – Nur


Dances of Universal Peace | January 13 | 1:30 PM | Quddus | All welcome, music, friends, movement, chanting, and refreshments!



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!