Abode Village View – Month of November

Abode Village View – Month of November

Update from our Executive Director – Al Bellenchia

Dear Friends:

We are settling into fall at the Abode.  The busy season is largely behind us and as we prepare for winter’s lull, we are busy reflecting, analyzing, organizing, planning, and preparing for 2018.  Before too long will come spring, and we’ll start our annual rhythms afresh.

In a few weeks, we will be giving thanks, and hosting our annual Thanksgiving dinner in the Razzaq dining room.  If you’d like to join in the kinship, food and community at the Abode, please see the details here.  We’d love to have you join us.

In reviewing the many things we are thankful and grateful for, the Abode’s prodigious 1831 Shaker kitchen is high among them.  The kitchen team was truly a blessing this year, providing a delicious bounty of nourishment for our residents, community, visitors, and thousands of program guests on both the main campus and mountain camp.  We received many expressions of gratitude for the work of our kitchen crew.

Meeting the diverse culinary needs of our many constituents is always a challenge.  It takes both a strong manager and a cohesive staff, and we were fortunate to have both in abundance this year, in Evan Young, Katya DePaolo, Larz Stevenson, Donna Wentzel, Shaheen Mirza, Nur and Iromee Alima Gale, Majida Miller, Emily Frisch,  Kaya Jemila Leiberman, Christina and Diana Vogt, Tara Chisti and many other hands and hearts.

In 2018, Evan Young will be rotating into new duties, helping us to better hold the grounds and natural elements that are so vital to us all.  We are thinking about how best to fill the need of an expanded food services operation, especially with a new café coming online this spring.  It will be a few weeks yet before we post a formal advertisement for the still-to-be-defined role.  As we think this through, I invite anyone in our community who may be interested in exploring a kitchen management role or nominating candidates, to contact me.

As you may have seen in person, or from recent emails or social media postings, we have also begun some advance “spring cleaning.”  We have started in the areas surrounding Sherdyl Manzil – our future café space – but also extending to other areas around the Barn, the farm/maintenance storage areas, Quddus and main courtyard.

We are determined to bring healing energy into the Abode in many forms, and honoring our space by cleaning, trimming, de-cluttering, reclaiming and assessing what is no longer functional or useful. Heartfelt thanks to the many who have helped start this effort, a group that includes residents, volunteers, local community, returning visitors and staff.  We have made a healthy start on this and the work will continue throughout the next months.

We have so much to be thankful for!  I hope to see you at the Abode soon to share a meal, join a class, attend Universal Worship or simply rest and relax with us.



Update from our Director of Programs – Ibrahím Pedriñán

Abode friends, lovers, and Ambassadors, lend me your ears!

As you may know, we are wrapping up the programs season. Al and I took a brief day away to scope out some great historical documents in Hamilton College’s special collections and what a treasure trove we found!  What a special place the Abode has been, is, and is becoming!

This weekend we hosted our CE-5 group for a second gathering.  In two weeks, SpiritFire also returns for a second weekend with us.  These repeat visits are thrilling as they provide us with increased revenues, yes, but more with deepened relationships, for which we are supremely thankful.

This coming weekend we have the exciting “Soul’s Journey” retreat with Naima Khabira Brown and Aziza Scott!

​The current and former heads of the Esoteric School, this program will prove to be one of the most important and delightful retreats of the year.  Treat yourself!

There is still space left so REGISTER NOW!

​In other news, w​e have settled on 2pm for Thanksgiving here at the Abode, with proceeds supporting Charlie’s Pantry locally and the HungerVan (founder Zamir Hassan is a friend of the Abode) ​on a broader scope.  We are making this a special, communal, family event so bring something fun to share (side, dessert, game, song, etc.)  Find details at www.theabode.org/thanksgiving

Thanksgiving will also hold a special announcement/opportunity for those present and we will e-mail this announcement to others more far-flung – keep your eyes peeled!

Finally, as you may know, we have invested in on-going support for the Programs Office by bringing on board a Mountain Programs Coordinator, SaMoon Pal, and a Programs and Marketing Coordinator, Topaz Ross Kelso.  These two have notes below.

As we approach quieter, colder, drearier winter days, we turn our hearts toward the One and bind ourselves together as a community to gather strength and warmth​. Thank you for your loving support!

Wings out, hearts up!

Update from our Programs and Marketing CoordinatorTopaz Ross Kelso

Dear Community, I was right. It was a very good idea to move to the Abode and join the staff. In my first month of living and working I have been constantly surprised by the amount of love here.

Professionally, I’ve come to help the Abode bring in more people and programs. Personally, I want to discover what the Abode might become and help fight for that future. If I didn’t believe this place to be truly important, I wouldn’t be here. I believe that the world needs us, and that none of us are done learning the lessons of community. We are going somewhere, and I’m very excited to be on board.

Update from our Mountain Programs CoordinatorSaMoon Pal

It is a great pleasure to enter the role of the Mountain Programs Coordinator following a myriad of roles at the Abode in the past year and a half. As a member of this rich historical land, I have become fond of its inhabitants and intend to cultivate these relations for personal and communal development. This fall and upcoming winter, I will be working with Al, Ibrahím, and Topaz as we prepare Abode’s 2018 calendar.

The focus for the Mountain Camp will be expansion of programs employing various outreach modalities, maintaining a hospitable venue by reinvigorating facilities, and closely monitoring our geographical aesthetics for our guests with the help of our Mountain Manager, Josh. We will continue to maintain and foster the Abode’s mission to offer seekers an open-hearted sanctuary for spiritual exploration and community. I can understand the level of attentiveness and love we all have for the Mountain Summit and I will surely listen keenly to those voices who have been beckoned by this landscape that we call home and spread our fundamental services to the greater society /*\.

Update from our Kitchen Manager – Evan Young

The kitchen keeps chugging along; We have busy as usual into the Fall. On top of feeding our community from around the neighborhood and guests visiting from afar, we have been busying ourselves with plenty of projects between meals. Over the course of September and October we nearly filled one of our chest freezers with good heap of veggies from the farm, including, peppers, eggplant, broccoli and leafy greens. We are proud of this little act of self-sufficiency and are excited about reviving the Abode tradition of food preservation here in the kitchen. Be sure to join us for meals this Winter for a little taste of Summer.

We are also very much looking forward to celebrating a bountiful Thanksgiving later this month. Please RSVP as soon as possible, so we have a rough head count, and also do send me an email at kitchen@theabode.org if you are planning on bringing something to share. The kitchen will be preparing Turkey, mashed potatoes, roasted squash, cranberry sauce and collard greens. We are encouraging folks to bring hearty vegetarian dishes, vegetable sides and desserts. We hope you will join us!

Update from our Maintenance Manager – Wajid Jackson

Big, big news is that Razzaq has been painted! The 2nd floor porch overhang is still being renovated. A new furnace has been installed in Inayat Manzil. The water delivery system’s electricals have been looked over and we’re still looking for the solution to one final glitch. Propane companies have been changed with a remote tank added to Quddus to unclutter its northwest corner. Literally, tons of detritus have been removed from the property. The maintenance shop area is being rearranged. Sherdyl Manzil is becoming cafe central and we have enough paint left over to transform the outside next spring. We have many old and outstanding projects to finish, hey! Onward I say. We are actively researching improvements for certain buildings. This may all be a rehash of accomplishments in previous articles, though you’ve got to know how good it feels to have such a list from the maintenance corner.

Abode Weekly Village View

Upcoming Week’s Events


Tuesday, November 7
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq (Rezak) Dining Room
– Abode hosts Western Massachusetts Retreat Association

Wednesday, November 8
– 7:00pm Healing Class and Circle with Nizam Ash – Razzaq Library

Thursday, November 9
– 6:00pm Community Dinner – Razzaq (Rezak) Dining Room
– 7:00pm Message Class – Quddus (Meditation Hall)

Friday, November 10 – Sunday, November 12
– The Soul’s Journey Retreat with Naima Khabira Brown and Aziza Scott

Sunday, November 12
– 11:00am Universal Worship with Azima – Razzaq Library
– 12:30pm Sunday Brunch – Razzaq (Rezak) Dining Room


Upcoming Programs


November  10-12  The Soul’s Journey Retreat with Naima Khabira Brown and Aziza Scott
November  23  Thanksgiving at the Abode

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!

Photo by White Light Exposure