2022 Membership Drive

  • 17 Nov 2021
  • 03 Jan 2022
  • Ten Directions, Three Times

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November 17, 2021

Click on "Register" to renew your pledge!


Your Sangha Needs You

Dear Red Clay Sangha Members and Friends, 

We hope that Red Clay Sangha has continued to support your practice in meaningful ways. For any of us, being able to take refuge in the sangha as our spiritual home, and relying on our practice with the sangha’s support, has been more important than ever as the pandemic has continued. Sangha members and leaders have been creative and proactive, finding myriad ways to sustain our sense of fellowship and offer opportunities to deepen our experience of Dharma. We hope that in the midst of uncertainty, your commitment to the sangha remains steady, too. Will you become a member or renew your membership and financial support of Red Clay Sangha? 

One-time donations in any amount are always deeply appreciated, but you might consider making a recurring monthly pledge. This facilitates our budgeting and planning for the coming year and beyond. 

Please read on for some reflections on this past year and exciting plans for 2022 below. In considering the amount of your pledge, please do read the sections below titled, "Your Sangha Needs Your Financial Support" and "How Much to Pledge" for suggestions. However, if you're ready to jump on this call to action, just click on the "Register" button to renew your pledge. () Thank you!

The Value of Sangha

“Buddha, Dharma, and Sangha are three precious jewels in Buddhism, and the most important of these is Sangha. The Sangha contains the Buddha and the Dharma.”

-- Thich Nhat Hanh

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 join in whenever you wish (via Zoom or in-person) and to bring your own tradition and culture to share.

2021 in Review

In the summer of 2021, we moved to a hybrid format allowing those who were comfortable and preferred meeting in person to do so if adhering to COVID19 protections, while others could join in virtually. How wonderful it's been able to see some members who live outside Atlanta more frequently --- a benefit of Zoom!

Red Clay Sangha provided a rich program of activities and events in 2021, including: 

● A four-day residential retreat with guest teacher Lisa Ernst in Blue Ridge, GA.

● Ten Saturday retreats - some led by sangha elders, others by guest teachers such as Shodo Spring, Therese Fitzgerald, Julie Puttgen, Kanshin Grevemeyer, and Ayya Dhammadipa, and others led by Red Clay Sangha members. 

● Four popular Dharma Study Sessions led by sangha members Gareth Young and Elizabeth Gibson. 

● A six-week meditation practice group on the Anapanasati Sutta, led by sangha member Gareth Young. 

● Regular weekly Sunday services, a weekly Wednesday Reading Group, and monthly Women’s Circle and Equity and Justice discussion groups. 

● Outdoor gatherings, such as meeting for evening meditation and celebrating Gareth Young’s teaching transmission with a picnic. 


Our Plans for 2022

While we believe that moving to a hybrid Zoom/in-person format was the right decision, we recognize that we may have lost something essential for many of our members and friends, and that many of you find Zoom meetings unsatisfactory. We’ll continue to monitor the pandemic and plan to welcome more people into our physical space as soon as we can safely do so. We’ll also continue to find ways to improve the virtual experience. And whether you join us on Zoom or in our space in Chamblee, we have exciting plans for 2022! 

We’ll continue to meet Sunday mornings for our Sunday service and on Wednesday evenings for the Book Club in a hybrid format, and will continue to hold the monthly Women's Circle and Justice and Equity conversations via Zoom. In addition, we’ll hold at least six day-long retreats, led by sangha members and visiting teachers, and six half-day Dharma study sessions on Saturdays. As for residential retreats, Gareth Young will lead one in the spring, and Lisa Ernst will return in September. We will continue to sharpen our focus on community- and compassion- building activities, including justice and equity, and explore how we might better care for each other as members and community. 

Your Sangha Needs Your Financial Support

Though we are a volunteer organization, Red Clay Sangha has real costs of operation. We have ongoing expenses such as rent, insurance, a website hosting service, and Zoom. Our visiting teachers depend on dana for their livelihood, and we want to treat them fairly. Our retreats are affordable in large part because Red Clay Sangha subsidizes them. So far, we’ve been able to support our activities and provide the dharma free, or at low cost, based on the generous support of some of our members.

If you haven't yet made a financial donation to Red Clay Sangha, we invite you to do so now, during this end-of-year pledge drive. If you have donated in the past, we invite you to do so now. Your donation helps to spread the costs among members and friends. In 2022, in addition to our regular operating expenses, Red Clay Sangha faces the potential higher cost of a new residential retreat space and of finding and leasing a larger long-term in-town space as our sangha grows. We ask you, therefore, as you reflect on your 2022 priorities to help support our sangha's financial operations by making a year-end donation in the amount right for you.

How Much To Pledge?

The amount you pledge is a personal decision. We’re mindful that some of our members have experienced pandemic-related job loss or a reduced income during the past year and a half, and we understand that personal incomes and expenses vary. Please reflect on what the sangha has meant for you this past year, and on what you can afford, and donate accordingly. For me personally, my sangha is more important than ever. I rely on it like I rely on my bones when I sit. 

A donation or pledge at any level is deeply appreciated and brings with it membership privileges such as early sign up for retreats. We are currently seeking $20,000 in 2022 pledges to meet our targets. With 40 supporting members, this would be $500 each, or less than $45 each month with a recurring pledge,(an ambitious but realistic goal). Please consider giving the cost of a special restaurant or take-out meal each month, or even $10 per week - the cost of a few coffees. Are you working from home and using less gas? Could that amount go to RedClay? Your financial support really matters. Please give, as generously as you can, and know that your support in any amount really matters. 

While we must consider these practical matters, it is important to remember that dana -generosity - is the first of the paramitas. It is not measured, but offered for the benefit of both you and the Sangha, and in turn for countless beings, that they may turn toward a path of peace and harmony. 

It’s been wonderful to see a few of you in person this year, and to see so many of your faces on my computer screen. I’m confident that our sangha ties remain strong. 

Thank you for your support, and if you have any questions please let me know.

With a deep bow to all of you, 

Sally 

President, Board of Directors 

landrumsarah@gmail.com 

-on behalf of the Red Clay Sangha board: 

Sally Landrum, Ben Tolbert, Chad Crowley, Katie Rhodes, Anand, Elizabeth Gibson

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