|Dawn at SCOL.|
The Urban Center is more problematic. It has for nearly two decades been too small, both as a place for sangha-wide meditation and meetings, as well as having too few spaces for activities like multiple-year children's instruction. The house wasn't designed to serve the needs of large groups, lacks basic features like large meeting space, a commercial kitchen, and parking. It effectively caps sangha growth, and KCC has had a stable membership of around 100 people for 15 years.
Below are a list of goals the Strategic Planning Committee and Leadership group identified. While the groups have spent substantial time thinking and discussing them, they are only a starting place for further discussions. The SPC hopes members of the sangha think about KCC's situation, its needs, and its resources and offers feedback and suggestions. Have a look:
- Find a larger urban center that has the space we need to conduct current programs as well as room to grow. Discussion: there are multiple ways to accomplish this, including renting a facility, purchasing a facility, joining with another group/sangha to get a new facility. Many people have noted the expense associated with such a move and this is a huge factor. How much appetite is there among the sangha to raise funds for a new center? Will it compete with the completion of the cloister--or, put another way, how do we phase it in while the cloister is being completed? What kind of facility do we need to meet our programmatic needs? This last point led some to consider the next goal. Related Goals: Finish fundraising for the cloister before any fundraising on the urban center;
- Include a residential component in an urban center. Discussion: One way to meet the needs of a sangha more deeply connected to retreat activities at SCOL is by having rooms available. This would allow people transition time before and after retreats. It would give KCC the option of offering a work/practice or lay training option to some members who wanted to live at the center. (Some Zen communities have experience with this.)
- Create a low-cost, seasonal option for group and individual retreats at SCOL. Discussion: The idea here was to use tent platforms and tents or other seasonal facilities so KCC could continue to host short-term and individual retreats at SCOL. One theme that has emerged in all our discussions is the need to integrate the facilities in Goldendale and Portland programatically. This has been easier when KCC could host the winter retreats, the annual Mahamudra retreat, and other events at the cloister, but will be harder during long-retreats. And yet, this may be the time when integration is most potent and valuable.