Update to the New York Community – July 11th, 2018

To the New York Shambhala Community:

We are writing to share a letter we received from the Sakyong and update you on the leadership of our New York Shambhala Center.

A letter from Sakyong Mipham Rinpoche:

Yesterday afternoon, the Sakyong shared a personal letter with the worldwide Shambhala community. We wanted to share the letter here in case anyone missed it.

A message from the Governing Council:

Last April, the Governing Council of Shambhala New York made the decision to dissolve in order for its members to focus on an Executive Director search and their individual roles in the community as teachers and leaders. Given the Sakyong’s decision to step back from teaching and administrative responsibilities, Jeff Waltcher has also decided to step down from his position as Kalapa Envoy to New York.

At the time of their dissolution, the Governing Council felt that the strong staff of the Center could hold the operations until an Executive Director was in place, led by an interim leadership team consisting of Sarah Freidel, Director of Operations; Katherine Lieberson, Director of Membership & Development; and Mary Beth Minton, Director of Finance.

In light of recent events, it became clear that an interim leadership is also needed to hold our community during this challenging time. In addition to other functional roles, Sarah Freidel and Katherine Lieberson will serve as community liaisons. As we asked you in previous emails, please send your questions and concerns to Sarah ([email protected]) and Katherine ([email protected]). Mary Beth’s focus is on the continued operations and financial health of the Center.

A message from Katherine & Sarah:

We would first like to thank the Governing Council and Kalapa Envoy Jeff Waltcher for their service to our community. They came together during a critical time for our Center and provided much needed financial and strategic ground in the face of many obstacles.

In order to support our leadership moving forward, we have invited community representatives to form an Advisory Circle to offer us feedback and counsel during this challenging period. Through this group, we hope to hear the diverse perspectives of our community, in addition to your continued direct feedback. The Advisory Circle will be comprised of the following people:

  • Acharya Eric Spiegel

  • David Greenan, Community Life Team Member

  • Joy Gutierrez, Community Member

  • Mary Beth Minton, Director of Finance

  • Naoko Kojima, Inclusivity Warrior and Former Governing Council Member

  • Shante Smalls, Rusung

  • Susan Roti, Former Governing Council Member

In addition to this support for us as leaders, we feel this is a critical time for our community to come together and support one another. We will be hosting a number of community offerings over the next few months to provide opportunities for sharing, healing, learning, and visioning. We especially hope you will be able to join us for Acharya Melissa Moore’s visit this weekend. This weekend will be a time to gather with one of Shambhala’s senior teachers to practice, contemplate, discuss, and re-envision what Shambhala means to us here in New York and beyond.  

We are a large and diverse sangha and we aim to provide space for everyone. If you have an offering, or something you would like to see happen at the Center, please be in touch with us directly.

We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge that the shrine photos are a focal issue for many in the community right now. We are hearing your feedback and taking this into serious consideration. We have decided not to hold the remaining programs for this week at the Center in the Main Shrine Room until a decision has been made. We also anticipate this will be part of our community discussions this weekend, with the guidance of Acharya Moore. We hope you can join us.

We deeply appreciate all of the support, comments, and feedback we have received so far. Please continue to be in touch.

All our love,

Sarah & Katherine

Upcoming Community Offerings:

  • A Gathering of the NYC Women’s Teacher’s Circle with Acharya Melissa Moore

    • Monday, July 16th, 6:30pm

    • Open to women and non-binary faculty members

  • Community Office Hours with Katherine Lieberson

    • Tuesdays: July 17 & 24, 3 – 5pm

    • Wednesdays: July 18 & 25, 6:30 – 8:30pm

    • Please email [email protected] to make an appointment

  • Shastri Office Hours with Shastri Elizabeth Reid

    • Mondays & Wednesdays, July 16 – August 1, 1:30 – 3:30pm

    • Please contact Shastri Reid to make an appointment

  • Radical Self Care Workshops with Alison Pepper  

    • Friday, July 26, from 1- 2pm

    • Friday, August 3, from 6 – 7pm

    • Open to all

  • Vajra Sangha Gathering with Acharya Eric Spiegel

    • Wednesday, August 1st, 6:30 – 8:30pm

    • Open to Vajrayana students

  • Gathering for Leaders hosted by the Community Life Team

    • Date/Time TBD