Annual Meeting December 12

Annual Meeting December 12

The Still Mountain Community’s Annual Meeting was held December 12, 2021, from 10:50 until 12:00 noon. This is SM’s primary status and planning meeting of the year, and announcement of the elected members to serve on the Board.

Facilitator:  Jane
Scribe:  Judi P.


  1. Greeting and present meeting agenda – Jane  (2 mins)
  2. Year End Board Report – Elizabeth  (8-10 mins)
    A summary of the past year’s activities was given.
    The role of the Board was mentioned as twofold: 1.) Business aspect and 2.) to listen to the community and assist in carrying out desires and goals of the group. 
  3. Year End Treasurer Report – Judi   (3 mins)
    This year there were no rental expenses and have yet to receive payment request for the recent hybrid meetings.
    Expenditures included: David’s Memorial service, donations to  four organizations from the Giving Project, and equipment to set up the hybrid meetings.
  4. Year End Teacher Council Report – Karen  (8-10 mins)
    The classes/retreats that occurred in the past year, the ones currently occurring, the one that were canceled due to lack of enrollment and the ones being planned for the future were mentioned.
    Also, a list of the meditation times during the week/month was presented.
  5. Board Election results – Kenneth G.  (10 mins)
    The three elected to the Board are:
    Elizabeth Cheslak
    Kenneth Gourlay
    Mariko Foulk
    Lisa Zucker and Walter Tucker will continue to serve on the Board.
  6. Discussion of direction and plans for Still Mountain – All
    1. It was suggested that those who attended the International Teachers’ Gathering present information from those sessions to the sangha.
    2. It was recommended that the Giving Project be ongoing and giving beyond financial. 
    3. It was mentioned to continue to expand the sangha to people who do not live in MI, though different time zones could present a problem. 
    4. A suggestion was made to consider what issue in the community could the sangha be involved in. This topic could be considered at the discussion Sunday.

Annual Reports from the Board and Teacher Council, along with year end financials are below.

Board Annual Report 2021

Practiced transparency and engagement with the Sangha by communicating at Sunday sittings, sending email and through Announce. 

Established a work group to facilitate and record SM Community Meetings. Minutes are posted on the SM website. 

Supported the Teachers Council as they carried out classes, retreats, Dharma Talks, led Discussion Sundays, and took an active part in creating and participating in the October Memorial Service for David Lawson, our beloved founding teacher. 

Implemented the SM Giving Project and distributed Dana to four organizations from a list developed by and voted on by the Sangha. This was the culmination of a three year process, which we hope to continue.

Established the Hybrid Model of meeting, which allows Sangha members to sit together in-person and via zoom simultaneously. Carried out by a small work group, this project included development, equipment purchase, set up, and implementation, and collaboration with Turner Center, along with ongoing management, problem-solving, and maintaining pandemic safety measures.

Supported the IT Group who continuously maintain and update the SM website, and troubleshoot all issues involving technology.

Conducted questionnaires and surveys to obtain community input and consensus on various projects (for example: tech survey, covid safety criteria, Giving Project) 

Oversaw SM finances, bank accounts, distributed funds and collected Dana. Continued meeting all obligations and responsibilities to maintain our non-profit status.

Maintained ongoing relationships with Crazy Wisdom, The Observer,    to publicize Still Mountain classes, retreats and offerings on their calendars.

Obtained a new post office box. 

Established the volunteer role of maintaining the Still Mountain Directory. 

The Board met monthly throughout the year to do the Sangha’s business. We are grateful for the opportunity to serve Still Mountain.

We thank all who serve Still Mountain, through teaching, sharing, listening, participating, volunteering, through Dana, and by being part of Still Mountain.

Teacher Council Annual Summary 2021

Teacher Council met monthly to work to support and enrich the “spiritual and educational direction” of the community.  We did this through offering classes, sittings, monthly dharma talks, and leading a retreat.  We recently instituted a peer counseling session every third month to discuss issues that arise during teaching.


Emptiness of Mind April-May, 2021 taught by David Lawson

Tuesday “Join the Caravan” Insight Mindfulness, Buddhist teachings and practices. Class taught by Bilha Birman Rivlin

Classes offered but did not run because of low registration:

-Mindfulness and Photography offered by Jim Whiteside

-Rec and Ed Introduction to Mindfulness Meditation


Wise Effort half-day zoom retreat in July led by Hugh Danville, Ken Morley, Karen Mori


-Sunday sittings— We have been leading the sittings and we have also invited sangha members to be bell ringers, but no one has yet volunteered.

~Monthly dharma talks.

-Teachers began to lead Discussion Sundays, every other month, taking over from David. 

-Monday evenings 1st and 3rd Mondays of the month with Hugh Danville, Curt Fish, Karen Mori

-Tuesday 6:30 am meditation hosted by Jim MacBain and Karen Mori

-Thursday morning meditation hosted by Mariko Foulk

-Saturday morning meditation hosted by Ken Morley

Collaborated with Colleen Shaunessey to plan David Lawson’s memorial service.

Additional teaching

International Western Dharma Teachers Gathering:

Bilha and Mary offered a workshop on Breaking the Spell – The Drama in the Dharma

Plans for next year

We are taking the first steps in communicating with an outside teacher and also with a local teacher to lead retreats. 

Elizabeth and Bilha will offer a one-day or half-day zoom retreat sometime next year.

Introduction to Meditation class for the Adult Enrichment program at

WCC in March. Will be taught by Karen and Bilha.

Tuesday morning, 10-11:30, “Join the Caravan” Insight Mindfulness, Buddhist teachings and practices. Class taught by Bilha Birman Rivlin, continues in 2022.

Plans for a beginning meditation class offered at Turner.

Class taught by Amma Thanasanti and Karen    Wednesday evenings February-March 8-9:30 pm.  Details will be announced.

Jim is thinking about offering a book discussion group/class, book to be determined.

We are starting the conversation about how to be a Teacher Council without a lead teacher.

Financial Report

Current account balances:

Current account balances:
BoA2: Checking$3661.48
Retreat deposit1351.68
Retreat scholarship3010.55
Combined income:4499.00
Major expenditures:
Giving Project:3000.00
Liability Ins:1369.00
David Lawson Memorial500.00
Hybrid mtg gear1298.49
PO Box, 1 yr146.00

A debit card would be useful for making purchases and I spoke to Natalia Pelova at Plymouth Rd branch of Bank of A2 who said we have to come in to set this up. As I am leaving the treasurer post I thought it best to leave this to the new treasurer to do, along with new signature privileges. We have to do the latter together. I hope the second signatory on the account will also take on an oversight role, looking in on the account at least every few months. This could be another Board members or the outgoing Treasurer.

PO Box:
#130094 at the Green Rd Post Office, A2 48113 or 3000 Green Rd, A2 48113. There are two keys, which I will convey to the next Treasurer. The box will need to be renewed by next November. Currently the post office has our email address as so presumably there will be a reminder to that address about renewing the box. I had to identify people authorized to pick up mail and people likely to be receiving mail. For picking up mail I listed myself, Yair, and Kenneth G, and receiving mail myself, Elizabeth, Kenneth G, and David. Others may have to show identification to pick mail up, but I believe I can update all of this online.

Our checks have no address on them so I have been writing in this PO Box number.

Legal issues:
I’ve submitted our 2021 report to the IRS, attesting to our income being less than $50,000. But I missed the deadline for reporting to the State Licensing and Regulation/Corporate office. After initial difficulty getting to the right page I left them a message and haven’t received a response. But a later attempt seemed to indicate that nothing is due for 2021.

I’ll update all the account information at the end of December and send you finally versions before the January Board meeting.

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