2019 Membership Drive

  • 14 Nov 2018
  • 31 Dec 2018
  • Ten Directions, Three Times


Registration is closed

November 24, 2018

Click on "Register" to renew your pledge!

Your Sangha Needs You

As 2018 draws to a close, it's time for each of us to reflect on what we accomplished last year and on our priorities for next year. The same is true for Red Clay Sangha, and to accomplish this we need to ask for your financial and membership support for 2019. As we do so, we need to explain what this means and why you should care, which requires a confession. If you want to jump to the punchline, skip to the "Confession" section. Otherwise read on...

Red Clay Sangha Is Here for You

As a secular Buddhist community with no central teacher, we provide something special. Yes, we offer meditation, chanting, and study at our regularly programmed events, but we also offer inclusive fellowship and sangha participation. We invite you to come whenever you want and to bring your own tradition and culture to share. The experience of sitting with a sangha is very different than sitting at home alone, even more so when the sangha wants to see and hear you. Each of our dedicated volunteer leaders is committed to be here for you personally, and is curious to learn from you. Early in our history, one of our members said, "I want to sit with my friends," a comment which has helped inform us through what will soon be a decade of service. Truly, Red Clay Sangha is here for you.

2018 Was a Great Year for Red Clay Sangha

2018 has been a wonderful year for Red Clay Sangha. We are fully settled into our Chamblee location, where we are blessed with a wonderful and understanding landlord, a great space and environment for our in town activities, and a stable base to grow our programs, relationships and activities. During the current year we have accomplished much, including:

  • Two low-cost, residential retreats in the Georgia Mountains, with guest teachers Therese Fitzgerald (Zen) and Lisa Ernst (Vipassana);
  • Five free Saturday in-town retreats, including two headed by Shodo Spring (Zen) and Dhammadipa (Theravadan);
  • A new Women's Circle, meeting monthly on Sunday afternoon.
In addition we have an upcoming all-night Rohatsu sit in December to celebrate Buddha’s awakening.

We Have Exciting Plans for 2019

The pace won't let up in 2019: in addition to our regular Sunday and Wednesday events, and the continuing monthly Women's Circle, we have plans for the following:

  • Three low-cost, residential retreats in the Georgia Mountains, two with guest teachers (Therese Fitzgerald and Lisa Ernst), and one in December to celebrate Rohatsu;
  • Five free Saturday in-town retreats, with visiting teachers including Shodo Spring, Ben Connelly (our Reading Group will be studying his latest book in January), Julie Putgen (Tibetan), and Dhammadipa;
  • A series of Saturday dharma classes.
In addition we will be sharpening our focus on community- and compassion-building activities, including social justice and equity, exploring how we might better care for each other as members and community, and expanding the opportunities for member participation in service to the sangha and community service by the sangha.

Your Sangha Needs Your Support

While we continue to be a volunteer organization, we have real costs of operation. Our visiting teachers look to dana for their livelihood, and we want to treat them fairly; our retreats are affordable in part because Red Clay Sangha subsidizes them; we have rent and other overhead to cover; and as we continue to grow, we need to be building reserves to allow us to expand our space at the right time. We hope that you see things running smoothly and (mostly) seamlessly, but to the extent that we are able to make everything look easy, please know that it is not: it is the result of a lot of hard work, and we need your support.

A Red Clay Sangha Confession

Here's the "Red Clay Confession": throughout our history we have spoken lightly of our financial need because it is most important to us to offer the dharma freely whenever possible, but also because we have been heavily supported by a small number of generous members. We have come to realize, though, that this support model is wrong for two main reasons: (1) it places undue pressure on a small number of people, and creates imbalance and risk in the sangha's finances; and (2) it unintentionally serves to create a perceived dual system. I ask you, as you reflect on your 2019 priorities, to look at how important having Red Clay there for you is to your life, and not just to make a small year-end donation, but to commit to support us financially in a manner that is meaningful to you, and to use this as an entry point to stepping up your participation.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact me at garethjohnyoung@gmail.com  or 404 790-5536.

With a bow of gratitude,

Gareth Young,
on behalf of the Red Clay Sangha Board (Chad Crowley,
Peter Campos, Sally Landrum,  Ben Tolbert,  Richard Skoonberg,  Charli Vogt, Gareth Young, Cherry Zimmer)
Red Clay Sangha, Atlanta, GA

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