Leadership of Red Clay Sangha

Red Clay Sangha is dedicated to the principle of transparent community governance. Our organizational and spiritual leaders are chosen by the community (sangha) to represent the values of RCS as a whole. All members should feel that their voices are heard. We are dedicated to consensus as a process of decision making.

We hold annual workshops for envisioning our short and long term strategy and programs. These workshops are open to all members. Our records are open to all members. 

We are a young organization and our operational structures and principles are still evolving - we expect that to be the case for some time! Please contact us if you have ideas or want to get involved.

Board Members
Beth Lilly began her formal Buddhist practice in 2007 in the Soto Zen tradition. She regularly attends retreats and maintains a daily practice. She was one of the founding members of Red Clay Sangha in 2011 and has served on the board since 2013. A former photo editor and educator, she now focuses on her artistic practice full time and is interested in how art and Buddhism inform each other She earned an ABJ in Mass Media from the University of Georgia and a Masters of Fine Art in photography from Georgia State University.  Born in Charlotte North Carolina, she currently lives in Atlanta, Georgia.

Beth serves as President.

  Ken Tapscott is an attorney. He has practiced Zen Buddhism since 1985 and studied it since about 1970. He has practiced in the Rinzai, Soto, and Sanbo Kyodan schools. Shown here, during the dark night of the soul, at a party.

Ken serves as Secretary.

  Cherry Zimmer began formal Zen Buddhist practice in 1998 at a retreat with Dharmacharya Therese Fitzgerald. In 2001 she began practicing regularly with the Atlanta Soto Zen Center where she was ordained as a Novice Priest and served as Practice Leader from 2008 until 2011. In 2011 she left her teacher to help found the Red Clay Sangha, which allows her to focus on ways to help Zen Buddhism manifest in the lives of ordinary people living ordinary lives. Cherry believes that Buddhism embodies a rich set of practices, teachings and community principles that can free all beings.

Cherry graduated from Georgia Tech and worked for 30 years in software development, architecture and standards in the telecommunications industry before retiring due to disability. She lives in the Atlanta suburbs and is the caregiver for her disabled husband and cat.

Cherry serves as Treasurer and has done so since 2013.

Sally Landrum (on the right in the picture) began a solitary meditation practice several years ago, using books as her guides.  It gradually became clear to her that she needed the encouragement and support of a sangha in order deepen her practice. After visiting several Zen centers, she joined Red Clay Sangha in 2013.

Sally works as an artist and teacher, and is a alumna of Emory (Classics) and Rhode Island School of Design (painting). She and her husband, Pitt Harding, are the parents of two adult daughters.

Gareth Young began his Zen training in Atlanta in the late 1990's, and shortly thereafter became a student of Zenkai Tauin Michael Elliston at the Atlanta Soto Zen Center.  In 2008 was ordained a Novice Priest, and in 2011 he left to help found Red Clay Sangha.

Gareth left a successful career in the large corporate world in 2005 to pursue his spiritual path and an independent business life. In addition to becoming a successful entrepreneur and an accomplished speaker and author, Gareth is heavily involved in interfaith activities, serving on the boards and in leadership with several Atlanta organizations. He is the father of two (almost adult!) children. You can find more about Gareth's work and read his blog at his website.  

Previous Leaders 

Red Clay Sangha has been fortunate for the leadership of capable members and we wish to continue to recognize their service. 
  Wade Jones became a Buddhist in 1991 as a solo practitioner while attending the University of Kansas. Being an academic at heart, he focused on studying the sutras and learning Buddhist history and philosophy. It wasn’t until 2008 that he wandered into a Zen Center for the first time and fell in love with the practice of Meditation.  More importantly than the mediation, he found a truly supportive Sangha in which to take refuge. Wade is a second year student at The Prajna Institute as a Zen Priest under the tutelage of Rev. Myo Gak.

Wade graduated from the University of Kansas with degrees in Religious Studies and Creative Writing. After college, Wade went on to work in the Telecom industry for 6 years as an Analyst and Unix System Administrator, as well as working as a freelance writer. Wade currently lives in Marietta with his wife and daughter. He is happily a full time Stay at Home Father.

Wade served as President for 2013

David Sample entered the gate of Zen practice in 2008 seeking leadership in the meditative practice. What he found was not only leadership but friends who cared for each other and supported each other in a simple practice that awakened in him an unsentimental compassion and a emerging awareness of the wonder of this life just as it is. David along with 6 other close friends is a founding member of Red Clay Sangha.

David is a Human Resource and Learning Professional with a BA in History. He currently works with for-profit and non-profit organizations developing business driving human solutions though the design and implementation of effective workforce development. He has 18 years of volunteer experience in the Atlanta community supporting organizations that work to improve the lives of children, the hungry and the natural environment. In 1997, he was recognized as Volunteer of the Year for leading the support of Elaine Clark center where he and his team contributed 1200 hours.

David served as the President from 2011-2012. 

  Pat Lamar stumbled into Zen Buddhism in 2005 when she sought a place to meditate. What she found instead was a practice rich in tradition and rife with possibilities for spiritual and personal growth. Pat is a founding member of Red Clay Sangha.  She is committed to building a sangha-focused community and passionate about best practices in corporate governance.

Pat retired from The Coca-Cola Company in 2010 after practicing law for over 25 years at some of Atlanta's largest firms and corporations. Since her retirement, Pat has served as an adjunct professor at Emory University School of Law and has become an avid (but poor) golfer.

Pat served as the Treasurer from 2011-2012.

  Dev Howerton began practice about 7 years ago when she was introduced to Zen Buddhism at the Unitarian Universalist Congregation of Atlanta (UUCA).  She joined a small sangha when it was being formed within UUCA by a minister and her husband and began sitting zazen, reading and discussing books by Charlotte Joko Beck, Shunryu Suzuki, and others, and forming strong bonds of friendship with her sangha-mates.  In 2007 she joined four others from their “Buddhatarian” group to sew a rakasu and go through a jukai ceremony accepting the precepts from Sensei Barbara Seirin Kohn. She is now in the midst of a new group of friends, helping to start another sangha, enjoying the reading group and the Sunday morning services and the strengthening bonds of friendship and community-building.  She is excited to be a part of the formation of this new sangha and the exploration of the possibilities of a sangha-lead practice.

Dev served on the board from 2011-2012. 

Wes Anderson began practice 40 years ago at the Rochester Zen Center.

Wes served on the board in 2012. 

  When Richard Skoonberg was 17, his high school drama teacher lent him "Siddhartha" by Herman Hesse. He read it the night Richard Nixon was elected President for the first time. That event was overshadowed by that profound and insightful book. It opened his mind to the possibility of Buddhism. A year or so later, he started studying acting privately with a teacher in Berkeley, John Argue of Acting Openhand who was attempting to infuse acting with Zen concepts and Zen practice.  Art, as a human activity, is closely linked to "waking up to our true nature." But "sex, drugs and rock and roll" became paramount and he drifted away from practice for many years while always retaining strong interest in Zen. He took up steady practice again about eight years ago after hearing Tibetan Buddhist monks chant at Oglethorpe University.  He is still interested in the merging of Zen and art, currently exploring Zen with the camera as well as the cushion. As Kaaren Wiken, our Zen sewing teacher says, "Zen in, art out."

Richard has a son and daughter who are both Zen Buddhists and a wife who is a confirmed skeptic.

Richard served on the board in 2011. 

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