2020 Membership Drive

  • 14 Nov 2019
  • 31 Dec 2019
  • Ten Directions, Three Times

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November 15, 2019

Click on "Register" to renew your pledge!


Your Sangha Needs You

As the year draws to a close, it's traditional to reflect on last year's accomplishments and on priorities for the next year. We hope your memories of 2019 include Red Clay Sangha providing a spiritual home and valuable resources, relationships and opportunities for your practice. We also hope that continuing (and deepening) your practice with Red Clay Sangha's support will be a priority for 2020...and that in turn you will choose to be a member of and support Red Clay Sangha. If you're not sure, please read on for some thoughts...but if you're ready to jump on this call to action, just click on the "Register" button to renew your pledge. (We do ask, as you consider the amount of your pledge, that you consider the sections below titled, "Your Sangha Needs Your Financial Support" and "How Much to Pledge".)

The Value of Sangha

Once the Buddha’s disciple Ananda asked him about friendship. Ananda knew that having good and encouraging friends was very important for the path. He even wondered whether having good friends is half the path.

“No, Ananda,” the Buddha told him, “having good friends isn’t half of the Holy Life. Having good friends is the whole of the Holy Life.”

As a secular Buddhist community with no central teacher, Red Clay Sangha provides not just meditation, chanting, and study, but also a strong focus on community, friendship, and simply being there for each other. We invite you to come whenever you want and to bring your own tradition and culture to share. During 2019 we have made a very intentional efforts in the area of sangha, including adding personal identifications to our weekly dedication of merit, and a monthly "Dinner on the Grounds" - aka Sunday potluck lunch.

2019 Was a Great Year for Red Clay Sangha

In addition to the focus on community and caring, during 2019 Red Clay Sangha provided an incredibly rich program of activities and events, including:

  • Two low-cost, residential retreats in the Georgia Mountains, with guest teachers Therese Fitzgerald and Lisa Ernst;
  • Five Saturday in-town retreats, led by Shodo Spring, Dhammadipa, Julie Puttgen and Ben Connelly as invited teachers, and most recently our own Charli Vogt;
  • A pilgrimage to the Legacy Museum and Memorial for Peace and Justice in Montgomery, in which over 20 sangha members and friends/family participated, and which in turn led to a monthly Justice and Equity sangha conversation;
  • The kick off of a popular series of Dharma Study Sessions with four (roughly quarterly) programs;
In addition we have continued to offer a monthly Women's Circle, and our regular Sunday service and Wednesday Reading Group.

We Have Exciting Plans for 2020

The pace won't let up in 2020: in addition to our regular Sunday and Wednesday events, and continuing the monthly Women's Circle, the monthly Justice and Equity conversation, and the quarterly Dharma Study Sessions, we will hold three low-cost, residential out of town retreats with guest teachers Therese Fitzgerald, Lisa Ernst and Ben Connelly, and five Saturday in-town retreats, with visiting teachers including Shodo Spring, Julie Puttgen and Dhammadipa.

We will also continue to sharpen our focus on community- and compassion-building activities, including justice and equity, our emphasis on communal food opportunities, and exploring how we might better care for each other as members and community.

Your Sangha Needs Your Financial Support

While we continue to be a volunteer organization, Red Clay Sangha has 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 large part because Red Clay Sangha subsidizes them; and we simply have rent and other overhead to cover and bills to pay.

To date we have been able to support our activities and provide the dharma free, or at low cost, based heavily on the generous support of a small number of generous members. This model, though, has major flaws:

  1. It places undue pressure on a small number of people;
  2. It creates imbalance and risk in the sangha's finances; and
  3. It unintentionally serves to create a perceived dual system.

This has been brought to the fore this year with the possible sale of Sautee Hereford Ranch (our out-of-town retreat space) and as the growth in the size of our sangha and scope of our activities put increasing pressure on our current in town space. The potential higher cost of a new residential retreat space in 2020, and a larger long-term in-town space, call for a broader and more stable support base. We ask you, therefore, as you reflect on your 2020 priorities, to consider 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.

How Much To Pledge?

A donation or pledge at any level brings with it membership privileges (including early sign up for retreats). While we have no set dues for members, please remember what your financial support can offer both you and the sangha. We are seeking $20,000 in 2020 pledges to meet our targets. With 40 supporting members (an ambitious but realistic goal), this would be $500 each, or around $10 per week - the cost of a meal out! If you are unable to afford this, then $4 per week - the cost of just one Starbucks coffee each week - would support a pledge of $200. This would not defray entirely the generosity of the small few, but would certainly help considerably. The spirit of sangha is supporting each other, and for the Sangha to be there for you, your sangha needs you to be there for the sangha.

While these practical considerations are of considerable importance, it is important to remember in closing that dana - generosity - is the first of the paramitas and is not measured but offered for the benefits you and the Sangha both receive, and in turn for countless beings that they may turn toward a path of peace and harmony.

If you have any questions please do not hesitate to contact Gareth Young 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,
Sally Landrum,  Ben Tolbert,  Richard Skoonberg,  Charli Vogt, Gareth Young)
Red Clay Sangha, Atlanta, GA



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